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Vasu
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Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:26 am

I always wondered why you have to scan your boarding pass at airport shops when you make a purchase...

Today I found out! Apparently the shop gets to claim back the tax (but not pass the saving onto you) if you're flying to a tax-exempt destination (ie EU country to non-EU).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33873725

It made me wonder... do you have to scan your boarding pass all over the world? Or just certain countries?
 
kdhurst380
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:50 am

I've never had to do it anywhere but in the UK, so it's most definitely a VAT ploy and nothing else. I've read some worrying stories about people getting wise to the practice and refusing, to be then told they can't be sold the goods, it's a legal requirement, it's for security purposes etc.

HMRC have acknowledged that it is down to individual store policy and there is no legal obligation for passengers to present boarding passes, it's a data collection excercise.

I read a comment in a publication yesterday (can't remember where, sorry) from someone who refused to hand their BP over, airport security were apparently summoned and told the passenger that it was to ensure that the passenger hadn't entered the airport illegally (security in the UK is done centrally rather than at gate, so if you've managed to bypass a BP check AND security screening, then the airport has serious issues) and that the airport police would be called on suspicion of terrorism offences amongst other things. Utter madness. Scaremongering the public to boost profits.

There's a similar thread on a frequent flyer forum, at LHR the security bods have an awful habit of making passengers scan their BP's at points down the security queue for the purposes of falsifying queue times so as to avoid CAA fines for failing to meet service quality targets.

It's all a scam!




[Edited 2015-08-12 02:10:16]
 
jumpjets
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:16 am

Quoting Vasu (Thread starter):
Today I found out! Apparently the shop gets to claim back the tax (but not pass the saving onto you) if you're flying to a tax-exempt destination (ie EU country to non-EU).
Quoting kdhurst380 (Reply 1):
I've never had to do it anywhere but in the UK, so it's most definitely a VAT ploy and nothing else
Quoting kdhurst380 (Reply 1):
It's all a scam!

Perhaps the fact that they can reclaim tax is factored into the airport pricing structure and if they couldnt get it back then possibly prices would be higher. So not necessarily a scam. Also I don't think it is limited to the UK - I certainly had mine scanned in Ercan/Nicosia [North Cyrpus] recently.

Though thinking about it maybe it was just inspected and not scanned at the duty free shop in Ercan.

[Edited 2015-08-12 02:30:16]

[Edited 2015-08-12 02:30:44]
 
qf340500
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:40 am

It happens all the time here in Asia. In HKG, SIN, HKT, BKK, DPS etc... not one asks why and no one has problem with it...
If its just a matter of collecting data.. well, all the data are collected anyway if you are flying, so what's the worry about another data collection?
I would be worried more about the growing CCTV madness everywhere, but that's off topic.
 
kdhurst380
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:24 am

Quoting qf340500 (Reply 3):
It happens all the time here in Asia. In HKG, SIN, HKT, BKK, DPS etc... not one asks why and no one has problem with it...
If its just a matter of collecting data.. well, all the data are collected anyway if you are flying, so what's the worry about another data collection?
I would be worried more about the growing CCTV madness everywhere, but that's off topic.

It's not the data collection that's the issue, in the UK many products are taxed (VAT) at 20%, the purpose of this data collection is to allow retailers to report to HM Revenue & Customs that passengers are travelling outside the EU and therefore are not subject to VAT - this is completely true - HOWEVER, the retailers are pocketing the change, whereas the VAT exemption is intended to make it cheaper for the traveller.

It's unfortunately not (currently) legislated against, so the retailers can pocket the change if they want to, and do because it's an easy way to boost profits, but that doesn't make it the right thing to do and to actually threaten passengers and/or make it difficult to make purchases without presenting a BP is, in my opinion out of order.

If you ask me, it should be illegal in itself to use reasons such as Terrorism Act, security reasons etc, because it has absolutely jack all to do with that - it's blatant lying to the consumer and using made up 'offences' against the law as a way to hide behind and justify their lies.

It's not on.

[Edited 2015-08-12 04:28:07]
 
bennett123
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:24 pm

Best approach is to complete feedback. Card and say "as a result of this scam, I have stopped buying in your shops".

Keen to see how soon things would change if sales drop.
 
jumpjet
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:30 pm

I'm so looking forward to it next time I fly and when I'm asked for my boarding card in the airside shops, I'm going to decline. If they won't let me buy whatever it is I'm after without it, then I'll put it back on the shelf and they can do without my business. I'm not going to make a huge difference, but, boy, will I feel good about it!
 
