Can I see your boarding pass please?



  • aldredd
    aldredd Forumite Posts: 925 Forumite
    There's no legal requirement to show your boarding pass - but then there's no legal requirement for the shop to actually sell you anything either
    (not that I particularly enjoy having to faff with my boarding pass when trying to buy a couple of bottles of water with the kids and their luggage with me!)

    And remember - a lot of what is being sold in these stores does not attract VAT anyway - books, magazines, children's clothes, some medical items (some is also 'only' 5%) , snacks/sandwiches etc (bit of a minefield here though)
  • interstellaflyer
    interstellaflyer Forumite Posts: 2,047
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    richardw wrote: »
    no, WHS machines let you scan everything and then they ask you for your boarding pass.

    Nope, not the ones I used, you had to scan your boarding pass first, there was no way round it other than hold up a big queue whilst you waited for the one till assistant that was covering 6 self service tills and a tobacco counter to help, then spend more time arguing the toss with someone who most likely knows very little about the legalities and is just doing what she's been told to do.
    I hate football and do wish people wouldn't keep talking about it like it's the most important thing in the world
  • JezR
    JezR Forumite Posts: 1,697
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    edited 13 August 2015 at 12:32PM
    According to VAT Notice 703 it is the 'tax free' shop that is considered to be the exporter and not the customer. To zero-rate the purchase the shop needs to collect some evidence to present to HMRC. There can technically therefore be no refund on offer because the price paid by the customer 'includes' VAT at 0%. This seems to have been totally forgotten by 'the government' in their public pronouncements, but maybe no one thought to check the VAT notices or the difference between exempt and zero rated.

    It is this VAT Notice that suggests using the boarding card to collect name, date of travel, flight number and destination, but only in the context of justifying zero rating.

    Now if people were happy with airport shops displaying effectively ex-VAT prices and being charged VAT at the till in addition unless they can prove they are flying ex-EEA customs area it would be all transparent, but I'm not sure that this would be generally acceptable as it is not in line with normal UK pricing rules.

    Some retailers at airports charge everyone less than their UK retail price, Dixons being one. The effect of the above would be to raise the price paid by travellers within the EEA.
  • Tawny_Owl_2
    Tawny_Owl_2 Forumite Posts: 47
    Seventh Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I'm with Martin Lewis on this one. :money:
    If I was asked to show a boarding pass, I'd treat this as a "voucher" so would expect a discount.
    Just as if I travelled by train to a visitor attraction and had to show my train ticket to get a reduced admission price.
  • JezR
    JezR Forumite Posts: 1,697
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    edited 13 August 2015 at 12:39PM
    Martin Lewis incorrectly uses the word 'exempt' from VAT so he hasn't looked into this in any depth.

    If the Government want things dealt with in a different matter, then they need to change the VAT Notice and the UK Pricing regulations.

    As to whether boarding cards need to be produced for any purchase, then the answer is clearly no, so over to the retailers.
  • Tawny_Owl_2
    Tawny_Owl_2 Forumite Posts: 47
    Seventh Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    It seems to be that our wonderful government make up the rules without thinking them through and how to police them.
  • JezR
    JezR Forumite Posts: 1,697
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    I suspect the rules may not have been changed in essance since domestic air passengers were no longer segregated from those travelling outside of the UK and before duty / tax free sales were abolished within the EEA in 1999.
  • bagand96
    bagand96 Forumite Posts: 5,858
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper

  • dlusman wrote: »
    so you are happy to endorse shoplifting /theft ?

    Technically it would be impossible to prove in court because WH Smith, by removing shop assistants, would have no way of providing evidence about the amount tendered.
    They were providing customers with an option to leave whatever amount they wished.
    And as the recent brouhaha over boarding passes has shown they're not entirely unblemished themselves.
    I always looked upon my nearly-free reading material as a small victory for the consumer in the rip-off environment of modern airports.
  • bowlhead99
    bowlhead99 Forumite Posts: 12,295
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Post of the Month
    edited 14 August 2015 at 7:58AM
    Martin Lewis and other journalists on this current bandwagon seem to think they are going to somehow help the consumers out and magically get low prices in the long term, by telling them to refuse the request to see the boarding card - and add a few seconds to the queuing time for everyone else while someone makes a protest and the usual flow of the transaction is disrupted.

