Airport shops row: Boots and Dixons to issue new rules on boarding pass checks

Boots and Dixons are to issue new guidance to airport staff about checking customers’ boarding passes following a consumer revolt over “rip-off” VAT charges.

Customers of Boots and Dixons and other prominent stores including WH Smith pledged not to show their boarding passes at airports after it emerged that retailers were benefiting from VAT savings without lowering prices.

Attacking the practice as a “fraud” and a “con”, customers said they felt they were obliged to hand over their boarding cards at checkouts for security reasons or because they were getting a discount.

However, it has emerged that the information is used by stores to avoid paying 20% VAT on everything they sell to customers who are travelling outside the EU. Many stores, including Boots and WH Smith, do not pass this saving to consumers.

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