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Tschakko

Different prices of Premium Membership

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Digital content, like subscriptions, consumed in the EU is subject to VAT. I'm sorry, but we will not be posting our EU VAT registration.

 

I think that you will, If you charge VAT you must provide an itemised receipt indicating the amount paid and your VAT registration number. Failure to do this is a criminal offence. It's always worth remembering that while the police need a warrent before they break down your door, the VAT guys just need a sledge-hammer.

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Digital content, like subscriptions, consumed in the EU is subject to VAT. I'm sorry, but we will not be posting our EU VAT registration.

 

I think that you will, If you charge VAT you must provide an itemised receipt indicating the amount paid and your VAT registration number. Failure to do this is a criminal offence. It's always worth remembering that while the police need a warrent before they break down your door, the VAT guys just need a sledge-hammer.

 

The "special scheme" or "one stop shop" set up for non-EU companies to charge VAT on electronic services (VOES) does not require standard VAT invoices. There are two different systems under two different rules.

 

But as has been documented on this thread, many companies who are using the same VOES scheme provide far better information and detail than Groundspeak. Some companies do not provide a formal VAT receipt, but document the amount of VAT charged on the invoice. Some companies publish the VAT registration number. Some companies provide detailed information on the VOES scheme to explain specifically why they are not discriminating against Europeans. Some companies tell consumers the percentage of VAT that is being applied and how much consumers are actually paying for their services. Some companies explain how businesses who are registered for VAT may contact them so that the VOES is not applied. Examples of all of these practices are provided in past posts so I need not go into them in any kind of detail here.

 

Some companies take customer relationships seriously and provide as much information as they can to help their customers. Unfortunately, Groundspeak takes a different approach. Their definition of "improving communication" is silence, and thus this thread continues to raise many of the questions that should have long since been resolved.

 

Despite Bryan's promises (Post No. 130 for those keeping score), Groundspeak has retreated from a commitment to open communication to "we will not tell you anything unless we are legally required." It is a significant difference.

Edited by geodarts

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So what it needs is enough premium members to take a similar view and retreat from "if we can renew our membership we will" to "we're not legally obliged to so we won't" and maybe they'll listen. I emailed Groundspeak to tell them why I was disinclined to renew and, as I suspected, the lack of response suggests nobody cares.

 

I still doubt it, the target market seems to be mobile apps now and hidden boxes appear to be little more than a reason for people to buy the apps. People don't need a premium membership if they can effectively query the database in realtime based on where they are right now - the benefits of pocket queries disappears, there's no need for notifications and the only difference would seem to be the availability of PMO caches.

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Not enough EU member wiil decline renewing so it will not make any difference. Most are not aware and none of the Germans I have pointed it out to give care about the price increase, no communication from GS, or where the VAT is going.

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Not enough EU member wiil decline renewing so it will not make any difference. Most are not aware and none of the Germans I have pointed it out to give care about the price increase, no communication from GS, or where the VAT is going.

 

This is what I suspected all along. Early in this thread, it was said that the issue was spreading through local user groups and forums and it sounded like half of Europe was preparing to march on Seattle with pitchforks and flaming torches. Turns out it was just a small set of vocal users.

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The difficulty that I have with not renewing PM to show my discontent is that, it will go unnoticed.

Even if 10.000 fellow geocachers in Europe would do the same thing. Why? Because there is no way to cancel my PM prematurely, so there is no way to use it to 'send a message' and have thousands cancel the same day.

Instead, non-renewals keep on trickling in at an amount of 20 to 30 a day on average to get to 10k in a year (out of 'over 5 Million active geocachers worldwide') and the 'protest' is lost in the noise. It would take about 1 year to have a chance of being noticed by TPTB and then a trend, that small, compared to the bigger number (~0.2% change) is quickly identified as 'normal erosion of the customer base'.

Oh and by the way, each new subscription in that period will further diminish that 'trend'

 

For myself I have come to the conclusion, that GS does not have to, and therefore will not, do anything, let alone respond to the well founded and reasonable questions in this thread.

So my approach has changed from being aggravated by it to find ways around this and offer a solution for those who care.

 

Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member. Maybe the equally appalled US members reading this thread can help in that by spreading the word ('adopt a EU-Cacher')? Due to the numbers above this trend also has a good chance of going unnoticed.

Result: EU members, that decide to do so, go financially un-discriminated, GS does not benefit from their business strategy blunder, but remains level.

 

Thoughts are there others?

 

Thore

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...Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member...

You do not need an US geocacher. Even Europeans can gift a PM to each other and will pay 30 Dollar for that (not EUR!).

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For myself I have come to the conclusion, that GS does not have to, and therefore will not, do anything, let alone respond to the well founded and reasonable questions in this thread.

So my approach has changed from being aggravated by it to find ways around this and offer a solution for those who care.

 

Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member. Maybe the equally appalled US members reading this thread can help in that by spreading the word ('adopt a EU-Cacher')? Due to the numbers above this trend also has a good chance of going unnoticed.

Result: EU members, that decide to do so, go financially un-discriminated, GS does not benefit from their business strategy blunder, but remains level.

 

Thoughts are there others?

 

Thore

 

Pick a random address in the US and claim you live there if you really want to skirt around the issue. You might be guilty of tax evasion in your home country if you do it, although I suspect the worst that would happen is that your local tax office would ask you to pay the VAT at your local rate. At least you'd know it was going where it was supposed to go, whereas with Groundspeak's ongoing silence there's no way of knowing whether they are going to be handing the VAT to the appropriate bodies or just felt like hiking the price 20% and calling it VAT.

 

If you don't want your "address" to coincide with a real person's address pick a town somewhere and use a PO Box number that's nice and high. A sleepy small town in Delaware is unlikely to have a "PO Box 192837" for example. And a lot of people in the US use a PO Box as their mailing address rather than having a box on a stick at the end of the driveway so it's not as if much can be done to stop people using PO Boxes.

