Brits warned about Brexit import fees when shopping online this Christmas

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Brits warned about Brexit import fees when shopping online this Christmas
Brits warned about Brexit import fees when shopping online this Christmas.

Brits are warned about import fees caused by Brexit when shopping online this Christmas.

Brits are warned to “pay attention” to import fees caused by Brexit when shopping online this Christmas as one woman was hit with a £70 additional fee.

Many people have ended up footing the bill for unexpected fees on products bought from EU countries, as discussed on Rip-Off Britain.

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Last month on the show, Angel Rippon explained the importance of being aware of where the items are being shipped from and extra charges this Christmas.

She said: “Now that we’re out of the European Union, there’s all sorts of red tape associated with parcels that we send to Europe.”

With Brexit, people have been hit with a series of new taxes and duties on certain goods coming into the UK, causing people to end up spending more than they expected or intended.


Allison from Swansea spoke to the Rip-Off Britain team about her experience with buying gifts shipped from other countries for Christmas.

Allison had bought a £250 paddle board online for her husband’s birthday, without realising the sellers were based in Denmark.

When the paddle board arrived, she was hit with a £70 fine in 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”.

He said that many companies that are based in the EU appear as though they are UK based, however, people are only noticing now because of the fees.

Before the UK left the EU, the only difference with ordering from other EU countries was 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.”

“It’s this bit here that’s so confusing.”

There are four charges that people can be hit with when ordering from outside the UK:

  • Import VAT
  • Import Duty
  • Excise Duty for alcohol
  • Handling fees from the delivery company

Mr McClelland explained that, for example, if a relative was sending a present from Dublin, and the cost of the gift is £40 they will now have to pay 20 per cent VAT to receive this gift.

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

Recipients of parcels would also be liable to pay import duties.

He also explained the “magic figures” people should be aware of.

Items under £39 are not taxed.

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

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

Alcohol carries other rules. He said that if people buy a crate of alcohol from the EU for the Christmas period, they may have to pay the excise fees, and this could add on a further £80.

Mr McClelland suggested that those planning on receiving goods this Christmas from EU countries should visit gov.uk/goods-sent-abroad to get more information of fees and extra charges that could be incurred.


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Laura is from a small seaside town in North Wales and has also lived in Liverpool and Manchester, where she studied English Literature and worked in social media and marketing. Laura moved to the city of Zaragoza last August to teach English, but after missing the coast she decided to move to beautiful Nerja to enjoy the sun and sea. Laura has a passion for animals, films, outdoor activities, writing and the environment.

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