Paying a high price for post-Brexit shopping

There are growing complaints from UK consumers about VAT and duties being charged for items bought online from the EU (Britons buying from EU websites hit with £100 customs bills, 21 January). The same applies in reverse for goods bought by EU customers from the UK. This begs the question – if VAT and duty is going to be charged by the receiving country, why are they not being sold at source VAT-free and duty-free to customers outside the respective local jurisdictions? Are the HMRC and similar organisations in other countries trying to have two bites of the same cherry?
Paul Fellows
County Cork, Ireland

I purchased two British designed and assembled light fittings that turned out to be in a warehouse in Belgium. I have been charged £71.74 in import fees for having absolutely no idea. The website had a domain name but, after digging, I realised that I had accidentally imported lights from Europe. I shan’t be doing that again.
Caroline Marston
Fulham, London

I live in Ireland and bought clothing from for €53. I received a demand for €16 in import tax. As it turned out, the goods came from the UK. Well done, UK. People will think twice before ordering anything from you.
Jenny Wright

There have been so many complaints from UK fishers that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has set up a £23m fund to help (Report, 19 January). The fishers could do worse than contact Sainsbury’s. While arranging our order, my wife wanted scallops. There were two possibilities: from Canada or Patagonia. We bought neither. Selling seafood from UK waters might provide a more convenient market and even help mitigate the climate crisis.
Ken Vines
Horrabridge, Devon

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