MSE News: Boost for shoppers as 'airport tax rip-off' review set for take-off

edited 31 December 2015 at 10:53AM in Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning
10 replies 1.5K views
Former_MSE_Sam_MFormer_MSE_Sam_M Former MSE
346 Posts
MSE Staff
edited 31 December 2015 at 10:53AM in Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning
The Government has launched a review into airport retailers not passing on VAT discounts to shoppers...
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'Boost for shoppers as 'airport tax rip-off' review set for take-off'
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  • edited 31 December 2015 at 12:27PM
    stonemanstoneman Forumite
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    edited 31 December 2015 at 12:27PM
    Oh give us a break. MSE is starting to look like a laughing stock. First it's ripping off on family holidays during term time. Then the infamous rip off charge for seating a family together on a plane, now this.

    Have you nothing better than vacation stuff to throw a hissy fit at?

    If MSE didn't spend so much of its time finding "loop holes" in offers that openly encouraged people to misuse the SOMETIMES legitimate offers of retailers then I might start listening.
    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.
  • One-EyeOne-Eye Forumite
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    Just scrap the tax break entirely.

    The country needs tax revenues. The retailers think the current system is too difficult. The removal of the tax break for EU travel didn't lead to disaster. It's an obvious target for a desperate chancellor, and why not scrap VAT refunds for non-EU citizens going home while you're at it.
  • So they will add the lost revenue onto the price of the products themselves instead - result!
  • colcheslad wrote: »
    So they will add the lost revenue onto the price of the products themselves instead - result!
    I reckon they already did that several times over :mad:.

    UK airport duty free shops have become a total rip off for many types of product especially booze.

    I go through Stansted frequently but went through Luton last weekend and mentioned my experience in a recent thread.

    Ron Zapaca 23 Solera 1 litre is over £52 in Stansted and over £58 in Luton yet 500 miles away in a high tax country in their airport it is barely much over £30.

    UK airports' shelf label indications of price saving are disgracefully misleading.
  • Moto2Moto2 Forumite
    2.2K Posts
    Who buys more than a sandwich and a newspaper anyway?

    Well, obviously plenty of people or the shops wouldn't be there but you have to wonder what they are thinking.
    On a recent flight to Tenerife people were buying cigarettes on the plane at almost twice the price they could buy them at in a couple of hours time ???
    Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • richardwrichardw Forumite
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    HAL only wants a 3rd runway so they can build more shopping centa terminals for it. No shopping cons, no runway, result!
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • The Duty Free in Heathrow has been overpriced for about 20 years. The whole thing is a retailer dream: captive customers with nowhere to run.


    Confiscating your water at security is like restaurants not letting you bring your own beverage. Coincidence? We are paying towards the security, so we are paying them to make us spend more. :eek:
  • Moto2Moto2 Forumite
    2.2K Posts
    For some reason, we used to be able to function perfectly without a bottle of water with us 24/7.
    Not only are the airports duping people to spend, they'e aided and abetted by the bottled water companies
    Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • richardw wrote: »
    HAL only wants a 3rd runway so they can build more shopping centa terminals for it. No shopping cons, no runway, result!

    The Airports don't run the shops though they are privately owned. They pay rent but that is a flat rate, the Airport wouldn't have any benefit at all if the VAT discounts were forced from the retailers who don't otherwise give it. Why did you assume it was otherwise?
  • edited 5 January 2016 at 8:00AM
    SW17SW17 Forumite
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    edited 5 January 2016 at 8:00AM
    The-Truth wrote: »
    The Airports don't run the shops though they are privately owned. They pay rent but that is a flat rate, the Airport wouldn't have any benefit at all if the VAT discounts were forced from the retailers who don't otherwise give it. Why did you assume it was otherwise?

    Not completely correct, at least at Heathrow. A significant number of outlets there have profit-sharing deals with the airport rather than flat rent. I would suspect LHR is not alone in this practice.

    Quite a few posters here talking about alcohol and tobacco sales, which are unaffected by this review since duty-free on these products operates under different rules already.

    The airport shops (excluding the true duty-free shops) fall into 3 broad categories:

    Those who charge high street (or higher) prices to everyone, like Boots and WH Smith. We can be sure these were creaming extra profits from this practice.

    Those with a "blended" price, selling at the same price to everyone somewhere between their high street and the fully VAT-discounted price. Dixons is an example of this, and we cannot know from outside whether their pricing results in higher or lower profits, as we don't know their mix of EU and non-EU destination passengers.

    Those who already give the VAT discount to all passengers regardless of destination. This tends to be at the luxury end of the market, where their higher margins can absorb the discount to the EU destination passengers.

    There are actually bargains to be had at airports, especially in the 3rd category, but as with any shopping, you should know what the pricing is elsewhere before you buy. In the age of smartphones, it's hardly difficult to do a quick price comparison.

    I don't expect this review to amount to much. Boots have already stopped asking for boarding passes, they haven't changed their pricing though, as far as I've seen. In reality the government would be happy about this, because they are getting more VAT revenue as a result, even if some consumers should not be paying it.
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