Brexit: Issues with French parcels post

Changes with sending parcels due to the UK leaving the EU, including a new form and tariffs, temporarily led to technical problems on La Poste's website

6 January 2021
By Connexion journalist

Customs forms are now required when sending parcels from France to the UK – a new formality which has led to La Poste temporarily cancelling online parcel options for the UK.

The issue is reciprocal with people in the UK now having to visit a post office to fill out a customs form to send parcels to France. It does not apply to ordinary letters containing only sheets of paper.

It comes as tariffs for parcels post to the UK have also risen as it is now outside the EU zone, which has lower rates.

La Poste temporarily removed the UK from the list of countries to which parcels can be sent or labels prepared for via its website, but has now restored it, complete with a section for the customs form.

Earlier a warning was put up on the site saying that due to Brexit it was impossible to use the service for sending to the UK and there was a warning notice saying people would have to visit a post office, as opposed to sending to anywhere else in the world.

A spokeswoman for La Poste: “Our technical teams have now returned to work after the holidays. Obviously now the UK has left the EU system, customs declarations have to be filled in,” she said. “People have been able to send from post offices without any problem.”

On La Poste’s website for sending a parcel online (which involves leaving it in your letterbox for collection), sending a small parcel to the UK is now calculated as costing €15.90 compared to eg. €12.90 for sending to countries in the EU. An alternative option is printing off a label but then taking the labelled parcel to a post office for sending, or simply doing the whole process at the post office instead.

This appears to be a new more favourable rate than other international areas, which cost €19.20 for Eastern Europe, Norway and north Africa, or €28.10 for elsewhere. We have asked La Poste to clarify its latest tariff policies for the UK.

The customs form section involves stating the contents, such as whether it is a gift, commercial sample etc, describing the content and giving weight, quantity and value.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Since publishing this article, a reader has notified us of another problem - the price of the €15.90 parcel changes back to €12.90 at the last moment before payment, which she did not notice, meaning she arrived at the post office with parcels with insufficient postage. We have alterted La Poste to this and in the meantime would suggest paying close attention to the price on payment, and abandoning the online process if the price is not correct.

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