Shipping within the EU from Germany?


Oh dear… I’m afraid that I can not give you any concrete answer on this yet as we are still figuring out details.

It has already been mentioned here that VAT is the core problem - there is no customs tariff on mobile phones (or laptops for that matter) from USA, but everything has to go though VAT which gets added import as import VAT. Businesses can get this reimbursed, private consumers can not.

So even if we had a Purism Europe branch of some sorts, VAT would clearly need to get collected from private consumers, even if this Purism Europe thing would get it reimbursed after import - but it would also have to pay it again when shipping the devices to consumers since it must not happen that non VAT taxed goods get into consumer circulation. So from my standpoint, even if we had a Purism Europe entity of some sorts we would still need to collect VAT for European customers - either we (Purism) do it or the carrier on behalf of the authorities or they do it themselves at import. There is no way around it.

Since the campaign price was without VAT I’m afraid all backers that live in an area which has requirements on VAT like Europe have to come out of pocket for that. (BTW this is the same for most of this type of crowdfunding campaigns like on Kickstarter etc.).

Once we spin up something in Europe then our shop will automatically, based on the place of fulfillment add appropriate taxes that the appropriate fulfillment facility will then properly declare and pay. So also no saving here, I’m sorry. All savings would mean that Purism would have to pay for all arbitrary taxes and fees in all the different jurisdictions which is of course not possible.



Just thought I’d add to this in case any fellow Canadians were wondering about this too…
CBSA Duty and taxes estimator


Thank you Nicole for making Purism statement on this matter and for clarifying.


Any time indication on that one, if any at all?
It would be very good to have a German based location especially when it comes to EU legislation, RMA et cetera


Are you saying we have to spend more money because you guys havent found someone in EU to ship yet? Thats bad business. If you ship from the EU I can save money. Every purchase shipping inside the EU is VAT free for me.


You got that wrong, I explained this in great detail. Even if we ship from EU you have to pay VAT, but then we would have had to collect it at time of sales. Now it will be collected at time of shipment through the carrier or directly at the customs office. Payment of VAT is always due, no way around it.



For computer and smartphones in EU VAT rates are as follows:

Meaning that if a private person that ordered Librem 5 lives in Luxembourg she or he needs to pay 17% of VAT on top of 599.00 USD, 649.00 USD, etc. (if I understand this here correct). But if I live in some other EU country with 25% or even 27% of VAT it is easy to understand your question because it is relatively big end price difference for any potential buyer living there. IMO, Purism cannot help/change something for better total price even though we are preordering and buying from the first hand/manufacturer (directly - without someone adding warehouse or any other cost/profit in between). If any day soon open source products get small percentage of VAT that would be bright and intelligent authorities decision (showing to the potential buyer that there is difference in VAT cost terms as well). Just one country decision may open and lead this way.


When ordering the phone in 2017, I think we were told that the phones for EU are shipped from EU. So I have been thinking till now that VAT was already collected at time of sales…
Bad News. I have to check why I did think so.
Did someone else understand it this way in 2017?


It is not indicated anywhere that VAT is included. In the final invoice, there is no line for VAT.

But it is true that it would be better to clearly indicate on the product page that prices are tax-exclusive.
Not everyone is used to calculating VAT and invoicing. It is misleading for some people.


I thought the 599 US-$ were the final price, too. I am not used to having to add VAT to prices and since I am a EU resident and shipment was announced to be from Germany I thought I was good to go. That means I have to pay another 100€ when the phone gets delivered. Mehh! :disappointed:


Where it was announced that the L5 will be shipped from Germany for EU backers?


TLDR; FAQ was clear about import taxes. A European shop would change nothing here, it’s mainly better from a repair perspective.

Here are the two topmost entries of the FAQ on the original campaign page

Do I need to add the cost of shipping to my pledge? What about taxes?

We offer free worldwide shipping on orders, so there is no need to add the upfront shipping cost to your preorder (we pay for it).

Please note, however, that shipping insurance, local taxes, customs fees and import duties are still your responsibility as customers. If your shipping address is not in the USA, depending on your country, you may have to pay local import taxes/customs/duty fees, for example; those are imposed by your local government and Purism has no control over this. If you know resellers and distributors in your country that would be interested in working with us to solve this problem, please contact us.

