8 Apr, 2021 @ 18:00
1 min read

BREXIT: Brit in Spain slams “exorbitant” charges on birthday gift package sent by mum from UK

Brexit post packages tax
Brexit post packages tax

THERE are so many ways that Brexit has impacted the lives of British nationals in Spain from limiting second home owners to a maximum 90 days in Spain to extra bureaucracy involved in applying for residency and exchanging driving licence.

But it came as a horrible shock to one British woman living in Madrid to discover that Brexit had even ruined the experience of receiving a birthday gift from her mother in London.

Jemima Austerfield was stunned when a postal worker arrived at her door on Thursday demanding a cash payment of €40.77 in exchange for a beaten up package smaller than a shoe box.

Inside the brown paper parcel were wrapped up gifts from her mother.

Whatsapp Image 2021 04 08 At 5.28.32 Pm
Jemima Austerfield outside her home in Madrid with the package that she had to pay €40 to receive.

“My mother sent the packet over ten weeks ago in the hope that the gifts would arrive in time for my birthday on February 6 paying just over £40 to send it in the first place,” she told The Olive Press.

But after several weeks the box arrived back in London with a note in Spanish saying they had been unable to deliver it in Madrid, presumably because no-one had been at home to pay the fee on arrival.

“My mother had to pay 30 quid to collect the package from the post office in the UK and then to pay again to resend it,” Austerfield explained.

It means that a total of €150 was spent in order for Austerfield to receive the package, close to double the value of the contents within. “The fees are exorbitant! It’s totally outrageous.”

Under new rules that came in with the end of the transition period on January 1, all parcels, whether commercial or private, are required to have customs declaration forms and may be subject to extra import taxes even if they are gifts.

For packages being sent from the UK to countries within the EU, the rules now state that a CN22 or CN23 form is required to be displayed on the outside of the package as well as details of sender and recipient.

This must include a description of the contents stuck on the package, which does somewhat remove the element of surprise.

“To add insult to injury the season has now changed in the time it took the package to arrive,” explained Austerfield, who has lived in Spain for more than 20 years.

“It was lovely to finally get my birthday gifts but they included a pair of winter gloves that would have been great in early February but are utterly useless now warm weather has arrived.”  


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.

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