Eurohub
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:33 pm

Quoting kdhurst380 (Reply 4):
If you ask me, it should be illegal in itself to use reasons such as Terrorism Act, security reasons etc, because it has absolutely jack all to do with that - it's blatant lying to the consumer and using made up 'offences' against the law as a way to hide behind and justify their lies.

To be fair to the employees who are peddling these lies to the customers, it is likely that they have been told to insist on seeing the boarding pass "for security reasons" because the retailers will know that the truth is less palatable and they don't want their front-line staff tied up explaining the real reasons.

However, now that genie is out of the bottle, I suspect we'll see retailers taking a different approach but I don't expect them to start discounting their sales to pax travelling outside of the EU and nor do I think that they should do either.

Regards,
Eurohub
Forget A vs B - Give me E or BAe any day of the week!
 
skipness1E
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:38 pm

"Oh crikey my wife has the boarding card, terribly sorry."
Works ever time.
 
cloudboy
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:00 pm

So then, can you not turn around and ask for the VAT amount back? I would think that would be the best option.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
skipness1E
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:30 pm

Quoting cloudboy (Reply 9):
So then, can you not turn around and ask for the VAT amount back? I would think that would be the best option.

To a mono-syllabic minimum wageroo who really doesn't want to be there? Not a hope in Hell.
 
czek6
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:31 pm

Two things....some shops post two different prices, a lower one for duty free sales and a higher one for other passengers. Perhaps scanning the boarding pass triggers the correct prices eligible pricing. By declining to scan the boarindg pass, I suppose your default price will be the higher of the two. If they allow the sale to proceed.

Also, some flights do not allow liquids purchased at the airport to be brought on board due to security reaons. The duty free shop, or example, probably knows not to sell liquor to passengers on certain US bound flights to avoid the hassle of returns when the liquor cant board as carryon.

Lastly, I dont understand why some people are going to argue with or hassle the sales clerk. What is the point of that?
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:53 pm

Quoting Eurohub (Reply 7):
but I don't expect them to start discounting their sales to pax travelling outside of the EU and nor do I think that they should do either.

I have to disagree on this, VAT is an acronym for Value Added Tax. The government specify the % for each and every product. If, as in the case of passengers travelling outside the EU, the scanning of a boarding pass removes the need for the retailer to take this payment on behalf of the Govt, it is morally indefensible to still make this charge to the customer.

This is the first time ever that I've found myself liking the US system where the shelf price is net of tax, and the applicable tax is added at the checkout.
 
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winterlight
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:01 pm

Avoid the shops in the first place. I would rather go hungry than pay their extortionate prices.
Question everything. Trust no-one.
 
402679
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:08 pm

In Brazil you always have to present your boarding pass. I've always thought it was for eligibility purposes. For instance if someone who works airside wants to buy something "duty free", then he would be able to do it unless he was obliged to show a bp.
 
Curiousflyer
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:16 pm

I am surprised by this. For me the shops that want your boarding pass are the duty free shops. The price they make you pay is exempt of VAT (Europe) or sales tax (US). So they don't pocket the tax, you do not pay it and your BP is the proof you actually left the country with the goods. There might be exceptions but usually I am asked for my BP if I buy an exempt good for export. When I buy something not exempt like a magazine at the newsstand or not for export such as a meal in an airside restaurant, no BP is needed.

Where is the scam?

On the other hand I agree that goods you buy airside are often so overpriced that it is a better idea to buy them anywhere else and pay tax.
 
SJCMSP
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:23 pm

This may be different, but once in CLT they had the liquor/tobacco section of the duty free shop closed off to anyone who didn't have an international boarding pass. Why do they do that?
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:30 pm

Quoting Curiousflyer (Reply 15):
I am surprised by this. For me the shops that want your boarding pass are the duty free shops. The price they make you pay is exempt of VAT (Europe) or sales tax (US). So they don't pocket the tax,

Here in the UK the shop has one price on the shelf, at the checkout they ask for your boarding pass. if your flight is within the EU they charge you the shelf price and pass 20% of it to the Govt. If however your flight is to a destination out of the UK, they pick this up from the boarding card, still charge you the shelf price and then keep the VAT themselves as there is no requirement to pass it on.
 
Ned Kelly
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:35 pm

They also scan your boarding pass at airports in Turkey, Kazakhstan & Abu Dhabi.

