Why We Stopped Shipping to the UK & EU

{Post Script: Please note that we’ve finally found some reasonable solutions to the shipping problems described below to the UK, the EU, & the South Pacific as well as to reduce the impact of the announced USPS slowdowns during the holidays! We’re SO relieved both for us and our customers! Go here to find out morehttps://bit.ly/SKDshipwin }


Along with everything else that’s happened in the past 18 months, we’ve also had to discontinue shipping to our many loyal customers in the UK and then to our entire EU community! Both decisions were REALLY tough but were ones we felt we had no choice but to make! Here’s what’s transpired….

It all started on January 1, 2021 to coincide with the official date of Brexit. On that day it was announced that all goods imported to England, Scotland, and Wales would face the new VAT (aka Value-Added Tax). Under the new system, sellers would now have to pay the VAT instead of recipients in the UK. The due date to pay these taxes would also move from the point of importation to the point of sale, and additionally all sellers would be required to register and account for the VAT to the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs Department (wherever that is!). So best I can tell, we would have to totally rework our website in order to collect these fees and have a record of them, then send the VAT payments to the good folks in the UK and I have yet to figure out where I would have to file the return and where it would need to be sent!

Then, not to be outdone…

The EU decided to follow suit, only they additionally opted to make things extra interesting by allowing each individual country to decide how they would like to receive the VAT fees AND how much VAT they would like to collect? In other words, every country in the EU could set their own rules and would be paid individually.

Sound confusing? You bet it is!

The only other option is to send our packages Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU): This option would require our having the recipient’s email or phone number, an accurate product description and a HS Code (whatever that is) included on the customs form. The downside to shipping orders using DDU is that if the buyer decides NOT to pay the VAT at the shopping cart, then they MUST pay the fees before they can receive their product at the border. The problem with that, is that the buyer could get “buyer’s remorse” due to those high VAT fees required to receive their product and then decide to abandon the order, asking for a full refund, and leaving us with no option of reclaiming our shipment. (and this has actually happened to us several times before all of these new rules).

So is it any wonder that we decided we weren’t up to complying with these new regulations?

It was with great regret that we felt that we had no choice but to abandon some of our most loyal customers. We miss you and we wish there was a way we could still do business with you. 🙁 It’s probably no problem for larger corporations with large legal staffs to comply with these complicated new regulations, but for a small company like ours, it’s just too scary & overwhelming. Our best suggestion for our friends in the UK and the EU who want to continue having access to our products is that they ask their local Quilt Store to start stocking the patterns they are interested in, because the rules applying to wholesale buyers are WAY easier to comply with in comparison to those involving retail buyers

And now, it’s YOUR turn!

If you have questions or comments regarding the collection of VAT taxes, especially if you are one of UK or EU customers, please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below, (although there’s no guarantee I can answer them…(I’ll do my best) 🙂

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  1. Lillian Conti on September 6, 2021 at 8:27 am

    So Sad for your customers!

    • Kat on September 6, 2021 at 9:51 am

      I totally agree. I feel like we left them high and dry! 🙁

  2. Lori Starl on September 6, 2021 at 9:02 am

    I can definitely relate. My husband and I own a business that makes custom suspensions for motorcycles and we ship internationally. The extra headaches caused by government paperwork are terrible. I am familiar with hs codes (harmonized commodity code), it is coding for items that are recognized in international trade. I have spent a little bit of time looking at relevant codes for your items. The patterns are 6307.90.9996, zippers 9607.19.0000, cotton fabric 5208.49.000. I am having a bit of difficulty finding the code for the bag hardware, I just need to find the correct terminology.

    We ship duty collect to all of our international customers (business & individual), no refunds if they decide not to pay the duties when due. Most of our customers have to pay VAT taxes on almost all purchases and they should be aware of this when they place their order.

    Love your purses.

    • Lori Stark on September 6, 2021 at 9:09 am

      Typo – My name is Lori Stark 🙂

    • Kat on September 6, 2021 at 9:53 am

      well thank you Lori. That is SO helpful! We may try that… in a bit! 🙂

      • Lori Stark on September 6, 2021 at 11:55 am

        When and if you are ready to try again I am willing to help you figure it out. I had to learn otherwise we would loose a major portion of our business.

        • Kat on September 6, 2021 at 12:58 pm

          I really appreciate it. Thank you! I’ll be back in touch!

  3. Beth on September 6, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    Oh my goodness! What a shame! That’s really nice of Lori Stark to offer help. Her idea of not allowing a refund if the customer refuses to pay the added duty is brilliant! Good luck with all this if you decide to try it later. I hope you can just add on to your existing website to make the new rules clear to your overseas customers.

    • Kat on September 6, 2021 at 5:40 pm

      me too Beth! 🙂

  4. Sonja on September 30, 2021 at 2:32 am

    I am from Switzerland and so sad about it. I agree that it is to much trouble that you handle the VAT and with every country in a different way.
    I buy quite often from shops like yours Kat, especially since we don’t get those products in Switzerland. I fear that there are now a lot of things, I just can’t buy anymore. ;-(
    Even with bigger companies: the market in Switzerland is just not big enough, so they stopped selling to us.

    The trouble with our local Quilt Shops: there are only very few of them and they have a very narrow selection of things they sell, including fabric – because they either get it very late or not at all. That was the reason for me to order it directly

    I have no problem to pay the VAT, it’s just that I want to be able to place orders and get the things you and other artists offer.

    I really hope that there will be solutions to this mess!

    • Kat on September 30, 2021 at 5:04 am

      I do too Sonja. I have found that I can ship things “duty free”, but in doing so via US Mail I need to have somekind of VAT account and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get that account. I can use other shippers, but they are SO expensive. but I will contiue to do my research. 🙂

  5. Sylvia Turner on October 1, 2021 at 2:18 am

    I am more than happy to pay all that is due before I receive any package from you, I will miss the opportunity to purchase patterns and your lovely zips. Please continue to try and help us, in the United Kingdom, or find a supplier willing to stock your patterns that can post to us. If we want one of your unique patterns we are more than willing to pay any costs. Is there any possibility of making any in pdf form? It is going to hurt getting your newsletters without the opportunity to purchase from you.

    • Kat on October 1, 2021 at 11:11 am

      Thanks for writing Sylvia — I am continuing to work as hard as possible to find a way to ship to Europe and the UK once again. Hoping this will be possible but there’s a LOT of moving parts.