Orders to EU – Update 6/1/21

Clarifying the new rules for EU orders:

All orders to non-UK destinations are charged minus VAT.  This now includes EU countries. You will need to be signed in to an account with a registered address outside of the UK on axecaster.co.uk to see the VAT exclusive prices.

Any duty and VAT/tax due will be collected from the buyer upon import to the destination country by the carrier. There may also be administration fees charged by the carrier for clearing customs – this will vary between carriers. Axecaster has no control over these fees and will complete Customs Declarations accurately.

Duty should only be due on shipments with a value over £135/€150. VAT will be due on shipments over the destination country’s low value threshold (€22 for EU countries until July 1st 2021. Click here.)  Shipments below €22 (including shipping cost) should not attract any duty, VAT or handling charges.

EU based customers ordering from UK businesses should take the above into account before ordering, especially for smaller value orders.


Royal Mail has resumed services to European destinations and the website will resume taking orders for Europe from 11pm this evening (29/12). Royal Mail are cautioning that due to backlogs at Dover transit times will be longer than usual so please be aware.


Unfortunately with the development of a new Covid-19 strain in the UK the majority of EU have banned travel from the UK. There are huge delays at the ports and I more countries are banning flights from the UK.  (Royal Mail uses cargo holds in passenger flights for a lot of international mail deliveries) As of right now I am unsure if any EU orders would actually make it to the destination country before Jan 1st. Therefore I have suspended ordering from EU countries until we either have more clarification on whether freight/mail is moving more freely or January 1st.

I am very sorry to have to do this but I believe it better to do this than potentially have all EU orders being delayed until after Jan 1st and having additional VAT charged.


Due to the ridiculously long processing times I am seeing for mail to some EU countries to enter the local systems I have decided I will stop processing orders to EU at 1pm 23rd December. This gives an extra few days for local customs to process parcels into their systems before the transition period deadline. I will disable the ability for EU customers to checkout at 1pm on 23rd and re-enable with the new VAT-exclusive pricing on January 1st.

I want to stress that this is nothing to do with Royal Mail – orders are leaving the UK within a day or two of dispatch but not being scanned into the destination country system by the local postal operators/customs for up to a week.

My apologies for the inconvenience.


The “transition period” officially ends at midnight December 31st and after that the UK will be treated as a third country by the EU. This means that any orders from EU countries placed with UK based companies will be charged net of VAT and any VAT and duty will be payable by the customer upon import.

I will stop taking EU orders from 1pm December 23rd and restart on January 1st. This is to allow time for orders dispatched with VAT paid to arrive in the EU before Jan 1st so the recipient does not get charged any extra VAT/duty. It will also allow me time to change the settings on the store so EU customers see/are charged prices without VAT added.

Order early to avoid disappointment!

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Easter Bank Holiday Hours

It is that time of year again. As usual I will not be dispatching orders Friday or Monday and things will be back to normal Tuesday.

If you want your order to arrive in time for the long weekend select Special Delivery for next day service (for orders received by 1pm Wednesday for Thursday delivery)

Work-wise I will answer email as usual Friday and Monday. Pretty sure I’m not answering the phone this year!

Enjoy the sun!

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Temporarily unable to ship bodies…again!

I know, bloody ridiculous!

Placed an order with my box supplier last week and have only just realised they are running on a 14 working day lead time. I assumed after Christmas they were back to near normal but apparently not.

I placed an emergency order with a different supplier yesterday but they are saying 3-7 working days.

So yet again I am unable to ship bodies.

Don’t worry if you placed an order already – I have boxes for those and they will dispatch Monday.

Sorry about this. If you want to hold a body until I have shipping boxes again, just get in touch.


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Paypal Express Checkout Issues – Fixed

It seems there was a change in the MySQL settings when my site was migrated to the new server last weekend. This change was causing orders made using the Paypal Express Checkout button to display an error instead of the confirmation page. The orders and payments were processed correctly, hence my not noticing the issue.

I was alerted to this issue yesterday evening (thanks Peter) and have now had my hosts change the MySQL settings to fix it. I’ve done a few tests and everything is back to normal and the error page should not show.

Please let me know if there’s eve any unusual behaviour on the site – the sooner I know about it the sooner I can get it fixed.


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The ballad of the Axecaster website…

I am a little wary of posting anything as over the weekend whenever I posted a “yay it’s fixed” update on Facebook or Instagram within minutes the site was down again.

