Living on the Canary Islands means that online shopping is never going to be as fast or easy as it is in large countries. Here are a few things to look out for when buying online on Lanzarote:
The obvious problem is distance – we’re simply further away from many manufacturers and suppliers, and all items are brought in by sea or air.
The Canaries’ status as an EU special economic zone, which means that customs declarations are often required and a different VAT system known as IGIC, applies. Brexit hasn’t helped those ordering from the UK, either, as many companies have stopped delivering to the EU due to increased paperwork.
The Canarian Government has tried to ease matters by eliminating IGIC on all online purchases under €150 (which accounts for 75% of purchases) but the situation is still far from ideal, with frequent reports of customers paying customs charges that exceed the price of the goods ordered.
When using the most famous suppliers, such as Amazon, eBay or AliExpress, Canarian purchasers have learned that the first thing to check is shipping policy to the Canaries. Many suppliers do not offer this, and prices may vary among those that do. Then there is still the possibility of customs hold-ups.
The choice of carrier can also be a problem, with some requiring pick-ups at depots on the island rather than assuring home delivery.
As a result of this, companies such as Guanxe, Syniva and Banango (previously known as Canarias Prime) have popped up in the Canaries, each offering simplified shipping and VAT, and relatively rapid delivery.
They’re worth checking out if you do a lot of online shopping, but until things are improved overall, online shopping here is still likely to be a hit-and-miss affair.
If readers have any tips, advice or recommendations about online shopping, we’d love to hear them. Contact email@example.com.
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