1. And... we're back. You'll notice that all of your images are back as well, as are our beloved emoticons, including the infamous :foo: We have also worked with our server folks and developers to fix the issues that were slowing down the site.

    There is still work to be done - the images in existing sigs are not yet linked, for example, and we are working on a way to get the images to load faster - which will improve the performance of the site, especially on the pages with a ton of images, and we will continue to work diligently on that and keep you updated.

    Cheers,

    Fok on behalf of the entire Styleforum team
    Dismiss Notice

"House of Fraser" UK on-line clothing store still charges international customers VAT for items ship

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Devoti, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. Devoti

    Devoti Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    I have a question/need advice from the forum who has experience buying clothes & shipped from the UK.


    I recently ordered some items on-line with House of Fraser to be shipped to me in the United States. Before purchasing the items, I reviewed there Terms & Condition page and noted that the terms regarding VAT states "All prices shown include the applicable VAT rate. If your order has been delivered outside the EEC, please note that VAT has not been charged." (http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk/Term...IAL_CONTENT_LEGAL_INFORMATION,default,pg.html)

    I interpreted this that the purchase price would be adjusted once it has been determined the items will be shipped outside of the Uk & EEC. I was still charged VAT.

    When I raised the issue House of Fraser, they informed me yes you are indeed outside of the EEC and no we will not to be paying VAT for your items but we are still charging you for it and keeping the money (profit).

    Does this seem like normal business practice and did I incorrectly interpret the terms? I have purchased from many different UK stores over the years and this is the first time a store charged me VAT and kept the VAT as profit. I know this normal when I'm actually in the UK buying but not when I ordered outside and have it shipped outside.

    Has anyone else experienced this? I'm pretty miffed especially when they told me they were going to charge me for VAT and not even send it to the tax man. There are essentially making 20% profit above retail on international clients. I guess it's good for them if they can get away with it but no way am I buying form them again.

    Thanks for your input.

     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  2. Devoti

    Devoti Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    Here's a screen shot of HoF terms & conditions
     
  3. Chowkin

    Chowkin Senior member

    Messages:
    554
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Same with Thomas Pink, although they put it slightly differently. They argue that they have different prices for local UK customers and international ones and it just so happens that the difference is exactly the VAT! I only buy from them when they are on sale and ask for free shipping which they sometimes agree to.

    Other retailers, e.g. Charles Tyrwhitt, TM Lewin, offer full VAT deductions.
     
  4. codhead

    codhead Senior member

    Messages:
    141
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Location:
    United Kingdom of Style & Elegance
    As a Brit, it's not good to hear of such practise, it does show us in a bad light, especially when we should be looking to grow exports. HoF are a mid-range department store chain and I'd be surprised to find much, if anything of their range was exclusive and not available elsewhere.

    The counter argument is we Brits often pay a $/£ parity price, what may cost $100 in the US costs us £100 when bought from a .co.uk website.

    Retailers are certainly under pressure but if you'd bought the item from a physical HoF store, you would have the opportunity to reclaim VAT on exit from the UK
     
  5. Devoti

    Devoti Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    I was a little unaccustomed to this and does put a bad taste in my mouth. It was for a Ted Baker suit.

    Do you think I misinterpreted how the terms and conditions written thinking they would deduct the VAT during checkout?
     
  6. davesmith

    davesmith Senior member Affiliate Vendor

    Messages:
    6,175
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    They only don't have to deduct the VAT if they aren't registered for it (meaning they aren't making £77,000 a year in sales - which is highly doubtful). In any other case, it pays for them not to charge it as they will be able to claim it back from the tax man.

    Whatever the case is, I don't think this is standard practice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  7. Devoti

    Devoti Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    I think they do make more than £77,000 a year on international sales. It's a rather large size chain of stores with a big website presence but I maybe wrong.

    They replied to me saying if I can prove that there "Terms and conditions" were wrong then I would have a case but they say I don't. I guess I'm just asking does anyone think they are misrepresenting themselves in there terms? The customer service person at HoF was rather cheeky.

    Thanks everyone for your help.
     
  8. Devoti

    Devoti Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    Has anyone else been charged VAT when placing international orders from the UK (aside from T. Pink) ?
     
  9. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

    Messages:
    6,774
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    

    Actually (although I could be wrong), I think that Charles Tyrwhitt went down the "no VAT deduction for international customers" path a year or two back. I remember that there was a thread here about it - I'll try to dig it up.

    ETA - Found it - here's the thread from April 2011: "Charles Tyrwhitt policy change - No Value Added Tax refunds!!!"

    A number of (US-based) people in the Charles Tyrwhitt thread seemed to be arguing that it doesn't matter and that the person who started the thread was just trying to be sneaky by ordering from the UK CT website, rather than the US CT website. That's all fine and dandy if you live in the US - but there are a lot of people outside the US and the UK and we still have to pay international shipping and no longer receive a VAT deduction.

    As I said in that thread:




    I could be wrong, but I don't think that you're actually being charged VAT as an international customer in this situation. What these companies are saying is that they are charging you (as an international customer) a price equivalent to the total amount paid by a domestic customer, which is the nett price plus VAT. So, you're not being charged VAT, you're just being charged a higher price than the domestic customer and, coincidentally, that price exactly equates to the VAT-inclusive amount paid by the domestic customer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  10. davesmith

    davesmith Senior member Affiliate Vendor

    Messages:
    6,175
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    Quote:
    Now that is about as politically correct as it gets! I could see an English bloke trying to pull that off.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  11. Devoti

    Devoti Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    Thanks for the comments but I have to think the overwhelming public perception & normal standard of business of any UK & EU store is that when you look at a price tag it includes VAT. If it doesn't then it's customers are properly notified, I don't think HoF did that, not even close. Now if it's not written in the terms and condition or spelled out on the product page, I think there being very sneaky by keeping the assumed portion of money that is supposed go toward VAT and in doing so creating a certain amount of fraud when comparing to normal business transactions.

