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Shapeways Post BREXIT - A nasty surprise


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I try to avoid Shapeways; it has always, in my view, been poor value. It's very expensive, and increasingly so, and seldom represents good value for money in terms of quality. I get better product cheaper from Cottage Industries and their desk-top printers.

 

But, many things are only obtainable via Shapeways, and, so, I have just had to put an order in. A quite mouth-watering sum later, I was anticipating today's delivery, only to find myself mugged for over a ton by a cheery DPS man. At least it felt like being mugged.

 

VAT at 20% and a mysterious "brokerage" charge. 

 

 

 

 

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...but you didn't pay 20% VAT to Shapeways. 

 

As for the 'brokerage' charge, it's the rent fee the carriers are allowed to charge for collecting the HMRC's money for them. It's been there for a long time for goods that have been imported from non-EU countries. 

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6 minutes ago, billbedford said:

...but you didn't pay 20% VAT to Shapeways. 

 

As for the 'brokerage' charge, it's the rent fee the carriers are allowed to charge for collecting the HMRC's money for them. It's been there for a long time for goods that have been imported from non-EU countries. 

 

Well the brokers ( I work as one)  have to pay for the systems to clear these through customs,  Train the staff etc etc. Some fees I have seen charged can be little as a 5 right up to 100's

 

Brokers  have to maintain a Deferred account with customs and might have anything from £1000 to vast amounts of cash sitting in the customs account each month  in order to pay the VAT for the import straight away to HMRC. This then gets collected before delivery and transferred back in. More Staff needed to do that.

 

tough to back out that sort of cash, With Post service you may of had better luck getting is snuck through.

 

 

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I've had that experience in reverse.  For decades I have bought my railway stuff from the UK, Hattons mostly but many others too.  If the parcel is shipped by the post office, I usually get it delivered without getting dinged for GST (our VAT).  A good deal because VAT gets knocked off at the UK end.  However, with 0 gauge coaches and some locos, the weight appears to exceed some sort of rule (1kg I'm guessing) and the parcel must be delivered by courier.  So with that I get to pay courier shipping, GST and a fee.  The upside is that the parcel gets here quicker.

 

John

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51 minutes ago, billbedford said:

...but you didn't pay 20% VAT to Shapeways. 

 

As for the 'brokerage' charge, it's the rent fee the carriers are allowed to charge for collecting the HMRC's money for them. It's been there for a long time for goods that have been imported from non-EU countries. 

 

I think you may have missed my point. 

 

Shapeways were bloody expensive to begin with, and one might have assumed that it was an inclusive price, inclusive of all manner of things some of which they seem to make up at the last minute just to take even more money from me, including, it feels like, first class transatlantic flights for the CEO and his entire family given the prices, and I was unused to paying separately for things such as VAT. It thus comes as a nasty shock, making a Shapeways purchase 20% plus brokerage less attractive than it anyway was. And I've never been charged brokerage. It's like Ryan Bloody Air the amount of extras Shapeways adds to the bill, so excuse me for not noticing the one time they failed to include VAT. 

 

Anyway, being told in retrospect that I should have expected this unprecedented turn of events when I was complaining that it came as a nasty surprise really doesn't make it feel any better for me!

 

 

 

  

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14 minutes ago, Edwardian said:

 

I think you may have missed my point. 

 

Shapeways were bloody expensive to begin with, and one might have assumed that it was an inclusive price, inclusive of all manner of things some of which they seem to make up at the last minute just to take even more money from me, including, it feels like, first class transatlantic flights for the CEO and his entire family given the prices, and I was unused to paying separately for things such as VAT. It thus comes as a nasty shock, making a Shapeways purchase 20% plus brokerage less attractive than it anyway was. And I've never been charged brokerage. It's like Ryan Bloody Air the amount of extras Shapeways adds to the bill, so excuse me for not noticing the one time they failed to include VAT. 

 

Anyway, being told in retrospect that I should have expected this unprecedented turn of events when I was complaining that it came as a nasty surprise really doesn't make it feel any better for me!

