Britons urged to take care when shopping online this Christmas as woman hit with £70 fee | Personal Finance | Finance


Many people could end up footing the bill for fees they weren’t expecting if items bought come from EU countries. On Rip-Off Britain last month, presenter Angela Rippon explained the importance of being mindful of extra charges when sending Christmas gifts this year.

She had purchased a £250 paddle board for her husband’s birthday, and to her surprise, the sellers were based in Denmark.

Allison thought it was a UK seller, but when the paddle board came, she was hit with a £70 fee for the import duties.

She said: “This information was not made clear on the UK website.

“If I’d realised it was coming from Denmark, I would have never ordered it.”


Technology expert David McClelland says buying online is “a mind field”.

When commenting on Allison’s case, he explained that there are many companies based in the EU that seem to be UK based, however people are only noticing now because of the fees.

Before the UK left the EU, the only difference with ordering from these companies is that the delivery time would be slightly longer.

He said: “There are now these extra charges that people aren’t expecting before you can get delivery of the product.

As the recipient of the gift, they would have to pay £8 for it.

For a gift more expensive that is £140, the VAT paid would be more.

The recipient of the gift would be liable to pay import duties also.

Additionally, he explained the “magic figures” people should be aware of.

Items under £39 will not be taxed.

If the item is more that £135, then people have to pay import duties.

“That’s when the cost really can start to rake up,” he said.

For alcohol there are other rules.
He said that if people buy a crate of alcohol from the EU for the Christmas tables, they may have to pay the excise fees, and this could add another £80.

Mr McClelland suggested that those people who are planning to receive goods this Christmas from any EU countries should visit to get more information of fees and extra charges that could be added.

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