 

Maybe Groundspeak can implement another twitface integration so people can "like" their new post office boxes.

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Maybe Groundspeak can implement another twitface integration so people can "like" their new post office boxes.

 

OWWW!

That one stings!

 

;)

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Let's face it, though.

 

Groundspeak are not going to care what a few vocal members say here.

 

Until someday when they wake up to notice a serious drop in European memberships, it's all just howling at the moon.

 

And if that day comes, it will already be too late to do anything.

 

Groundspeak are banking that few Europeans will notice, and even fewer will care.

 

Sadly, I also think that few Europeans will notice, and even fewer will care.

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The difficulty that I have with not renewing PM to show my discontent is that, it will go unnoticed.

Even if 10.000 fellow geocachers in Europe would do the same thing. Why? Because there is no way to cancel my PM prematurely, so there is no way to use it to 'send a message' and have thousands cancel the same day.

Instead, non-renewals keep on trickling in at an amount of 20 to 30 a day on average to get to 10k in a year (out of 'over 5 Million active geocachers worldwide') and the 'protest' is lost in the noise. It would take about 1 year to have a chance of being noticed by TPTB and then a trend, that small, compared to the bigger number (~0.2% change) is quickly identified as 'normal erosion of the customer base'.

Oh and by the way, each new subscription in that period will further diminish that 'trend'

 

For myself I have come to the conclusion, that GS does not have to, and therefore will not, do anything, let alone respond to the well founded and reasonable questions in this thread.

So my approach has changed from being aggravated by it to find ways around this and offer a solution for those who care.

 

Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member. Maybe the equally appalled US members reading this thread can help in that by spreading the word ('adopt a EU-Cacher')? Due to the numbers above this trend also has a good chance of going unnoticed.

Result: EU members, that decide to do so, go financially un-discriminated, GS does not benefit from their business strategy blunder, but remains level.

 

Thoughts are there others?

 

Thore

 

Presuming that one could instantly cancel their membership, do you honestly think that 10,000 would? You guys can't even get 100 people to send an email, how are you going to get 10,000 to cancel?

 

Imagine if Groundspeak actually received 10,000 emails in one day from people threatening to cancel. I'm guessing that things would be much different if that actually happened.

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Imagine if Groundspeak actually received 10,000 emails in one day from people threatening to cancel. I'm guessing that things would be much different if that actually happened.

 

That might at least stimulate a response here.

 

:antenna:

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For myself I have come to the conclusion, that GS does not have to, and therefore will not, do anything, let alone respond to the well founded and reasonable questions in this thread.

So my approach has changed from being aggravated by it to find ways around this and offer a solution for those who care.

 

Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member. Maybe the equally appalled US members reading this thread can help in that by spreading the word ('adopt a EU-Cacher')? Due to the numbers above this trend also has a good chance of going unnoticed.

Result: EU members, that decide to do so, go financially un-discriminated, GS does not benefit from their business strategy blunder, but remains level.

 

Thoughts are there others?

 

Thore

 

Pick a random address in the US and claim you live there if you really want to skirt around the issue. You might be guilty of tax evasion in your home country if you do it, although I suspect the worst that would happen is that your local tax office would ask you to pay the VAT at your local rate. At least you'd know it was going where it was supposed to go, whereas with Groundspeak's ongoing silence there's no way of knowing whether they are going to be handing the VAT to the appropriate bodies or just felt like hiking the price 20% and calling it VAT.

 

If you don't want your "address" to coincide with a real person's address pick a town somewhere and use a PO Box number that's nice and high. A sleepy small town in Delaware is unlikely to have a "PO Box 192837" for example. And a lot of people in the US use a PO Box as their mailing address rather than having a box on a stick at the end of the driveway so it's not as if much can be done to stop people using PO Boxes.

 

Maybe Groundspeak can implement another twitface integration so people can "like" their new post office boxes.

 

I find it amazing that after so much discussion and criticism of Groundspeak's ethics, the final solution turns out to be to defraud them as well as your tax man.

Edited by Don_J

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....

I find it amazing that after so much discussion and criticism of Groundspeak's ethics, the final solution turns out to be to defraud them as well as your tax man.

 

I find it sad... And it's sad that we came to an end like this.

 

I'm not going to deny my country or my reality (language, currency, etc). As said, I already cancelled the automatic renewall of my membership. And, if at the time of the renewal, the situation is the same as it is now, I won't renew manually and will put an end to my Charter Member status. Maybe I am the only one to loose if that happens. Maybe. But, my convictions are more important than my status.

 

I don' agree and I don't accept what Groundspeak did to us, europeans geocachers. And, it is not about a few euros. As I already mentioned, I wrote to Groundspeak offering to pay all vat amounts that they may have being paid all these years on my behalf. The only thing I asked was that they showed to me a clear evidence that the vat amount was paid to an european vat entity. They answered that they cannot charge me retroactively. But, if they decide to charge me, I'm still available to pay all the vat amounts that Groundspeak paid on my behalf. Just show me the evidence I ask.

I don't want free lunches. I want respect. I want to be treated equally to all other geocachers. If Groundspeak needs to raise the fee, so do it, but, in a clear and equal way to everyone. And then add vat as due, based on the local regulations.

 

Also, I'm still available to help to pay for an investigation to determine if Groundspeak is actually registered to an european vat authority. If Groundspeak refuses to reveal the vat regsitration number and claims that the raise is due to vat, we, european geocachers have the right to know if it's true. With the present behaviour of Groundspeak, I have doubts. See the promise to not raise the fee as long as one continues to renew the membership. See the promise to a more open and clear comunication...

 

It is sad that, as seems now to me, people don't act. Groundspeak has reasons to be happy and we, european geocachers have reasons to be ashamed. That's the way it is. Congratulations Groundspeak. Shame on us, european geocachers.

