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Troubles With VAT, best course of action?


Active Member
Jan 12, 2016
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So, admittedly, I am pretty foolish when it comes to shopping internationally.
In the frenzy of an advertised sale, I purchased what I though was 650 euros worth of outerwear. WELL, it was actually in pounds so my 700$ bill went up to 1k.

The purchased was made before I could see the conversion, so what I thought to be a good deal on brands I am familiar with suddenly wasn't so great, even at 50% off. I looked the order over and noticed a 1115 pound VAT tax, which, being a US citizen I am exempt from. I emailed the store and the owner wrote me back saying he would speak to the accountant and that they hadn't dealt with this issue before.

I thanked him, apologized for the inconvenience and asked for the order not to be finalized until after the VAT issue was settled. About 2-3 days later with no response I was sent an email that the item was sent. When I asked about the VAT issue he said he couldn't refund it because he would still have to pay it on his end (???!!???). After I asked him if the VAT would increase the duty fees he sent me a terse email saying something along the lines of the VAT guidelines are printed on the website(I still can't find them).

I really do like the items I ordered, but I will be paying 200$ for a tax I shouldn't be paying, plus probably another 100-150$ of duty fees, and the store owner appears to either be foolishly giving away money to his government(unlikely) or more like swindling me for this money and then lying to me about it as though I couldn't do a simple google search to learn the legalities of VAT taxes.

The website has a return policy, but I don't want to pay to bring the item into my country obviously. So i am guessing the best course of action would be to refuse the item on the spot and if he gave me trouble with a refund challenging the purchase on paypal since he won't be able to prove the package was delivered. This would of course take a while and seems rather mean spirited.

Anyone have any better suggestions? Thanks for reading this long and boring story but I figured you guys on here might have some experience with the troubles of international shopping.

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