Bitmap Books, the UK based publisher of retro gaming books, has announced it is temporarily suspending shipping of its products to the EU due to confusion over VAT rates following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, aka Brexit. Previously, EU customers would pay the UK rate of VAT on books which is 0%, but now that the UK is no longer part of the EU those rates vary from nation to nation. Bitmap Books has stated that it, like many retailers, thought there would be some tariff free movement of goods under the Brexit deal. That is not the case and as the deal was last minute retailers have did not have the time to properly scrutinise it. In an email to customers, Bitmap Books wrote:
Traditionally, as an EU-based customer of ours, when you purchased one of our books, you paid the UK VAT rate for books, which is 0%. Now the UK is out of the EU, you will now have to pay your own countries rate of VAT for books. Luckily, most EU countries have a special VAT rate for books that is much lower than standard VAT. At the start of the year, when our customers within the EU started to receive customs bills, this was a complete surprise to us. Furthermore, the bills were inconsistent and in many cases, charging the wrong VAT rate.
We have therefore taken the decision to suspend all EU shipping until we can resolve this situation and let the dust settle. It’s really chaotic out there within the delivery networks and we feel that this is the best option is to allow things to calm down. We have also started to get some random incorrect charges for European non-EU countries such as Switzerland, so have also suspended this service until we get clarity of why this is happening.
Bitmap Books is now looking at alternative options for its EU based customers, including Delivered Duty Paid shipping. This format would mean that customers would see all custom fees at the point of purchase, and pay for it there and then. However, the company is still in discussion with delivery companies to establish this. Furthermore, Bitmap Books has confirmed that EU customers will be paying more for the products compared to pre-Brexit due to the additional charges. The company understands it will lose some customers as a result of this, but will work to make the increase in price as low as possible.
Source: Company Customer Email