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Pick a random address in the US and claim you live there if you really want to skirt around the issue.

 

The HMRC currently requires suppliers to verify customer declarations through credit card billing information or other approved means. The system will be changing a little in 2015 and the EU commission has proposed several means to use to verify the appropriate country. This does not mean that Groundspeak will get it right.

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Also, I'm still available to help to pay for an investigation to determine if Groundspeak is actually registered to an european vat authority.

 

It might be difficult. Non-Eu companies registered for electronic services are given a special VAT number (beginning with EU) that is not identified to the public - although some companies choose to make this number available, Groundspeak has not. Even if you bribed a lackey to get the number, it could not be verified through the usual methods. The HMRC will not confirm if a company is registered, although they may investigate the matter internally.

 

I have no reason to believe that Groundspeak is not registered. It would be much more serious to falsely claim VAT registration than it would be for them to not have collected it during the past ten years.

Edited by geodarts

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Bit off topic but it seems to me that the EU is getting pretty stupid with all their complicated laws that they expect non EU countries to comply with.

 

I understand why they are doing it, what with Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, etc... not even paying their own income taxes they have to get revenue from somewhere. Before the the EU goes after companies in non-EU countries they should go after the money in their own territories.

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Pick a random address in the US and claim you live there if you really want to skirt around the issue.

 

The HMRC currently requires suppliers to verify customer declarations through credit card billing information or other approved means. The system will be changing a little in 2015 and the EU commission has proposed several means to use to verify the appropriate country.

 

That would depend if you pay with a credit card. If Groundspeak thinks they are dealing with a US-based customer it doesn't matter what HMRC wants done to verify the country of origin of an EU-based cacher.

 

This does not mean that Groundspeak will get it right.

 

Based on recent performance I'd put money on them getting it wrong. If you're going to make better mistakes tomorrow you might as well do it in style and get your taxes wrong.

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Also, I'm still available to help to pay for an investigation to determine if Groundspeak is actually registered to an european vat authority.

 

It might be difficult. Non-Eu companies registered for electronic services are given a special VAT number (beginning with EU) that is not identified to the public - although some companies choose to make this number available, Groundspeak has not. Even if you bribed a lackey to get the number, it could not be verified through the usual methods. The HMRC will not confirm if a company is registered, although they may investigate the matter internally.

 

I have no reason to believe that Groundspeak is not registered. It would be much more serious to falsely claim VAT registration than it would be for them to not have collected it during the past ten years.

 

If you're based in the UK than falsely claiming VAT registration would be a serious offence. What is HMRC going to do to a company based in Seattle if they falsely claim a VAT registration?

 

Bit off topic but it seems to me that the EU is getting pretty stupid with all their complicated laws that they expect non EU countries to comply with.

 

I understand why they are doing it, what with Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, etc... not even paying their own income taxes they have to get revenue from somewhere. Before the the EU goes after companies in non-EU countries they should go after the money in their own territories.

 

It really is stupid to create a system where they expect foreign companies to register for VAT and then structure things in a way that prevents customers from verifying that the extra money is actually VAT. What they have done appears to create a perfect opportunity for a foreign company to hike the price by the highest VAT rate in Europe, claim it's because of VAT, and pocket the extra cash.

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For myself I have come to the conclusion, that GS does not have to, and therefore will not, do anything, let alone respond to the well founded and reasonable questions in this thread.

So my approach has changed from being aggravated by it to find ways around this and offer a solution for those who care.

 

Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member. Maybe the equally appalled US members reading this thread can help in that by spreading the word ('adopt a EU-Cacher')? Due to the numbers above this trend also has a good chance of going unnoticed.

Result: EU members, that decide to do so, go financially un-discriminated, GS does not benefit from their business strategy blunder, but remains level.

 

Thoughts are there others?

 

Thore

 

Pick a random address in the US and claim you live there if you really want to skirt around the issue. You might be guilty of tax evasion in your home country if you do it, although I suspect the worst that would happen is that your local tax office would ask you to pay the VAT at your local rate. At least you'd know it was going where it was supposed to go, whereas with Groundspeak's ongoing silence there's no way of knowing whether they are going to be handing the VAT to the appropriate bodies or just felt like hiking the price 20% and calling it VAT.

 

If you don't want your "address" to coincide with a real person's address pick a town somewhere and use a PO Box number that's nice and high. A sleepy small town in Delaware is unlikely to have a "PO Box 192837" for example. And a lot of people in the US use a PO Box as their mailing address rather than having a box on a stick at the end of the driveway so it's not as if much can be done to stop people using PO Boxes.

 

Maybe Groundspeak can implement another twitface integration so people can "like" their new post office boxes.

 

I find it amazing that after so much discussion and criticism of Groundspeak's ethics, the final solution turns out to be to defraud them as well as your tax man.

 

My solution is going to either be to ask a caching buddy in Pennsylvania to gift me a membership (curiously a year's premium membership costs almost exactly the same as a case of his favourite beer) or to just let my premium membership lapse. Those who don't have caching buddies or family/friends in the US obviously don't have the first option.

 

I don't see registering a US address to be defrauding Groundspeak at all, if anything it's saving them the administration and currency conversion fees of processing the VAT and handing it over. The reason I mentioned the potential issue of tax evasion is to make sure people realised that if they did such a thing they may be considered guilty of tax evasion, although it may be that their tax office would simply ask them to pay the tax due.

 

Truth be told if I had any confidence that they had actually correctly registered for VAT (and with retracted promises and their apparent ineptitude it's hard to know either way) I'd just be making a very simple decision on whether I thought £24.99 was a fair price to pay for a year's premium membership. Were it not for Groundspeak's frankly insulting attitude to their European customers I'd most likely have paid it, but as a rule I avoid doing business with companies that treat me with contempt.

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For myself I have come to the conclusion, that GS does not have to, and therefore will not, do anything, let alone respond to the well founded and reasonable questions in this thread.

So my approach has changed from being aggravated by it to find ways around this and offer a solution for those who care.

 

Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member. Maybe the equally appalled US members reading this thread can help in that by spreading the word ('adopt a EU-Cacher')? Due to the numbers above this trend also has a good chance of going unnoticed.

Result: EU members, that decide to do so, go financially un-discriminated, GS does not benefit from their business strategy blunder, but remains level.

 

Thoughts are there others?

 

Thore

 

Pick a random address in the US and claim you live there if you really want to skirt around the issue. You might be guilty of tax evasion in your home country if you do it, although I suspect the worst that would happen is that your local tax office would ask you to pay the VAT at your local rate. At least you'd know it was going where it was supposed to go, whereas with Groundspeak's ongoing silence there's no way of knowing whether they are going to be handing the VAT to the appropriate bodies or just felt like hiking the price 20% and calling it VAT.

 

If you don't want your "address" to coincide with a real person's address pick a town somewhere and use a PO Box number that's nice and high. A sleepy small town in Delaware is unlikely to have a "PO Box 192837" for example. And a lot of people in the US use a PO Box as their mailing address rather than having a box on a stick at the end of the driveway so it's not as if much can be done to stop people using PO Boxes.

 

Maybe Groundspeak can implement another twitface integration so people can "like" their new post office boxes.

 

I find it amazing that after so much discussion and criticism of Groundspeak's ethics, the final solution turns out to be to defraud them as well as your tax man.

 

My solution is going to either be to ask a caching buddy in Pennsylvania to gift me a membership (curiously a year's premium membership costs almost exactly the same as a case of his favourite beer) or to just let my premium membership lapse. Those who don't have caching buddies or family/friends in the US obviously don't have the first option.

 

I don't see registering a US address to be defrauding Groundspeak at all, if anything it's saving them the administration and currency conversion fees of processing the VAT and handing it over. The reason I mentioned the potential issue of tax evasion is to make sure people realised that if they did such a thing they may be considered guilty of tax evasion, although it may be that their tax office would simply ask them to pay the tax due.

 

Truth be told if I had any confidence that they had actually correctly registered for VAT (and with retracted promises and their apparent ineptitude it's hard to know either way) I'd just be making a very simple decision on whether I thought £24.99 was a fair price to pay for a year's premium membership. Were it not for Groundspeak's frankly insulting attitude to their European customers I'd most likely have paid it, but as a rule I avoid doing business with companies that treat me with contempt.

 

The one legal way around this pricehike I know is purchase the PM through one of the various resellers (list has been pinned in the geocoin discussions). As I understand they are not required to charge VAT as the amount is not high enough and the status is a different one, they sell a membership and do not offer the service themselves.

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The one legal way around this pricehike I know is purchase the PM through one of the various resellers (list has been pinned in the geocoin discussions). As I understand they are not required to charge VAT as the amount is not high enough and the status is a different one, they sell a membership and do not offer the service themselves.

 

Of course if the reseller is not in a EU country, it would be subject to the same rules as Groundspeak and should apply VAT -- whether a non-EU reseller chooses to do so is a different issue. If the reseller is within the EU, the electronic services VAT should be applied based on the rules for the country of the supplier. This will change in 2015 when companies within the EU will determine VAT for electronic services based on the residence of the consumer. There will be a "mini one stop shop" scheme similar to the one that Groundspeak now uses. Apparently certain countries wanted to eliminate Luxembourg's advantage in this regard, just as certain European companies wanted to eliminate AOL's advantage when the rules for non-EU companies were adopted. Everyone wants a piece of a pie.

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The one legal way around this pricehike I know is purchase the PM through one of the various resellers (list has been pinned in the geocoin discussions). As I understand they are not required to charge VAT as the amount is not high enough and the status is a different one, they sell a membership and do not offer the service themselves.

 

Of course if the reseller is not in a EU country, it would be subject to the same rules as Groundspeak and should apply VAT -- whether a non-EU reseller chooses to do so is a different issue. If the reseller is within the EU, the electronic services VAT should be applied based on the rules for the country of the supplier. This will change in 2015 when companies within the EU will determine VAT for electronic services based on the residence of the consumer. There will be a "mini one stop shop" scheme similar to the one that Groundspeak now uses. Apparently certain countries wanted to eliminate Luxembourg's advantage in this regard, just as certain European companies wanted to eliminate AOL's advantage when the rules for non-EU companies were adopted. Everyone wants a piece of a pie.

 

They do underly the same rules. But to every rule there is exeptions. And as far as I understood it they will not be liable to charge EU-VAT as the do not provide the service themselves. Ther was another rule regarding the revenue made, but I am not sure about the numbers right now...

 

Anyway. the customer is quite safe to purchase with them.

 

PLUS to me it´s a bit satisfying that G$ has to share some percentage of the proce with the resellers ;) This way they pay a little for the discrimination they are performing.

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The one legal way around this pricehike I know is purchase the PM through one of the various resellers (list has been pinned in the geocoin discussions). As I understand they are not required to charge VAT as the amount is not high enough and the status is a different one, they sell a membership and do not offer the service themselves.

 

Of course if the reseller is not in a EU country, it would be subject to the same rules as Groundspeak and should apply VAT -- whether a non-EU reseller chooses to do so is a different issue. If the reseller is within the EU, the electronic services VAT should be applied based on the rules for the country of the supplier. This will change in 2015 when companies within the EU will determine VAT for electronic services based on the residence of the consumer. There will be a "mini one stop shop" scheme similar to the one that Groundspeak now uses. Apparently certain countries wanted to eliminate Luxembourg's advantage in this regard, just as certain European companies wanted to eliminate AOL's advantage when the rules for non-EU companies were adopted. Everyone wants a piece of a pie.

