Advice needed re: VAT refund

Old Nov 24th, 2007, 01:44 PM
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Advice needed re: VAT refund

I purchased an item while in France, filled out the paperwork, had it stamped and returned to vendor. He promised to credit my VISA card which I used for the original purchase. I just had a letter where the vendor states: "My bank tells me that I cannot credit your VISA account. You must open a PayPal account and then I can credit your PayPal account with mine. Or if you want you can send me your IBAN account."

I don't particularly want to open a PayPal account and I have no clue what an IBAN account is.

Could someone elucidate or give me some ideas? Thank you so much.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 01:56 PM
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Oh dear...you weren't supposed to return the form to the vendor. There's a VAT refund office at the airport, where you're supposed to show your goods, get the proper stamp from customs, and then drop the envelope in the proper collection box. Then you get a refund in whatever form of payment you selected a few weeks later.

I'm not liking this story. Perhaps others have more experience in this.

I hope your VAT refund wasn't a lot of money.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 02:02 PM
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No, you don't return it to the vendor. After Customs stamps your paperwork, you drop it in a mailbox at the airport. You will either get credit on your card or if you request, you can get cash there at the airport.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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I am also confused - why is the vendor involved? You normally post the forms from the airport to an processing agency who credits your acct.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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mcnyc - I think Tressa might have done the correct thing. The form was stamped (by the customs desk at the airport, I assume), and then returned to the vendor (by dropping the envelope in the mail box at the airport).

Tereesa, I would ask the vendor for a check made out to you in Euros, which you can cash at your bank. I've done that before and it was converted to $$.

You might call the bank that issued your Visa and ask them why they won't accept a credit. I've done that route also.

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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Unless things have changed, the vendor refunds the VAT. On the check we received in Euros (actually it was in Francs), the check was issued by the vendor - although that was about 8 years ago.

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 02:23 PM
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Unless it is a very large refund - a check written in € will be of no use. You will lose a great deal of it's value just in the deposit/conversion fees.

Usually the European Bank will charge a fee, the US bank willl tack on another fee, and then there is the currency conversion fees on top of all that.

Years ago I got a £12 VAT refund check that would have cost me more than £12 to deposit in my bank acct. It is now a framed reminder to never pay cash when buying something for which you plan to claim VAT.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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Thank you so much for your prompt replies.

This is the situation: We did not fly out of Europe. We took a Transatlantic cruise from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. I tried to have the form stamped in Venice but they would not do it. Finally I was able to get it stamped in Cadiz.

I'll ask the vendor to issue a check in my name, in euros which will be fine since we'll be back to France beginning of April. And no, it's not too much money really, around 86 euros but with the dollar in the toilet I wish I had exchanged to euros when the exchange was l.37 (back in Sept).
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 11:16 PM
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There's no such thing as "an IBAN account"

IBAN is just the acronym for International Bank Account Number: its's the basic details of your account (such as those clearly shown on most people's cheques) arranged in a standardised way. What the vendor meant to say was "send me your IBAN account number"

For most people, a few minutes' googling on 'IBAN' will show them how to work out what their IBAN is. Send this (or ask your bank for it)to the vendor and the vendor will wire you the money - which will probably be a great deal quicker and cheaper than trying to negotiate a euro-denominated cheque in the US.

And infinitely easier than taking a French cheque made out to you and trying to convert in into cash in France - something which is virtually impossible without a local bank account in most European countries.
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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 11:29 PM
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IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number - it is a standardised way of identifying a bank account

When a cross-border payment is made in Europe, an IBAN is used to identify the account to which the payment should be made

An IBAN is always used in conjunction with a Bank Identifier Code (BIC)

An IBAN is NOT a new bank account number. Existing sort codes and account numbers are retained and additional characters added to create a standard identifier that is known as an IBAN.

However, since it is a number used in Europe, and assuming that your account is in the US you may not have one.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 02:31 AM
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The vendor is trying to help you when they suggest using a PAYPAL account.

It's cheaper to transfer money than via a bank
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 03:23 AM
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Hi T,

AR is correct.

>I don't particularly want to open a PayPal account..

Why not? It is free. You will get a check for the full amount, less about 3%, in USD. This is cheaper than any other way.

You don't have to use PayPal for anything else if you don't want to.



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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 04:39 AM
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When I left Europe this summer, I had the form stamped by the customs, then checked at the refund office in Singapore Airport, my next destination and the next place where they would make a Global Refund. However, they didn't want to refund the money because the form was not signed too. They showed me some regulations that the form has to be both signed and stamped. Well, it was for 19 euros only, so I gave up chasing it back.

What I mean, I think it wouldn't hurt if you asked for a signature as well as a stamp.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 09:03 AM
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Thanks to all respondents. Ira's advice seems to be the most practical but, of course, I'm grateful for everyone's input.
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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I'm convinced the VAT refund is a scam. I filled out the paperwork correctly in ITaly, but they refused to stamp the form at customs as my flight connected through Heathrow. When I get to Heathrow, you can imagine how I felt then they started explaining that I had to have it signed in ITaly, as that was my "departure" point from the EU. I ended up convincing the folks at Heathrow to stamp the form,and I deposited it in the box at Heathrow. 6 months later, I participated in a long, drawn out email exachange with Global Cheque people, who kept telling me they never got the paperwork.

Oh well.

I would suggest opening the Pay Pal account and crossing your fingers.
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Old Nov 26th, 2007, 06:11 PM
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Take 5 minutes and open a PayPal account. It's simple, free and you
might find it useful in future. I arranged our apartment in Paris this
summer and paid through PayPal.

It would have taken you less time to
open a PayPal account than to post
your message here and read the responses! ;^)

Rob
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 07:11 AM
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Does opening a PayPal accound also allow you to receive payments from someone else, and have the payment go into your CC account as a credit?

Stu Dudley
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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Stu,

As far as I know yes, you can always
receive money from some else... that's kind of the raison d'etre of PayPal. There may be limits until
your account is verified.

Being in Canada, I have 2 ways to
move the money out... into a bank
account (once your PP account is
verified) or with an ATM card they'll give you after 3 months.

There's also a 3rd way to get the money... leave it in the account and spend it from there on eBay purchases etc...

One last thing... PayPal got a bad reputation early on when member numbers exploded and their customer
service couldn't cope. I've used them since soon after they started with never a problem.

Rob
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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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Thanks, Rob

Stu Dudley
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