Image: eBay.

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I do so in the hope that ATG, in making this matter public, will help stop it happening and protect eBay users who purchase and import antique items from outside the UK.

When I have tried to get eBay to stop, they have told me that the excess money will be refunded, but, so far, it never has. Making contact with anyone in eBay is, anyway, almost impossible.

Add to this the postal charges that the eBay system seems to generate almost at random, and an item of ephemera such as a billhead clearly dated 1870 and bought with a bid of £12 can end up costing nearly £40.

David Penney

ATG contacted eBay and a spokesperson replied:

“Our tax calculation system has been set up to ensure that the correct rate of VAT should be applied to antique and collectable items as permitted by the UK legislation.

“However, the complexity of our global market and the wide variety of categories in which antiques may be sold means that in rare instances this is not always possible. If this happens, we encourage users to contact us and we will review and, where appropriate, refund the difference.”