 

They do underly the same rules. But to every rule there is exeptions. And as far as I understood it they will not be liable to charge EU-VAT as the do not provide the service themselves. Ther was another rule regarding the revenue made, but I am not sure about the numbers right now...

 

Anyway. the customer is quite safe to purchase with them.

 

PLUS to me it´s a bit satisfying that G$ has to share some percentage of the proce with the resellers ;) This way they pay a little for the discrimination they are performing.

 

A lot would depend on what you're hoping to achieve.

 

If you want to continue with your premium membership but avoid the price hike there are a few possible ways, some of questionable legality, to achieve it.

 

If you want to send a message to Groundspeak (however loud or quiet it may turn out to be) there's no point buying a membership through a reseller - you might deprive Groundspeak of a couple of bucks out of the $30 but if the purpose is to make a statement you're better off giving them $0 rather than reducing their money from $30 to maybe $25 and thinking that's a great statement.

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Also, I'm still available to help to pay for an investigation to determine if Groundspeak is actually registered to an european vat authority.

 

It might be difficult. Non-Eu companies registered for electronic services are given a special VAT number (beginning with EU) that is not identified to the public - although some companies choose to make this number available, Groundspeak has not. Even if you bribed a lackey to get the number, it could not be verified through the usual methods. The HMRC will not confirm if a company is registered, although they may investigate the matter internally.

 

I have no reason to believe that Groundspeak is not registered. It would be much more serious to falsely claim VAT registration than it would be for them to not have collected it during the past ten years.

 

If you're based in the UK than falsely claiming VAT registration would be a serious offence. What is HMRC going to do to a company based in Seattle if they falsely claim a VAT registration?

 

Bit off topic but it seems to me that the EU is getting pretty stupid with all their complicated laws that they expect non EU countries to comply with.

 

I understand why they are doing it, what with Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, etc... not even paying their own income taxes they have to get revenue from somewhere. Before the the EU goes after companies in non-EU countries they should go after the money in their own territories.

 

It really is stupid to create a system where they expect foreign companies to register for VAT and then structure things in a way that prevents customers from verifying that the extra money is actually VAT. What they have done appears to create a perfect opportunity for a foreign company to hike the price by the highest VAT rate in Europe, claim it's because of VAT, and pocket the extra cash.

 

When I purchase something in a store in the US, I get a receipt that simply says "Sales Tax" and the amount that I was charged. I take it on good faith that the vendor is sending what he collected to the proper places and is not simply pocketing the money. I do not demand tax numbers and do my own internal investigations. It is very rare that a vendor does not remit the tax that he has collected, and when it is discovered, they are dealt with very harshly. It simply isn't worth the risk. I find the idea that the head honchos at GS got together and came up with this elaborate tax scheme to defraud their European customers to be ludicrous. Now, that it is actually suggested that the members defraud GS as well as their own governments, I understand where the idea is based.

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I do not demand tax numbers and do my own internal investigations.

 

So true! Never would a US company give out their EIC just because someone demanded it. The EU probably took this into consideration when they made the special VAT rule for non-EU countries.

 

Ahh....have you ever been to Europe? When you order a drink at a restaurant they have lines on the glass or cup so you as the customer can be sure your are getting all the drink you paid for. They investigate their drink every time! If some of them are that petty on the few cents they would lose by missing a few milliliters of whatever they are drinking you can imagine how losing two or three Euros to GS would be. I would probably be the same way if I paid close to $10.00 a gallon for gas. Need to save as much money as possible to drive to those distant caches!

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Also, I'm still available to help to pay for an investigation to determine if Groundspeak is actually registered to an european vat authority.

 

It might be difficult. Non-Eu companies registered for electronic services are given a special VAT number (beginning with EU) that is not identified to the public - although some companies choose to make this number available, Groundspeak has not. Even if you bribed a lackey to get the number, it could not be verified through the usual methods. The HMRC will not confirm if a company is registered, although they may investigate the matter internally.

 

I have no reason to believe that Groundspeak is not registered. It would be much more serious to falsely claim VAT registration than it would be for them to not have collected it during the past ten years.

 

If you're based in the UK than falsely claiming VAT registration would be a serious offence. What is HMRC going to do to a company based in Seattle if they falsely claim a VAT registration?

 

Bit off topic but it seems to me that the EU is getting pretty stupid with all their complicated laws that they expect non EU countries to comply with.

 

I understand why they are doing it, what with Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, etc... not even paying their own income taxes they have to get revenue from somewhere. Before the the EU goes after companies in non-EU countries they should go after the money in their own territories.

 

It really is stupid to create a system where they expect foreign companies to register for VAT and then structure things in a way that prevents customers from verifying that the extra money is actually VAT. What they have done appears to create a perfect opportunity for a foreign company to hike the price by the highest VAT rate in Europe, claim it's because of VAT, and pocket the extra cash.

 

When I purchase something in a store in the US, I get a receipt that simply says "Sales Tax" and the amount that I was charged. I take it on good faith that the vendor is sending what he collected to the proper places and is not simply pocketing the money. I do not demand tax numbers and do my own internal investigations. It is very rare that a vendor does not remit the tax that he has collected, and when it is discovered, they are dealt with very harshly. It simply isn't worth the risk. I find the idea that the head honchos at GS got together and came up with this elaborate tax scheme to defraud their European customers to be ludicrous. Now, that it is actually suggested that the members defraud GS as well as their own governments, I understand where the idea is based.

 

In Europe when we get a VAT invoice we get the VAT registration details of the company, that's the way we roll over here. Which perhaps explains why we expect to see registration information when you guys in North America apparently don't.

 

It's not unheard of for less scrupulous traders to write "+VAT" on their bills and not provide a full VAT invoice, effectively increasing their prices by 20% while blaming the taxman for the increase in price. It's easy to see how the UK taxman can take harsh measures against UK traders for VAT fraud but what powers they would have against a foreign company that charged VAT but failed to pass it on are far less clear.

