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Canyon as a company sucks. Beware.

Old 07-16-19, 03:39 AM
  #1  
deepakvrao
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Canyon as a company sucks. Beware.

Long story short. I ordered a bike from them to France. Their FAQs said they would not make a VAT refund if delivery address was France, and hence I asked them in multiple mails whether they would be able to make a VAT refund when I took the bike out of the EU.

Multiple replies from several people confirmed that as long as my card billing address was India, and shipping address was France, they would do the refund. When I mailed them the invoice, they returned it saying, sorry, those mails were a mistake, no refund.

This is their last mail to me. So, they admit to their error, but dont think its up to them to make it right?

We deeply regret that the information our staff provided was false. We indeed are not allowed to refund the VAT due to german tax law.
Below is my detailed letter to them.

Hi,

I am extremely disappointed with Canyon.

I had ordered a bike in April this year to an address in France. I had specifically mentioned in my email to Canyon that, I would have the delivery address as Nice, France, and the billing address as India, and asked whether I would be eligible to get the VAT refund.

I had specifically stated that my exit airport [from the EU] would be Nice.

To this I got a reply that, yes, I could get the invoice stamped by the customs at Nice airport, and I would get the VAT refunded to my credit card. I have attached this mail.

I exited the EU on April 26th. I went thru all the trouble of getting the stamp, and posted it to Canyon from the airport itself.

Today, I have recd the documents back, with a letter saying that you will not be making the VAT refund, as shipping address was not Germany.
  1. I SPECIFICALLY gave the entire details, and I ordered only BECAUSE i was guaranteed the VAT refund. I am attaching those mails for your reference. It is also not just one mail, but in multiple mails I was assured that I would get a VAT refund. Every time I was told that as long as billing address was India, it would be fine. Please see the attachment labelled 'consolidated mail', and see how clearly it has been mentioned that shipping address would be Nice.
  2. I travel regularly to the EU, and I was in Germany in May. If Canyon had told me that VAT refund needed bike to be shipped to Germany, I would have had it shipped to a friend in Frankfurt. Again, I am attaching my May tickets to Frankfurt
  3. I also recd a mail just a few days before, on 6th June, saying that the VAT refund is in process, and I will receive it by the next 2 weeks. I am attaching this too.
I hope that you will be able to resolve this. The VAT is not a small amount and I am not willing to give it up for an error on the part of Canyon Bikes. I would have just waited till May 26th when I visited Germany.
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Old 07-16-19, 04:28 AM
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I'm not savy on the VAT thing. How much dough are we talking about ?
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Old 07-16-19, 04:42 AM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
I'm not savy on the VAT thing. How much dough are we talking about ?
VAT in France, I think, is 20% so that is a big chunk of change.
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Old 07-16-19, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
I'm not savy on the VAT thing. How much dough are we talking about ?
Was curious myself. Looks like it’s a 20% tax, so if we are talking about a $3,000 bike, that’s a lot of money.
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Old 07-16-19, 04:52 AM
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Yeah, I'd be hot about 600 bones (or more) myself. That said, I wouldn't take the word of anyone regarding taxes or duties that didn't work in that particular branch of the government; "Trust but verify". My experience with taxes/duties has always been EVERYTHING costs more than you think it will and usually there's no good way around paying them.
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Old 07-16-19, 05:01 AM
  #6  
Sy Reene
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Interesting story.. Just curious if this matters, but which Canyon country website did you order from (eg. Canyon/en-us, canyon/en-fr, canyon/en-de)?
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Old 07-16-19, 05:01 AM
  #7  
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You're disappointed that Canyon, a bike company...aren't specialists in international consumer import/export tax law?
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Old 07-16-19, 05:05 AM
  #8  
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Why would you ask a retailer a tax question concerning country-of-origin policies? Why not ask the government? The retailer does not set these policies, and may not (in all circumstances) even understand which rules are in play. It seems that the OP should have done better homework concerning the laws, and should have gotten information from the governing authorities rather than from someone in the employ of a retailer. Just my two cents.
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Old 07-16-19, 05:12 AM
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Wow, an ugly situation for sure. I'd have hoped that a company, Canyon or whoever, at the very least instead of misleading you with incorrect information would have put the onus back on you to make the determination.
I'd no doubt have fallen into the same situation as you.

I'd also assume this must have come up prior with other sales with Canyon.

I hope the situation can be resolved without you getting stuck paying the money.
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Old 07-16-19, 05:12 AM
  #10  
Sy Reene
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Why would you ask a retailer a tax question concerning country-of-origin policies? Why not ask the government? The retailer does not set these policies, and may not (in all circumstances) even understand which rules are in play. It seems that the OP should have done better homework concerning the laws, and should have gotten information from the governing authorities rather than from someone in the employ of a retailer. Just my two cents.
Can't speak to this situation exactly, but in the UK they call it tax-free shopping. Not all stores participate, so it's somewhat commonplace to ask someone in the store itself if they participate in the program.

Here's a bit that covers this idea:
https://www.visitlondon.com/travelle...money/tax-free
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Old 07-16-19, 05:33 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
You're disappointed that Canyon, a bike company...aren't specialists in international consumer import/export tax law?
Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Why would you ask a retailer a tax question concerning country-of-origin policies? Why not ask the government? The retailer does not set these policies, and may not (in all circumstances) even understand which rules are in play. It seems that the OP should have done better homework concerning the laws, and should have gotten information from the governing authorities rather than from someone in the employ of a retailer. Just my two cents.
Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Can't speak to this situation exactly, but in the UK they call it tax-free shopping. Not all stores participate, so it's somewhat commonplace to ask someone in the store itself if they participate in the program.

