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The VAT Scam

July 19, 1987

We wish to voice our surprise, dismay and disgust for the advertising by stores in London, especially Selfridges. The philosophy displayed in writing on store counters and in windows is: On purchases made by tourists, your Value Added Tax (VAT) shall be returned upon proof of purchase and a valid passport. Now comes the fine print: ". . . provided your purchases exceed X amount of pounds." At Selfridges Ltd., for example, you must make minimum purchases of 75 before you qualify for a VAT rebate.

Tourists generally shop around--20 here, 50 there. To be forced to buy in one store that may not have everything you are looking for is a real rip-off. We have traveled to many countries in Europe, and London is the first place where we had to make minimum purchases to have our VAT refund.

FRANKLIN and EVA HARDY

Chula Vista

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