Place Christmas Orders Online Now, Urges Post

The pandemic and Brexit created a perfect storm of delays for online shoppers last winter

The Post is urging buyers to place their orders online as quickly as possible to ensure on-time deliveries for Christmas and to avoid the long delays experienced last year.
Amidst disruption triggered by the coronavirus pandemic last winter, Cypriot consumers lined up for hours to collect packages they had ordered weeks, if not months, before.
This year, the Post is doing its best to avoid queues in the past, but for those looking to get gifts under the Christmas tree on time, the best time to start ordering online is now. , said Deputy Director of Postal Services Pavlos Pavlides. the Sunday Mail said.

Chaos reigned when the Sunday Mail last reported on the state of the postal service in February. A combination of Covid and Brexit has hit global trade hard, with one making deliveries a logistical nightmare due to reduced flights, and the other creating additional borders for trade with the UK in the form customs duties and customs. For Cypriot consumers, this has resulted in massive delivery delays for orders coming from both the EU and the UK, creating backlogs at ports and post offices and disillusionment. general with regard to the postal service.

People are lining up for their packages earlier this year

Pavlides said Cypriots have generally changed their online shopping habits over the past eight months, with the most notable changes being where they shop. Countries like Germany, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands are all popular outlets as they are in the EU and shipping is generally quick and easy. Since Brexit reduced the UK to the Post’s “third country” list, people have wanted to avoid having to pay tariffs and the like for their goods.

“I have generally avoided ordering in the UK after Brexit,” online shopping veteran George Andreou told The Sunday Mail. The father of a young child, he has relied for years on buying books, toys and other gadgets online which he cannot find in Cyprus, which has become increasingly difficult over the past year. He added that his first choice lately has been Amazon Germany because it is reliable and within the EU.

Of course, some logistical problems remain and depend on the policies of each country. “We have been informed by Germany that from November 18 all items delivered from the country will arrive by ship once a week,” Pavlides said. This means that a package from a German seller is not likely to be shipped immediately, but rather once the container destined for Cyprus has been filled and has been sent to Piraeus, from where it will sail to the Isle.

“If let’s say your order arrives in the country on December 2 – one of the scheduled freight dates – that means it probably shipped as early as November 12 or 15,” Pavlides said. “So if someone sees that their package has been shipped but it takes them two or three weeks to arrive, they immediately think the delay is our fault. In reality, their package is in a container awaiting delivery. to be shipped.

Under normal circumstances, orders would arrive by plane, but since the flights are not as frequent as before, this system is more convenient for the German authorities – but not so much for our postal workers.
“It was a lot easier to manage, even when it created small delays during the weekends. Now having to process and distribute the equivalent of one, two or four containers of parcels at the same time will of course take some time, ”Pavlides said, recommending people place their Christmas orders as soon as possible.

Since July, VAT regulations have applied to online purchases across the EU and beyond. Simply put, the main change is that when shopping online – both inside and outside the EU – consumers are charged VAT from their home country (19 percent in the case of Cyprus) , not the country of origin. This was done with the aim of reducing bureaucracy by requiring sellers and marketplaces to register for VAT only once rather than in multiple countries.
For sellers outside the EU, this is done through the One-Stop Importation Window (IOSS), which aims to simplify the declaration and payment of VAT. The IOSS allows sellers to declare and pay VAT to the tax authorities, instead of making the buyer pay upon receipt of their goods, as was the case before. This applies to items valued at € 150 and under and is supposed to make the process easier for consumers by charging them VAT at the time of purchase, theoretically eliminating surprise charges during the delivery of goods.

But for this to apply, the seller must be registered in IOSS and include their registration number in the customs declaration – otherwise, the buyer still has to pay VAT upon receipt of their package, and fees. customs charges charged by the carrier – in this case Cypriot Post.
“People complain when this happens because sometimes their bill can include VAT, so they don’t expect to be billed again,” Pavlides said.

Since IOSS membership is not mandatory, many sellers still have to comply, which creates these kinds of complications – meaning it’s not the public’s fault when it comes to it. product. Pavlides says it should be declared somewhere on the seller’s website if it is IOSS registered.

Ultimately, regulatory changes require action from sellers, not buyers. “It’s a new process, so there will be ups and downs,” he said. “People have to be educated to understand why certain things are happening. “

The delivery process can also be further delayed if sellers mislabel packages or do not include the correct documentation. As an example, Pavlides said the Post has recently come across several instances where packages shipped from the Netherlands actually originate from non-EU countries, such as China, meaning they need to be cleared through customs. .

“Obviously, that forces us to print a customs declaration and process it, which wastes everyone’s time. “

WAYS TO AVOID WAITINGS:
1. THALIS
Launched a year ago, THALIS is a “holistic postal system” aimed at facilitating the distribution of postal items by digitizing some of its aspects. At first it only served UK deliveries, but according to Pavlides more countries were gradually added, with more plans for EU member states to join the list.
Using the THALIS Download and Payment Platform (THALISUPP), recipients can digitally download the documents required to get their package through customs – such as invoices – before the item arrives in Cyprus. Through the same platform, it is also possible to pay duties and taxes in advance, thus avoiding queues at post offices and having the possibility of opting for home delivery if the item does not is not bulky.
People can register for the platform at https://thalisupp.cypruspost.post

2. Mail
Another way to bypass the queues is to ignore conventional shipping costs altogether and use a courier service instead. Even though many large online retailers work with couriers by default, Andreou said that for those who don’t, he uses Aramex Shop and Ship. Through the service, people can send their orders to forwarding addresses around the world, so that they can then be mailed to them. For example, an order from a seller based in the United States would be sent to a buying and shipping address in the same country and then sent to the buyer via the courier service. Tariffs still apply, but it’s a much faster way to shop online without having to depend on postage schedules.


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