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Monday, September 22, 2008

Odd Surcharge, Part Two...


Kit-Tee Cat, originally uploaded by zombiecoterie.

This post is a continuation of my rant about unexpected and unexplained import charges on a delivery of books from Spain that came from lulu.com...

So, the man on the phone from UPS had told me that the charge was for VAT, brokerage (of said VAT) and of freight. I've got the invoice through and it says clearly that the charge is for VAT and surcharges and then there's an additional 17.5% VAT charged on this. No mention of the freight charges they'd mentioned before.

Now, it also says that the goods have been shipped from Spain, but this factsheet on VAT on imported goods says clearly that there shouldn't be any duties levied on any goods imported into the UK from within the EU, so I'm really not sure how I'm being charged VAT, VAT on that VAT and then a brokerage charge (plus VAT) for the privilege. Clearly there's something up with this. It also says it's an estimated charge, so I wonder how they can ask for cash on delivery when they don't actually know how much they should be taking from you.

Apart from any of this, there's nothing that I saw during the ordering process on lulu.com that in any way indicated. I've yet to hear back from the supervisor who was meant to be contacting me urgently on Thursday when all this started, so I'm not quite sure what my next step should be. I guess I just have to wait for a reply from lulu.com and be prepared to dig in my heels.

In the meantime, of course, here is a picture of a cat that I made from an old t-shirt. What do you think we should call it?


UPDATE:  Oh, hang on... this site says VAT should be charged. Hmm. Doesn't really help with the basic problem of lulu.com not making it in any way clear that the delivery would be coming from abroad.  Also, I was under the impression that lulu.com's charges already included VAT.  Confusing, eh?

3 comments:

Knit Nurse said...

I believe you have to be VAT-registered in order to not have to pay VAT, so you are probably liable for it.

But your gripe should definitely be with lulu if they did not mention the fact that the books would be coming from Spain (with the associated charges).

I think you should call the cat Cuddles. He looks like he would be good at cuddling :-)

Scott K said...

Books are zero rated for VAT in the UK anyway?

ArtQuest might also be able to help with the legal stuff.

Anonymous said...

If you import something from Spain, you should pay Spanish taxes for those things, and the Spanish taxes should be charged by the merchant and included in the total price presented to you when you click on "send order". If the merchant forgets to charge the taxes, well, then that's the merchant's problem: the merchant will have to take some of its own money for funding the taxes.

If the merchant, for whatever reason, has a UK VAT registration number, UK taxes should be charged instead of Spanish taxes, but they should still be included in the total price as presented by the merchant.