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WARNING for US shoppers at AmazonUK: VAT glitch!

Old 02-06-07, 02:37 PM
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WARNING for US shoppers at AmazonUK: VAT glitch!

A major word of warning to ANYONE ouside of the EU who orders from AmazonUK!

AmazonUK have somehow developed a "bug" in their system for the past few weeks in which VAT is, by mistake, not being deducted at the checkout phase. Making matters worse, in the VAT space on the order form, it reads 0.00 when you place the order, so when you e-mail tech support to tell them about it (like I did), you typically get the respose of "our records indicate that you were not charged VAT".

I had to e-mail them three times before I finally got through to them that every item in my 7-title order had been charged VAT. They finally 'fessed up and said they'd issue the incorrectly-charged VAT to my credit card.

This is a nightmare! Anyone else who orders anything from AmazonUK had best keep a watchful eye on your items during checkout. Maybe if enough of us e-mail them about this problem, they'll get it fixed more quickly (when I pointed out that various items were doing this a few weeks back, I was told "yeah, it's a glitch. Just place your order and if you get charged VAT, just write us and we'll refund it." What I wasn't counting on was having to e-mail three different people before getting someone who, apparently, actually read my whole letter for once, or at least did as I suggested and tried logging-in as a US customer to prove I wasn't bonkers!).
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Old 02-06-07, 03:49 PM
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well thanks for the head's up, going to check my recent order.
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Old 02-06-07, 04:11 PM
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I actually placed an order a couple of hours ago. VAT was deducted as normal.
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Old 02-06-07, 04:25 PM
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I made an order last night, and VAT was deducted just fine. Mind you my address is not in the USA.
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Old 02-06-07, 05:22 PM
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well, I just placed an order with Amazon.de, and there is no such glitch, thank God
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Old 02-06-07, 05:25 PM
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Ordered Sunday afternoon, no vat on my order. Thanks for the heads up though, I might
be ordering a few more things this coming week.
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Old 02-07-07, 01:07 AM
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This kinda thing happened to me numerous times since last summer I think... It has become tedious to have to write to Amazon UK zillions time about the same issue.

I suggest once you get the satisfactory reply, just save your email as the 'template', so it can be used again next time...
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Old 02-07-07, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by chaos2046
This kinda thing happened to me numerous times since last summer I think... It has become tedious to have to write to Amazon UK zillions time about the same issue.

I suggest once you get the satisfactory reply, just save your email as the 'template', so it can be used again next time...
I just noticed this a couple of weeks ago. Was hoping it was a recent development that might get resolved soon. Looks like I'll have to watch my shopping basket like a hawk for some time to come!

I saved my correspondence this time. Had a feeling I might have to reference them if I got hold of someone especially dim.
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Old 02-07-07, 12:33 PM
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The only time I have seen this is on items that say they ship from Amazon Jersey--other items the VAT was removed fine.
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Old 02-07-07, 09:04 PM
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So are items ordered from Amazon Jersey supposed to have the VAT removed?
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Old 02-07-07, 09:53 PM
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Items supplied by Amazon Jersey are not currently subject to VAT IIRC.
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Old 02-08-07, 09:00 AM
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Yes, orders shipped to UK addresses will be from Amazon Jersey. HOWEVER, all prices displayed on the website DO include the 17.5% VAT charge, regardless of whether they ship from Jersey or not. VAT is required by law (if I recall correctly) to be added into the price of anyting sold at retail in the UK, unlike the US where it gets added later. The posted price of goods for sale in the UK is supposed to be the "final, full price." If it says 11.99 on the tag, you pay 11.99 when you go to the cash register in the store: the tax is already included.

Even for Amazon Jersey stuff, VAT is supposed to be deducted for non UK customers after you "proceed to checkout", as the system is then supposed to determine that since you're in the USA, you don't owe VAT. Their use of Jersey to ship to the UK (only) is a basically a tax loophole

If you order anything from AmazonUK and the price doesn't get lowered just before you place your order, then you've been hit with VAT. I've placed too many orders with them to not know.

From Amazon's website:
Items sold by Amazon Jersey are dispatched from Jersey and can only be dispatched to locations within the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and all BFPO addresses) and the Channel Islands. If you are a customer from anywhere other than the UK and attempt to order an item that is messaged as Amazon Jersey on the product details page, your order will be automatically placed with Amazon.co.uk rather than Amazon Jersey.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:38 AM
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I was wondering why the prices were always less when I got ready to check out. Thanks for the info, mythmaker.

