Secret Shopping & Research

We set about secret shopping from the biggest non UK sellers on All the sellers confirmed they were not VAT registered or couldn’t provide invoices with a VAT number that were not registered to them.

We researched several market sectors using an invaluable tool Terapeak to gauge the scale of the fraud; our findings left us dumbfounded. The illegal sellers were now dominating every market sector we researched and the sums involved quickly reached an eye watering £1billion VAT Fraud.

  • Mr Ree

    In 2013 I sent a comprehensive complaint to HMRC and PAC regarding Chinese traders using Amazon and eBay to sell goods and were in fact avoiding VAT and Duty payments on goods which they claim are cleared and tax paid, in some cases the goods were listed as being in the UK or EU mainland. However, this proved not to be the case as the goods were being shipped direct from China with the majority having false value and description declarations on the CN22s. Furthermore I found a leaked DHL spreadsheet online with the details of number suspect shippers whose accounts were suspended. I sent this a shortlist of 50 companies whose details overlapped and used multiple accounts on both sites to HMRC PAC, DHL eBay and Amazon.

    Furthermore as this VAT/Duty paid cllam is undervalued and or falsely declared, it was confirmed by HMRC, DHL and TNT that in fact in reality the customers are liable for the VAT, Duty and fines if any EU customs office decided to pursue.

    Here’s the crunch: Nothing has been done and if anything the issue is far worse than it has ever been. Moreover when you take into consideration that this is a mass Tax and Duty avoidance scheme, you would expect that the facilitators, eBay, PayPal and Amazon would be brought to task for aiding and abetting in tax fraud and money laundering. After all if I was to act as a broker for a cut in the sale of stolen goods or goods which vat and duty was avoided, if it were to come to light I would most certainly be arrested as being part of a conspiracy to commit an offence. Even if I stated that wasn’t aware the term reasonable due diligence would come up and ignorance is not a deference. So why are eBay PayPal and Amazon getting away with it.

    Something else to consider. Fraud is at a rate in the UK and is now running a a rate 5-6 time that of 2010. In fact Action Fraud is an absolute failure as the majority of time their response to a complaint is that it is a civil matter which the police have no remit at this stage with emphasis to combat being put into the hands of credit card companies banks and insurers. It explains a lot, there is no real appetite for pursuing fraudsters because it costs money to do so. In relation to the Amazon, eBay and PayPal issue Chinese tax fraudsters have a free hand as the government does not wish to disturb relations with a future partner in order to safeguard our exports into China.

    In the meantime these corporate facilitators also dodge tax and are in effect benefiting from and promoting criminal enterprise at the cost of legitimate EU business who pay duty and VAT while being undercut by those who don’t! Ironically leaving the EU will not have any effect other than reducing shared intelligence and cooperation in tackling this increasing damage to the UK economy, let alone the EU

    • Cristian Noguera

      As an entrepreneur, I would like to help those people to file the VAT in Europe. If you would like to help me, your research could be of much value. Thank you in advance for your kind answer.