You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

'I bought wine from Europe and had to pay hundreds in unfair taxes'

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 10/06/2022 Jessica Beard
Receipts - TMG © TMG Receipts - TMG

Online shoppers have been forced to pay hundreds of pounds in taxes on imports from Europe after being served with incorrect invoices by large courier companies. 

Alan Edwards, from Suffolk, said he consistently received incorrect invoices on his imported packages. He was overcharged £318 and told to pay nearly triple the amount due when he imported wine from Portugal. 

Courier company FedEx charged him £502 on duty and VAT for a £170 purchase. But upon challenging the bill, FedEx recalculated and found that Mr Edwards owed just £184, issuing him with a new invoice. 

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “This is the fourth incorrect invoice I have had in the last five deliveries. It doesn’t seem like a one-off mistake any more, there’s clearly a problem with the system,” he said. 

Since Britain left the European Union, goods or gifts received from the EU have been subject to VAT and customs duties. However, British people have repeatedly reported being charged VAT twice. 

Typically, shoppers are told they must pay the charges before they can receive their parcels. In Mr Edwards’ case, he said he was given a seven-day deadline, after which his item would be returned to Portugal. 

However, he refused to pay the tax until a revaluation had been completed. “It’s a real mess and I have tried very hard to tell them. Most recipients have limited or no understanding of the duty, VAT or agent charges and pay up unless they are asked for a clearly ridiculous amount,” he warned. 

Mr Edwards said he had also been overcharged by giant courier group DHL on multiple occasions. However, his case is not an isolated issue. 

Paul Carlier, 53, from Kent, contacted Telegraph Money after he paid more than £100 in unnecessary charges and taxes on the purchase of two items of clothing. 

Following this newspaper’s involvement, Mr Carlier was compensated £100. The 52-year-old had paid £381 for the clothing but £650.74 in total once taxes and duties were added. 

DHL apologised for the mistakes. FedEx could not be reached for comment.

Sign up to the Front Page newsletter for free: Your essential guide to the day's agenda from The Telegraph - direct to your inbox seven days a week.


More from The Telegraph

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon