Brexit leaves EU-bound Christmas presents out in the cold | Brexit

Individuals getting ready to ship Christmas parcels to household and pals in Europe face being caught out by post-Brexit purple tape and prices that threaten to take a few of the pleasure out of gift-giving.

A warning has additionally been sounded that a few of those that have despatched items to the EU this 12 months have encountered issues starting from delays and sudden prices to gadgets going lacking.

This will likely be the first time most individuals have encountered rules that came in this year regarding VAT and customs prices making use of to gadgets being posted to the EU.

The patron organisation Which? instructed the Observer that its analysis signifies the overwhelming majority of individuals know little or nothing about the new guidelines. “The modifications led to by Brexit have created a larger burden of customs paperwork for shoppers and couriers alike,” stated Adam French, Which? shopper rights professional. “You now have to connect customs declaration types to something you ship, very clearly describing what it’s and the place it has originated from.”


As a part of the raft of Brexit modifications that got here in on 1 January this 12 months, the EU now treats postal gadgets from the UK because it did non-EU gadgets earlier than. Further changes relating to VAT took impact on 1 July this 12 months.

Consequently, customs types at the moment are necessary for all items and items despatched to a rustic exterior the UK, besides when sending gadgets from Northern Eire to the EU.

In some circumstances, the recipient might need to pay customs or VAT prices and a dealing with charge earlier than they’ll declare the parcel. Whereas common gadgets imported to the EU with a worth of €22 (£18) or much less at the moment are not exempt from VAT, the excellent news for UK shoppers – and for these receiving presents from them – is that items underneath €45 (£38) which might be being despatched to Europe remain free of VAT or charges.

According to the parcel firm DPD, a present is an merchandise given by one particular person to a different the place no fee is exchanged. Items purchased from an internet site akin to Amazon or eBay and marked as a present wouldn’t be categorized as a present underneath the new rules, it added. The Put up Workplace stated folks wanted to ensure the “reward” field was ticked in the contents part of the customs kind. It added: “For items over €45, any prices will likely be collected from the recipient on supply as regular.”

With so many new rules in place, it’s maybe not shocking that when Which? not too long ago surveyed a few of its members, it discovered that half (51%) of these quizzed who had been planning to ship a present to somebody in the EU stated they didn’t know something in any respect about the new guidelines, and nearly as many once more (48%) felt they knew solely a bit.

“Extremely, just one respondent to our survey instructed us they really feel assured in their information of the new guidelines,” stated the organisation.

Any parcel sent from England, Scotland or Wales to an EU country should now have a customs declaration form attached to it.
Any parcel despatched from England, Scotland or Wales to an EU nation ought to now have a customs declaration kind connected to it. {Photograph}: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Photos

Worryingly, Which? discovered that of the 7% of its members who had despatched a present to the EU since January, 34% had skilled delays, 30% had been hit by sudden prices and eight% stated their reward went lacking.

In early September, Joanna Harry despatched six packages from her house in South Wales to her property in Andalusia in southern Spain. She booked the supply with Parcelforce utilizing the dealer web site ParcelHero.

One package deal was returned to her every week after posting, however the remaining 5 had been, at the time of writing, being held at Spanish customs.

“I’ve telephoned customs quite a few instances, however I’ve been hung up on because of language limitations, and most of my emails – each in Spanish and English – are getting no response,” she stated.

“ParcelHero additionally prevented accountability, saying I wanted to talk to Parcelforce.”

She added: “I paid greater than £100 for this so-called service. My containers contained some gadgets of sentimental worth and I’ve been failed by couriers I trusted.”


A ParcelHero spokesperson instructed Which?: “Our buyer providers workforce is working to return all the parcels to the UK.” It has subsequently given Harry £25 credit score.

A Parcelforce Worldwide spokesperson instructed the shopper organisation: “We’re presently experiencing delays to some gadgets being delivered in Spain. Gadgets are leaving the UK on time however are topic to some delay when being processed by means of Spanish customs.”

The Spanish postal service ADT Postales advises that the supply of shipments containing items from the UK, aside from Northern Eire, will should be introduced to Spanish customs for clearance.

ADT Postales confirmed that Harry’s 5 remaining parcels had been now in the strategy of being returned to her UK handle.

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