I have purchased a few small LED lights recently, from two different sites. Interestingly, both are offering these "VAT free" for a limited time.
It does puzzle me - why this "VAT free" incentive on two apparently different web sites. I guess it could be some tax incentive, but if that is the case why do both sites insist that you enter a discount code to get the incentive. Surely it would simply be selling items with no VAT, simple?
One site said they would pay the VAT :-
When I ordered they showed a reasonably sensible looking order confirmation :-
The second site (as these 1.5W bulbs are too dim, apparently) was slightly different. For a start they say "save 20%" :-
Well, taking VAT off is a saving of 16⅔% and not a saving of 20%. The actual discount is indeed only 16⅔% so they are lying. But when you get the order confirmation it gets even more messy :-
Both sites list the discounted prices on the site, and the second told me that they list VAT exclusive prices on the site (which is wrong for a consumer site). Listing a price and saying "save 20%" one would expect 20% off the listed price. In fact, at checkout, it is the higher price, and then you get 16⅔% off when entering the discount code. Second site has been reported to trading standards.
How do these people not have a massive VAT inspection?
Update: Second site have agreed to update their banner!