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Borderline Delivery to your – German neighbour’s – front door

A couple living in Germany just across the Swiss border are the unsuspecting profiteers of the craving of Swiss online shoppers to get a better deal.

The unassuming German village of Gailingen am Hochrhein is home to an unusual business. Although it has few attractions to draw visitors, the place is a magnet for Swiss coming to pick up packages they’ve ordered through German websites.

The packages are stored in the warehouse of Daniela Restle and Matthes Mitgau. A few years ago, the couple came up with a scheme to offer their address to Swiss shoppers searching for goods on German websites, where prices are often cheaper. By having the products delivered within Germany, the buyer can also purchase items that the seller will not send abroad and save on high delivery surcharges.

Custom duties are also only applied on goods worth more than CHF300 ($300) if the purchased items are personally transported across the border. If a delivery service is involved, Swiss customs slaps a tax on goods valued at more than CHF68.

(Pictures and text: Fabian Stamm)

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