For years our daughter has sent a small ‘something to open’ present, from England to Portugal, for mine and my husband’s birthdays, they being just two weeks apart.

This year we received a letter from customs in Lisbon saying we needed to fill in a customs form for release of the parcel, even though one was done in England. Followed the links, it wanted to know what was in the parcel. I put birthday present. That wasn’t accepted, so I put clothes as it’s usually a short-sleeved shirt or t-shirt for my husband and a top of some description for myself. How much? No idea, so put £20.00. Later that day an email came through. We needed to pay €31.50 duty before we could have the parcel. Queried the amount. Yes, it was correct, anything over €22.00 is subject to duty and £20.00 equated to €23.00! They had a formula, a+b+c+d+Vat. Pay it or the parcel gets sent back. After talking to our daughter she agreed, let it go back. Six weeks later and it has still not been received back in England! Hopefully it will be there for when we visit (all fingers crossed) later this year.

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