Purchasing fragrances from abroad to be shipped to the UK post-Brexit

rum

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Mar 17, 2011
PLEASE READ: This thread is not meant as an opportunity to discuss politics or political issues, which remains outside the forum's code of conduct. Any violations will be promptly dealt with.

As it is widely known, the UK left the European Union and the subsequent Transition Period ended on 31st Dec 2020.

With the UK now a 3rd Party to the EU, various companies (including couriers) have changed their delivery charges and policies when exporting goods to the UK. As a result, consumers have been affected in multiple ways. Some examples can be found in this article.

With respect to fragrances, it would be of benefit to members - both current and future - if we create a list of non-UK stores that have either changed their:
  • delivery charges
  • return policies
  • VAT (tax) collection policies
and anything else you see as relevant.

For example, First in Fragrance of Germany no longer posts for free to the UK where the order value is over €150. Instead, UK orders are subject to an €89 delivery charge. According to the value of the order, this will additionally incur UK VAT at the point of delivery, plus any handling fees the courier charges for processing the tax charge.

If you aware of a change like this, either from personal experience or something you noticed on the stores website for example, we would encourage you to please post it here. We are not interested in a discussion on whether this is fair or not, we are simply crowd-sourcing information that will be easy to find for our members going forward.

Once again, we are only concerned about fragrances here and must keep political discussions out of this (or any) thread. Thanks for your time!
 

Mark.B

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2020
While browsing through the nose.fr site it shows that they now display prices to the UK without vat. They still ship free for orders over a certain value, but they won’t charge vat. That means your handler will charge the vat and a charge for dealing with it.

Most seem around the £12 mark on top of the 20% vat.

I guess if you are saving more than the handling fee then it is still worth it.
 

Funwithfrags

Well-known member
Feb 27, 2016
Just had an email from Avant Garde, Oliver & Co. as was.

"I'm very sorry to inform our UK based customers that from now on I cannot ship to the United Kingdom due to the recent Brexit situation which is affecting to he customs and goods exportation.

Sorry for the inconveniences caused by this situation.

Oliver Valverde"

As a repeat customer, I understand but am bloody annoyed.
 

rum

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While browsing through the nose.fr site it shows that they now display prices to the UK without vat. They still ship free for orders over a certain value, but they won’t charge vat. That means your handler will charge the vat and a charge for dealing with it.

Most seem around the £12 mark on top of the 20% vat.

I guess if you are saving more than the handling fee then it is still worth it.

I received an email from Nose Paris, regarding Brexit.

They state that they continue to deliver to the UK using the DPD courier (which I might add has been very reliable in the past).

For orders below £135, 20% VAT applies at checkout (as before) and an additional €5 surcharge "due to Brexit costs".

For any orders above £135, 20% VAT applies at checkout (as before), an additional €5 surcharge "due to Brexit costs" and a further €5 charge "for customs and clearance fees with DHL".

I hope this helps someone.
 

rum

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So Avant-Garden Lab (spelling corrected) ARE now once again able to ship to the UK. That's good.

Thanks for the update. It looks like some stores/retailers are finding workarounds, but in addition I'd also be interested in hearing about people's experiences when placing and receiving orders from such places. Please keep 'em coming!
 

rum

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While browsing through the nose.fr site it shows that they now display prices to the UK without vat. They still ship free for orders over a certain value, but they won’t charge vat. That means your handler will charge the vat and a charge for dealing with it.

Most seem around the £12 mark on top of the 20% vat.

I guess if you are saving more than the handling fee then it is still worth it.

I received an email from Nose Paris, regarding Brexit.

They state that they continue to deliver to the UK using the DPD courier (which I might add has been very reliable in the past).

For orders below £135, 20% VAT applies at checkout (as before) and an additional €5 surcharge "due to Brexit costs".

For any orders above £135, 20% VAT applies at checkout (as before), an additional €5 surcharge "due to Brexit costs" and a further €5 charge "for customs and clearance fees with DHL".

