“Handing over your boarding pass at airport shops, even if you’re buying nothing more than a newspaper, has become practically second nature – but I bet very few people realized why retailers can be so insistent,” said Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel’s Consumer Editor.”
Yes, according to the Independent, many UK airport stores are scanning those boarding passes to claim millions back in VAT (20% on passengers leaving the EU), but are not passing those savings on to passengers.
According to the article, Boots (owned by Walgreens-Boots Alliance) is one of the worst offenders, charging the exact same prices in the airport as they do at their non-airport locations. Sunscreen is sold for £8, the chain then claims £1.60 for passengers traveling outside the EU, but those savings are not passed on to consumers. Other retailers in the investigation were found to be doing the same.
Of course, showing multiple prices based on destination would likely be confusing and frustrating for customers and book/newspaper/convenience retailer WHSmith claims that it’s a “practical impossibility”.
Full story here.