    He says that when they ask you for the pass you should politely say, "no, sorry, I'm not going to give it to you, it only gives you a reduction in VAT".

    For someone who is all about being a Money Saving Expert it seems quite bizarre to be proposing that a buyer and a seller engage in a transaction and the buyer, rather than do everything they can to ensure that every penny that they hand over to the seller is received for good value, should do what they can to make sure that the lowest proportion possible ends up in the hands of the person who is selling them the goods and the maximum proportion possible is leaked away to the taxman.

    This is stupid ; voluntarily increasing the costs of your transaction to give more to the taxman and less to the person who is setting a price to cover their costs and profit requirements, is not going to make them want to lower the prices.

    "no, sorry, I'm not going to give you the evidence that this is a sale to someone flying ex-EU, it only gives you a reduction in the transaction costs which enables you to maintain your average national prices at current levels while still making the profit margin you want." The customer saying this, comes across like a tool.

    Basically saying I will give you this £1.20 for a bottle of water, but because I don't like the fact that I have to pay £1.20 for it, I am going to make sure that although I still pay £1.20 for it, you actually only get £1.00 for it and we collectively throw away the other £0.20 and give it to the vat man.

    How this 'taking a stand against the evil corporations' will result in you paying less than £1.20 for your water in future, is a mystery. If the airport retailer is looking to make a certain amount of net profit from customers, and customers don't show their passes and thereby cause extra taxes to flow to the taxman and away from the company, that is not going to help the retailer bring you low prices?

    Effectively you are minimising the amount of money that goes into the hands of the seller, so he has less income with which to pay his staff, suppliers, infrastructure and the business owners. This will not encourage him to voluntarily reduce prices further and charge less for products in future.

    If he did do what you want and 'pass on' the 20p saving to you, he would still only get £1 net for the transaction, so there is no particular incentive to cave to your demands. Basically you are trying to blackmail him and saying: however we do this I only want you to get £1 for the transaction ; either charge me 20p more and I'll make you give it to the taxman, or charge me the £1 and I'll show you the boarding pass. The shop will just shrug and say fine, just give me the £1.20 then. Unless 100% of the customers act in that obstinate fashion, it will always be better for the retailer to charge more because some of them will act like grown-ups and willingly show the boarding pass to allow the unnecessary VAT to be avoided.

    Whether the retailer charges £2 or £1 or 90p or 80p, the consumer is always going to think it too high. When you are stuck in an airport you know you are likely going to pay more for things than if you were not, through a combination of high retailer costs for renting the space and the 'supply and demand' factor of not having a wide choice of retailers. If the bottle of water price today is £1.20, and you want the retailer to bring in a complex 'dual price' regime, who is to say he won't just set it at "£1.25 with boarding pass, £1.50 without"? You can't escape the fact that retailers will only stay in business to sell you things if it is worth their while.

    At the end of the day, the price is what it is and the current profit margins are broadly acceptable to the national retailers. The retailer makes profits in some branches and losses in others and maybe airport concessions are particularly lucrative because of a captive set of customers and VAT savings, or maybe they are not particularly lucrative because it costs a lot to rent the space. Who knows. But what you can probably say is that if customers try to blackmail retailers with the threat of making them pay over £millions of unnecessary VAT amounts to HMRC, it is not going to miraculously lower the prices.

    If the retailer (or his shareholders) want to make a certain amount of money per year from their retailing business, and the customer demands lower price for x product in x location, it will just feed into higher prices for y product at y location. So you save 10p on your packet of crisps at the airport once a year and then you pay 1p extra on your monthly packet of crisps away from the airport; over the whole year you are actually worse off because the retailer just looked for another pricing structure to give himself the necessary margins to want to be in business.
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