It has been reported that customers in the United Kingdom (UK) have received extra charges when buying goods from the European Union (EU), and customers in the EU have also been hit with extra charges when buying goods from the UK.
Despite claims from Boris Johnson that there would be tariff-free trade, customers in the UK buying goods from the EU have been hit with extra import duties, admin fees, and VAT. A customer from Norfolk who purchased £236 worth of clothes from Norwegian website, Onepiece.com has been informed she must pay an additional £121.67 (£81.85 import VAT, £28.32 in duties, £11.50 admin fee) to the parcel firm UPS. A customer from Staffordshire has been hit with a demand for £92.63 (£61.32 VAT, £19.81 in duties, £11.50 collection fee) after purchasing bed linen worth £292 from Urbanara.co.uk, which is located in Berlin. Urbanara has since refunded the unexpected bill and Onepiece has said it will refund the extra charges. Both customers were unaware of the additional fees when placing their order.
Customers in Europe have been receiving similar charges when buying goods from the UK. One customer in Marseille received an import duty/tax demand for over €30 the morning their bathroom shelf ordered from Next was due to arrive, which cost €47. A customer in Frankfurt ordered cycle clothing from a UK company and was later sent a customs and tax demand for €102. A customer in the Netherlands purchased trousers in December with no issues, but was hit with an extra €40 bill for two more pairs purchased in January.
Many people have been surprised by the additional charges as they thought a tariff-free trade deal meant there would be no additional charges. Some companies have refused to ship items due to the additional cost.
There seems to be some confusion over what the additional charges will be as they depend on the category of goods, their origin, and their value. For example, those in the EU purchasing goods from the UK but manufactured in China will incur more charges, compared to goods which were manufactured in the UK and purchased from the UK.
A spokesperson got HM Revenue and Customs (UK HMRC) has said “the value of import VAT is calculated based on value of the goods for customs purposes plus any customs duty, therefore it may appear to be higher than 20% of the original sales price”.