After almost 2 days of issues I insisted my site was moved to a new server. Thankfully my host agreed and it was moved Sunday night. The only issue with that is that it takes a while for the nameservers to update across the web so some people may still see issues for up to 24 hours. In fact while everything appeared to be working correctly yesterday morning I wasn’t receiving emails from ebay sales – they were still being sent to the old server until late afternoon.

However (looking around nervously) it now appears that my site is up and running correctly (manically touching wood) and all my services are working as they should (furiously rubs a rabbit’s foot).

For now.

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European Shipping Update

Since January 1st I have been offering UPS Express as an option for shipping to Europe. Unfortunately it has become apparent that UPS are woefully under-prepared to handle European shipments at the moment. Their customs declaration forms are not being transferred from the booking website to the export department, resulting in delays of numerous days while agents contact customers and ask for customs declarations (that their own booking site generated) to be emailed to them so they can be scanned into the system. (The customs forms being generated are also inadequately completed – I have to manually edit each one to include essential information)

Add the delays caused by general increased demand and the issues at the UK border for freight moving into the continent and I cannot continue to use UPS until they fix their systems.

This leaves a bit of a quandary. UPS are significantly cheaper than anyone else – my preferred carrier for European destinations is DPD but they have seen fit to substantially increase the cost of their door to door air service making it unviable. With the current restrictions in the UK I won’t use drop-off services at the moment.

I don’t move sufficient volume to Europe to benefit from reduced rates from the likes of Fedex or DHL, although I will be contacting them for quotes.

Parcelforce via Parcelmonkey or Interparcel looks to be an option on price however I need to take some time to check prices – unfortunately, unlike UPS’ small business website the third party sites don’t give helpful weight/size bands for grouped destinations, requiring manual checks of each country for each size/weight of parcel.

I plan to have Parcelforce listed as an option in the next day or so.

I still have Royal Mail offered for everything except bodies so European customers can continue to place orders. For orders containing bodies or over Royal Mail’s 2kg weight limit, please contact me with your complete order and I will get a current shipping quote and email a Paypal invoice.

I apologise for the inconvenience. Hopefully the carriers will get up to speed quickly.

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Bodies back on the site to order!

Shipping boxes arrived today so bodies are now available on the site again!

I’m also expecting a new shipment of Hosco bodies at the end of the month…

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Temporarily unable to ship bodies…

Quite a ridiculous situation but I have run out of shipping boxes!

I placed an order with my supplier on December 15th and only afterwards noticed that they were not dispatching orders until January 4th.

Nothing dispatched yesterday.

A phone call to them today and they say they will ship by the end of the week.

I used my last box yesterday.

So I’ve marked all bodies as out of stock until they arrive.

Sorry – I cut it fine but would have been covered if the supplier had held up their end.

Super start to the year!

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Another year older…

No, scratch that. 2020 does not count – we all get a do-over!

Thanks to all my customers for your continued support. In the crowded marketplace it means a lot that you choose to spend your hard earned money with me. I look forward to continue to grow with you in the coming year. I might even get round to that website refresh!

Stay safe everyone.


Roll on 2021!


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Royal Mail Delivery Update

Royal MailRoyal Mail are suspending the delivery guarantee on Special Delivery orders placed on 23rd December. Please bear that in mind if ordering for dispatch 23rd

In light of the changing coronavirus restrictions announced on Saturday 19th December 2020, we have made the difficult decision to make the following changes to our timed guarantees for our Special Delivery by 9am and 1pm services:

  • For Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9.00am and Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1.00pm items posted on Wednesday 23rd December we are suspending our delivery guarantee.
  • While we cannot currently provide a guarantee that items posted on Wednesday 23rd December will arrive prior to Christmas due to the impact of the new coronavirus restrictions, we can assure you that we will be endeavouring to deliver all items as quickly as possible.  We know how important this is.
  • Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9.00am and Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1.00pm items posted up to and including Tuesday 22nd December remain unchanged.

Find out more at www.royalmail.com/coronavirus

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Postal Delays

Royal MailUnless you have been living under a rock you will know that we are in the second wave of the CV-19 pandemic. As such and compounded by the time of year, Royal Mail is under extreme pressure and mail is taking longer to arrive than usual. I am even starting to see Tracked 24 packages sit in my local depot for 24hrs+ before moving on to local depots. As these packages were sent with other Tracked 24 that have moved on, I am assuming Royal Mail is prioritising those where the delivery depot is running at good capacity and holding back those where local depots are affected by closure/short staffing (just an assumption).

I highly recommend ordering early (and I mean NOW) if you want delivery before Christmas and to be honest I also recommend Special Delivery if practical – Royal Mail seems to still be prioritising SD mail.

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