While we cover the initial shipment cost, if you refuse to receive your package after it has shippped (due to duty fees or any other reason, and therefore the carrier sends the package back to us) and you request a reimbursement from us, we will deduct our initial shipping cost (the cost we paid for you as part of the “free shipping”) plus a 10% restocking fee. This includes refused shipments, shipments unclaimed or shipments with issues arising from someone other than original purchaser signature on delivery.

Do you have a German or UK/EU Reseller?

Yes, we have partnered with a German reseller, and will be shipping all German (and hopefully EU orders in general) from Germany.


So, 1. German orders are shipped from Germany, and 2. since they ship from EU, VAT had to be collected at time of sales. This is exactly what I thought until today.



Well, ok then. I’m not sure how it could have been any clearer.


Have you read and understood what I wrote, and what was said in this forum? I quote:

So, 1. German orders are shipped from Germany (see faq), and 2. since they ship from EU, VAT had to be collected at time of sales (see nicole.faerber).

Since it already had to be collected, it is clear, that it won’t be collected again at time of shipment.


I am with you that this is highly misleading to have these information together, but i also think not having the VAT show on your shop/crowd founding checkout should have made you suspicious. As it is as far as i know required in germany when VAT is collected by the seller.

But yeah not all the best shopping experience for international buyers.


At the time of pledging, I remember hoping that the price included VAT, but acknowledging to myself that it was unclear whether it did or not. I accepted that I might need to pay 20% VAT and maybe some other, unknown, charges and I hoped that the tax and charges did not increase significantly before the phone was shipped. If it became unaffordable, I would have to reject the shipment, and I’d deal with that when the time came. Since I’m a UK resident, the potential impact of Brexit on all of this has been a worry, too. (Conveniently, just as the Librem 5 has been delayed, Brexit has been postponed too.)

One benefit I have been hoping to obtain by having the phone shipped from within the EU to the UK (pre-Brexit, at least) is that it greatly reduces the hassle of receiving the shipment and paying the taxes and charges. If Purism receives the initial import into the EU, then Purism handles the taxes and charges and passes the cost on to me. Simple. Low hassle.

Meanwhile, if Purism ships to the UK from outside of the EU (again, pre-Brexit; who knows what happens after Brexit), then the shipment has to go through a long-winded handling process under the control of the Royal Mail. I wait for a card to arrive telling me what I already know, then, assuming I don’t have to appeal against an error, I pay the taxes and charges, along with a hefty handling charge for the Royal Mail. Then I wait again for the actual shipment to arrive. The Amazons and eBays of the world can bypass this by setting up their own import arrangements instead of relying on the Royal Mail, and they benefit from a more streamlined customer experience because of it. (And, IIRC, a slightly lower cost, because their handling charges are lower than the Royal Mail’s.)

I still get the phone either way, but, for the time being, I’d prefer it to come from the EU. (Once again, who knows what’s the best way to do it after Brexit.)


I agree, no one love vat, but if is needed os fine, but i hope purism could ship from europe as they wrote in their faq campaign, just to avoid all burocracy and time delay customs will add.

@nicole.faerber shipping from EU will still make us happier


we need a manufacturer like Purism in Europe. oh how sweet was it when all countries had some-form of industry. in my country there is only one car factory and even that is at 500km from where i live.:disappointed:


Shipping, handling and fulfillment from Europe will make RMA and warranty handling a lot easier, we totally agree and that’s why we are working on it. But concerning VAT again, it will not save anything. The sales prices in the Purism shop and during the campaign are without VAT - in fact without any taxes. Local taxes will always apply and we can not take into account all local taxes world wide.

Just to give another example… we are considering Germany as this fulfillment hub. This would then mean that if customers from the EU order at Purism and by choosing a shipping destination within the EU the shop will, in the future when this is established, automatically add the 19% VAT that needs to be applied in Germany. The German fulfillment place will be taxable in Germany and will have a German VAT ID, which means, Purism will then pay the 19% VAT that were collected at time of sales to the tax authorities in Germany. Businesses within the EU can order VAT free if they supply a valid VAT ID, consumers re not eligible for this, sorry.

So you see, regardless of where the VAT gets slapped onto the sales price, at some point the consumer has to pay it, one way or the other, there is no way around it. We as Purism can not just silently eat any and all taxes that may get applied somewhere - we already do this with the shipping cost and I can tell you that shipping is pretty expensive in the US.