I don't think that I'l ever forget the morning I woke to hear that the Brexiteers had won the referendum! I thought that anything could happen in this crazy wold after that (and it did - Trump was president for four years - will it get any crazier than that because I don't know if we could cope with it, on top of Covid?!). My first thought was "what the f*ck?", my second was that surely there would be a second referendum - surely this couldn't happen, but on December 31st last, it did. For those outside of the UK, this now means that purchasing from UK stores/sites, means that the buyer may now have to pay additional import charges and VAT (depending on where the product is manufactured and if the value of the product is more than 22 euros including delivery). It also means that your EU rights are void. There are so many things to consider, which I want to discuss today.
Firstly, I would say to check the price of the product in your own country, and even if it's more expensive, take into consideration the shipping fees that you now have to pay - there may not be a lot of difference in the price then.
Remember that if you do buy something from the UK and you change your mind - clothes are too big or too small, for example, returning the products will not be as easy as previously, and will most probably cost you quite a bit.
If you buy an item that is less than 22 euros, you won't be liable for VAT.
If you buy an item (or items) valued between 22 and 150 euros, you will have to pay VAT, and that is different in each country. What you pay will depend on the customs value, which is the cost of the item, plus transport and handling charges.
If your package is worth more than 150 euros, you may have to pay customs duty.
There are two ways to pay these charges: if the company registers with the revenue department in your country, they can tell you at checkout what the charges will be, and you can pre-pay them. Alternatively, the postal service or courier company used to deliver your parcel, will work out what is owed (usually with an additional admin fee), and you will have to pay them, in order to receive your parcel.
But it isn't all bad news! If the products you buy were manufactured in the UK, you don't have to pay customs duty. Also, there are some companies who are covering the fees. Some examples are: Cult Beauty, Look Fantastic, ASOS, Selfridges, Matches Fashion, Far Fetch (you can buy from EU countries on this site - likewise with My Theresa), River Island and Feel Unique, off the top of my head. The problem is that some companies were more prepared than others. I have ordered from several of these since January 1st. The fastest have been My Theresa and Far Fetch, with Cult Beauty being the fastest in terms of beauty. I hate to say it because I love shopping there, but there have been several issues with Look Fantastic, but I know that they are working hard to iron them out and go back to their usual speedy delivery. Amazon are possibly opening an EU distribution centre, which will mean that charges can be avoided.
My husband works in logistics, so Brexit has been the bane of his life for the past few years, especially as the deal was only agreed on Christmas Eve. Revenue at either end weren't prepared. So if you are waiting on something you ordered over the Christmas period or in early January, chances are it is stuck in a warehouse somewhere, whereas more recent orders are passing through. There is a backlog, so much paperwork, and an awful lot of people on both sides, without a clue what to do. If this is the case, contact the company for tracking information - there is a good chance that they will either declare the item lost, or actually be able to track it. if they can find where it is, it should speed up the delivery process, if they declare it lost, you should be offered either a refund or replacement.
If you are a blogger, chances are PR companies are not on the revenue list, so you will have to ask them to write the value of the products as zero (or a tiny amount), or else ask them to mark it as a gift, to avoid paying customs on what is essentially a gift.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this? Will you shop less as a result? Have you been charged customs? Are you waiting a long time for an order to arrive? I'd love to hear your stories. I'm assuming that my UK readers tend to buy from UK sites, but are you affected in any other way?
My final thought is that when we actually get to go on holiday again, we'll actually be able to avail of proper duty free prices - that's a bonus!
Thanks for reading!
All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted, without obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used.