Does Amazon France have something similar to this? I pre-ordered a couple of HD-DVDs and the price went from 25 Euros to 20 Euros just before I checked out.
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Old 02-08-07, 01:57 PM
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I am really glad I decided to click on the International forum today. I just placed an order yesterday for a friend's birthday present, and the VAT was not deducted! I wondered why when I ordered my Vengeance Trilogy the total went down before I purchased it... I thought it was a glitch in my favor. Little did I know -- That's what's supposed to happen! I e-mailed them, and hopefully they'll issue a refund for the VAT portion of my order. Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 02-08-07, 05:49 PM
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Well, I just received a bogus e-mail telling me I was not charged the VAT, but I know I was from past ordering experiences. I ordered Jam (R2) - The site lists it was $14.99 GBP. I was charged the full $14.99 GBP + shipping for a total of $18.07 GBP. There was no change from the original price to reflect the VAT being discounted from my order. It really irks me that they're telling me that:

Dear Customer

Thank you for contacting Amazon.co.uk with your enquiry.

We are sorry for any confusion this has caused you.

On looking into your order #blah-blah we found that you
have not been charged VAT. For your futher details i have submited
the cost details below.

Subtotal: 14.99 GBP
Shipping: 3.08 GBP
VAT : 0.00 GBP
Total : 18.07 GBP

We hope this information is helpful.

Thank you for shopping at Amazon.co.uk.

I am correct in that they charged me for the VAT, then, right? Here is the item to prevent any confusion whatsoever:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jam/dp/B0000...id=1170974958/
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Old 02-08-07, 07:40 PM
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Not sure why but it seems that any item with "Availability: Items for dispatch to UK will be sold by Amazon Jersey" DOESN'T end up having the VAT removed when you checkout (even if shipping outside the UK).

I ordered three DVD's - two were marked "Availability: Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.co.uk." and had the VAT removed correctly on checkout but the third with the above Amazon Jersey description didn't.
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Old 02-08-07, 10:43 PM
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Got this email response just now:

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused
while shopping with us.

we re-calculate the price during the checkout process of your order
by taking the price of the item, excluding UK VAT and removing VAT at
the rate applicable.

However, due to some technical error vat charge has been applied for
this item and we hope that you will consider this as a rare abberation.

I have therefore adjusted the price to 7.44 GBP and you will see this
price reflecting in your order status and you will be charge in this
amount for this item.
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Old 02-13-07, 10:08 AM
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Apparently this VAT glitch is still in play. I live in the USA, and have been painlessly ordering DVDs from Amazon.co.uk for over 3 years.

Tried to order 7 DVDs yesterday: 2 listed as "available from Amazon.co.uk", the other 5 as "available from Amazon Jersey".

Got to the final checkout page and noticed that only the first 2 had the VAT removed. The 5 "Jersey" titles didn't have the usual VAT discount I'm used to seeing. I cleared my cart and didn't complete the order.

Out of curiosity, I e-mailed Amazon.co.uk customer support, asked if they were aware of this glitch, and more importantly when they were going to fix it (mentioning that I don't relish having to jump through hoops to claim a refund due to an overcharge because of their error).

In reply, I received a page-long dissertation on VAT, the EU and Amazon Jersey's shipping procedures... but no real answer to my questions at all.

I clicked the "No, You-Obviously-Didn't-Read-My-Question-Or-Put-Any-Thought-Or-Energy-Into-An-Answer" link. Maybe the next CSR in line will tell us something useful.

Last edited by unclezippy; 02-13-07 at 10:13 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-13-07, 11:04 AM
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Maybe they don't include VAT in the price for Amazon Jersey items, so there is nothing to remove?

Do UK customers see VAT added/removed to items or is it built into the price?
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Old 02-13-07, 06:27 PM
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I agree with Kyle.

This is from the Amazon Help Section:

"The "Our Price" displayed for goods sold for dispatch to the UK by Amazon Jersey do not include VAT. If such an item is ordered for dispatch to another EU country it will be sold by Amazon.co.uk and the applicable VAT rate in the ship to country will be added on top of the "Our Price" displayed. You will be able to see your final price inclusive of applicable VAT before you confirm your order, when you have completed your order information "

VAT is not levied on Jersey, hence the static pricing for those goods. If your order is changed to ship from Amazon.co.uk, then your price will be the one quoted by Amazon Jersey (that is the lowest, tax free price), but in the background Amazon.co.uk should have added the VAT then removed it, assuming that you are outside the EU.

That's not to say they don't make mistakes, but from what I read you can never get a lower price than the Jersey one, as there is no tax to remove.
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Old 02-14-07, 09:43 AM
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Got a longwinded 2nd response from Amazon.co.uk. In part:

> We can confirm that Amazon.co.uk applied the VAT rates applicable in
> Unitedstates to your order because this is the EU country of
> destination. Amazon.co.uk is registered for VAT in this country and
> remits the VAT that is collected to the local tax authorities in
> accordance with the local VAT legislation.

Apparently, Amazon Jersey's computers (and some of their staff) think the United States Of America is a member of the European Union and as such subject to full VAT. This might explain a few things.

Has anybody else in the USA queried them about this glitch outside of an actual mis-billed order? I'd like to hear how other questions are being answered.

Last edited by unclezippy; 02-14-07 at 04:17 PM. Reason: embarrassing typo
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