Are you revolting ? Against VAT fiddle at UK Airports that is!

I mentioned in a post a few days ago that some retailers at UK airports are not offering passengers a fully tax and duty-free shopping experience. Indeed Heathrow’s adverts on London buses contains the famous symbol – * – which seems always to mean that whatever the headline might be, there are exceptions. Heathrow notes in the adverts that Dixons, WH Smith and Boots do not offer tax free prices at Heathrow.

Fast forward to the weekend when one of the UK’s newspapers picked up the fact that even these retailers are asking for your boarding pass when you shop there.

Well guess what happens if you are travelling outside the EU?

The retailer claims back the VAT (up to 20%) and simply keeps it.

Dixons promises that their airport prices are cheaper than in the High Street but this can be as little as a discount of a £1, whilst they recover the VAT.

So it seems that passengers are getting annoyed with this and are refusing to show their boarding passes at these retailers thereby denying them the claim. Bearing in mind that in the past shops have simply made up flight numbers when I didn’t have my boarding pass, I wonder if this revolt will thwart the retailers.

I am going abroad next week so I am going to give this a go! Wish me well.

Heathrow Terminal 5



  1. I originally wrote about this on my blog back in November last year although my focus was on the inconvenience of having to retrieve and show a boarding pass when buying a sandwich.
    At the time I wrote to Boots and asked them to confirm that I could decline to show my boarding pass – they replied that I was within my rights not to show the pass and I’ve been refusing every week when I fly since that date. There was one time when a lady at Boots LHR T3 was a bit funny with me, but apart from that all the staff were okay. If you’d like to read the Boots letter in full then it is here

Comments are closed.