I hope this helps someone.

Has anyone in the UK ordered from Nose Paris to date in 2021? Would be interested to hear your experiences.
 
Sep 16, 2019
I did ask them January or February time and Origines said they weren't shipping to the UK. I sent the email in French to earn brownie points but they still didn't seem interested.

You'll get charged tariffs and have the parcel used like a football, such is the disgust that we'd leave their little club. So either way, I'm not risking it.
 

teardrop

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
l put in an order from Parfumaria in the Netherlands this week. There's a postage charge of 45 euros, & they warn you there's likely to be a customs charge, too. lt's coming via DHL with tracking.

This is the first time l've ordered from abroad since Brexit, so we'll see how it goes...
 

Nastka

Well-known member
Mar 6, 2011
l put in an order from Parfumaria in the Netherlands this week. There's a postage charge of 45 euros, & they warn you there's likely to be a customs charge, too. lt's coming via DHL with tracking.

The one thing I don't quite understand is why companies don't charge customs and duties upfront via their website.

DHL offer DDP, or delivery duty paid shipping conditions where the seller can pay DHL to cover any customs and duties upfront, thus saving the customer from any lack of transparency about what they'll be charged.

Personally, this is my greatest bugbear, and the main reason I wouldn't rush to order from abroad, regardless if it's from the EU or somewhere else.
 

Funwithfrags

Well-known member
Feb 27, 2016
l put in an order from Parfumaria in the Netherlands this week. There's a postage charge of 45 euros, & they warn you there's likely to be a customs charge, too. lt's coming via DHL with tracking.

This is the first time l've ordered from abroad since Brexit, so we'll see how it goes...

My understanding is that anything over 135 EUR will incur a customs charge in the UK. Not asking you to say how much you paid for your order, but it would be good if the company could specify the applicability, or not, of these customs charges. That also seems a rather high postage charge, to put it mildly. I have not ordered from the EU since Brexit but I am running low on interesting samples and thinking I will need to do this at some point soon.

I would also draw attention to scammers who are playing on the fact that customs charges may be imposed at the delivery end before items are in fact delivered.
 

rum

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Thanks for all the replies guys.

As I understand it, there are several things mentioned here, so will take each one by one.

1. Yes, postal charges have gone astronomical for some retailers in the EU. Take a look at First in Fragrance or Parfum Dreams for example, both based in Germany. I think this is on the back of increased costs by some retailers.

2. Regarding the collection of UK VAT. As I understand it, the UK has requested retailers to collect UK VAT (currently 20%) at point of sale for goods worth <£135 (about EUR150). This requires them to 'register' with the UK's HMRC which is a tedious/laborious process. Some retailers like Nose Paris have done this, although I have not tested this. Other, smaller retailers do not have the admin capability (or simply cannot be bothered) to go through this process. If the retailers do not collect UK VAT at the point of sale, it's down to the courier, who collect the unpaid UK VAT on the goods, plus their own (rip-off) admin charges paid upon delivery.

3. For goods worth >£135 have different rules and attract additional costs/charges.

What is worse, the rules are changing again (read tightening up) on 1st July 2021.
 

rum

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Mar 17, 2011
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FWIW, my order totalled more than £135, but it's a fragrance l couldn't find anywhere else, & l had to have it. l'm considering it an early graduation gift to myself. ;)

rum, do you have any info on the upcoming changes/tightening up?

Do let us know how your order goes. I’d be very keen on reading about yours/other members’ experiences.