    Does anyone disagree with this?

    If it's on the product page spelling it out then I think that's perfectly acceptable (I could choose to shop elsewhere) but I went deep into there website and I read the small print and it still does not spell it out keeping the VAT money for themselves.


    PS. Journeyman: I agree, this effects everyone outside of the EU and US. The salt on the wound is the duty (tax) you may have to pay for the item shipped into your country.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  12. Chowkin

    Chowkin Senior member

    Messages:
    554
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    My apologies - I haven't bought from CT for quite some time. You are right - there is a price discrimination against non-EU customers and until they change this policy, they will NOT get my business any more.
     
  13. Dib

    Dib Senior member

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    

    I think this is exactly what they are doing - technically they are not charging you VAT (hence the line in their T&Cs which says "if you are outside the EU you haven't been charged VAT..."), but are charging non EU customers a higher price so that even with the VAT deducted it equals the same as what EU customers would pay with the VAT included. I do think their terms and conditions could and should be clearer in this respect though.

    In my experience, the majority of retailers I have dealt with will deduct VAT when shipping orders outside of the EU but from time to time I do come across some who take a similar approach to House of Fraser (i.e. they say they won't be charging you VAT but will adjust the price to ensure you are paying the same as EU customers).
     
  14. zippyh

    zippyh Senior member

    Messages:
    6,370
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle-ish
    I think the real point people are missing is that the OP is getting his undies in a bunch over a Ted Baker suit.

    I will admit that that retailer's terms are a bit ambiguous and perhaps even misleading, but it seems foolish to assume when you're ordering that the price shown on the final page before submit is anything other than what you're going to pay without confirming with them that they are in fact going to issue you a refund for VAT.
     
  15. APHK

    APHK Member

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Marks & Spencer is another culprit.
     
  16. Devoti

    Devoti Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    Maybe your right but I would first need to receive & try it on before getting all bothered about it, it's not available in the US and it just a cheap Baker suit and I only lost about $120 worth of vat. Having said that I would gladly be doing business again with them if they acted properly. Hell, I would have been much happier if the money went toward UK taxes than there pockets.

    And yes you are right I should have paid more attention but then I thought I was dealing in safe & friendly customer waters of the UK. I guess I was in denial after all these years of buying from stores in the UK and always having the vat subtracted. Now I have to be more vigilant and first treat UK stores as hostile and bilking which is a bit sad.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
  17. Canadianskeezix

    Canadianskeezix Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Liberty is yet another culprit. They charge international customers the VAT, and the customer then pays their local customs and duties when the package arrives. Liberty is a fantastic store, but it doesn't treat its international customers very well.

    Selfridges, however, is a star. They deduct the VAT, and they calculate the local customs and duties of the customer's home country. The price you see on their website at checkout is the price you pay. And they sell Ted Baker.
     
  18. mimo

    mimo Senior member

    Messages:
    7,380
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Yep. Charles Tyrwhitt claim that this "reflects the increased cost of processing international orders", which just happens to be 20% of the net price. Basically, it means two things:

    1. They're dicks, and are hosing international customers.

    2. They don't have to bother marking VAT included and VAT-free prices on any items or putting a mechanism in place to deduct it on their website.

    I suppose that's a saving.

    As a British person ordering from outside the UK, I find it depressing that retailers go for such an obvious shake-down of international customers. The UK is already getting a very sad (and deserved) reputation for poor value if you're a visitor (let alone a resident or indeed a citizen!) in many areas, services in particular. This is only extended by this international rip-off. It's just shameless.

    However, in defence of Unfair Albion, it's not just the Brits: the list price, determined by the manufacturer, for a Mercedes Benz where I live in the Middle East, is 25% more than the equivalent in Europe or the US, even taking into account the different taxes. Ford also inflate their prices in this region by a similar margin. Because f*** Arabs. Or something like that. I'm not picking on those two companies - they're just two I've had reason to check out myself recently. And in another subject area close to my heart, I note that Nomos (watches) of Germany also make non-EEA customers pay a higher price equivalent to German VAT. They are not the only watchmakers that inflate their prices for Middle Eastern and Asian markets. Because f*** the Chinese. Or something like that.

    Basically, it's a matter of customer response. If we all stop buying stuff from companies that charge inflated prices to foreigners, they might change. But that's a big "if". I bought a batch of shirts from Lewin instead of Tyrwhitt for exactly that reason. But the latter are still shipping plenty of shirts internationally. I hope that threads like this, and maybe a few blog posts and whatever, can start to name and shame them, wherever they are from.
     
  19. gladhands

    gladhands Senior member

    Messages:
    2,267
    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Don't want to pay the VAT when buying from Charles Tywhitt? Stop using the UK site. They have an ecommerce site for US customers. You cheapskates are using a site built for selling shirts to customers who ARE subject to the VAT because you want to save a couple of bucks.
     
  20. jssdc

    jssdc Senior member

    Messages:
    725
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Location:
    New York
    

    The internal GBP:USD conversion rate they use is 2:1, so you're actually paying the VAT inclusive price plus some by following the advice you've given (e.g. 4 shirts is £100 on the UK site or $200 on the US site, even though £100 is only worth $165).

    I like CT but this practice is rather obnoxious. I'm in London somewhat frequently so just try to buy when I'm there.

    Malford of London, btw, is another retailer (far, far smaller and cooler than CT or TML) that does not deduct VAT.
     
    1 person likes this.

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by