DEAN DUNHAM: Must I pay tax and import duties if I buy goods from EU sites?
I purchased trainers from an EU website. They were advertised at £145, but I have now been hit with additional import and tax costs. Can they do this?
Sarah Gardner, Leeds.
Dean Dunham replies: If the trainers had cost less than £135 you would not have faced any additional fees on top of the order price, except for the cost of postage.
However, orders over £135 cross a threshold where extra customs, VAT and delivery costs start to kick in.
These charges should have been clearly communicated to you or, at the very least, the seller should have made you aware that extra charges may be levied.
Threshold: Orders over £135 from the EU are subject to extra customs, VAT and delivery costs
If the seller will not entertain your complaint and you paid by debit or credit card, you can make a chargeback claim to your bank, citing the fact the seller failed to disclose the true cost to you.
If you paid via a payment platform (such as PayPal), you could try its complaints department, but other scenarios could be difficult — you would not want to take the seller to court outside of the UK.
That’s why you should always think twice about buying goods from outside the UK.
Put on wrong Klarna deal
Last month, I purchased a fireplace with an electric fire from the Robert Dyas website.
My main reason for doing so was the clear marketing link of being able to buy this item with Klarna’s 12-month interest-free option.
I started the online purchase process, which was easy enough, and for the ‘method of payment’ part, I chose Klarna as my preferred option.
At this point I was presented with three options: 30 days, pay three monthly instalments or over 12 months at 0 per cent.
I chose the latter and then received an email confirming my purchase. However, it went through for the Klarna 30 days payment — not the 12-month option I had clicked on.
I have tried to get this matter rectified but neither Robert Dyas nor Klarna have so far done anything to help.
Jonathan Warren, via email.
Dean Dunham replies: All Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorised firms communicating financial promotions, including those which advertise consumer credit, must follow its treating customers fairly principle.
Treating customers fairly is one of the fundamental principles underlying the FCA’s regulatory regime. In its Principles For Business, number six states: ‘A firm must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly.’
Klarna specifically requires all merchants advertising its financial products, such as Robert Dyas, to observe and adhere to this.
Here, there has clearly been either an IT error or mistake on your part and, in either case, you would not be treated fairly if the matter was not rectified for you.
Notwithstanding the above, there is an easy solution. You purchased online and are still within 14 days of delivery and, in these circumstances, you could send the goods back and demand a full refund.
You are entitled to do this under the Consumer Contracts Regulation. Then you could pay off Klarna and place your order again, this time making sure the 12-month payment option is applied.
- Write to Dean Dunham, Money Mail, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB or email [email protected]. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given.