“VAT Refund Disaster at London Heathrow Airport”
Los Angeles, California
Feb 04, 2014, 4:11 PM
I recently traveled to London & Paris. I knew about the VAT refund scheme for non EU tourists and happily did a bit of shopping in Paris. Little did I know, I would be caught up in a VAT refund disaster.
I purchased items from Chanel & Louis Vuitton and had them provide me with the appropriate VAT refund forms. I then left Paris by train to London via Gare du Nord. I asked an attendant at Gare du Nord where to file my VAT refund and was told they don't do that at the train station. Since my point of departure from the EU back to the US would be at London Heathrow Airport, they told me to get my forms processed there.
Fast forward to my arrival at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 1. I asked an attendant where to get my VAT forms processed and he directed me to a desk. I don't recall what sort of desk it was, perhaps
a Travellex desk? Anyways, it seemed like I was in the right place because the couple in line ahead of me also had VAT papers in hand. I get to the front window and show the attendant my receipts and forms. I vaguely recall he asked me, "Did you get your forms stamped in Paris?" to which I replied that I was told to get them stamped in London. Anyways, the attendant processed my forms for me, asked me how I would like my refund (I said credit card), gave me back my store recipts and copy of VAT forms, and kept the forms that were to be mailed. He said everything was good to go and that I would get my refund within 3 weeks.
Fast forward a month later, I inquired about the status of my Louis Vuitton refund and was told my VAT forms were REJECTED due to a missing customs stamp! I am very confused as to how this could have happened? I'm still waiting to hear back from the Chanel tax people.
Has this happened to anyone else??