Shipping to the EU

Last updated: 20 July 2022

WARNING: Customers in the EU have to pay VAT and a handling fee when their order arrives in their country. As our Ts&Cs state, customers are responsible for paying any and all tax, duty and handling fees on their orders.

Fighting 15s ships to the EU, with the warning that delivery may take one to two months. Many parcels are severely delayed in Customs, in spite of new barcoded postal and customs labels intended to make their processing faster. The simple fact is that the EU has introduced laws that have led to a massive workload with which new IT and staff have been unable to cope. Some EU countries are doing better than others.

EU orders may be sent using an economy courier service. Although five to seven days is the advised time for this service, the reality is that three to four weeks is not unusual. If the shipping option for an order uses the word “Estimate” it means Fighting 15s will try to get the best price for delivery and refund the difference once the actual cost of delivery is known. In general, for customers who live in a major conurbation, delivery will cost less than estimated.

Fighting 15s deducts VAT from prices for EU customers once the shop knows the customer’s country, so EU customers will pay VAT only once on import. The shop uses geolocation software, so may automatically detect a customer’s country. Country detection otherwise relies on the delivery country chosen in the shopping cart.

Customs laws introduced on 1 July 2021 mean that all commercial shipments from non-EU countries are charged VAT on import to the EU. There are no exemptions for items of low value. Payment of VAT and the handling fee are usually dealt with by the mail service or by a courier service for the respective EU country. The mail or courier service acts as a collecting agent.

Collecting agents charge a handling fee that varies hugely from country to country. For some countries this charge is low (under 3 euros in Finland, 6 euros in Germany and 75 SEK in Sweden), but for others it is so expensive as to make small orders a luxury (over 13 euros in The Netherlands, 24 euros in Belgium). The main effect of Brexit is to make our EU customers all too painfully aware of these fees.

Duty paid delivery, whereby EU customers would be charged VAT in the shop and have all customs and handling fees paid in advance, is not financially viable for a business the size of Fighting 15s.

Recommendations

Fighting 15s recommends that where possible, EU customers ship to a friend who lives in an EU country that has a lower handling fee, or to ship to an address in the UK if it is possible to collect, say, on a later visit.

There are also UK-based forwarding agents. We have one customer who uses https://www.forward2me.com/. We cannot guarantee they will be cheaper, but they may make it easier to import a parcel into the EU.

Situation updates

Royal Mail’s International Incident Bulletin provides the latest information about shipping to destinations outside the UK. See:

https://personal.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5317/~/international-incident-bulletin