EU DELIVERIES GETTING BETTER
UPDATE APR 2022
The last couple of months have seen an improvement in the way parcels are moving across the EU border, our current advice is:
To order from the EU, order as normal and choose your postage.
We will send your item in plain wrapping, marked as a gift with value around £7.50.
You will still have to pay some tax and other fees, but they are minimal.
The postal system is almost back to pre- Brexit times, meaning the EU border officers have calmed down a little bit. Having said that, there are still one or two officers that will stop every item that doesn't have tracking and simply return it to the UK.
My advice is to add the minimum tracking, and everything will go through perfectly
THE HISTORY SINCE BREXIT - WHAT HAPPENED?
From early June 2021 we began to experience a high level of unexplained returns from the EU border. The combination of time spent answering emails, chasing missing orders, phone calls, parcels held at the border and returns and therefore refunds that were not collected due to customs fees meant we started making a loss within the EU for the first time ever.
From 21st June 2021, to stop our spiraling losses, trade with new clients within the EU was paused with the exception of orders to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Monaco and San Merino.
From July 1st 2021 new EU regulations meant that to clear the EU border without incident and extra fees, VAT had to be added to all orders from outside the EU at checkout, with is a further extra duty charge being levied on orders with value over £150.
However the EU did not publish the percentage that needed to be charged on the £150+ orders. This meant we couldn't charge at checkout. We then found that even if we could charge at checkout, we couldn't repay the VAT without an EU registered accountant.
From mid July 2021, clients in the EU that were receiving free size exchanges and free repairs suddenly had their goods impounded and faced unexpected bills from their own customs officers demanding VAT on the items. Because the repairs were free, they were flagged as undervalued, and investigated. Investigation took days, in the case of Malta weeks, of fraught emails and paperwork between us and our clients, and our clients and their own customs officers.
Between us we finally discovered that to exchange an item, you first have to 'export' the goods to us and get an export number from Brussels, so that you can 're-import' the exchange or repair and then reclaim the VAT. No exceptions were to be made for items that left the EU before July 1st. Note - you still have to pay the VAT, you have to reclaim it using the export number.
To do get an export number you'll be needing the following information and documents for the customs declaration:
arrival notification (from the transport company)
a document to prove that the repairs are free of charge or exchange based on a warranty obligation
an export declaration or other document for the export.
Then you have to do this:
We then realised that by implication our returns procedure was heavily impacted - we offer a worldwide no quibble return policy. But now in the case of EU VAT we are, basically, stuffed. We can only refund you the amount charged in our shop - how you go about reclaiming all the VAT and fees you paid Brussels is anyone's guess.
We hunted for days, but couldn't find the solution.
After days of work trying to fit in with the new EU regime we realised that there is no way to receive anything within the EU from us that doesn't involve an impossible re-coding of our checkout system, whilst agreeing to collect as yet to be defined taxes on behalf of a foreign state. Not to mention staying in alignment with EU rules even if when differed from UK law.
At which point we just had to call it.
We then temporarily closed our EU business to new clients as a direct result of the ongoing trade disruption caused by new EU VAT regulations.
It was absolutely heartbreaking to have worked so hard to build an outstanding business, get through a pandemic unscathed only to have it crushed by bureaucrats from a foreign state, with every part of our after sales business with you adversely affected by EU bureaucracy.
Then, eventually in September we found a loophole. It does still involve the EU charging you 8Euro to import from Lux, but at the moment it's that or nothing.
Please email if you are worried about anything and I'll try and help as best I can
I'm so sorry to all my clients who remain affected by this, because I have always been and will remain pro-Europe