Brexit leaves EU-bound Christmas presents out in the cold

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Brexit leaves EU-bound Christmas presents out in the cold
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Brexit leaves EU-bound Christmas presents out in the cold. Christmas parcels are being caught up in post-Brexit red tape.

Anyone sending Christmas presents to loved ones in the EU needs to be aware of possible customs charges and VAT charges. Experts have said that people sending gifts to the EU face the possibility of delays, missing items and charges that they were not expecting.

Many Brits are trying to send gifts to friends and family in the EU this Christmas. This means that this could be the first time they have had to contend with VAT and customs charges.

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Speaking to The Observer, organisation Which? revealed that many people are not aware of the new rules. Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert commented: “The changes brought about by Brexit have created a greater burden of customs paperwork for consumers and couriers alike,”

“You now have to attach customs declaration forms to anything you send, very clearly describing what it is and where it has originated from.”

Brexit rule changes came into force on January 1. In July further changes also came into effect regarding VAT.


According to Which?: “Incredibly, only one respondent to our survey told us they feel confident in their knowledge of the new rules.”

Joanna Harry used the ParcelHero website to book a delivery to Spain from South Wales with Parcelforce. She commented: “I have telephoned customs numerous times, but I’ve been hung up on due to language barriers, and most of my emails – both in Spanish and English – are getting no response,”

“ParcelHero also avoided responsibility, saying I needed to speak to Parcelforce.”


She went on to add: “I paid more than £100 for this so-called service. My boxes contained some items of sentimental value and I’ve been failed by couriers I trusted.”

Speaking to Which? a spokesperson for ParcelHero stated: “Our customer services team is working to return all the parcels to the UK.”


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Alex Glenn is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News. Formerly she worked in the NHS for 15 years until relocating to Spain in 2018. She loves the Spanish lifestyle, language and culture and spent several years learning Spanish before moving to Spain for a better quality of life. She has made her home in the mountains in Almeria, where she loves being part of a rural community that has a mix of both expats and Spanish residents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and exploring the area where she lives.

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