 

 

 

  

 

I am with you on this one, I have also thought Shapeways were expensive and now with this new NON EU tarrif/charges I certainly wont be using them. No doubt as things quieten down they may introduce a UK satellite branch in the UK and charge VAT direct, these large companies do not like loosing market share and if they are taking a hit from UK sales they will do something about it 

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Posted (edited)

Is there nobody in the UK doing the same thing as Shapeways? Seems there may be an opportunity there if they are so expensive to start with, never mind the extra taxes/charges.

 

Edited by ScRSG
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1 hour ago, Edwardian said:

I think you may have missed my point. 

 

 

Nope. It's really nothing to do with Shapeways. It's is the Revenue, HMRC, taking their pound of flesh for anything coming in to the country. 

 

If you don't like it, your only recourse is to vote for a government that does away with VAT* and import duty. 

 

* though the idea of living in a country with a properly progressive tax system does have a certain appeal. 

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1 hour ago, billbedford said:

 

Nope. It's really nothing to do with Shapeways. It's is the Revenue, HMRC, taking their pound of flesh for anything coming in to the country. 

 

If you don't like it, your only recourse is to vote for a government that does away with VAT* and import duty. 

 

* though the idea of living in a country with a properly progressive tax system does have a certain appeal. 

 

That makes it all better.

 

I would point out that the size of VAT bill is a function of Shapeways' extortionate pricing!

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Another function of the price is the mark-up applied by the shop owner, which isn't made public.

 

The delivery charge is also much higher now we are outside the EU.

 

I don't see Shapeways as a viable option for UK orders as things stand.

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The prices have always put me off.

I noticed some GWR panelled autotrailer bodies. Good I thought, that will add nicely to my fleet, until I saw that the price was far more for a bare shell than a Bachmann Hawksworth trailer, fully finished and ready to run, costs.

There is a lot of UK outline stuff on the site but IMHO far too expensive.

 

As someone else has pointed out, a UK based company would be good.

Maybe ModelU would like to branch out?:D

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, billbedford said:

Nope. It's really nothing to do with Shapeways. It's is the Revenue, HMRC, taking their pound of flesh for anything coming in to the country. 

It very much is to do with Shapeways. They could register themselves to pay UK VAT. They could set up a satellite operation in the UK. I fully expect them to do one or the other before too long - the UK must be a huge market for them, and they must be receiving complaints and losing orders.

 

Quite honestly, this is the sort of thing we will all have to deal with. We have always had to second guess what charges we might end up paying for imports from the US and other countries. I am sure I am not the only person who has paid for ebay's rather pricy all-inclusing Global Shipping Programme just to take the guesswork out of it, Now we have to do the same with imports from Europe as well. However, the British government very kindly gave European businesses (and non-EU businesses for that matter) the opportunity to collect UK VAT on their behalf. Whether or not European businesses adopt such a policy is a commercial decision.

 

If you are buying other people's designs on Shapeways, prices are set by the designer, not Shapeways (though Shapeways' own charges form a baseline, of course). I create my own designs and have found their charges to be reasonable for small items, and I have only ever received one defective print from them; generally their quality is very good. I have not been tempted to go anywhere else...yet, but I am minimising what I buy till they get the VAT sorted, for exactly the reasons complained about in this thread.

Edited by Jeremy C
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Posted (edited)

It seems that the only way to avoid the consignment admin charge is to keep the order below £135. Unfortunately at the same time as the UK withdrawal from the EU took effect  and reintroduced import VAT (don't forget we had import VAT on goods from tbe EU until the Single Market Act that came into effect in 1993), the UK governmet introduced a consignment value scheme, to avoid the complexity of duty/vat/admin with on line personal sales to UK non vat registered customers. The level is up to £135, excluding delivery costs. The seller has to register for vat in the UK and charges 20% UK VAT at the point of sale. Some overseas sellers have withdrawn from selling to the UK or will only sell above the £135 value level to avoid having to register for UK VAT. I've seen on a Shapeways forum that they seem to be using the scheme.