 

I must admit I found it curious that gc.com registered I was in the UK but allowed me to specify any other address I wanted, anywhere in the world, without any attempt at verification. From there it did appear that one might enter any address they chose (including obviously fake ones, such as the White House or the NASA space centre or some such).

 

I'm not sure how giving Groundspeak a false address is defrauding them in any way. I've made it pretty clear that doing that sort of thing might be considered tax evasion in one's home country but if Groundspeak are being truthful that all they are doing is charging VAT and rounding in their favour to give themselves a currency hedge it's not costing them any money.

 

Since so many European cachers appear to want to continue without paying the extra costs I'm surprised an enterprising US-based cacher hasn't offered to gift premium memberships to Europeans in exchange for, say, $35. That way the US cacher makes a profit of $5 per gifting and the European cacher pays $35 instead of more like $40 (obviously precise figures can be adjusted but the point is clear).

 

For myself, where it not for the frankly shameful way Groundspeak have reneged on yet another promise, my only consideration would be whether £24.99 represented a fair price for a year's premium membership. Considering that question in isolation would probably lead me to renew, at least for another year while I decide whether there's enough left of geocaching to retain my interest. As it stands my consideration is also whether I want to do business with a company that apparently has no concept of such basic issues as honouring their promises - as a rule I avoid doing business with companies once they have demonstrated their word means nothing.

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I do not demand tax numbers and do my own internal investigations.

 

So true! Never would a US company give out their EIC just because someone demanded it. The EU probably took this into consideration when they made the special VAT rule for non-EU countries.

 

Ahh....have you ever been to Europe? When you order a drink at a restaurant they have lines on the glass or cup so you as the customer can be sure your are getting all the drink you paid for. They investigate their drink every time! If some of them are that petty on the few cents they would lose by missing a few milliliters of whatever they are drinking you can imagine how losing two or three Euros to GS would be. I would probably be the same way if I paid close to $10.00 a gallon for gas. Need to save as much money as possible to drive to those distant caches!

 

For people of more limited means it does make a difference when you get restaurants and bars that deliver short measures. Even when money isn't tight people want to get what they paid for, it's not such a weird concept. Would you be happy if your local gas station charged you for 5 gallons but had really only delivered 4.7 gallons? Would you accept your grocery store charging you for 32oz of sliced meat if what was in the packet was really only 28oz? Would you accept a rump steak if you had paid for a sirloin steak?

 

Or, since you think it's petty to check your drink comes up to the line, how would you respond if you went to a bar in the US and ordered a pint of beer only for the level of the beer to be an inch below where you expected it to be? I'll bet you'd ask for it to be topped up.

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Truth be told if I had any confidence that they had actually correctly registered for VAT (and with retracted promises and their apparent ineptitude it's hard to know either way) I'd just be making a very simple decision on whether I thought £24.99 was a fair price to pay for a year's premium membership. Were it not for Groundspeak's frankly insulting attitude to their European customers I'd most likely have paid it, but as a rule I avoid doing business with companies that treat me with contempt.

 

Groundspeak has always operated behind a veil. Most companies do, although their product is different than Apple or Microsoft so that has often put them at odds with the community aspects of this game. From the start, people raised questions when Grounded was incorporated, Jeremy moved to trademark "geocaching," imposed control over databases, withdrew from the existing discussion group, and instituted premium memberships (not necessarily in that order).

 

From what I have been able to gather through some of the old user groups, these decisions were made with no notice to the small community then in existence, justified after the fact as being in the best interests of the game, and followed by promises meant to reassure people. The same basic pattern has continued over the years.

 

The two decisions to apply VAT and then to increase basic rates in Europe were no different: decisions instituted with no notice, a brief statement after the fact about how it was in the best interest of everyone, and promises for better communication. That Bryan also promised to provide more specific information if he could -- and then withdrew from the discussion when it was apparent that there was no reason not to provide this -- only follows the corporate culture that Groundspeak established long ago.

 

So I do not think it represents an intent to discriminate against Europeans or pocket money under the guise of VAT. If either of these things had been their intent, they could have done it better. It is simply how Groundspeak handles affairs. I have no problem if Groundspeak makes decisions that will benefit the company -- although I think those decisions should be made in light of the community nature that this game has always encompassed and made in keeping with their contractual obligations and a commitment to customer relations. It is sad because it would have been easy to have handled the present issue so much better.

 

As a general rule, many of us try to avoid doing business with companies that seem to have no interest in customer communication. But Groundspeak also controls a game that many enjoy playing for reasons that have little to do with the company itself. It is why, despite all the questions and concerns over its history, Groundspeak has succeeded. Perhaps despite itself. They will probably continue to do so.

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It's not only the European customers who are less than satisfied with Groundspeak's behaviour.

 

Googling for Groundspeak comapny reports led me to www.glassdoor.com where the following employee reports were listed:

 

1) I worked at Groundspeak full-time for more than 7 years

 

Pros – There are many smart and hard-working people at Groundspeak. The location is good. The facilities are good and so are the benefits.

 

Cons – Some of management are heavy-handed and 'corporate' which doesn't suit the culture of the company. Good work and hard work are not rewarded as much as they should be. The company's business model doesn't seem sustainable in the long run.

 

Advice to Senior Management – Listen to your employees. They know what they are talking about and it seems that you are not really paying attention.

 

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company.

 

and

 

2) I have been working at Groundspeak full-time for more than a year

 

Pros – Being a Groundspeak employee is a wonderful opportunity with competitive salary and well above average healthcare and benefits. There are several catered meals, fresh fruits and veggies, some frozen entrees and just about every snack and drink you can imagine. This includes an in-house espresso machine and a kegerator. You could easily eat 2 or 3 meals a day at Groundspeak plus happy hour, if you wanted to take full advantage of the food/drink.

