ebay Greece – How to pay less VAT on imports

Here are some tips for reducing the amount of taxes & VAT you pay on ebay Greece imports from around the world.

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ebay Greece and VAT

Three simple tips to keep the cost of your ebay Greece imports to an absolute minimum.

  • Have the order sent with post office
  • Make sure shipment is tracked
  • Don’t pay VAT in the foreign country

Rule 1

Get things sent with post office. Ebay Greece shipments sent with post office will not be liable (at the time of writing) to broker charges.

Importing products with DHL for us, is a complete no-no for private individuals.

UPS. Slightly better than DHL but imports will have to be done in Athens in our experience, which might limit your broker options, if you are not in Athens.

Importing with products with TNT is better ie not as many charges are DHL, in our experience, but there will still be charges to pay to the customs broker.

In our experience, the best shipping company for ebay Greece imports (which is not the post office) is FedEx. Yes there are still charges to pay but in our experience they are much less than TNT and DHL.

If you don’t mind waiting a month for post office shipments to clear customs in Athens, post office is the way to go.

  • You will still pay Greek VAT,
  • You will pay an import duty (which will depend on the type of product, for car parts its usually around 3% of the invoice value) and
  • The post office will have their own charge which in our experience is around 17 Euro.

If you need something fast, then FedEx would be our choice and I would personally avoid DHL like the plague.

Rule 2

Assuming you have chosen the post office as your preferred way of getting your ebay Greece orders, then it is imperative that you get a tracking and signed for service.

I repeat, it is absolutely imperative that the ebay seller sends with post office and with recorded delivery which has tracking data.

It does not matter where your ebay Greece seller is based, it could be Bulgaria, it could be New Zealand, make sure the ebay seller sends with signature on delivery and the service has tracking information.

If in doubt, ask them before you make your order.

2 Reasons

Two reasons why you need recorded delivery with post office.

First is speed. Even if your ebay order is coming from somewhere close, if the parcel is not tracked/recorded it seems to go to the bottom of the pile when it comes to priority. A parcel could take over 6 weeks to arrive in Greece even if it is coming from the UK, if it even arrives…

Recorded delivery shipments with post office usually come in less than 4 weeks (if the parcel needs to go through customs, add another 4 weeks).

Second reason is accountability. If something were to happen with the parcel, there will be no room for misunderstandings with the ebay seller. You can both see what happened and where the parcel is. There is no way you can receive your parcel and the seller not know.

In short, if something goes wrong, it’s easier to get a refund.

Rule 3

If you are ordering from a country outside of the EU make sure the seller is not charging you VAT for their home country. There are new EU regulations saying that websites like ebay should start collecting EU VAT for orders being sent into the EU which is great.

But make sure the VAT you are paying the seller is for the EU VAT. You should not be paying VAT in a foreign country if the product or service you are buying is not being consumed there.

You do not want to find yourself in a situation where you have paid the VAT in Japan (for example) and when the ebay Greece order arrives in Athens, you have Greek customs asking for you to pay the Greek VAT as well!

You should only pay Greek VAT for products used in Greece.

Again, if you have any doubt about the price the seller is quoting, ask them if the price includes their local VAT.

The problem is here is that you have to take their word for it but there is not a lot we can do about this, we have to trust the seller. In a perfect world the seller would right on their ebay Greece listing “we do not charge VAT on export orders, if you are outside (our country) the price will be X% less”. Unfortunately, I have never see an ebay listing saying this.

Long story short, do as much as you can to make sure you are not paying VAT in a foreign country.

I hope these tips save you some money on your ebay Greece imports!

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