In case anyone missed that particular memo, the UK left the European Union (EU) on 1st January 2021 and became a ‘third country’.
From the same date also, it became an EU requirement that all imports into the EU from non-EU countries would be subject to payment of VAT / TVA, levied at the local country level.
And also, as per the Trade And Co-operation Agreement (TCA) reached between the UK and EU, import tariffs would also be applied, depending on the origin of the goods being imported.
Following ‘Brexit’, it is not really any ideal situation, but thankfully many of our customers in the European Union have been quite understanding and informed, and have been happy to pay these import duties and taxes, in the same way they have to do the same when buying goods from the USA, Canada, Australia, etc etc.
eBay’s member-to-member communication policy
Sometime in 2020, eBay made a change to their member-to-member communication policy, and instead of providing a buyer’s “actual” email address to the seller as part of the transaction details, they offered an ‘anonymised’ email address, in the same way that Amazon protects their buyers.
The concept is kind of understandable; eBay REALLY doesn’t like buyers and sellers completing transactions outside of their platform (after all they do not collect any transaction fees that way) plus they want to ‘protect’ their buyers from being ‘spammed’ with marketing emails and all that.
Sellers like ourselves get your email address as “email@example.com”, not your actual email address registered to your eBay account. (Amazon also do the same)
What this means is that any emails exchanged between sellers and buyers can be monitored and filtered by eBay. (as Amazon do also).
DPD requests for payment of taxes/duties
Where we are currently dispatching parcels to EU countries with DPD from the UK, shipment information is currently sent electronically using customer details that we receive from eBay.
The email address that we provide to DPD is the one that they will send an email to, which includes an invoice and a secure link for the recipient to make the required payment.
If payment is not made within a certain timeframe, the goods are then returned to sender.
What we have found, and has been confirmed by some of our customers, is that these emails from DPD requesting payment of import taxes/duties, are being BLOCKED by eBay from reaching the recipient, where we have provided this ‘alias’ email address when generating DPD shipment label.
Where we are able to, we are now using the buyer’s PayPal email address when generating these shipments, but we can obviously only do this when buyers have made payment via PayPal directly to us.
Our ‘arksglobal’ eBay store has been migrated to eBay’s new Managed Payments programme, under which eBay handle payment processing, rather than PayPal.
As a result of this, there is obviously no PayPal email address we can use, but thankfully we have learned of a ‘workaround’ which allows us to find the buyer’s ‘actual’ email address, rather than the ‘alias’ provided by eBay.
This clearly doesn’t just affect ourselves, but many other eBay sellers who dispatch orders into Europe using DPD, and it has been causing a huge number of problems.
Apparently eBay are now ‘aware of this issue’, but don’t seem to be in any hurry to try and resolve it.
What can buyers do?
Buyers who have failed to receive a parcel dispatched by any seller with DPD, because they have not been able to make payment of taxes/duties owing, could try complaining to eBay.
Perhaps leave a message for seller at checkout, and provide your email address you would like notifications to be sent to.
Also, as we’ve previously detailed regarding contact details, do make sure that the email address that your eBay account is registered to, is one that you have regular access to and still use.