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Thread: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

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    Default The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to write about my experience with The Journal Shop. What they did to me is illegal, however there is no realistic chance of me achieving anything, so I at least wanted to spread a word of caution about them.

    Due to Brexit, the way goods ordered from UK into mainland Europe go through customs has been changed. This is why I specifically wrote to them before making an order to check whether or not I will have to pay tax on import in addition to the tax they already charge;

    "Hi,

    how is it with VAT now post Brexit for orders to mainland Europe? My wife and I used to order quite a bit from you pre-Brexit, but now I'm unsure how things work.

    Do I pay double tax? No tax on your site (if so, how do I shop without tax) and I'm taxed upon arrival to EU? Custom duties are now added either way, or?

    Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

    Best regards"

    To which they replied:

    "Hi -,

    ​Thank you for your email.

    I can confirm that for international orders there are no taxes applied upon the products but there may be customs fees to be paid in addition to the order total. These are calculated by the recipient Country based on the type of goods and their declared value, and are the customer's responsibility. If there are any commissions to be paid upon delivery, you will be contacted by the postal service in your country.

    I hope this helps. Do not hesitate in contacting us if you need any further assistance.

    Ticket: -
    Kind Regards,

    -
    Customer Advisor"

    When I received the package, I had to pay customs fees, which is fine, but I was also hit by VAT.

    FEDEX importing agent sent me this as proof that they never declared VAT paid (I cropped some of the picture to protect my data).



    I was sold items under false information. In addition to this, the package arrived mangled. Pic here shows the status of the package before opening it at all and FEDEX also has it marked as "mangled upon delivery" - you can also see this on the label "zmečkano" which translates to mangled in my language.



    When I contacted them about it, they gave me a 15% coupon. When I told them that is unsatisfactory, they closed the ticket. They no longer wish to deal with me.

    Buyer beware.

    EDIT: I had to pay tax twice, sorry if this wasn't understandable from my post.
    Last edited by adhoc; June 3rd, 2021 at 04:11 AM.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    :-(

    Ask the Journal Shop to refund to you any British VAT.
    Make a claim against FedEx for the damaged goods.
    Did the Journal shop hold itself out as an expert on taxes imposed by Slovenia?

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    They closed down the ticket and no longer wish to assist me, after sending me a discount coupon for my next purchase.

    I wouldn't expect them to be an expert on our taxes, no, but I would imagine that taking money for VAT in UK and pocketing it is not normal.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    I would first calculate the cost of all of the items I purchased in order to check whether VAT inclusive prices, as shown on their website, were charged.

    If they were then I would also be asking The Journal Shop to send me a full refund for any VAT they charged me. They have no excuse to not refund if they charged the full advertised VAT inclusive price especially after advising they would not do so.

    It would appear that FedEx should be in the frame for the subsequent damage to the parcel.
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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    They closed the customer support ticket and refuse to help me further.

    Chrissy, can you please check what the price would be for you for this notebook? I'm seeing 17.99 GBP grand total. That's tax inclusive, correct? I'm asking you because you're from UK and perhaps they have different prices depending on where you connect from.
    https://www.thejournalshop.com/colle...books-ruled-a5
    Last edited by adhoc; June 2nd, 2021 at 01:15 PM.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Hi adhoc,

    I am located in Canada.

    I placed an order (well almost, didn't pay) for a single notebook to Canada. The cost was 17.99 GBP.

    I then redid the order with delivery and billing addresses in the UK. The cost was 17.99 GBP.

    It seems to me that they are not deducting UK VAT for international deliveries, but I could be wrong.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Quote Originally Posted by BayesianPrior View Post
    Hi adhoc,

    I am located in Canada.

    I placed an order (well almost, didn't pay) for a single notebook to Canada. The cost was 17.99 GBP.

    I then redid the order with delivery and billing addresses in the UK. The cost was 17.99 GBP.

    It seems to me that they are not deducting UK VAT for international deliveries, but I could be wrong.
    Exactly! Thank you! I had my suspicions because the prices are in a format (i.e. x.99 GBP) as if they include tax. They are anyway obligated by law to show prices INCLUDING tax. Well that, and customer support also confirmed this.
    Last edited by adhoc; June 2nd, 2021 at 02:14 PM.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Inland Revenue might be interested, especially if The Journal Shop is collecting but not remitting VAT.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Inland Revenue might be interested, especially if The Journal Shop is collecting but not remitting VAT.
    Yes indeed. I would be quite interested in finding out this information.

    Apparently not every online company is big enough to sell at VAT inclusive and exclusive prices. They all have to pay VAT to get their goods but I don't know if they are all able to separate sales of goods that are sent to addresses out of the UK. If they can't be separated then they would have to pay VAT on those goods when they sell them. In that case I could understand their reluctance to lose that 20%. However, TJS is a decent sized company, and if they said they wouldn't charge VAT but did so then they need to refund it.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Inland Revenue might be interested, especially if The Journal Shop is collecting but not remitting VAT.
    Yes indeed. I would be quite interested in finding out this information.

    Apparently not every online company is big enough to sell at VAT inclusive and exclusive prices. They all have to pay VAT to get their goods but I don't know if they are all able to separate sales of goods that are sent to addresses out of the UK. If they can't be separated then they would have to pay VAT on those goods when they sell them. In that case I could understand their reluctance to lose that 20%. However, TJS is a decent sized company, and if they said they wouldn't charge VAT but did so then they need to refund it.
    Perhaps not directly relevant to this conversation, but when I lived in Guernsey (VAT-free) a lot of the UK chains would charge mainland (VAT inclusive) prices. When questioned, the standard response was "the increased shipping costs of bringing goods to Guernsey is exactly equal to the VAT we would have collected, had we been required to collect VAT.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Don't know if this helps but I live in the US where it should be VAT-free. I registered as a new account on their website and then placed an order for the single notebook. Went as far as Paypal checkout (but didn't complete it) and was charged 17.99+9.99 GBP for the cheapest method of international shipping. Nowhere on The Journal Shop website could I find any information about VAT charges or deductions for VAT-free countries. On other websites (Cultpens, Purepens, The Writing Desk) there is an automatic deduction from the listed price for VAT-free countries. I'm not seeing it for this website???

