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Anger as amazon.com stops most deliveries from US to Switzerland

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Anger as amazon.com stops most deliveries from US to Switzerland
Amazon workers in San Fernando de Henares, near Madrid in 2016. Photo: AFP
20:16 CET+01:00
Purchases made on the US-based amazon.com website will no longer be delivered to Switzerland as of December 26th with only digital products like eBooks and apps escaping the cut, according to Swiss media reports.

The same will go for other non-EU amazon sites when it comes to delivering to Switzerland, according to Swiss daily the Tages Anzeiger and confirmed to The Local by a spokesperson for the company.

The online giant has made the decision in the wake of changes to Switzerland’s value-added tax (VAT) due to come in next year.

These will see online distributors with a turnover of at least 100,000 Swiss francs (€88,000) from small consignments taxed in the same way as domestic distributors.

The company is now recommending Swiss shoppers use other Amazon sites in Europe like Amazon.de, Amazon.fr or Amazon.co.uk.

Anyone with a gift voucher or credit for the amazon.com website (or other non-EU amazon sites) should use these before December 26th as they cannot be redeemed using EU amazon sites, the retailer informed customers in an email.

One reader of The Local told us he had been informed by Amazon customer services that orders placed on amazon.com before December 26th would be delivered. The Local received confirmation by email from Amazon that this would be the case.

E-commerce expert Thomas Lang told the Tages Anzeiger that the impact of the move would be limited as deliveries from amazon.com to Switzerland only totalled an estimated 65 million francs compared to an estimated 575 million Swiss francs in deliveries from amazon.de, for example.

Lang said that this was because amazon.com did not deliver many products from the US.

But other users have pointed out that there are products that are not available on amazon.de or cannot be shipped to Switzerland. Those products include hard-to-find books, records or CDs.

Meanwhile, Swiss business review Bilanz pointed out that Amazon has had more than 12 months to find a solution for changes to the Swiss VAT system but has either been unable or unwilling to do so. It said the company's latest move was further evidence Switzerland was a "sideshow" for the online giant.

A spokesperson for the Swiss tax authorities said that by stopping deliveries to the Swiss market from the US, Amazon would not be dodging VAT as this would be payable when deliveries were made to Switzerland from its EU sites.

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