How to stop 'doorstep charges' when sending EU parcels

How to stop EU VAT and admin 'doorstep charges' before delivery - even without an IOSS number or being surcharged

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Simon Perkins

Commercial Director at SAMOS

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There is nothing more annoying to your customers than buying something online and then having to pay a doorstep charge before the item can be handed over. Usually it’s the parcel delivery company that is demanding payment. Either your customer receives an email with a link to pay, a card through the letter box, or even a letter in the post with a surprise invoice.

Overwhelmed business owner

What is even more frustrating is that the delivery company applies an admin or handling fee in addition; this can be up to €60!

This is a terrible customer experience, yet this is what thousands of UK e-commerce companies are doing every day to their customers in the EU. This one experience is enough to prevent customers from ever buying from you again, which for many micro, small and even medium-sized businesses is threat to their entire operation. It can also lead to bad reviews, damaging your reputation and your revenue.

Is Deliver Duty Paid the solution? Not really.

Savvy UK e-commerce businesses initially thought that switching to sending DDP (Deliver Duty Paid - which means that the VAT and EU import charges are reversed back to the UK e-commerce company so that the EU customer is not charged on the doorstep) could be the best option.

However, this comes with a sting in its tail. Most of the large multinational parcel delivery companies will apply a Deliver Duty Paid surcharge. The surcharge is so high that lower order value shipments are simply not cost effective to send, and it’s difficult to pass these costs on to your EU customer.

Is IOSS the solution? Possibly.

The other option is to register for IOSS and get an IOSS number. Anyone that has investigated or implemented this will also know it costs the average volume shipper around £4.5k to £5k a year to register, administer and maintain. This a good solution for large volume shippers, but cost prohibitive for smaller e-commerce businesses.

So what are the other options for small and medium sized UK e-com businesses that are not so cost prohibitive?

Is there another way? Yes. Step up SAMOS.

SAMOS has created the UK’s first hybrid EU parcel delivery service whereby it is impossible for the customer to receive any doorstep charges. The service works very much like Deliver Duty Paid in that import charges are paid on behalf of the EU customer, then reversed back to the UK ecommerce company. The difference with SAMOS is that this is done free of charge. No hefty Deliver Duty Paid surcharge (or any other surcharges for that matter).

Parcel delivered by postman

Important to remember! Your customer must pay VAT, no matter what process is used to charge them Our process means that there are no surprise doorstep VAT (and admin) charges.

There is a huge difference in customer experience here –

✔️ Pay it all in one go in the checkout process, with no doorstep charges – the SAMOS method (the same customer purchase and delivery experience as before the UK left the EU).

❌ Pay for items in checkout, pay VAT and admin charges at the doorstep – terrible customer experience that should be avoided.

The SAMOS process works like this: the UK e-com company itemises the import charges in the checkout separately or includes them in the item cost on their website. Whichever they choose, it means that the import costs (VAT and Duty) are covered in the checkout process.

SAMOS will then pay these charges on import into the EU and reverse them back to the UK ecommerce company. As the charges have already been received by the UK e-commerce company during the checkout process, these charges don’t come out of the margins. The only real charges are the shipping charges, which are exactly according to the tariff.

No IOSS number? No problem.

You do not need an IOSS number to use the SAMOS service, therefore you don’t need to go to the expense of acquiring and administering an IOSS number, or pay extra per parcel for a pay-as-you-go IOSS scheme. This is around a £4.5k - £5k saving per year (on average).

We understand that this the only service available of its kind designed for small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses. The motivation behind creating this service is for EU customers to experience the same simple buying and delivery service from UK e-commerce companies as they did before the UK left the EU:

  1. Order from you
  2. Pay all charges in the checkout process including VAT
  3. Parcel is delivered with no doorstep charges

Only this kind of reliable customer buying and delivery experience will ensure that you are able to develop customer loyalty and drum up repeat business while avoiding the kind of reviews that turn new customers away.

Happy business owner

If you’re unsure, then trial our service. We bet it is exactly what you have been looking for but didn’t think existed.

Want to know more?

How the SAMOS service works

Frequently Asked Questions about the SAMOS service

View the SAMOS full tariff

SAMOS integrations

Who are we?

Alternatively brilliant delivery, by SAMOS

We are a parcel logistics company specialising in creating and engineering customer-focussed e-commerce parcel delivery solutions. We have become particularly well known for our hybrid EU parcel delivery solution. It's growing very fast and enabled so many e-com businesses to get back on track and develop their EU markets without fear of all the export problems experienced with the other mail and parcel delivery companies.

We totally understand the frustrations of using parcel and post delivery services so we have engineered these out of our service. Customers always ask us, "Why didn't we know about you before?" Well, you do now. We can ship all your B2C parcels across the EU whether your have an IOSS number or not. We do not surcharge at all, just one ultra-low cost per parcel. Simple. Find out more about SAMOS.

What Our Customers Say

A positive Google review

Peace, Founder and owner at Nubia's Crown - -

Watch a vlog by Peace at Nubia's Crown, one of our amazing customers, discussing our service here.

Alie Mackintosh, CEO at AYM, -

‘’We are incredibly happy with the service provided by SAMOS and would recommend their EU shipment services to any businesses requiring a solution for EU logistics since Brexit. Deliveries are fast and our customers are happy. SAMOS take all the stress and hassle of the new (and confusing) requirements away and provide a comprehensive and fully rounded service for both us and our customers. It’s win-win solution. We were apprehensive about the future of shipping B2C into the EU after experiencing delays in transit and confusion around additional charges, until we joined SAMOS. They are incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and reliable, it really is joy to be working with them."

Daphne, Co-founder at TIC CC, -

"We have been working with SAMOS since November 2021 to fulfil all our EU customer orders. Previously we had been using mail services, which meant a lot of hassle with customs and increased expenditure to the customer and us, and taking several weeks for parcel deliveries. We have trialled other courier companies, who’s services, pricing and customs issues have been appalling. 

Since using SAMOS our EU order deliver is running smooth and fast, without any issues. Customers also get delivery notifications, and can easily keep track of their parcels. Their online platform is very easy to use with minimal time spent to create shipping labels and customs paperwork. The prices are extremely competitive, and the customer services is the best we have experienced compared to any other delivery partner and couriers. This has been the best service provider we have worked with. I would highly recommend SAMOS!"

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