    Now I can understand if they stated SOMEWHERE that the prices were BEFORE VAT taxes and VAT would be added during check-out, but I sure can't find any statements to that effect.
    Last edited by junglejim; June 2nd, 2021 at 06:21 PM.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    I think this is actually more widespread than one might think. Based on the feedback I got especially on reddit, where I feel like people are on average probably younger, the vast majority of people do not understand the issue at all. This double taxation seems reasonable to people in general and they will fight you on it, lol.

    I've never had this happen to me anywhere else, except from UK, and twice, from two different retailers. I've ordered stuff from all over the world.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    The writing desk, for example, handles this perfectly. So I'm confident I'm in the right, as TWD WILL reduce the price by VAT for foreign purchases.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    After lots of back and forth, they found someone that understands the issue and explained to me that they take the extra cost and put it towards covering international shipping expenses. I am fine with that, although they should be upfront about it in the first place, but ok, I'm dropping it.

    Buyers from outside UK should still be aware of the fact, so the thread is still useful.

    I have also removed their employees name, as they have asked me to.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Hello everyone

    Iím writing from the The Journal Shop because a member and customer has notified us that this message has been posted on various forums and subreddits. I am grateful to that member because it gives us the opportunity to respond, and ask for our colleagueís full name to be removed from the thread (which I now see has been actioned - thank you OP).

    I see that some members have already picked up on the points I am going to make but I thought it may be useful to hear it from us directly. Before doing so, I would like to address the mods and say that I hope we are not breaking any forum rules by posting a reply as a company. If that is the case please do let me know and I will remove/amend as necessary.

    It has been suggested that OPís order was subject to VAT at 20%. For the avoidance of doubt, we not collect VAT on orders being shipped outside of the UK. Like some other retailers, we operate a pricing consistency model. If the price of an item is £10, then it will always be £10 whether you as a shopper are in the UK or outside the UK.

    Using that example, if you are inside the UK then for accounting and VAT purposes our price is £8.33 plus £1.67 VAT. We retain the former and account for the latter to HMRC. If you are outside the UK then the sale is zero rated and our sales price is £10 with £0 VAT, which we also account for on our VAT return.

    Some of our customers on this forum may know we offer free international shipping on a fairly low free delivery threshold in comparison to some other companies. It is unlikely we would be able to do so without dramatically increasing the free delivery threshold if we did not adopt a pricing consistency model.

    I have seen reference to HMRC above. We are of course VAT registered and have been for many years now. I would welcome any memberís request via PM for sight of our VAT registration certificate if that would allay their concerns.

    We welcome debate and it may well be that for our next website we do not adopt such a pricing model. We would like to know what you think, whether you shop with us or not. If anybody has any questions or comments please do feed them back to us, that is the only way we will improve our service.

    Finally, I see that OP has updated this post and has removed my colleagueís details - thank you doing that so quickly.

    Edit: removed random asterisks.
    Last edited by TheJournalShop; June 3rd, 2021 at 04:41 AM.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Quote Originally Posted by TheJournalShop View Post
    Hello everyone...
    Some of our customers on this forum may know we offer free international shipping on a fairly low free delivery threshold in comparison to some other companies. It is unlikely we would be able to do so without dramatically increasing the free delivery threshold if we did not adopt a pricing consistency model....
    Essentially then, VAT-exempt buyers subsidize other buyers' shipping expense. That's fine if the VAT-free buyers see a clear explanation rather than the vague term "price consistency" (assuming that's the term used on your online store). This international buyer's reaction is a perfect example where lack of transparency can come back to bite you in the form of bad PR even where you feel it's unwarranted.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    I feel like this isn't obvious at all, that they take the amount equal to VAT and use it to cover shipping costs for international orders and specify "free shipping".

    The Writing Desk charges 2GBP for small packets (nibs, refills) to EU, and 4 GBP for packages under 2 kg with 1 GBP additional per kg over that.

    I paid nearly 20 GBP for 2.4 kg parcel here. Just for comparison.

    I feel like removing the "free shipping" and paying for shipping myself, minus the 20% UK's VAT, I would come out cheaper.

    There is also an elephant in the room here of what if your total is under 100 GBP? A parcel worth 50 GBP, you have to pay shipping AND the VAT-but-not-really-VAT for shipping, meaning you pay for shipping twice.
    Last edited by adhoc; June 3rd, 2021 at 09:28 AM.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    FWIW, as a consumer, an ex-pat, and a financial professional, I prefer to see all costs itemized and taxes treated explicitly.

    The notion that differentiated pricing applies based solely on my current domicile is troubling to me. 'Shipping costs' is where you should account for the cost of shipping, not hidden away in a 20% surcharge for international buyers.

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    Default Re: The Journal Shop - buyer beware!

    Quote Originally Posted by BayesianPrior View Post
    FWIW, as a consumer, an ex-pat, and a financial professional, I prefer to see all costs itemized and taxes treated explicitly.

    The notion that differentiated pricing applies based solely on my current domicile is troubling to me. 'Shipping costs' is where you should account for the cost of shipping, not hidden away in a 20% surcharge for international buyers.
    Interesting and creative method of accounting, for sure!
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