The iPads/Tablets & eBook Readers category of eBay is one of the hottest selling categories on eBay.

  • £6,424,066 or 29,491 iPads were sold on in December 2014.
  • £3,283,941 or 58,461 Android Tablets were sold on in December 2014.

iPads & Android Tablets

iPads & Android tablets are two completely separate markets targeted by NETPs committing VAT Fraud.

iPads are branded goods and mostly sold by American and Hong Kong companies who can grey import iPads (& any branded product) much cheaper than they are available in the UK. Not charging 20% VAT on items that retail at £600 gives them a huge advantage over UK VAT registered companies. It give consumers “too good to be true” deals.

The Android tablets market is driven by low cost Chinese manufactured tablets. Shenzhen, the home to Foxcomm – the makers of the iPad – is also the home to almost every Android tablet sold on eBay by VAT evading Chinese sellers. Chinese sellers are able to source unbranded android tablets in China and sell them direct to UK customer without charging VAT.

Secret Shopping

We sent an email asking for a VAT receipt to each seller who didn’t display VAT numbers.

Every seller we emailed confirmed they were not VAT registered and could not provide VAT invoices.

iPad Market Share

Top 10 sellers of iPads on in December 2014:

Rank Username iPad Sales Estimated Annual Sales of all Products Country UK Stock Full Company Name VAT Registered
1 photodeals £357,297 £5,177,436 USA
2 e_cell £308,903 £1,939,116 UK
2 digilanduk £241,820 £2,085,012 UK PO Box
4 save-max £237,462 £2,163,612 Canada
5 photodirect £216,474 £9,025,109 UK PO Box
6 pixel_deals £170,482 £5,177,436 USA
7 simply_savings £142,783 £2,932,056.00 USA
8 eliteinnovations_uk £132,478 £1,7693,76 UK
9 argos_outlet £124,171 £36,000,000 UK
10 electronic-king-inc £124,171 £5,245,404 USA

There are only 3 UK VAT registered UK sellers in the top ten who account for 9% of total iPad sales on eBay.

7 of the top 10 sellers are NETP’s or fake UK companies who could not provide a VAT invoice when we requested one. They account for 23% of total iPad sales on eBay.

The 7 VAT evading sellers have combined total annual sales of just under £34,000,000 between them. That’s £5,666,667 a year in evaded VAT liability.

These sellers where reported to HMRC VAT fraud team in the Summer of 2014. It is beyond belief that HMRC have failed to take action against them yet.


Ironically, Argos (who ranked 9th on this table), have teamed up with eBay to provide in store “Click and Collect” services for their VAT evading competitors listed above. Customers can buy VAT free iPads on eBay and collect them direct from Argos stores. Perhaps not the best marketing ploy by Argos and eBay.

Android Tablet Market Share

Top 10 sellers of Android Tablets on in December 2014:

Rank Username Sales Country UK Stock Full Company Name VAT Registered
1 photodeals £228,290 USA
2 betty-mall £200,250 China
3 gerter12399 £166,633 UK Virtual Office
4 adhus786 £159,506 UK
5 uk_bargain_world £146,572 China
6 goodsales2088 £111,260 China
7 world-zonetrade £75,495 China
8 mx_digital £65,474 UK
9 smartmall2011 £62,111 China
10 supertrade4you £60,756 China

There is only one real UK based VAT registered seller that is complying to EU Distant Selling Regulations who accounts for 2% of sales.

This market has been taken over by Chinese and Fake UK Sellers; non of which are displaying company names or VAT numbers. The 9 Sellers with no Company name or VAT numbers account for 37% of total sales.

Welcome to eBay UK China…