 

Cons – It's been a challenge to find and retain people that truly fit in. There have been several middle/top tier managers who have turned out to be counter-culture and have taken their toll on the overall morale. These people eventually work their way out of the organization or are asked to leave, but sometimes the damage left behind leaves a sense that something could have been done sooner.

 

As someone else mentioned, "good work and hard work are not rewarded as much as they should be". My understanding of this is that the opinions about someone could overshadow their actual output and performance. This subjective over objective dilemma has been seen a few times and makes it appear that being likable is more important than doing your job.

 

Advice to Senior Management – Please spend more time genuinely communicating with people in the company. There's a focus on being more transparent by publishing survey results, having monthly meetings and sending out team updates, but these mediums are impersonal. It's fairly common for 1:1 meetings to take place with direct reports across the organization, but it would be a huge benefit for Senior Management to connect with other departments or employees that aren't direct reports.

 

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company.

 

Chris

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I do not demand tax numbers and do my own internal investigations.

 

So true! Never would a US company give out their EIC just because someone demanded it. The EU probably took this into consideration when they made the special VAT rule for non-EU countries.

 

Ahh....have you ever been to Europe? When you order a drink at a restaurant they have lines on the glass or cup so you as the customer can be sure your are getting all the drink you paid for. They investigate their drink every time! If some of them are that petty on the few cents they would lose by missing a few milliliters of whatever they are drinking you can imagine how losing two or three Euros to GS would be. I would probably be the same way if I paid close to $10.00 a gallon for gas. Need to save as much money as possible to drive to those distant caches!

 

For people of more limited means it does make a difference when you get restaurants and bars that deliver short measures. Even when money isn't tight people want to get what they paid for, it's not such a weird concept. Would you be happy if your local gas station charged you for 5 gallons but had really only delivered 4.7 gallons? Would you accept your grocery store charging you for 32oz of sliced meat if what was in the packet was really only 28oz? Would you accept a rump steak if you had paid for a sirloin steak?

 

Or, since you think it's petty to check your drink comes up to the line, how would you respond if you went to a bar in the US and ordered a pint of beer only for the level of the beer to be an inch below where you expected it to be? I'll bet you'd ask for it to be topped up.

 

Wow. The last few posts are making it sound like Europe is made up of third world countries. Every gasoline dispenser in the US is regularly tested and certified by either a state or county "weights and measures" inspector. The scale on the deli counter is inspected by the same bureau. If a bar is pouring the glass short, they'll either lose business or someone will report them and those same weights and measures guys will show up. Imagine if you were belly to the bar at happy hour and the inspector showed up and demonstrated to everyone that you all have been cheated.

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I do not demand tax numbers and do my own internal investigations.

 

So true! Never would a US company give out their EIC just because someone demanded it. The EU probably took this into consideration when they made the special VAT rule for non-EU countries.

 

 

In part, there are differences in the rules for non-EU companies because transactions under the special rules are intended for consumers who do not normally need the VAT registration number of the supplier. This is one reason why the VOES registration numbers cannot be verified using the standard online tool (VIES). The online system is there to ensure that a business-to-business transaction is properly excluded from VAT. There is no need to do that with a non-EU company.

 

Verification, however, is a concern that some companies have addressed, perhaps in the interests of customer relations. Kagi is perhaps the most comprehensive because they provide their California reseller number, their VAT registration number, and explain how the VAT number can be verified. Trackr provides the VOES number on their invoices and and a link so that customers can verify it.

 

To be fair to Groundspeak, there are many other companies that do not make the VOES registration number available through the website. But if Groundspeak is committed to better communication and providing as much information as possible, I would hold them to the standard of Kagi and Trackr over Cupid Media.

Edited by geodarts

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My xx cents...:

 

Groundspeak nowadays looks and acts as "Trash out Cash in...."?? And we dont want that to be. NO!

 

I expect the management that in this moment and for the last weeks doesn't dare to communicate is thinking in "We against Them" (and due to some replies on this thread I can imagine that..) but the majority of replies is just begging for communication. Just talk and listen so will we.

 

The most of us are just eager to continue this awesome hobby and don't have problems to pay som dollars(!) to have this site up and assisting in PQ and more.

 

Of course the structure of billing is a simple company decision and due to "transition" lots of subscribers still remember the "one big family thoughts" from the beginning (as is the statement about same price level forever while recurring paying)But GS is transitating into a bigger company so the "we" is getting less transparent.

 

Yes the ideas about having one price (appreciately in USD) and putting it as excluding Sales tax /VAT looks VERY OK to me but it is up to the company.

 

Me living in Sweden with SEK accounts would really like to have the opportunity to pay in USD and let me take the currency echnange risk (I still don't get the reason of the company willing to take that risk against a high fee to the subscribers and in my and many others' case there still is the risk between EUR and SEK, PLN and so forth..., but once again this is a company strategy issue, just communicate why you came to this set up. Yes a lot of EUR countries do have the requirement to add the EUR-amounts on invoices but that is only valid in B2B business (as is showing the VAT Identity). And that is not valid for the majority here)

 

PLEASE GS Exboard or Community Managers start communicating. Take decisions and stand for them. If you (as I have) see good ideas in this thread don't hesitate to implement them and keep communicating. We and You is much more affective than We and Them.

 

Come on and have the "Cache in and Trash out" principle again as one of you bigger fundaments to your company.

 

If you are dealing with this in that way we all will again have the feeling to be part of the foundation/club. And that's the one and only way to have ths great hobby supported in many years (and still you will have the ability to earn big bucks, nothing against that, you started this movement.)

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...[snip]...

Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member. Maybe the equally appalled US members reading this thread can help in that by spreading the word ('adopt a EU-Cacher')? Due to the numbers above this trend also has a good chance of going unnoticed.

Result: EU members, that decide to do so, go financially un-discriminated, GS does not benefit from their business strategy blunder, but remains level.