Here's a bit that covers this idea:
https://www.visitlondon.com/travelle...money/tax-free

I often shop in the EU. Usually Bike24, and some other bike [and non bike]stores. It is for the store to decide whether they will give the VAT refund or not. Any item taken out of the EU by a tourist qualifies for the VAT refund.

NEVER had an issue with any other store, including Amazon.

The system is very simple. You show the stuff at the customs when you leave the EU, and get the invoice stamped. Mail the invoice back to the company, and they refund the VAT to your card.

I have used this even for luxury goods like watches and pens.

Its a known thing in Europe.

I have at least 3 mails from Canyon guaranteeing that they would refund the VAT. I specified that I would be shipping to Nice, France.

Like I said, if they had said that they need a German address for VAT refund, I could have shipped it to Germany, as I was visiting Frankfurt exactly one month later. I have 4 bikes already, so not like this was a critical rush order.

All I'm asking is for the company to keep their word.

Oh, and the VAT works out to about 700 dollars.

Edit: The VAT refund is legally allowed for any company which chooses to do so. I even got a VAT refund on our Titanium frames from Enigma, UK.

Last edited by deepakvrao; 07-16-19 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 07-16-19, 05:34 AM
  #12  
deepakvrao
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I have at least 20 orders from Bike24, to ALL over the EU, and every single time they have refunded my VAT. Thats also a German company.
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Old 07-16-19, 05:36 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
I'm not savy on the VAT thing. How much dough are we talking about ?
Originally Posted by pennpaul View Post
VAT in France, I think, is 20% so that is a big chunk of change.
Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Was curious myself. Looks like itís a 20% tax, so if we are talking about a $3,000 bike, thatís a lot of money.
Roughly 700 dollars.
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Old 07-16-19, 06:10 AM
  #14  
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Ugh, thanks for letting us know - I'll be sure to avoid supporting a company that charged tax to an unfortunate individual that took delivery of his multi-thousand dollar bike while on a leisure-filled trip to Europe.

Okay, apologies for the snark, but I thought that a little perspective was in order - if this is the kind of problem that I take to the internet to complain about, I'm living a charmed life. While that really sucks to not receive $700 that you thought you were going to get back, let's be honest - it's not a situation that's going to affect a heck of a lot of people and it's not something that's going to shape my purchasing decision unless I'm in the same situation (which, realistically, is never going to happen).

Did you have a good trip otherwise?
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Old 07-16-19, 06:17 AM
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I'd dispute the charge with the credit card company. If you can't get the tax refunded, you may be able to return the bike for a full refund.
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Old 07-16-19, 06:57 AM
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Well, next time I want to order a bike from one foreign country and have it delivered to a different foreign country to pick up in the middle of an international vacation, I'll shop elsewhere.
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Old 07-16-19, 07:09 AM
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I’ll have to disagree with you, Canyon as a company does not suck.

My experience with them was exceptional. They were great to deal with, the product is simply outstanding they even sent me free stuff. You’re just whining because your clever gaming of the established tax system didn’t work out smoothly for you.
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Old 07-16-19, 07:13 AM
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While I dont have empathy since this situation hasnt happened to me and I cant imagine being in a life position for it to ever happen, I can sympathize with the frustration the OP feels since he thinks he did his due diligence.

I have never fully understood the Euro VAT laws and definitely dont understand them any better after reading this thread. What a cluster.
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Old 07-16-19, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mantis View Post
Iíll have to disagree with you, Canyon as a company does not suck.

My experience with them was exceptional. They were great to deal with, the product is simply outstanding they even sent me free stuff. Youíre just whining because your clever gaming of the established tax system didnít work out smoothly for you.
Was he gaming the system or did Canyon bait and switch? Sounds like more of the latter to me. They told him they could legally do something that they couldn't do in order to get his money, then went back on their word.
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Old 07-16-19, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
I'd dispute the charge with the credit card company. If you can't get the tax refunded, you may be able to return the bike for a full refund.
This is the route to go.
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Old 07-16-19, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Was he gaming the system or did Canyon bait and switch? Sounds like more of the latter to me.
I think this is a little bit strong. B&S implies a purposeful deceit. This was likely a problem of a couple phone jockeys misspeaking and over-promising.
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Old 07-16-19, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post

All I'm asking is for the company to keep their word.
The problem is that it's the country's tax laws that matter, not the company's word. They apparently inaccurately described the possibility of a VAT refund, and it would be good of them to give a goodwill credit of the amount. But they're not the decided on when VAT refunds are available.

IIRC, Germany is particularly strict, and the export must be directly from Germany to outside the EU. We had an issue getting a refund because our flight connected in another EU country. So, my guess is that by shipping the bike to France (from Germany I'm assuming) eligibility for a refund was lost.
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Old 07-16-19, 07:57 AM
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Are there European tax experts here? Oh wait, this is BF, nevermind.
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Old 07-16-19, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
Are there European tax experts here? Oh wait, this is BF, nevermind.


Fwiw, tourists can (or could?) also get a refund on sales tax in the US.
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Old 07-16-19, 08:18 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by mantis View Post
I’ll have to disagree with you, Canyon as a company does not suck.

My experience with them was exceptional. They were great to deal with, the product is simply outstanding they even sent me free stuff. You’re just whining because your clever gaming of the established tax system didn’t work out smoothly for you.
Gaming? Do you even understand what happened? How is it gaming? I am not a EU citizen, and if I take the product out, I am entitled to a VAT refund. Obviously you have no clue and yet like to give your 'opinion'. Duh.

Last edited by StanSeven; 07-16-19 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Removed insult
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