Loughborough Echo

Reluctant importer despairs of a rebate


I am writing on a personal matter but I believe the circumstan­ces are not peculiar to me.

About five months ago, I bought a motorbike crash helmet from a German retailer via eBay. This meant, courtesy of Brexit, I would be required to import said item, which now entails the additional payment of import duty and VAT.

I had been reliably informed that, as their use is a legal requiremen­t, motorcycle helmets are VATexempt, but the delivery company would not deliver the item until I paid them duty and VAT.

Being held for ransom, I paid up, but subsequent­ly filled in a number of (bureaucrat­ic) pages of a government reclaiming form and, accompanyi­ng it with an explanator­y letter, sent it to HM Revenue and Customs on July 16.

Four months later, I have received no response from HMRC and in the meantime have returned the helmet (as unsuitable) to Germany and received a full refund.

Having not now imported anything from abroad, I think I should be eligible for a tax and VAT refund, but having got the impression HMRC is just a bureaucrat­ic bottomless pit designed to play on the ignorance and apathy of plebs such as me to the benefit of government coffers, I am left wondering how best I may achieve this.

I hold Brexit responsibl­e for the state’s subtle “robbery” and would be interested to learn whether others have suffered similar treatment.

William Randell

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