Ever wondered why you have to show your boarding pass at airport shops?

This caught my eye today in The Telegraph;

Airport retailers have been accused of misleading travellers by claiming millions in VAT refunds without passing on the savings to passengers.

The vast majority of airport shops in the UK request that passengers hand over their boarding passes to be scanned at the checkout – a practice that few realise is used to help stores claim back VAT of 20 per cent on goods sold to passengers flying outside the EU.

And research by the Independent has revealed that – while retailers suggest goods are tax free – these savings are often not passed on to customers.

The full article is available here, but it shows that (if we didn’t know already) we are not getting the best value for money at our airports.

And now we know…..

, , ,

  • Brian O’Neill

    Interesting. I always thought is was airports getting a cut of the sales.

  • Granni Trixie

    Yes I have often wondered as to the rationale for Having to show evidence of a boarding pass in order to purchase a magazine. Being me I have asked but the shop assistants said they didn’t know.
    Airport clothes shops I have used however show you on the price tag the percentage of the price in vat you are saving – infact airport shops use this as a selling point.

  • Korhomme

    I saw that too; another way to rip off the customers. But then, if you’ve ever parked at Aldergrove or George Best you’ll be well aware of the rip off parking. And you will get charged just to arrive at Aldergrove, or be collected from there.

  • murdockp

    If only I could afford to shop at the Belfast Airports, nearly had the cardiac arrest the full fry is meant to give me when I discovered how expensive it was at International recently,

  • Mister_Joe

    I suspect it just isn’t in the UK that thishappens.I have travelled lots and I almost always visit the Duty Free shops for cheaper alcohol usually, and am always asked for my boarding pass. I assumed, wrongly perhaps, that the intent was to distinguish between travellers and people who simply worked behind the gateways.

  • Zig70

    I suspect the liquid volume control is more to do with charging you £2.40 for a bottle of coke than terrorism. I was incensed at the prices at the airport. It seemed reasonable to shoplift as they tried to rob me first. This is one function of politicians, to stop crooks masquerading as traders.

  • Jag

    The Bel Tel has an article today on the fight-back by consumers who are refusing to show their boarding cards; after all, if they’re paying the same as on the High Street, why should they gift a benefit to Boots, Dixons or whoever by showing their boarding pass, potentially allowing Boots to reclaim the VAT on the sale (if the boarding pass is for a non-EU country) which Boots just stick in their pockets and don’t pass onto the consumer.

    Harrods is one of the few retailers who do give consumers the full VAT reduction if you have the appropriate pass (for a non-EU destination).

  • Gopher

    If things were turned round the other way and it was the public getting some benefit there would be legislation to close the loophole in days, or the airport would use its deep pockets to take a member of the public through an expensive and stacked legal process as witnessed by the carpark monopoly. Just another case of Government being happy to let us be ripped off. I’ll not hold my breath that the Assembly will do anything.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    This story deserves attention and its clearly starting to get a lot of traction. The bit I don’t get is that it is deemed not illegal according to the Independent anyway. However as the VAT rebate should be benefiting the buyer as opposed to the seller, surely it constitutes some sort of theft?
    Any tax lawyers in da house?

  • John Collins

    I have not shopped in any Duty Free shop in years. Just as expensive as any where else and, even if they were slightly cheaper, it would not be worth the hassle.