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Review Of Bigpen.co.uk



f2002q

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I wanted to post a review of my transactions with Bigpen.co.uk and purchasing two pens. I wanted to find a Pilot Capless in white with rhodium trim. This pen was not available in the US. There is only the "Stromtrooper" one, which is white with black trim.

 

I stumbled on Bigpen.co.uk and saw that they had it in stock. I did a little research since it's been a while since I purchase a pen. Bigpen is actually a Swedish art supply store called Zinkvit ! Anyway, I purchased the pen and Bigpen only charged me $9 for shipping. I paid with PayPal (of course) and I got a tracking number within a day via text message to my iPhone. I had the pen in 4 days. Wow. The usual suspect Japanese sellers had it, but at 20 dollars or more for shipping it was getting expensive.

 

Why stop at only one pen?? So, back I go to Bigpen.co.uk. They had the Pilot Capless Stripe for a reasonable price, which is much lower than the US. I purchased it and this time shipping was free. I must have reached the threshold for free shipping since there is no possible way to create any account on the website. I got a tracking number within a business day and I got the pen in 6 days this time. Must have gotten stuck in customs for a bit.

 

Notwithstanding the perils of foreign shopping (returns, damages, etc.) the shopping experience at Bigpen.co.uk couldn't have been any simpler. It is a no-frills website where you must know exactly what you want and you are rewarded with a very good price. I'm a convert to Bigpen.co.uk.

 

Here is a picture of the new members of the family:

 

IMG_4900.jpeg

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Hi, yes I bought an Otto Hut pen from them a couple of years ago. Huge choice of colours, no problem with it not being in stock, a really good price and quick delivery. I was impressed.

 

You got some nice pens - I particularly like the Stripe.

Edited by bbs

I chose my user name years ago - I have no links to BBS pens (other than owning one!)

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  • 2 months later...
Harry Dowling

I am now expecting delivery of a pen from Big Pen and am distinctly miffed, learning from Royal Mail that I can expect to pay a hefty import fine (otherwise known as duty, VAT and fees). When I ordered I was under the impression that Big Pen was operating out of the UK since they used a co.uk address and splashes a Union Flag on their website. Buyer beware. The offer seems not so favorable any more.

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Karmachanic

 

Prices clearly state ex VAT. Flag at the top right of the page is country dependant. Choose a different county; get a different flag and appropriate currencey. The About page shows that they are located in Sweden.

 

Ooopps! Fault if the Buyer is not the fault of the Seller 🙄 

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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mizgeorge
2 hours ago, Harry Dowling said:

I am now expecting delivery of a pen from Big Pen and am distinctly miffed, learning from Royal Mail that I can expect to pay a hefty import fine (otherwise known as duty, VAT and fees). When I ordered I was under the impression that Big Pen was operating out of the UK since they used a co.uk address and splashes a Union Flag on their website. Buyer beware. The offer seems not so favorable any more.

Did you order on or after 1st January? If so, it was hard to miss that Brexit had happened and VAT may well be payable. If your order was placed before the end of 2020, you cannot be charged.

 

It's no different to ordering from anywhere else outside the EU.

 

The lesson to be learned is that it's always good practice to check the 'about us' and contact sections of any website before ordering from them for the first time.

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4 hours ago, Karmachanic said:

 

Prices clearly state ex VAT. Flag at the top right of the page is country dependant. Choose a different county; get a different flag and appropriate currencey. The About page shows that they are located in Sweden.

 

Ooopps! Fault if the Buyer is not the fault of the Seller 🙄 


I don't know which country you hail from, but in the UK to have a web address which ends .co.uk does imply the company is based in the UK. It's irritated me in the past to find foreign companies masquerading as British. If it states "ex VAT" clearly, that is a bit of a give away, though.

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4 hours ago, mizgeorge said:

If your order was placed before the end of 2020, you cannot be charged.

I was under the belief that his order would incur VAT either way. If it was placed in December the VAT should have been applied at point of sale.

 

In December, if the goods were purchased from an EEA country to be posted to another EEA country- law states an EEA country must charge a minimum of 15% VAT on standard goods doesn't it? UK is 20% and Sweden's standard rate is 25%. 
 

https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/taxation/vat/vat-rules-rates/index_en.htm

 

As of January, the UK is ridiculously asking everyone around the word to register to pay UK VAT at point of sale if the goods are valued under £135. Over £135 and you'll get stung for VAT, duty and fees when the parcel arrives at the border.

 

Bigpen currently does state at checkout: "Tax and Customs
Non-EU countries are subject to certain VAT and customs duties."

 

Bigpen is covering themselves with that.

Edited by RJS
Edited for a few corrections and additions
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mizgeorge
37 minutes ago, RJS said:

I was under the belief that his order would incur VAT either way. If it was placed in December the VAT should have been applied at point of sale.

 

In December, if the goods were purchased from an EEA country to be posted to another EEA country- law states an EEA country must charge a minimum of 15% VAT on standard goods doesn't it? UK is 20% and Sweden's standard rate is 25%. 
 

https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/taxation/vat/vat-rules-rates/index_en.htm

 

As of January, the UK is ridiculously asking everyone around the word to register to pay UK VAT at point of sale if the goods are valued under £135. Over £135 and you'll get stung for VAT, duty and fees when the parcel arrives at the border.

