Why do I have to pay a handling charge on items I ordered from outside the UK?

If you order goods worth £15 or more from outside the EU and you have not paid the Import VAT in advance, you will have to pay Import VAT on these goods when they arrive in the UK.

If the goods are worth more than £105, customs duty is also payable.

However, whichever UK postal operator delivers your goods will pay these customs charges and will then charge you both the customs charges and a handling fee before you can claim your goods from them.

For example, Royal Mail charges an £8 handling fee on top of the customs charges owed. See Royal Mail’s website for more information regarding customs charges on items ordered from abroad.