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Boots and WHSmith are facing revolt from airport passengers over boarding cards and VAT

By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

August 11, 2015 | 2 min read

Consumers are apparently taking a stand against airport retailers after finding out the only reason they need to hand over their boarding cards is so the company doesn’t pay VAT.

Before making a purchase in an airport, passengers will generally be asked to hand over their boarding cards and most do so without a second thought.

However, a report which ran in the Independent, highlighted the only reason retailers need to scan boarding cards is to avoid paying VAT – which is completely legal - but the majority have decided not to pass the saving on to customers.

Now, the Independent claims that air travellers, aware that they are under no legal obligation, are refusing to show their boarding passes at airport shops such as Boots and WHSmith.

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The paper has recruited Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis for its “campaign to end the rip-off”. Lewis said: “People withholding their boarding passes will force companies to take note and eventually take action.”

It has also been backed by Caroline Russell, the Green Party’s local transport spokeswoman.

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