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Malpensa bullying again
 
.:. Malpensa Airport Customs 6/11/2012

Dear Sir Madame,

I am writing to you because of my recent experience at Malpensa airport and because a similar letter I found published on your website.

I travel widely and regularly travel to Europe. I make use of the TAX Refund Scheme that enables tourists to be refunded the VAT on leaving the EU. In France and Britain the system is efficient and quick. However I recently left the EU via Malpensa airport in Milan Italy and found the system there a total disaster.

In order to claim your tax back you need to take the forms completed in the store of purchase with the items you have purchased to the customs desk to be stamped and you can then get your refund in cash or put onto your credit card.

We arrived at the customs desk Malpensa airport at 19.30 on the 9th June, there was one officer on duty he was not in uniform and although he wore a tag around his neck he had no visible name tag. He had a very unpleasant unfriendly expression. He insisted on opening all the luggage and personally viewing each item that was being claimed. He was smelling clothing to establish whether or not it had been worn. Once he had viewed all the items he then stamped the claim forms he felt were justified. He rejected many of the claims. Many people in the queue in front us were very upset. He then watched the repacking of the bags and then loaded them to the conveyor belt. He was rude and unpleasant. he would not allow bags to be wrapped in plastic after they had been repacked.

The girls in front of us in the queue were very upset about this as they were travelling to Bangkok and they said that without wrapping there was a high risk that their luggage would be opened and items stolen. He told them very rudely almost throwing their forms at them to go and have their bags wrapped but they would get no refund. This man was not trying to help the tourist rather he was antagonistic and trying to find reasons to not sign the customs forms. The woman behind us only had one of her four forms approved by him.

As the process was so slow many people could not wait to have their forms stamped, others may have missed their planes or their luggage may have missed the planes. We were in the queue 2 hours before it was our turn and then our luggage ended up all over the floor as he asked to see each item on the forms. We then did not have time to go and get our cash back or post the forms to get the money credited to our credit cards. The forms are therefore still in my possession. I will now post them from Australia and hope that I eventually will get the tax credited to my credit card.

I believe that tourism is important to Italy so I am surprised that the tax refund is made so difficult. This does not encourage tourism, there is no guarantee that tourists can get the tax refund with a perfectly legitimate claim, it is up to the whim of the customs officer as to whether or not he signs your form. As I have said previously this customs officer was looking for reasons to reject the claims and making the whole experience very unpleasant.

I plan to try and avoid leaving the EU via Italy in the future and will probably not visit Italy as much as I might have otherwise have because of this experience.

I would like to make an official complaint to Italian Customs but have not been able to find an avenue to do this. What do you suggest?


.:. CiaoMilano answer

First of all we're publishing your message - which shows that this ugly situation at Malpensa, a reader of ours has already denounced, is not over.

We'll proceed e-mailing once again the relevant authorities - at Malpensa, in Milan and in Varese (the relevant provincial capital, different from Milan) as well as at the Italian central Custom Office - and will also ask some reliable journalists whether they would like the make an enquiry.

As Italians, we're ashamed.


 
.:. RE: tax refund problem 10/19/2012

Dear Sir & Madame,

Good day to you

i'm a Malaysian tour manager.

I am writing to you because of my recent experience at Malpensa airport on 22 sept and because a similar letter I found published on your website.

I travel widely and regularly travel to Europe. I make use of the TAX Refund Scheme that enables tourists to be refunded the VAT on leaving the EU. the system is efficient and quick. However I recently left the Malpensa airport in Milan Italy and found the system there a total disaster.

In order to claim your tax back you need to take the forms completed in the store of purchase with the items you have purchased to the customs desk to be stamped and you can then get your refund in cash or put onto your credit card.

the victim is not me but my customers , 2 couples.

The incidents happenned when we arrived at the customs desk Malpensa airport on 21 Sept , there was 2 officers on duty .She had a very unpleasant unfriendly expression to the group of customers infront of us whose are from China. i saw the tourist lady was holding a lot of branded items whose called out from the desk to fill up a form...... she has been in and out few times from the custom stamping desk and delayed us. The officer is really not helpful at all.

After the incident the problem turn to us, the officer suddenly stand and walked out from her place for long time when all my customer have stamped except the last 2 couples and many tourists are waiting behind,Many people in the queue behind of us were very upset. we even happaned to argue with the European tourist because of cut queue reason,we have complaint to the officer but he seem like doesnt care and allowed them to cut queue, its really unfair issue!!! As the process was so slow many people could not wait to have their forms stamped, others may have missed their planes or their luggage may have missed the planes. My flight departure time is 12:10 and we manage to done it 12:00. We were almost heart attack due to completed the tax refund very last minute......

We have 31 members in a group ,out of 4 of them were very upset because of the European cut queue issue and the officer unfriendly expression cause them unable to get the stamp.

I believe that tourism is important to Italy so I am surprised that the tax refund is made so difficult. This does not encourage tourism, there is no guarantee that tourists can get the tax refund with a perfectly legitimate claim, it is up to the whim of the customs officer as to whether or not he signs your form. As I have said previously this customs officer was looking for reasons to reject the claims and making the whole experience very unpleasant. My customer were very happy during the trip but after the inccident happen...They were very upset & They probably not visit Italy anymore because of this experience.

I would like to make an official complaint to Italian Customs but have not been able to find an avenue to do this. What do you suggest?

regards



.:. CiaoMilano answer

We repeatedly mentioned the problem to the relevant tourist authorities as well as to the local press. Nothing seems to have changed, however.
Apparently, Italy does not want to welcome foreign visitors...

 
 

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