This is a subject that has really peed me off for the past few years when travelling.

Quoting czek6 (Reply 11):
Two things....some shops post two different prices, a lower one for duty free sales and a higher one for other passengers. Perhaps scanning the boarding pass triggers the correct prices eligible pricing. By declining to scan the boarindg pass, I suppose your default price will be the higher of the two. If they allow the sale to proceed.

But this is where the problem lies in UK airports, they don't have two different prices for all goods, some goods will show two prices but many would not, mainly the smaller items. The majority of all goods sold in the UK have 20% VAT added to them. If you are purchasing goods at a UK airport and are flying to another EU country then the 20% VAT is payable by the customer and is included in the sale price. The retailer then forwards this 20% tax that has been paid by you to the UK treasury. However, if you are flying to a non EU country, then the goods that you are purchasing at the airport are in theory exempt from the 20% VAT. The shop scans the boarding card so that they can see which passengers are travelling to outside the EU, and the shop then keeps the 20% VAT that you have paid for itself and is therefore not declared on their VAT returns.

I was flying through London Stansted to Istanbul about six months ago and saw in the duty free shop a special offer of two 1lt bottles of selected spirits for £22. I asked the man at the checkout, is this an EU or non EU price & he replied that the price was the same. I asked why was I being charged 20% VAT to which he didn't reply. Another way of putting it, passengers buying these same goods and flying to the EU were effectively getting the two bottles 20% cheaper than I was. By all means refuse to show your boarding card if you are flying within the EU, but if you are purchasing any goods which clearly have a separate EU & Non EU price, then you will probably need to show your boarding pass to qualify for the lower price as proff that the goods you are purchasing are being exported outside the EU.

There is also 'Duty' tax that is added to many goods like Tabaco & Spirits which should in theory be 'Duty Free' (hence the original shops name in airports) if being exported. Some cigarettes you may see will have a sticker showing for export only as no duty has been charged when leaving the manufacturers.

That's my understanding but feel free to add.
 
Ned Kelly
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:36 pm

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 17):
Here in the UK the shop has one price on the shelf, at the checkout they ask for your boarding pass. if your flight is within the EU they charge you the shelf price and pass 20% of it to the Govt. If however your flight is to a destination out of the UK, they pick this up from the boarding card, still charge you the shelf price and then keep the VAT themselves as there is no requirement to pass it on.

Our posts must have crossed. You put it much simpler than I did and in much fewer words.  
 
ckfred
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:08 pm

We just got back from Europe for vacation, which involved flying into and out of LHR.

In reading guidebooks on Europe, I was under the impression that it was the consumer and not the retailer who could claim the VAT. That's why guidebooks suggest trying to limit the number of stores that a tourist shops, because there may be a threshold before getting a VAT refund.

So, instead of buying a small item at Selfridge's, another small item at Marks and Spencer, and yet another small item at Harrod's, simply shop at one store. That way, the shopper meets the minimum amount of spending to claim the VAT.

Further, at least in Norway and Iceland, a non-EU shopper can't get the VAT back for the purchase of food and beverage items, since the expectation is that food will be consumed shortly after purchase.

The fact that retailers at LHR can get the VAT refunded on purchases by non-EU residents sort of goes against what the guidebooks and retailers say.

At LHR, my wife and son went into a WH Smith to buy candy (the kinds you can't get in the U.S.), and the cashier asked to see her passport. (The article in the London Telegraph says that airport retailers ask to see passports and not boarding passes.) My wife said that I had the passports and was outside the store. The cashier said it was no problem.

I just assumed that this was some sort of security control.

As for the U.S., if you buy an item, food or otherwise, at a store, you have to pay sales tax, no matter whether or not you live in the city, state, or country.

Technically, most states want items bought via mail order or the Internet to include sales taxes, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a retailer only has to collect sales tax for states in which it has a physical presence.

So, when L.L. Bean, the Maine catalog store, opened its first store in Illinois, it had to start collecting Illinois sales tax for orders via the phone, mail, and Internet to ship anywhere in Illinois. About the only way around this is to have the store ship the item home. So, if a person walked into the L.L. Bean flagship store in Portland, Maine and had the item shipped to his home, assuming that it was outside the U.S. or in a state where Bean has no retail stores, then Bean would not charge Maine sales tax.

Certainly, I've never been asked for a boarding pass or form of ID while shopping or dining at a U.S. airport, with the possible exception of verification for using a credit card. But, that is to insure my identity as the credit card holder and not for airport security.
 