As for the changes due in July this year, according to this article, the changes have been put back to January 2022:
https://www.theguardian.com/politic...oods-by-six-months-2022-border-post-not-ready

Some more general info on post-Brexit tax rules can be found on the Gov.uk website:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...s-goods-sold-to-customers-from-1-january-2021
 

teardrop

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
Reporting back as my order arrived safely today! :D

The customs charge was £38.14, that's for a heavy 100ml bottle plus 3 free samples. The package has obviously been opened & resealed by customs, but the contents are intact. l realise that's a pretty steep price, but l'm so happy with my order that it was worth it.

l'm happy to recommend Parfumaria, too! There was a nice handwritten note with the package, & l enjoy those little touches. l'd definitely order from them again.
 

rum

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Reporting back as my order arrived safely today! :D

The customs charge was £38.14, that's for a heavy 100ml bottle plus 3 free samples. The package has obviously been opened & resealed by customs, but the contents are intact. l realise that's a pretty steep price, but l'm so happy with my order that it was worth it.

l'm happy to recommend Parfumaria, too! There was a nice handwritten note with the package, & l enjoy those little touches. l'd definitely order from them again.

Thanks, teardrop - this is just the sort of post I envisaged when I started this thread! Many thanks for contributing.

So, you got hit with the customs charge because your order was over £135. Sorry for sounding so curious; I'm interested in how things might go for UK residents buying from the EU in future:
- Was there anything else to pay because the retailer is not registered directly with HMRC in the UK?
- Did you have to pay the fee to the courier/carrier and was it a smooth process?
- Also, did they state the full product value on the customs declaration form on the parcel?

It's quite frightening to see that the item was opened - we are not used to this here, so I guess it must be a sign of things to come.

I'm actually considering doing a test purchase from Europe (for < £135) with a retailer that charges the VAT at point of sale to see how smoothly it goes. On the fence about the idea right now.

By the way, since the end of the transition period, I have ordered from FragranceX (who are based in the US) and there was no change to their process as expected. They collect the VAT at the point of sale as well and have done so for some years now. I know this is totally unrelated, but thought I should mention it as it is quite a seamless process.
 

teardrop

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2010
Glad my post was helpful, rum! :smiley:

Not sure how to answer your first question, & l've already disposed of the packaging & can't remember if the value was stated on the outside, sorry.
l got an email from Trans Global Freight Management on behalf of HMRC, asking for online payment of the customs charge before it could be released for delivery, & yes it was straightforward. l am aware of the scam emails doing the rounds, but this one had all the correct details on it so l knew it was legit.

Yes it was a little unnerving to see it had been opened, but l wasn't entirely surprised, & thankfully all was as it should be.

l'll be interested to hear of your experience if you do make an order.
 

rum

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Glad my post was helpful, rum! :smiley:

Not sure how to answer your first question, & l've already disposed of the packaging & can't remember if the value was stated on the outside, sorry.
l got an email from Trans Global Freight Management on behalf of HMRC, asking for online payment of the customs charge before it could be released for delivery, & yes it was straightforward. l am aware of the scam emails doing the rounds, but this one had all the correct details on it so l knew it was legit.

Yes it was a little unnerving to see it had been opened, but l wasn't entirely surprised, & thankfully all was as it should be.

l'll be interested to hear of your experience if you do make an order.

Not to worry if you don't have the packaging - that would have been a 'nice to know'.
Electronic notification - noted! This is again very useful; so we can expect to be contacted for payment. I wonder if the fee that you paid included a handling fee paid to the courier (most likely). Did they notify you of this (in the email or otherwise)?

Rum, I'm thinking of doing the same. Obviously I'll post notes here when I do that.

That's excellent, Funwithfrags! Looking forward to you letting us know how it goes.

I'm really grateful to you all for your help and openness in sharing information.
 

Cook.bot

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Jan 6, 2012
So Teardrop, if I'm understanding, you paid 45 euros shipping charge for a single bottle of perfume, and then another 40 euros for the customs fee, and ALSO a courier charge?

I'm feeling very glad I'm not a UK perfume customer right now.

Slightly off topic: if I were sending a box of gift perfumes to someone in the UK (Scotland), would they be charged any of these fees if I marked the package as a gift?
 

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