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VAT in the UK on a package?

Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF MajorEast CoastRegistered User regular
edited October 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So I ordered my ladyfriend a Kindle for her birthday. Long story short it got lost before it was delivered and Amazon was kind enough to send another free of charge. To make sure it didn't get lost I had it sent to my parents in MA.

Now, ladyfriend lives currently in Scotland on a student visa going to grad school.

So she got a letter today saying they're holding the package and want like 40 pounds in VAT to get it. What the crap? Is there any way to get around that? I mean, how did they even know what the hell it was?

Really I'm just frustrated with the whole ordeal. I ordered the damn thing over a month ago and she still doesn't have it.

Iceman.USAF on


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    khainkhain Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    According to the HMRC website it appears that your gift is the limit for gifts, L 40, and thus you must pay the VAT and potentially customs as well dependent on exactly how much a Kindle is.

    khain on
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    SpamSpam Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I take it this is the second kindle which you've had shipped from your parents to Scotland?

    I'm sorry to say, but I think she is pretty much gonna have to suck it up and pay the fees. You can contest vat/ duty charges on a parcel when it is inspected at customs, however usually by the time you receive a letter through its too late, the parcel has already passed through customs and been held at a local parcel force depot.

    Expect parcel force to charge a processing fee as well (though that may be included in the £40 - vat and import duty on a kindle should be about 30quid at most if its one of the new small ones).

    UK customs and parcel farce are a nightmare to deal with, and parcels coming from the US come under much closer scrutiny than from most other countries in the world for some bizarre reason.

    Also I hate to say it but kindles are available from the amazon UK site with free UK delivery - too late now, but you could have ordered from there with zero hassle.

    ** edit **

    Actually, more constructive answer, she's gonna have to pay the fees just now to get the parcel, but make sure she keeps all the customs documents/ paperwork/ shipping labels, sent her a copy of the original receipt, then go to the hmrc site Khain linked to get contact details for customs and follow the instructions on lodging an appeal. There is a slim chance she may get some/all of the fees refunded.

    Spam on
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    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Thanks for the ideas guys. I would have had it shipped to her directly but she didn't have an apartment at the time of purchase. Much appreciated!

    Iceman.USAF on
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