Shop smart from the Channel Islands

Shopping on-line from the Channel Islands isn’t always a pleasant experience. Many companies can’t be bothered with the making a VAT-exempt outside-EU sale and when they do they like to use expensive shipping options instead of the often reliable and cheap Special Delivery service.

Here’s a few tips and sites to make things a bit less painless.

Deals & codes

HotUKDeals keeps track of various discounts, vouchers, codes and deals that can be had on various popular UK sights. Not all the vendors here deal with the Channel Islands but many do so it’s worth checking.


Many companies offer referral schemes these days in an attempt to get more business in exchange for a few % or £ going to the referrer. When you join QuidCo always purchase by following their link to the vendors site (clear those cookies first to be sure) and when you order they’ll pick-up that referral fee… and give it back to you. Membership costs £10 a year which funds QuidCo itself but it doesn’t take many purchases to earn that back.

Current paybacks include… Sky new customer (£50), Dell (to 6.5%), Boots (to 4.5%), Play (2%), HMV (6%), BlahDVD (5%), Woolworths (5%), WHSmith (7%), I Want One Of Those (10%), Toys for Me (12%), BBC Shop (7.5%) and many more.

iTunes Music Store

Officially iTMS can’t be bothered with the Channel Islands just like the Apple Store itself however if you don’t mind paying the 17.5% VAT then enter your post code in lower case to bypass the check. This has been working for a year or so but I guess sooner or later somebody will patch this oversight.

The lower-case post-code trick stopped working some time during 2010 but the credit card processing seems happy with any UK post-code even if it doesn’t match your billing address. I used BBC TV’s NW1 8TQ (I think that’s from “Why Don’t You”)

Sony Station

Sony Station is the portal and package for many of Sony’s popular on-line games including EverQuest, Star Wars: Galaxies, Matrix Online and PlanetSide. Once again they fail to list Guernsey, Jersey or Channel Islands but a customer service rep has told us to set our country to Zimbabwe to ensure we don’t pay somebody else’s sales tax.

Do not bother trying

  • Cheap airfare sites for trips to/from the islands – the local airlines don’t discount beyond what’s already on their sites.
  • Discounted mobile phone sites – the only two local operators are Cable & Wireless Guernsey and Wave Telecom. Both offer phones through their town stores and via a number of local agents only.
  • ISP comparison/deal web sites – we only have the choices of Cable & Wireless Guernsey and Guernsey.Net/NewTel.


1 responses

  1. Avatar for Alex

    thats pretty nifty... I might go look at that quid co thing. Since I've been back in Jersey, I've been shopping online and seem to have spent a fortune on shipping. Although a lot of sites I use, once I emailed them and asked them nicely, they not only refunded my VAT, but they also charged my normal UK shipping, because in their own words; "if it's good enough for Royal mail, its good enough for us" ...although saying that, it did take a few days longer than normal. but hey, I saved money!

    Alex April 25, 2006