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I wonder why they are allowed to get away with this?

They are not alone, however, as it now seems to be routine that all the courier companies do the same (FedEx, DHL, etc) and I suspect they do so as it is easier and thus cheaper for them.

I complained to FedEx about one instance of this happening and was just told I could reclaim any overpayment direct from HMRC (Border Force form BOR286, I think). I agreed with FedEx that this was indeed possible but as the goods they delivered were clearly marked as ‘antique and over 100 years old’ on the accompanying paperwork, that I would be invoicing FedEx for the time it took me to rectify their error. They did not like this and, reluctantly, agreed to sort out their error themselves. This they eventually did.

This comes on top of the new directive all courier companies seem to have which is to put any package on a step, take a pic, and drive away, not bothering to knock or get a signature – the last for which service the sender has paid!

As a buyer and importer of often valuable antiques, I view the scramble to offer the lowest possible service and provide customers with increasingly poor security (in reality no security) with some alarm, a topic that surely I am not alone among your readership in noticing or suffering?

David Penney

Antiquarian horologist & horological consultant

An eBay spokesperson said: We have set up our tax calculation system to ensure that the correct rate of VAT is applied to collectable and antique items as set out under UK legislation. In rare instances, due to the complexity of our global market and the wide variety of categories in which antiques may be sold, this is not always possible.

If this happens, we ask users to contact us and we will review and, where appropriate, refund the difference. Your readers can start the process of requesting a VAT refund here: https://atg.news/ebayVATrefund