 

Edited by rembrow
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57 minutes ago, rembrow said:

It seems that the only way to avoid the consignment admin charge is to keep the order below £135. Unfortunately at the same time as the UK withdrawal from the EU took effect  and reintroduced import VAT (don't forget we had import VAT on goods from tbe EU until the Single Market Act that came into effect in 1993), the UK governmet introduced a consignment value scheme, to avoid the complexity of duty/vat/admin with on line personal sales to UK non vat registered customers. The level is up to £135, excluding delivery costs. The seller has to register for vat in the UK and charges 20% at the point of sale. Some overseas sellers have withdrawn from selling to the UK or will only sell above the £135 value level. I've seen on a Shapeways forum that they seem to be using the scheme.

 

Shapeways could of course open an e-bay shop in the UK, like many European sellers, then the prices are quoted including UK VAT.

You make up an order, pay the price and the VAT is seamlessly collected by e-bay, (up to the dreaded £135 point at which it is up to you to pay VAT on receipt, with the courier/RM/whoever charging their handling cost)

Keep the order below £135 and it's easy peasy.

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5 hours ago, Edwardian said:

 

I think you may have missed my point. 

 

Shapeways were bloody expensive to begin with, and one might have assumed that it was an inclusive price, inclusive of all manner of things some of which they seem to make up at the last minute just to take even more money from me, including, it feels like, first class transatlantic flights for the CEO and his entire family given the prices, and I was unused to paying separately for things such as VAT. It thus comes as a nasty shock, making a Shapeways purchase 20% plus brokerage less attractive than it anyway was. And I've never been charged brokerage. It's like Ryan Bloody Air the amount of extras Shapeways adds to the bill, so excuse me for not noticing the one time they failed to include VAT. 

 

Anyway, being told in retrospect that I should have expected this unprecedented turn of events when I was complaining that it came as a nasty surprise really doesn't make it feel any better for me!

 

 

 

  

 But this is nothing to do with Shapeways. They don’t set the prices. Your purchase should have been ~19% cheaper (whatever Dutch VAT is), and you’ve paid 20% UK VAT, plus the fee for the pleasure of having it collected. I agree with you on Shapeways, I never use it anymore due to high prices and poor quality. I uploaded a CAD of an O gauge wagon this week out of interest, and was quoted £5,200 for it! If they’re not deducting Dutch VAT it is poor form, and you are paying twice. 

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12 hours ago, melmerby said:

The prices have always put me off.

I noticed some GWR panelled autotrailer bodies. Good I thought, that will add nicely to my fleet, until I saw that the price was far more for a bare shell than a Bachmann Hawksworth trailer, fully finished and ready to run, costs.

There is a lot of UK outline stuff on the site but IMHO far too expensive.

 

As someone else has pointed out, a UK based company would be good.

Maybe ModelU would like to branch out?:D

 

I found that on one item the prints from the EU were not as good as those achieved from the USA arm of the business, in the end I received a refund. I think Modelu may work slightly different and possibly would not like the hassle of printing others designs

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15 hours ago, Edwardian said:

 

That makes it all better.

 

I would point out that the size of VAT bill is a function of Shapeways' extortionate pricing!

I think there should be a legal requirement for all elements of a price to be explained when a price is quoted.  For example if I buy at auction I know what percentage will be added as auctioneer's commission plus the VAT on that commission so I bid with the total cost in my mind.   Similarly if I buy something I expect the price quoted to be what I will pay with a clear statement of any 'extras' which will be added to that price for whatever reason and how much I can expect them to be.  For any trader to do otherwise is in my opinion misleading (and in some instances already illegal).

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What you're experiencing is exposure to import duty and handling costs that have been a feature of life in many non-EU countries for years. I personally model some very obscure prototypes for which I am grateful that SW exists and have been happy to incur the costs associated with my niche interests. Additionally pre-Covid I'd never had to wait more than 6 days for my order to be flown across oceans onto a tiny island and then handled very quickly by the local DHL etc agent. So I get my models fast by going to the agent's office and paying a single charge quickly, rather than a lengthy wait, post office or customs trip etc. I am happy to pay for that.

 

With regard to opening a UK arm, I suspect that they have been managing with the New York and Netherlands units for a while and this level of infrastructure is meeting demand for the whole world. Opening units in smaller countries would probably not prove cost-effective for them and moving from the Netherlands to the UK will create a reverse problem into Europe.

