Avoid The Post Office says Amazon

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Last week the Post Office assured marketplace sellers that they were ready to support EU IOSS shipments, despite this Amazon are now saying that Royal Mail told them sellers should avoid the post office for EU IOSS shipments. So what gives?

Just last week the post office were telling Amazon, eBay, Etsy and NotOnTheHighStreet sellers that they could continue to visit their local Post Office and the Postmaster or their staff will capture the necessary information now required following the post Brexit change to the VAT rules. However, this statement from Amazon suggests that Royal Mail aren’t too confident with the post office’s proposal, suggesting that if a good customer experience is desired, one might like to use Royal Mails Click & Drop service or another logistics partner instead.

“Shipments sent to customers through over the counter services at Post Offices in the UK may not be correctly declared under Import OSS. This may lead to delays in delivery to your customers and customers may be required to pay additional taxes and fees to receive their goods.

In order to provide a good customer experience, Royal Mail recommends that you use their “Click & Drop” service (https://parcel.royalmail.com/ 2) for shipments under Import OSS. Alternatively, you may wish to consider shipping with another logistics partner.”
– Amazon statement in Seller Central

It looks like Royal Mail want to ensure the new VAT changes create as few obstacles as possible for sellers shipping to the EU and telling them to avoid using the Post Office was clearly an important part of that.

However, the Post Office say they are ready with Mark Siviter saying the following:

“Whilst these changes don’t impact customers sending gifts to the EU, we’re concerned that thousands of marketplace sellers, particularly smaller ones could get a shock on 1 July when having to deal with these new VAT arrangements. We have put new checks in place to ensure marketplace sellers can continue to come to their local Post Office to send their goods with confidence. Crucially they can also receive advice and specialist knowledge from their Postmaster if they need it.”
– Mark Siviter, Mails Product Portfolio Director, Post Office

Major changes to the way we ship to the EU can cause confusion and challenges for sellers, and so they need to be confident in the services that logistics providers offer. Although the Post Office did say sellers could use them to send their goods with confidence, Amazon have been quick to highlight that this might not be the case and that incorrect declaration under Import OSS might happen if sellers are not careful about which carrier they choose to ship their parcels to the EU.

Disobeying Amazon won’t help if a customer complains they were charged VAT after Amazon already collected it. Regardless of how great the Post Office service is, consider if your business can afford not to follow Amazon’s guidance.

28 Responses

  1. My local post office knew nothing about this new VAT system commencing on 1st July!

  2. “specialist knowledge” from their Postmaster LOL he asks me what to do with the grey mailbags when I turn up.

  3. I work at post office and we have not been told what to do and how to help. We got little note saying it’s happening but no training or other help available. I’d agree on avoid.

  4. I am a Postmaster.
    We have been clearly told what to do and my all drop and go customers know.

    We are all doing fine.

  5. Yes post office is useless best of time, avoid if you can. You can see post office is sort of poblic sector they will never be teady for anuthing…

  6. Thank you Patrac, from all the UK’s Postmasters ,we sincerely hope we never have the pleasure of serving you, kind regards,

  7. JB stop leaving negative feedback against other businesses just because you have time on your hands since stepping down.

  8. Our local post office in Heysham were very helpful when we enquired about the new regs. It seems that Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd filter down very little information so it’s down to the individual Post Masters to source the information. It’s been our experience that we get excellent service from the Post Office, only to be let down by Royal Mail or Parcel Force.

  9. Nice one patrac, just demonstrating the level of incompetence all Post Office workers have to deal with on a daily basis. The sooner you stop using them, the better we will be.

  10. I manage a PO local. Little or no info or support or training for us. Have to beg for information to pass on to a dying few customers, who can get better service elsewhere

  11. I can’t say I’m surprised unfortunately, my local village post office employees have told me previously that the information they get from the wider organisation about changes etc is atrocious if they get any at all. I’ve also heard similar from a lot of small post offices in previous customer service roles for retail and logistics companies, many of whom weren’t even aware of how some freepost licenses work which lead to us having to call and tell them surprisingly often. I can’t help but wonder if small post offices are being left behind a bit with the focus on larger more profitable ones which have in my experience been much more knowledgeable.

  12. Technically you can still use the Post Office for EU marketplace items – just make sure it’s only for dropping off Click & Drop pre-paid parcels (which contain the IOSS code in the label).

    My Post Office scans the label and prints off a time-stamped proof of postage. Takes less than a minute.

    I still pay them for all my other UK/international postage though, since I like to help them out as best I can. It’s only a small percentage of my items that go to the EU any more anyway.

  13. The Royal Mail are best avoided if possible, use a better delivery company.

  14. It’s all very interesting, but why are we concerned, we’re not in the EU any more.

  15. Don’t forget it really is on the vendor if things go wrong.
    Hmrc give free short webinars on how to complete EU shipping forms etc. Nobody else will care for your business sadly only the owner.

  16. We could have asked the person at the Post Office about this last week. However the Post Office didn’t show up (our Post Office is a van which serves all the local villages).

  17. Some of the people criticising the Post Office and staff can’t even spell how on earth is there post going to get anywhere?
    The info was sent to post masters/ mistresses !!!!
    All the support the community has had through lockdowns from the post office branches and staff !! Staying open
    These are the nice comments we get !!!!
    Thank you

  18. Let’s get real for a moment. With over 11500 post offices in the UK, postmasters and postmistresses have been under huge pressure. With the closure of banks, staying open during Covid, new Brexit regulations etc. etc. It has been a difficult year and a half. I own a community PO in a small village and we get praised and thanked by our customers constantly for going the extra mile. We are all human and can make mistakes but I sincerely believe that we do try. Unfortunately we cannot please all the people, all the time. Remember that we are paid for the actual work we do,so it’s in our best interests to do it well. We try our best.

  19. I work in a post office and belive me we did not have any information about this latest issue until the day after it came into effect and on july 1st an apology from post office communications that there were issues they needed to resolve then our training came via a slip of paper we have been left with no training or real information,my question is when did we become the custom and excise department and responsible for checking on customers goods we already police what is in there

  20. Collectively they’re not called Royal Fail and Parcel Farce for nothing!

    Training with Post Office Counters is usually a bit better and depends on the Branch Manager and/or the Sub Post Master.

    I tend to stick to main branch offices, less chance that they overcharge you etc. Like most franchise models, most are poor, however, there are excellent ones out there who offer an excellent service.

    Be guided by your confidence in your local branch, like most major changes imposed, there will be teething problems.

    If in doubt use an alternative carrier until you have confidence that Royal Fail Group have their processes in order.

  21. Royal FAIL…. ParcelFarce…. Lost more packages than Hermes and *that’s* saying something.
    Incredibly complicated “Claims” system, with way too long waiting times for compensation for their ineptitude.
    HEY…BEZOS….. Step up to the mark and start a competitive system that works… Lets see who can *actually* deliver packages and parcels intact with NO theft, damages, or issues of times…

  22. Has anyone actually shown any tangible evidence of what Brexit has done for UK business?

  23. @Sebastian re: “Has anyone actually shown any tangible evidence of what Brexit has done for UK business?”

    IMHO it is too early to say what the result of Brexit is. We will need many years more data before facts can be determined, however, it is going to be very hard now to get an accurate result of Brexit as everything world wide has been skewed by the impact of the pandemic.


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