Ned Kelly
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:16 pm

Quoting ckfred (Reply 20):
In reading guidebooks on Europe, I was under the impression that it was the consumer and not the retailer who could claim the VAT. That's why guidebooks suggest trying to limit the number of stores that a tourist shops, because there may be a threshold before getting a VAT refund.
Quoting ckfred (Reply 20):
The fact that retailers at LHR can get the VAT refunded on purchases by non-EU residents sort of goes against what the guidebooks and retailers say.


The books may be referring to goods purchased on a high street in the UK rather than in a duty free zone. Usually the purchaser will pay the VAT and then claim it back upon leaving the EU.


The shops are not claiming any VAT back because the VAT was not paid to the government in the first place. The shops knew the goods were exempt from VAT as they were being exported outside the EU and therefore the shop is keeping 100% of the sale price.

For example:

Purchase price at till for passenger flying to EU = £12.

20% VAT declared by shop and £2 paid to government. Shop keeps = £10.


Purchase price at till for passenger flying to NON EU = £12.

0% VAT declared and £0 paid to government. Shop keeps £12.

Therefore the shop makes an additional £2 or 20% profit.
 
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novak500
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:58 pm

Quoting bennett123 (Reply 5):
Best approach is to complete feedback. Card and say "as a result of this scam, I have stopped buying in your shops".

        

Consumers have more power than retailer want us to believe.
 
G-CIVP
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:40 pm

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 17):

Here in the UK the shop has one price on the shelf, at the checkout they ask for your boarding pass. if your flight is within the EU they charge you the shelf price and pass 20% of it to the Govt. If however your flight is to a destination out of the UK, they pick this up from the boarding card, still charge you the shelf price and then keep the VAT themselves as there is no requirement to pass it on.

Bang on. I'm not bothered by it. Actually if the customer refuses to show their boarding pass but still wishes to purchase the goods, under the law in England & Wales, the retailer is not obliged to sell you the goods. I thought I'd just throw that one in for good measure!
 
Jetstar315
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:37 am

At Melbourne, Australia (so I guess other Australian cities too) anything you buy landslide (i.e.in the check-in area) has the standard 10% GST built into the cost. Anything you buy in the stores airside (i.e. after having cleared customs) does not have the GST added/built in. Also if you do not live in Australia and you purchase $300 or more of goods in one transaction in Australia while visiting, you can claim that 10% tax back at the airport on the day of departure. Sounds to me like our system is quite fair compared to others.
 
ckfred
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:33 am

Quoting Ned Kelly (Reply 21):
The books may be referring to goods purchased on a high street in the UK rather than in a duty free zone. Usually the purchaser will pay the VAT and then claim it back upon leaving the EU.


The shops are not claiming any VAT back because the VAT was not paid to the government in the first place. The shops knew the goods were exempt from VAT as they were being exported outside the EU and therefore the shop is keeping 100% of the sale price.

For example:

Purchase price at till for passenger flying to EU = £12.

20% VAT declared by shop and £2 paid to government. Shop keeps = £10.


Purchase price at till for passenger flying to NON EU = £12.

0% VAT declared and £0 paid to government. Shop keeps £12.

Therefore the shop makes an additional £2 or 20% profit.

This is what gets confusing. In the U.S, if you purchase something in the duty-free shop, such as perfume, alcohol, or other expensive goods, then there is no tax, state sales tax or otherwise, assuming that you are booked for a flight leaving the U.S.. But, the purchased item is then delivered to the airplane.

Walk into a W.H. Smith to buy candy, a magazine, or a book, and you pay sales tax (in Chicago, with the County Board increasing its sales tax, between city, county, mass transit, and the state, it's 10%). It makes no difference if you are flying to LGA or LGW.

It should be that at LHR, if you walk into a W.H. Smith or a Boots, you should pay UK VAT, whether you are flying to MAN, VIE, JFK, or SIN. It's only if you walk into the duty-free shop that goods should be tax free.
 
RIXrat
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:17 am

Not all retailers try to gouge you at the airport. While living in Latvia several years ago before the country was let into the EU, you could actually buy real duty-free items. I remember one time while waiting for a connection in CPH I saw a sale at the men's clothing store Kaufmanns. They had men's thick leather coats with zip out fur linings for 50% off, plus another 22% off from VAT. They did all the figuring, although they took a copy of my passport. I've dealt with this clothier a number of times and it was all good.
 
