Belgian mail company Bpost has announced it has updated its services in an effort to help users avoid nasty shocks when they receive parcels from outside of the EU.
Shopping outside of the EU - the UK included - will still cost more, but at least you'll know ahead of time.
The new secure payment option allows customers to find out about and pay import charges (and VAT) for parcels from outside the EU in advance, meaning they will no longer be paid upon receiving the delivery as of 7 June 2021.
This will only be relevant on purchases where the VAT has not been paid at the point of sale. If payments are required, then:
1) You will receive a message from Bpost via the app, text, email or a letter,
2) You will be directed to the Track & Trace page where you can pay,
3) Once paid, your shipment will go to customs,
4) Once it clears customs, it will be delivered to you.
Importantly, this removes the shock factor of being asked to pay additional costs when a package is delivered.
"This simplified payment method is also safer for both the customer and the postman/woman," Bpost said in a statement. "The recipient will no longer have to search for money or a bank card at the last minute and, after payment, will receive the parcel according to his or her delivery preferences."
This change also means that delivery, in general, should be quicker and more efficient, Bpost added.
This new update comes ahead of the implementation of new European legislation, set for 1 July, which abolishes the current VAT exemption for goods in a small consignment of a value of up to €22.
Registered Vs Non-Registered
The company is also pushing for customers to use so-called "registered webshops" over unregistered ones. Non-European webshops can register with the EU to enable the payment of VAT and import costs in advance in their webshop. They can easily be spotted by the separate mention of VAT at the time of payment. According to Bpost:
A registered webshop has adapted to the new EU legislation and implements the European One-Stop Shop (IOSS) system. The webshop includes the VAT and import charges in the sale cost.
- You know and pay the overall amount when ordering your goods,
- No additional charges are due when your shipment enters the country,
- Delivery is faster.
A non-registered webshop has not adapted to the new EU legislation. While the purchase price for the items in these webshops may be lower, the VAT and import charges are paid for by the recipient on delivery.
- You have no idea of the surcharges upon delivery,
- You pay the additional charges via the My bpost app when your shipment enters the country,
- Delivery is slower.
An example of how a purchase would work can be seen below