Customers must pay up to a third extra in customs duties, VAT and delivery charges to release their goods from warehouses once they arrive in the UK. The price hike is a result of post-Brexit rules requiring VAT to be collected on delivery for goods over £135. But consumers are saying they were not warned about the extra costs before purchase, and are refusing to pay.
Disappointed shopper Louisa Walters, 52, said she was asked to pay £77 in tax, duties and charges after spending over £240 on two items of clothing from Paris-based Sandro.
She added: “DPD offered me two options – pay the fees or return the package. There was no way I was paying £77 so I clicked to not accept the package. I was very disappointed.”
Delivery firms have also added their own charges to cover the administration fees. Meanwhile, UK retailers are considering burning or throwing away goods returned by EU customers to avoid the hassle of red tape.
The UK Fashion & Textile Association chief Adam Mansell said retailers may now find it cheaper to dispose of the items rather than pay to have them shipped back to Britain.
He said: “It’s part of the ongoing small print of the deal. If you’re in Germany and buying goods from the UK, you as the German customer are the importer bringing goods into the EU.
“You then have a courier company knocking on the door giving you a customs clearance invoice that you need to pay to receive your goods.”
In a statement, the Government said: “We have encouraged companies new to dealing with customs declarations to appoint a specialist to deal with import and export declarations on their behalf – and we made more than £80million available to expand the capacity of the customs agents market.
“The Government will continue to work closely with businesses to ensure they are able to trade effectively under the new rules.”