Chamber calls for level playing field for retailers

ISLAND retailers claim they are being hit by abuse by online shoppers of the £240 limit under which no GST is paid on internet and mail order purchases.

The president of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, David Warr
The president of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, David Warr

ISLAND retailers claim they are being hit by abuse by online shoppers of the £240 limit under which no GST is paid on internet and mail order purchases.

The president of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, David Warr, said that it was time for a review of what is termed the 'de minimus' limit.

Mr Warr said that retailers believe that online shoppers are abusing the current system by making multiple purchases below £240 when they are actually buying a single item.

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Comments for: "Chamber calls for level playing field for retailers"


The problem is not the abuse of relief but insane prices here.

Have you ever checked internet prices and comperetd them with local prince Mr Warr? It is not about 5% (GST) difference I can assure you.

James Wiley

Yes I have, jewellery and watches compare very favourably indeed, but I guess that is a hangover from when this was Europe's duty free shop.

Unfortunately I disagree, it is down to Jersey's government costing too much, end of the discussion.

Bring on the revolution.

Biker Groove

Needed to urgently buy a new front bicycle light last week. Bought what was nearly the last decent one in the shop (they were awaiting a new shipment) - one of those high power LED ones. It came to £59.99.

Checking on multiple web sites afterwards and it was difficult to find for more than GBP42, even with paying UK VAT, and the postage.

More fool me for not checking but was shocked at the local mark up.

I now intend to build my next bike by purchasing it piece by piece from the UK - even if some parts attract GST I would rather see local retailers go to the wall rather than line their pockets in such a manner.


have you ever been made redundant when your employer went to the wall?

Small Business

Mr Warr, needs to remember that small businesses, who are not registered for GST also buy in goods and may try to do so under the ‘de minimus’. Remove this and they will have to pass on the 5%GST to customers. Or is he proposing a spilt rule, one for the public and one for registered business? Could you imaging the cost of administering that!


Here we go again - listen David old man, when will you realise it doesn't matter what excuse you try and come up with to get the States to stop the limit. The sad fact of life is that even if there was no allowance at all the locals will still shop online for mainly two reasons - product choice along with lower prices.

I am fed up with going into local retailers to be told we don't stock that, you're the third person that's asked for that this week, no that's the only one we stock, we are waiting for it to come in.

Finally, enough is enough and we shop online for product variety, lower price is simply an added bonus - sorry, I also buy my coffee online !!!


How exactly can you make "multiple purchases" of one item? Seems to me like just another excuse by local retailers for why their businesses are failing. People buy online because they get ripped off here, simple as that.

Parktown Prawn

That was my question......he must be making things up now!


Mr.Warr they are having to make savings on their ever reducing budgets due to rising living costs and stagnant or falling wages.

Retail have had it too good for too long, they are now reaping the benefits of their past actions as far as I am concerned. I for one buy as little as possible in Jersey. I am not here to make retailers rich!

P.S. I no longer buy his coffee due to reading his comments in the paper in the past. Local businesses take note, don't upset your customers!


How much did you used to buy before? When did you stop? I think I might go get a coffee there tomorrow. Never bean their before but it will counter your churlish actions.

OK, Mr Warr largely talks nonsense, but not as much as you.


Before the recession people used to borrow to fund their borrowings - max up credit cards, re-mortgage their houses all to buy cars, holidays etc.

Now the cards are maxed out, the house may be for sale for a price no one can pay and the car is looking rusty

the thin wallet

i am with you on that .

so glad i owe no one a penny .

and the cars not too bad.

Parktown Prawn

Mario, for once I agree.

"retailers believe that online shoppers are abusing the current system by making multiple purchases below £240 when they are actually buying a single item."...says RETAILER, Mr Warr.

How can you make multiple purchases of a single item????

What evidence does he have to even make this absurd suggestion.....what a prat!

Even if they charged full GST on every online order, regardless of amount, it will still be cheaper and more convenient than buying locally!

Why can he not understand this?


I will always check the cost of items in our shops with the cost via the internet, and the internet wins hands down. I can name a few businesses in Jersey who also order their stock via the internet then double the price when selling the items on. So stop moaning Mr Ward.


Sorry, I mean Mr Warr, ;-)

john, st helier

Typical excuses.

They said Jersey was affecting music sales in UK. So they closed LVCR and guess what HMV and jessops still went bust anyway.