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Aesma
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:47 am

Quoting ckfred (Reply 25):
It should be that at LHR, if you walk into a W.H. Smith or a Boots, you should pay UK VAT, whether you are flying to MAN, VIE, JFK, or SIN. It's only if you walk into the duty-free shop that goods should be tax free.

That's debatable, but I agree that tax should be paid, if not where purchased then when you get back to your country.

I don't like shopping, so duty free doesn't really matters to me, especially considering the prices are usually so inflated there is no benefit.

Leaving France you can get a VAT refund, considering you should also have to pay taxes when getting home (especially if you have splurged on luxury goods, electronics etc.).
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
Toni_
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:13 am

Quoting geoshina (Reply 14):
In Brazil you always have to present your boarding pass. I've always thought it was for eligibility purposes. For instance if someone who works airside wants to buy something "duty free", then he would be able to do it unless he was obliged to show a bp.

That must be one of the additional reasons. I remember hearing stories from the old days where workers used to buy cigs at the duty free shop during their lunch break. The good ol' (duty) free loading 80's and 90's.   
 
richcandy
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:27 am

Hi

Part of the issue I guess is that we have EU and non-EU flights departing from the sale terminals.

How big an issue is this?

example

WH Smiths
-There is no vat paid on books, magazine, newspapers, kids colouring books etc
-Lots of cold food is zero rated for vat. However chocolate and sweets are charged at 20%
-WH Smith sell pens, note pads and gifts and things so there is going to be vat on those

Boots
-A lot of medical products are zero rate for vat
-Sun cream and cosmetics things like that will be chargeable for vat.

I guess this is more of an issue on things like aftershave, whiskey etc.

Alex
 
kdhurst380
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:06 am

Quoting G-CIVP (Reply 23):

Bang on. I'm not bothered by it. Actually if the customer refuses to show their boarding pass but still wishes to purchase the goods, under the law in England & Wales, the retailer is not obliged to sell you the goods. I thought I'd just throw that one in for good measure!

Just to clarify though, the law actually allows retailers to revoke a customers invitation to shop, but this could be for any reason and is not specifically linked to the refusal to show boarding passes. I've done it a few times (not in an airport) when a customers behaviour has become unacceptable. Contrary to popular belief, shops are private property and refusing to leave after you have been asked to (revoking the invitation) is illegal... but anyway!

A few retailers in light of this media coverage have 'reminded' shop staff of policies that have always been in place, that showing boarding passes should be requested but not demanded. If there was one thing I learnt in my time in retail, it was that managers were often terribly unfamiliar with a lot of policies and correct procedures, which ultimately leads to the front line staff getting it wrong.
 
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lapper
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:08 am

The important point is that you do not have to show your boarding pass except if you are making a purchase in one of the duty free shops. These shops do carry dual pricing and need to be able to identify where you're travelling to in order to know which price to charge. The likes of Boots, W H Smith etc carry a flat pricing system and say it's too complicated to run a dual price.
 
offloaded
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:04 pm

I saw this on BBC News last night, having chosen Liverpool airport for the usual indignant travellers faces to put on TV. As 90% of flights out of LPL are intra-EU, it did seem of a poor choice of airport.

Yes, keeping the VAT is a fiddle, almost a big a fiddle as having DUTY FREE signs up all over the place, despite "duty free" as we know it mostly disappeared in the EU in the 90s.

Quoting skipness1E (Reply 8):
"Oh crikey my wife has the boarding card, terribly sorry."
Works ever time.

Ditto.
To no one will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice - Magna Carta, 1215
 
Lofty
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:13 pm

Today's press is covering this subject big time.

Boots have with immediate effect stopped swiping boarding cards so will be required to pay to HM Government the VAT on all items sold that have it, even if going outside the EU.

WH Smith are looking into it as they say their systems are not set-up so will need changing.

All other retailers have refused to comment!
 
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winterlight
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:23 pm

Boots are American-owned now so I try to avoid them anyway.
Question everything. Trust no-one.
 
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XAM2175
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:29 pm

There was a retailer at LHR who sold me a pair of headphones and didn't check my boarding pass at all... but yet the receipt tells me they did and that it said I was travelling on AA to somewhere like PHL.

Yet I distinctly remember boarding QF10 to MEL. Huh. Must be an honest mistake  
 
glbltrvlr
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RE: Scanning Your BP At Airport Shops

Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:06 am

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