Superb I would say. He sounds like a very decent fella.
So I guess they wanted to charge you duty, handling charge, and £100+ in VAT on a $10 item?? Sounds like the actions of an inexperienced seller hoping to make a profit on an insurance claim if the item goes missing, without realising the other effects of doing this. The Chinese know where it's at - it's remarkable how many $15 gifts they send around the world...One particularly annoying case was when the sender put the insurance value ($1000 IIRC) on the customs form instead of the true value ($10, I think). There was nothing that I could do so I told them to keep it and ordered another one, telling the vendor to be more careful filling out the forms.