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UK VAT on Item Ordered in Person; Delivered to U.S.

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Hello, this is my first post here.
Last fall, we visited London and found ourselves in a chain bridal shop shortly after my daughter's engagement was announced. She fell in love with a dress there and ordered it in her size to be shipped at our expense to our home in California.

Bridal gowns have to be ordered and paid in full when ordering; they're almost never ready to wear. The bridal shop charged us VAT and said we could get a refund when the dress was sent to us. The shop is now telling us they have no idea how we get the VAT refund. The VAT is a substantial amount, over $500 U.S. for all the goods with the dress.
Can anyone advise how we should proceed?

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