 

Bigpen currently does state at checkout: "Tax and Customs
Non-EU countries are subject to certain VAT and customs duties."

 

Bigpen is covering themselves with that.

My point exactly, if the sale had taken place before the end of the year, VAT should have been applied in the normal way as both buyer and seller would have had EU rules applied. What I was pointing out was that no ADDITIONAL charge should be made (there have been a couple of instances of this appearing to happen with overzealous sorting offices).

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Ok. I thought you meant if they didn't charge VAT at checkout in December he'd just get away with it when it turned up at customs. :)

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Harry Dowling

I think some of the replies to my posting have missed the fact that I was unaware that I was importing at all. Although it is possible to root around in the website and pick up clues, I took things at face value and naively thought I could trust Big Pen, with its co.uk address, to be in fact operating from the UK.

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LughLamfada

The local domain name is quite common unfortunately, not just companies using the .co.uk, one of the sites (non pen related) my wife uses fairly regularly uses a .ie address, but it's located in the UK. Which is fine if they make that clear. Actually need to correct that, was fine pre-Brexit, now it's much more of an issue.

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It was my understanding that after January 1st I can send an item worth less than GB£135 to the UK that will be delivered to the customer if VAT has been prepaid within the price.

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A Smug Dill
5 hours ago, Harry Dowling said:

I think some of the replies to my posting have missed the fact that I was unaware that I was importing at all.

 

Or perhaps you missed ’the fact’ that whether you were unaware is quite irrelevant to:

  1. whether you ordered at ex-VAT prices, and it has been pointed out that the prices are clearly stated as ex VAT, so it was up to you to take notice;
  2. whether you have incurred tax liability, as a result of your action, that was not taken care of at the point of sale; and
  3. whether you are now due any sympathy as a buyer who wasn't paying sufficient attention.

 

You aren't being fined — even if you rhetorically claimed that you are — or otherwise penalised, by those who are just going by the book in assessing whether you're liable to pay duty and tax on what you've ordered. You don't make the rules but neither do they; but you alone decided to place the order, and Royal Mail (and HM Revenue & Customs, for that matter) had no say or influence on your action as a willing purchaser. Your being unaware is no reason for them or anyone else to let you off the hook, so to speak.

 

On 1/9/2021 at 1:26 AM, Harry Dowling said:

I am now expecting delivery of a pen from Big Pen and am distinctly miffed, …‹snip›… Buyer beware. The offer seems not so favorable any more.

 

I'm more than happy to acknowledge that you're understandably miffed now that you realise the consequences of your careless action. I imagine the original feeling of winning, having scored a bargain in securing the retail offer (at face value) has completely evaporated and is now replaced by as strong an emotion, about securing the retail offer (at face value) and placing the order, as that initial elation but now experienced in the negative as a loss or failure. Only with belated awareness have you realised what you've done to yourself.

 

Would that help?

 

On 1/9/2021 at 8:01 AM, RJS said:

I don't know which country you hail from, but in the UK to have a web address which ends .co.uk does imply the company is based in the UK. It's irritated me in the past to find foreign companies masquerading as British.

 

Some retailers operating out of the UK do the same thing to Australians. Wiggle operates wiggle.com.au, with information targeted at and/or tailored to Australian consumers, even though it is a UK company (which also operates wiggle.co.uk, wiggle.com, wiggle.cn, wiggle.es, wiggle.fr, wiggle.jp, wiggle.co.nz, and so on). The Hut, another UK retailer, operates ‘ProBikeKit Australia’ (probikekit.com.au) as well as probikekit.co.uk, probikekit.com, probikekit.co.nz, probikekit.jp, etc. Online orders placed on the *.com.au web shopfronts are shipped from the UK, and regarded as imports for Customs purposes upon entry into Australia. As an Australian consumer, I don't see that as deceptive or an affront; we've had years to get over the shock of being charged foreign transaction fees by credit card companies when we order from such retailers' Australia-facing shopfronts and get wiser.

 

(Just to be clear, I actually like Wiggle as a company a lot, and was a happy repeat customer of both it and PBK. I largely stopped buying because I've stocked up so much gear I can't wear them out in a decade, just as I now have more pens and inks than I actually need until the end of my days.)

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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You're right about Aussies and Kiwis running into misleading com.au and .co.nz websites commonly. I was living in Auckland 10 years ago (back when Kiwi internet was still stuck in the Stone Age and I had to be careful of wasting a MB of data), and thought it was unfair, as it wasn't a common occurrence in the UK with any legit retailer. A site didn't have to be hosted or run in the UK, but goods always seemed to be dispatched from here.

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3 hours ago, Dione said:

It was my understanding that after January 1st I can send an item worth less than GB£135 to the UK that will be delivered to the customer if VAT has been prepaid within the price.

That is correct. If a seller is UK VAT registered and charges UK VAT at point of sale then the item *should* whiz through customs with no complications, if the pre-tax price (not including p&p) is under £135.

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