If you’re in London, shop European brands. They’re way cheaper than buying them in the US.
Case in point. I bought a Wolford’s Fatal Dress in Harrods at full price for the equivalent of $153.00 including taxes. In Boston, that would have cost me $215 ex taxes. At the moment, some of the fashion colors are on sale in the Wolford US website from $64 to $107 ex taxes. I’ll also do a review of the Fatal dress in another post.
Since it was my first time in London, I went to Harrods. For the experience alone of walking through the labyrinthine department store, I think it’s worth visiting. Around this time, late June to early July, Harrods was having 50% off. Get a Harrods card while you’re at it since they have an additional 10% off for card members on some weekends.
Obtaining the tax refund form was fast and easy. On the 2nd level, I went to the tax refund area, a hall with rows of desks. I presented my receipts and passports, informed them when I arrived in the UK and when I was leaving. I gave them my credit card to be swiped and that was it. It took less than 5 minutes. I was informed that I have 3 months to obtain the form. That meant I didn’t have to keep going to Harrods for the form, which worked out fine since I didn’t have my passport on me the first time. The minimum purchase to be given a tax refund form is 50 pounds so it’s worthwhile to consolidate all the receipts.
In Bicester Shopping Village, each retail store have their minimum spend, Lacoste only required 30 pounds, before issuing tax refund forms. I was able to snag a few European shoe brands and a bag since the sale price was generally lower than those in the US. I wasn’t fussed about the items being on season, I was aware the products were either the fashion colors or past season. Bicester has its own cash refund office but I didn’t make use of it.
In Liverpool, I shopped at Flannels. At that time, they ran out of tax refund forms and their minimum spend was 100 pounds so it’s best to ask.
At the airport, Travelex managed the Tax Refund prior to security. We didn’t check-in our bags yet because I thought they might want to see my purchase. I also had them process all of my receipts even thought I had some items in my carry on. Not only did they not ask to see my items, they also processed my Global Blue refund as a credit card refund and the Premier Tax receipts as cash refunds in US dollars. I didn’t have to mail my Global Blue receipts because Travelex took the documents. I was told that the credit card refund would be in my account in 5 business days. It’s only been 2 business days so I cannot comment on whether it does only take 5 business days. Greece processed my refund after 6 months.
UPDATE: The refunds were deposited in my account on Thursday. I only noticed it today when I was checking my credit card statement online. Total of 1 day, it may have been deposited on Wednesday but it takes one day for my account to be updated so they may have deposited the refund on the day I submitted it to Travelex. How fast was that?
In Heathrow Terminal 5, after security, Harrods has a small selection of designers goods, some at 50% off when we passed through. The big designer brands like LV, Chanel, Bottega Venta, etc. are also there for those interested in last minute shopping.