 

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8 hours ago, The Stationmaster said:

I think there should be a legal requirement for all elements of a price to be explained when a price is quoted.  For example if I buy at auction I know what percentage will be added as auctioneer's commission plus the VAT on that commission so I bid with the total cost in my mind.   Similarly if I buy something I expect the price quoted to be what I will pay with a clear statement of any 'extras' which will be added to that price for whatever reason and how much I can expect them to be.  For any trader to do otherwise is in my opinion misleading (and in some instances already illegal).


You wouldn’t like Canada then, Mike!

 

When federal GST (the equivalent of VAT) was introduced, retailers were given the option of quoting prices with or without the GST included. Some showed them with the GST included, but quickly changed their minds. People were comparing their quoted prices with the prices being shown by retailers not including the GST and concluding that they should buy from the latter. No retailer now shows prices with GST included.
 

So now a till receipt from a supermarket (for example) will show the total prices of the items bought with no tax included, then a line showing the GST, then another line showing the provincial sales tax (PST), and then a final total to be paid. 


(Some provinces have an HST, but we don’t need that confusion!)

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On 02/07/2021 at 16:22, hayfield said:

these large companies do not like loosing market share and if they are taking a hit from UK sales they will do something about it

Oh I hope so. I have looked at Shapeways, but the value is in negative equity without the post charges. Now it is just plain stoopid for tiny bits of plastic ;-)

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On 02/07/2021 at 20:33, Jeremy C said:

It very much is to do with Shapeways. They could register themselves to pay UK VAT. They could set up a satellite operation in the UK. I fully expect them to do one or the other before too long - the UK must be a huge market for them, and they must be receiving complaints and losing orders.

 

 

Shapeways is registered for UK VAT, but, I believe, is limited to charging this where the total order price is below GBP135 or thereabouts. My recent order made up of 19 of my own designs came to under £120 and the VAT was charged at source. This also avoided any additional carrier clearance charges. I agree that Shapeways can seem expensive but my order was produced quickly and every item was dimensionally spot on. I had also designed things to minimise the support wax on visible areas, which meant that cleanup was minimal and everything fitted together precisely as intended.

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Posted (edited)
On 03/07/2021 at 10:47, The Stationmaster said:

I think there should be a legal requirement for all elements of a price to be explained when a price is quoted.  For example if I buy at auction I know what percentage will be added as auctioneer's commission plus the VAT on that commission so I bid with the total cost in my mind.   Similarly if I buy something I expect the price quoted to be what I will pay with a clear statement of any 'extras' which will be added to that price for whatever reason and how much I can expect them to be.  For any trader to do otherwise is in my opinion misleading (and in some instances already illegal).

I must be missing something here. As far as I can see every item in a Shapeways shop has a price which is clearly stated. The price applies for sales into any market. What happens after that is that shipping costs are added, and then tax applied, or not, depending on the tax regime of the destination country. One tip is that if the items are being shipped from the Netherlands (as happens for most European destinations) it is best to view the prices in euros for an accurate picture of what the total price is, because the charge will be in euros. Like HMRC and many other businesses, I believe that Shapeways adjusts the exchange rates for displayed prices once per month, so sometimes the conversion from the displayed price makes the item apparently more or less expensive depending on the relative movement between euros and the user-chosen price display currency.

 

Brexit FAQ – Help Center (shapeways.com)

Edited by Mike Harvey
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2 hours ago, Mike Harvey said:

Shapeways is registered for UK VAT, but, I believe, is limited to charging this where the total order price is below GBP135 or thereabouts

That's good to know. Thank you.

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I have just looked at the cost to reorder today what my last Shapeways order would have been and the difference is about 10%. It is below £135 so includes VAT. Given my last order was 14 months ago, not that bad.

 

Roy

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Mike Harvey said:

Shapeways is registered for UK VAT, but, I believe, is limited to charging this where the total order price is below GBP135 or thereabouts.

Correct. If the order value (including postal charges and VAT) is below £137 then the VAT is paid at source (and it is duty free) and your delivery should just arrive. If the value is above £137 then the VAT is paid by the recipient and in order for someone to collect that VAT they charge a fee.

 

So moral of the story - make sure your order is below £137 or if its not you will be required to pay the VAT, any import duties and a collection fee.

Edited by meil
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