Companies asking for zero import limit won't see an improvement in their sales, in fact I would boycotte those store that restrict my right to choose.

Double the Price

We searched St Helier for a silver item as a present. None we liked so went on line.

On line the silver item we wanted was priced at 50% of local shops with VAT deducted and they had the item we wanted

Says it all I am afraid


Mr Warr is correct.

If posters here are making savings of 50% from buying on the internet rather than in local shops,then they won't mind paying an extra 5% gst on their imported items.



Why should posters here have to pay 5% extra just because Mr Warr wants to make even more profit?

Parktown Prawn


That's all well and good and to be honest I don't think that will change many consumer's purchasing habits now.

Therefore, I don't think this will in any way help the local retailer.

Besides, this is not the way to FORCE people to buy locally......we are fast becoming a dictatorship (or should than be a communist state) rather than a democracy I feel.


Oh good god not communism! This spells disaster hatred and in fighting!

Would absolutely love to see Thailand tolerating this nonsense! Er they wouldn't!


I buy my filter coffee off Amazon.

Considerably cheaper (ie far more than -5%) than buying it on Island.

Judge Jeffries

This only serves to underline that the introduction of GST was an utter nonsense and that Guernsey got it right. Thanks a bundle Senator Ozouf !


Yes GST has been responsible for some businesses shutting down. I know of two small businesses who have pulled the plug as the owners couldn't afford to spend the time to police this hated government tax. They said it was too much hassle!

Well done the CoM!


Nope, it doesn't. As our financial situation worsens, for demographic reasons as much as anything else, even you will eventually appreciate how wise it was to diversify our tax base to incorporate indirect as well as direct taxation. Guernsey hasn't sussed this out yet, but it will.


So gradually driving more and more into relative poverty is the way to go is it?


10 matt - read the article again Matt, David Warr wants the limit removed completely - restrictive practice i'd call that !!!


The States decided years ago we should move away from taxing companys and tax indivuals with a consumption tax (GST). Whilst I don't like it, thats what we've got. There is no ethical reason not to charge GST on all imports, regardless of there value.

Parktown Prawn


I bought something online for £2.16 the other day with free postage.

Are you saying it is worthwhile to hold my parcel in customs until I pay the 11p GST to release it?

Imagine 1000 other similar items being held up in customs just to collect £110 in much would the customs labour cost to administer this?


It makes no financial sense to have people employed to check every parcel.

Some things people buy are not available locally, I bought an item online last week not available here £39 - £1.95 GST - not really worth paying someone to collect that.


I said it was ethically correct to charge the gst, not necessarily economical. The UK has a due mininimus level of £15, let's have this here.

The states aren't going to stop spending, or increase income tax percentages, so GST has been decided to fill the 'black hole'.

Let's face it most of the things we buy online aren't necessities, but luxuries. I buy books and DVD's, other posters talk of TV's and fancy led cycle lights.

Reduce the de mininimus, and get some tax off those who can a afford it.


@ Biker Groove no2 - I had to look twice as it read just like my experience. I too looked bike lights and managed to find them 75% cheaper online - and brilliant quality. Worse, I nearly fell for it in the local shop until I remembered all these nice people on 'you say' who have shown me the light. A swift exit, and later that night checked online, and well, a good job I was sitting down when I realised what the markup was locally.

I would not car two hoots for 5% extra was be charged, given the savings I am making by buying elsewhere. Doesn't Warr get it?

If he wants to go ahead and pursue this, he will spend a lot of time and expense for no retail benefit. All it would do is increase Jersey tax take but with an associated offsetting increased cost base to administer.


I could go as far as to say that's why I don't buy takeouts other than the odd Chinese and Indian and am very particular with shops and restaurants too.

If they haven't got the customers they can't keep employing immigrant labour and they might stop coming in as many numbers!

Still doesn't solve the problem that many here are now living in states accommodation and claiming benefits though!!

It seems that the desired effect worked mind., more local folk moving elsewhere for a better quality of life?! I can't understand how that works mind being that many low paid immigrants still manage? Go figure, must be the top ups on housing benefits and spitting out kids that's assisting them to manage the overheads? Something very wrong!!

I still visit LOCAL retailers and will continue to support them as the ones I go to do not have ridiculous mark ups and are not employing immigrant staff,

This year and the next few shall be very interesting indeed!

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