The boom in e-commerce is expected to become even more pronounced as consumers try to take advantage of 'bargain' discounts via the Internet this Christmas. But increasing numbers of shoppers have complained of unexpected additional charges when goods ordered electronically from outside the European Union arrive on their doorsteps.
To combat these shock charges, the government has proposed to make it illegal for a UK website not to quote prices inclusive of VAT and all customs duties before consumers make their purchases.
New regulations are expected to be implemented but will be too late to beat the Christmas rush this year. Taxable goods include CDs and videos.
The extra charges, collected by the Post Office for Custsoms & Excise on delivery, may nullify any discount offered by online retailers. Customs reckons the number of claims has increased by a quarter in the past six months due to the spread of e-commerce.
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