The economic benefit of the reduction in VAT is doubted. For retailers, the reduction primarily means a great deal of organizational effort.
Most companies, however, pass on the reduced levy to customers completely by the end of the year – be it a matter of honor or because they do not want to be insulted as a Corona winner. However, some companies temporarily increase their prices secretly and thus become the sole beneficiaries of the federal government’s tax gift.
Retained VAT cut
This is neither dishonest per se nor prohibited. Dealers are not obliged to pass on the VAT reduction. Shops in the neighborhood in particular like to treat customers to the small gain in the economic crisis.
But luxury companies and online shops, which experienced a boom anyway during the crisis, are also sinking the tax cut, sometimes with flimsy excuses. Or it can be difficult for customers to redeem the bonus.
It is up to consumers whether they accept such behavior or prefer to spend their money elsewhere in the next few months. Treacherously smooth prices can be an indication that this was not reduced by three or two percent. A large company has already given up its strategy under customer protest.
These companies do not pass on the VAT reduction – either completely or automatically – to customers:
@imago images / Dean Pictures
The reduction in VAT from 19 to 16 or from seven to five percent pays off, especially for larger purchases. Many a prospect might have hoped for a small discount at Louis Vuitton. The luxury company had recently raised many prices in the corona pandemic. However, customers are finding these days: Even after the reduction in VAT, nothing has changed in the new prices.
The French group does not seem to think much of transparency. When asked, the customer service via e-mail simply referred to the fact that fortunately the final prices for clothing and perfume could be reduced. The bags and accessories that make up the Group’s main business are willfully ignored. A customer service representative confirms by phone that the VAT reduction in this area will not be passed on to German customers. The reason: The prices for the coveted goods should be uniform in the euro area.
@imago images / Dean Pictures
If you regularly go to work at Starbucks Station, the lower VAT could have paid off. However, the US brand does not follow. “Amrest Coffee Germany, the operator of almost all German Starbucks branches, bases the decision on the long-term prospects of the chain,” reported the Berlin “Tagesspiegel”. In March, the company committed to gradual wage increases of an average of five percent per year by concluding a collective agreement. “The reduction in VAT gives us more flexibility to do this,” the “Tagesspiegel” learned on request.
@imago images / Ulrich Roth
Why easy when it is non-transparent? Douglas wanted to solve the VAT reduction in the form of discount coupons. They could only be redeemed on subsequent purchases. Perhaps the perfumery has bet that many of these coupons will expire. Perhaps it was speculated that the coupons would encourage repeated purchases. The customers, however, did not participate in the game and protested loudly. Douglas was instructed two days later, according to the “Lebensmittel Zeitung”. CEO Tina Müller announced on Twitter: “We have heard your feedback on our regulation on passing on the VAT reduction and take it seriously! That is why we will deduct the 3 percent difference directly from the checkout at the checkout tomorrow. ”The technical solution couldn’t have been so complicated.
@imago images / ZUMA Press
Asos also withdraws from the affair with a discount code. In contrast to Douglas, this can be redeemed immediately at the checkout. The catch: Only one code is allowed per purchase. In the case of the frequent special offers (for example 20 percent on all shoes with the code xy), the group keeps the reduction to itself. When asked about customer service, an employee initially pointed out that Asos was an independent company and worked according to its own rules. Another email said that changing the price of thousands of items takes time.
@imago images / Manfred Segerer
The price comparison on Amazon is worthwhile. “With Amazon’s own offerings, customers will benefit from savings on millions of products. The savings cover almost the entire range, ”the online retailer explains on his website. Amazon sales partners on the marketplace should decide individually whether and how they pass on the tax reduction. The wishlists provide a simple note. If, in addition to a product, the note “Price reduced by three percent” is missing, the reduced value added tax may not have been taken into account.
@imago images / Starface
Like Louis Vuitton, Sephora is part of the LVMH group. The perfumery and cosmetics chain is silent on its website about VAT. Galeria Kaufhof, where many of the Sephora branches are located, provides all the more information. When shopping in the online shop, the fine print says: “The following brands also do not take part in the VAT discount: Pandora, Swarovski, Ted Baker, Camaflex, Vidima and Sephora with the following sub-brands” (a few dozen well-known manufacturers follow).