EU parcel problems since Brexit prompt flood of complaints

Readers report being handed charges when items arrive from UK despite being low-value gifts

Last modified on Tue 15 Feb 2022 02.02 EST

There was a huge response from readers across Europe to the letter two weeks ago from GH from Sheffield – all decrying the lottery that posting parcels to Europe has become post-Brexit. GH had asked why her son in Berlin was always asked for extra payments of €6 (£5) and €10 to take delivery of small gifts she had sent. Gifts valued at less than €45 are supposed not to attract VAT or duty. These are just some of the stories we have heard since publishing her letter.

“I live in Italy and I have been charged every time something from the UK arrives. If you don’t have the cash there and then to give the delivery driver you are then given a form to head to the post office, which, as you can imagine, is never a joy. A birthday card sent on 11 October 2021 from the UK arrived this week … I have stopped buying things from the UK and have asked friends and family to stop sending parcels,” wrote B from Italy.

“It’s very similar here in Spain: I pay every time I receive something from the UK regardless of what’s on the declaration. For Christmas my mum sent me a couple of books and some cards with a declared value of about £35, on top of which I then had to pay the post office €20. The breakdown on the receipt said half of it was from customs fees with VAT added and the other half was just listed as additional,” wrote RW.

Germany and Austria appear to be a particular problem, with readers reporting being asked for extra fees before the item is handed over. Those in other countries have reported their parcels made it through unscathed after they declared “no commercial value”.

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