/ Money

Have you been stung by customs and VAT charges?

If you’ve recently ordered from a European retailer, you might have been stung with additional customs and VAT charges. We want to hear your experiences.

Since 1 January, when the Brexit transition period ended, some people have faced additional fees on items coming from the EU, as well as delays on orders due to customs checks.

We want to hear your experiences and make sure you’re not being overcharged.

Have you been hit with a hefty import fee?

Some are reporting being hit with unexpected charges.

Perhaps it wasn’t made clear to you that you’d be charged when you placed your order, or you might not have even realised you were ordering from a European retailer.

You might also be questioning the amount you were asked to pay.

VAT, in most cases, is charged at 20%, and should be applied to gifts worth more than £39. Goods costing more than £135 could be hit with customs duties too, which can range from 0% to 25%.

Delivery ‘handling fees’

On top of VAT charges and custom duties, some delivery firms are also adding handling fees to deliveries from the EU to the UK, and vice versa.

DPD has a EU Clearance Fee of £3.50 (PDF file attached), which it says ‘covers Customs Clearance, handling, and processing costs to export parcels to EU destinations from Great Britain’.

Royal Mail is charging an £8 fee, though some people have claimed to have paid more.


It’s worth checking how much you should be paying on the delivery firm’s website. We want to hear if you’ve been overcharged.

Will the new rules change how you shop?

Some may now think twice before shopping with European stores to avoid the steep fees, and some retailers have stopped selling to the UK due to VAT changes too.

Let us know if any of the retailers you shop with have stopped selling to the UK, or if you notice any additional ‘handling fees’ retailers might be introducing to cover extra customs checks and admin.

Have you experienced delays or import costs?

Tell us who delivered your parcel, how much you were charged, and if you had to wait longer than usual for your delivery.

John cumberbirch says:
2 November 2021

Exactly what we remainers told you

FedEx just sent me a bill of £71.25 for a £180 tent from Finland. Import Duty, Import Tax and a Dispursement fee before they deliver. None of this was explained before, or mentioned on government website.

Claudia says:
6 July 2022

I am so upset. I paid £367.08 this included £58.33 postage fee already. I was happy with my purchase even though the postage was high it would still be cheaper than most twin buggys I’ve looked at until I kept asking when my item was meant to be delivered as it was taking longer than they advised me. Until I received a letter in the post claiming I had to pay another £110 for customs fees from parcel world to have my item delivered otherwise would be sent back to the sender after 20 days!
This is so crazy!!!! 1st I’m upset because the retailer should have told me from the start and should advertise that there is an extra customs charges on top of everything I’m already going to pay for (which they never did and they only longed the day for the delivery so I would receive the letter on the post for the charges) instead of telling me straight they knew from the 1st of July already and I asked them a couple times after that about my parcel and they just kept saying should be with me soon.
Does anyone know if this happens to every outside of UK purchase now with Brexit or was this just a one time thing?