DEAN DUNHAM: Do I have to pay taxes and import duties if I buy products from EU sites?
I bought sneakers on an EU website. They were advertised at £145, but now I’ve been affected by additional import costs and taxes. Can they do this?
Sarah Gardner, Leeds.
Dean Dunham replies: If the shoes had cost less than £135, I wouldn’t have had to pay any additional charges on top of the order price, except for the cost of delivery.
However, orders over £135 cross a threshold where additional customs, VAT and shipping costs start to appear.
These charges should have been clearly communicated to you, or at the very least, you should have been informed by the seller that additional charges may be imposed.
Threshold: Orders over £135 from the EU are subject to additional customs, VAT and shipping costs.
If the seller does not accept your complaint and you paid with a debit or credit card, you can file a chargeback claim with your bank, citing the fact that the seller did not disclose the actual cost to you.
If you paid via a payment gateway (such as PayPal) you can try their complaints department, but other scenarios can be tricky – you don’t want to take the seller to court outside of the UK.
This is why you should always think twice before buying products outside of the UK.
Making the wrong deal with Klarna
Last month I bought an electric fireplace on the Robert Dyas website.
My main reason for doing so was the clear marketing link of being able to purchase this item with Klarna’s 12 month interest free option.
I started the purchase process online, which was quite easy, and for the ‘payment method’ part I chose Klarna as my preferred option.
At that time, I was presented with three options: 30 days, pay three monthly installments or more than 12 months at 0 percent.
I chose the latter and then received an email confirming my purchase. However, the Klarna 30 day payment was made, not the 12 month option I had clicked on.
I have tried to fix this issue but so far neither Robert Dyas nor Klarna have done anything to help.
Jonathan Warren, via email.
Dean Dunham responds: All companies authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that communicate financial promotions, including those that advertise consumer credit, must follow their principle of fair treatment of customers.
Treating clients fairly is one of the fundamental principles underlying the FCA’s regulatory regime. In its Business Principles, number six states: “A company must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly.”
Klarna specifically requires that all traders who advertise their financial products, such as Robert Dyas, respect and comply with this.
In this case, there has clearly been an IT error or mistake on your part and, in either case, you would not receive fair treatment if the matter were not rectified.
However, there is an easy solution. You purchased online and it is still within 14 days of delivery and in these circumstances you can return the goods and demand a full refund.
You have the right to do so under the Consumer Contract Regulations. You can then settle Klarna and place your order again, this time making sure the 12-month payment option applies.
- Write to Dean Dunham, Money Mail, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB or email email@example.com. The Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for the answers given.