How To Make Sure Your Gifts Arrive In The EU On Time For Christmas | Money

As Covid restrictions continue, many families with relatives overseas will once again be unable to offer gifts in person this Christmas and will instead have to mail them.

As this is Britain’s first post-Brexit Christmas, the rules for sending items to the EU have changed and you now need to enter the value of what you are sending. Then you can look for the cheapest option – and also make sure that the goods are not banned in the post.

Secondment in the EU

If you are sending something from England, Scotland and Wales, you must complete and attach a customs declaration form to your package. Anyone posting from Northern Ireland does not.

These forms are intended for the local customs authorities in the country you are sending the item to to make sure the goods are allowed to enter and to calculate if there are any duties and taxes payable.

They explain what’s in the package – a gift, document, or returned item, for example – along with an exact description of what it is and the quantity, weight and value. Different shapes are needed depending on whether the item’s value is over or under £ 270. Taxes, duties and customs clearance fees may be due and depend on the value of what is being sent. Gifts from Great Britain valued at less than € 45 (£ 38) are exempt from VAT or other charges.

Customs fees vary from country to country and are set by local authorities. For example, VAT in Austria and Bulgaria is 20%, while it is 24% in Greece and 27% in Hungary.

Shipping fees

There are many companies to choose from for posting overseas, from Royal Mail to many courier companies, all with varying prices. Its price depends on the weight and size of your package, its destination and how quickly you want it to arrive.

The MoneySavingExpert website states that the weight of the package is the most important factor. For items under 1kg, using Royal Mail is usually the cheapest, he says, and heavier packages usually get cheaper quotes from courier companies such as Hermes, UPS, TNT and DPD.

For example, the cheapest option to send an 800g parcel to France with Royal Mail is £ 9.50 while a courier (Hermes in this case) is £ 13.16, according to the comparison site. ParcelHero. But if you send a 4kg package to France from the UK, the price is £ 19.72 via DPD, far less than the £ 32.88 quoted by Parcelforce Worldwide, which is part of Royal Mail.

There are a number of comparison sites where you can enter the weight and dimensions of your item and where it goes, which will show them prices from some of the major courier companies. ParcelHero, My Parcel Delivery and Worldwide Parcel Services compare all couriers.

MoneySavingExpert also points out that if you are purchasing a gift from an online retailer, it is almost always cheaper to have the company send it directly to the recipient, rather than receiving the item and sending it to the recipient. send. It can even be free, as exceeding a certain threshold, such as £ 50, often results in free delivery.

For example, sending a gift of a Pictionary board game via House of Fraser in Ireland will cost an additional £ 5.83 in shipping costs. But if you buy the game and do it yourself, according to quotes from ParcelHero, the cheapest option is £ 12.64.

What cannot be sent?

It makes good sense for certain items to be banned or restricted in the mail – drugs, guns and counterfeit currency are all unsurprisingly on the post office’s list. The lists are meant to prevent customers from sending dangerous, illegal, or fragile substances, or from making significant claims for lost valuables.

Couriers reserve the right to refuse to transport such items or, if they discover that the contents of a package are illegal or dangerous, to destroy them.

However, there are less probable elements. Aerosols, such as deodorants, cannot be sent by international mail, nor can lottery tickets, flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables. Some items can be sent to the UK, such as small bottles of gin and nail polish, but not overseas.

Observer readers have been baffled in the past to find products such as confectionery, branded shoes or photos banned by some courier companies. The post office advises customers that everyday items such as aerosols and perfumes are considered dangerous under travel law, and says it is up to the consumer to check if an item is banned or restricted.

Bring it there in one piece

Last week, Citizens Advice called on communications regulator Ofcom to impose fines on parcel companies who negligently failed to deliver packages to the UK. The call came after the charity announced a ranking of all of these businesses. He couldn’t find any of the major delivery companies that were highly rated in terms of customer service, with significant issues to resolve issues.

“While this should be a wake-up call for companies striving to provide five-star service to consumers, we have serious reservations about how much they will improve if left on their own. “said Citizens Advice CEO Dame Clare Moriarty. . “Our results show that it is time for Ofcom to come forward and introduce tougher rules at all levels.”

The association advised consumers to check the reviews of companies to find out how they were handling complaints and refunds.

The Wethrift remittance site advises people sending overseas to use secure packaging, including bubble wrap and heavy cardboard boxes, as they will pass through conveyor belts at a minimum of two transport depots.

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