Shipping to the EU

You may have noticed the banner on my website for the last month which stated that I temporarily stopped shipping to the EU. The reason for this is because a few of my parcels to the EU were incurring import fees (handling and VAT). This resulted in some people refusing the parcel.

Why?

This was due to a change that came into place on July 1st, 2021. Things changed with regards to shipping to the EU from the UK. There is a requirement to collect extra VAT from customers at point-of-sale, and then each month pay that VAT to the relevant country. You can read more about this here: https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/insights/ioss-big-changes-to-eu-vat-from-july-2021/

The short answer

If you don’t want to read the whole explanation below, the bottom line is that I will be opening up shipping again to the EU, but there is a risk of additional fees when you receive your parcel. If you reject the parcel, I will provide refunds for the cost of the products once I receive them in a re-sellable condition, but NOT for the cost of postage.

The long answer

I have spent the last month, and many hours, looking into my options with regards to shipping to the EU. The problem is that you have to register for VAT with each country, and you have to send the VAT every month, to each country you have sold to. The solution is meant to be something called IOSS (Import One Stop Shop), which allows you to register with a single EU country, and pay it all once. You still need to keep track of each countries purchases, and apply the various different VAT rates, and pay this each month.

To do this you need to use an intermediary. Deloitte offers a service, at a pretty steep cost. There is another service I am looking at that would add a further £2 per package (plus the extra VAT)….however they require direct integration, but don’t provide integration with my sales platform yet. I will keep an eye on this, and probably go with this service if/when they can integrate.

Currently, this leaves me with 2 options:

  1. Stop shipping to the EU
  2. Allow EU customers to decide whether they want to risk incurring extra fees when buying from my store

But there is hope!

The ultimate hope is that the UK and EU come to their senses, and agree on a trade agreement that gets rid of all this overhead, and gets back to how things were before. One of my Patrons who works in the shipping logistics industry mentioned that there is some progress on this front.

The bottom line

I decided on option 2. Ultimately what this means is that I will open up shipping again to the EU, but I want to make it very clear that for now there is a risk of additional fees when you receive your parcel. If you reject the parcel, I will provide refunds for the cost of the products once I receive them in a re-sellable condition, but NOT for the cost of postage. It seems that these charges aren’t occurring with every parcel, so you may get lucky. If we don’t get a good trade agreement in the future, and this continues to be an issue, then as my business grows I will of course do what I can to rectify this (either using that service when it integrates with my sales platform, or working with an intermediary). But the amount I make from my online store selling to the EU doesn’t justify these extra expenses right now.

3 thoughts on “Shipping to the EU”

  1. What a logistical nightmare. I hope most of your revenue is from the UK. I would imagine that you don’t export too many products to the EU, but need to protect your business interests there nevertheless.

    Good luck Shaun, keep up the good work.

    1. It has not been easy! Most of my sales are actually to the US. The sales to the UK is increasing all the time though thankfully.

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