An end to airport VAT rip-offs?
A while back, we wrote about the VAT duty-free rip-off that is going on in airports. Well, it looks like something is being done about it, thanks to the government.
It transpired that some stores in airports ask travellers for boarding passes, so the retailer can claim back the 20% tax on products being sold to those leaving the EU. However, the problem for passengers is that any savings being made are not being passed on.
The Chancellor has said that there's going to be a shake-up regarding all this, so we can all get lower prices. There'll be an 'extensive' review, which will look at VAT relief, as well as other airport shopping taxes. George Osborne said that some airport shops were keeping up to 50p of every £1 in potential VAT savings, which should result in lower prices, but isn't.
Osborne says: "For families flying out of the UK for a winter getaway, airports should be the ideal place to pick up a bargain. VAT relief at airports is intended to cut prices for those travellers – not be a windfall gain for shops."
"But many people could be paying over the odds for their purchases because the Government’s VAT concession isn't passed on. This is simply unacceptable. I have launched a review to make sure that this VAT relief benefits those it’s intended for – consumers."
Fact is, a number of people travelling from airports have been under the impression that they're getting cheaper products at airports, when in actual fact, the high street is often better value. Of course, there's less choice at an airport too, so a lot of the time, it isn't worth shopping in an airport.
And a lot of people have felt that they needed to produce their boarding passes at shops, for security reasons, when the truth of the matter is, shops only want to see them so they can save money on VAT. Some retailers are now confessing that passes are only 'requested', rather than demanded.
A shake-up of this area is a good thing, but we'll have to see how it plays out.