An EORI number is one of the absolute essentials that you need to complete the import process. However, although we’ve many times written about EORI numbers, we realised that we hadn’t actually explained what would happen if you didn’t have one. Today, we’ve decided to write a post explaining exactly why an EORI is so important and why, when we chase you for it, we really are doing it for your own benefit.
Without an EORI, your goods physically cannot clear Customs.
An EORI acts like an importing passport; each importer has their own allocated EORI number that they use. It allows the government to monitor and track what you’re importing – and, much like a passport, your goods aren’t getting anywhere without one.
Which means that they are not getting into the UK.
If your goods don’t clear customs, they don’t have the go-ahead to enter the UK market . . . which means that they aren’t allowed to. Customs will hold your goods at the border and that is the furthest that they will be allowed to progress.
As in, no goods. Your goods are just sitting there at the border, longingly staring at the distance wishing that they could go home.
It’s non-negotiable. There are no loop-holes or “it doesn’t really matter that much” or alternatives. If you don’t have an EORI number, your goods will not get into the UK.
Which also means that you’ve paid for goods that you can’t use.
So, now your goods are stuck held up at customs . . . what can you do? Your supplier isn’t just going to say “sure – I’ll have those back and here’s your money!”. You’ll end up being out of pocket without any way to reimburse yourself as you can’t sell your goods because you don’t have them.
And, on top of that, your goods will be stuck in customs storage for longer than the allotted free time – which means that you’re going to be hit with some immense charges.
Consider this: more than 50% of the UK’s food is imported. That’s just food – what about clothing? Furniture? Electronics? Such a large amount of what we use in our day-to-day life – such a large part of what drives the economy – is imported. Why are we bringing this up?
Because customs is busy. There are constantly ships pulling in, products being checked, containers being unloaded, etc. etc. What there isn’t is an infinite amount of space. To keep everything running smoothly, customs need to have a quick turnover rate – they can’t afford to have containers and late collections cluttering up their warehouses.
What serves as a deterrent to people picking up their goods late?
Storage fees. The storage fees that customs charge can be absolutely extortionate – and, like our customer who got stuck with a £1,000 bill, you don’t want to be stuck paying them.
For a five-minute form, there are a lot of consequences.
Understandably, after this dark and bleak look at an EORI-less future, the whole process seems intimidating – but there’s no need to worry! If you don’t have an EORI number, we help you through the entire process and make it simple. All you need to do is understand that it is an essential part of the process and that, by trying to sort it out, we aren’t just trying to nag at you.