 

Thoughts are there others?

 

Thore

 

...[snip]...

 

I find it amazing that after so much discussion and criticism of Groundspeak's ethics, the final solution turns out to be to defraud them as well as your tax man.

 

Don J, et al.

I certainly hope hope that my post was not interpreted in the way, that I suggest to counter GS new policy with tax evasion (however minute). As far as I understand the solution offered by me is perfectly legal and within the GS system of acquiring memberships, just denying them their 'cut'. I may have missed something, so if I did, please point it out and will gladly withdraw my suggestion.

 

on a lighter, if somewhat sadder sidenote... Yes it seems to be limiteed to that option.

No response from GS (none expected anymore), No way to voice protest via PM cancellation, Little interest from the rest of the community... So since there is no communitywide solution, complaining doesn't change anything, I look for an individual solution that anyone interested can use (or not).

 

If there si another way*, I do not see it.

Thore

 

*that is worth the effort for the amount gained, given that any success will most likely be individual, rather than systemic. T

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I do not demand tax numbers and do my own internal investigations.

 

So true! Never would a US company give out their EIC just because someone demanded it. The EU probably took this into consideration when they made the special VAT rule for non-EU countries.

 

Ahh....have you ever been to Europe? When you order a drink at a restaurant they have lines on the glass or cup so you as the customer can be sure your are getting all the drink you paid for. They investigate their drink every time! If some of them are that petty on the few cents they would lose by missing a few milliliters of whatever they are drinking you can imagine how losing two or three Euros to GS would be. I would probably be the same way if I paid close to $10.00 a gallon for gas. Need to save as much money as possible to drive to those distant caches!

 

For people of more limited means it does make a difference when you get restaurants and bars that deliver short measures. Even when money isn't tight people want to get what they paid for, it's not such a weird concept. Would you be happy if your local gas station charged you for 5 gallons but had really only delivered 4.7 gallons? Would you accept your grocery store charging you for 32oz of sliced meat if what was in the packet was really only 28oz? Would you accept a rump steak if you had paid for a sirloin steak?

 

Or, since you think it's petty to check your drink comes up to the line, how would you respond if you went to a bar in the US and ordered a pint of beer only for the level of the beer to be an inch below where you expected it to be? I'll bet you'd ask for it to be topped up.

 

Wow. The last few posts are making it sound like Europe is made up of third world countries. Every gasoline dispenser in the US is regularly tested and certified by either a state or county "weights and measures" inspector. The scale on the deli counter is inspected by the same bureau. If a bar is pouring the glass short, they'll either lose business or someone will report them and those same weights and measures guys will show up. Imagine if you were belly to the bar at happy hour and the inspector showed up and demonstrated to everyone that you all have been cheated.

 

I wouldn't say anything sounds like Europe is made up of third world countries, we had someone apparently thinking lines on the glass so you know how much you're supposed to get was a sign of being petty and miserly, and I merely pointed out how you expect to get the measure you paid for. You're entirely right that pumps and scales are inspected - I guess you guys in the US like to get what you paid for as well. Maybe you're just as petty as we Europeans are :)

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I guess you guys in the US like to get what you paid for as well. Maybe you're just as petty as we Europeans are :)

 

I know I do...and I am. ;)

 

I'm all for properly paying taxes, but I would like to know they are also being properly remitted to the taxation entity as claimed.

 

Normally this is not something I get concerned about, but the fishy smells are just too strong here.

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...[snip]...

Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member. Maybe the equally appalled US members reading this thread can help in that by spreading the word ('adopt a EU-Cacher')? Due to the numbers above this trend also has a good chance of going unnoticed.

Result: EU members, that decide to do so, go financially un-discriminated, GS does not benefit from their business strategy blunder, but remains level.

 

Thoughts are there others?

 

Thore

 

...[snip]...

 

I find it amazing that after so much discussion and criticism of Groundspeak's ethics, the final solution turns out to be to defraud them as well as your tax man.

 

Don J, et al.

I certainly hope hope that my post was not interpreted in the way, that I suggest to counter GS new policy with tax evasion (however minute). As far as I understand the solution offered by me is perfectly legal and within the GS system of acquiring memberships, just denying them their 'cut'. I may have missed something, so if I did, please point it out and will gladly withdraw my suggestion.

 

on a lighter, if somewhat sadder sidenote... Yes it seems to be limiteed to that option.

No response from GS (none expected anymore), No way to voice protest via PM cancellation, Little interest from the rest of the community... So since there is no communitywide solution, complaining doesn't change anything, I look for an individual solution that anyone interested can use (or not).

 

If there si another way*, I do not see it.

Thore

 

*that is worth the effort for the amount gained, given that any success will most likely be individual, rather than systemic. T

 

No, it seems that you snipped what I was responding to, which was the idea that you give Groundspeak a fake US address to get the US rate and evade the VAT.

Edited by Don_J

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...[snip]...

Like: I recommend instead to reach out to fellow US geocachers and see if they can 'gift' a membership, then to be reimbursed by the European member. Maybe the equally appalled US members reading this thread can help in that by spreading the word ('adopt a EU-Cacher')? Due to the numbers above this trend also has a good chance of going unnoticed.

Result: EU members, that decide to do so, go financially un-discriminated, GS does not benefit from their business strategy blunder, but remains level.

 

Thoughts are there others?

 

Thore

 

...[snip]...

 

I find it amazing that after so much discussion and criticism of Groundspeak's ethics, the final solution turns out to be to defraud them as well as your tax man.

 

Don J, et al.

I certainly hope hope that my post was not interpreted in the way, that I suggest to counter GS new policy with tax evasion (however minute). As far as I understand the solution offered by me is perfectly legal and within the GS system of acquiring memberships, just denying them their 'cut'. I may have missed something, so if I did, please point it out and will gladly withdraw my suggestion.

 

on a lighter, if somewhat sadder sidenote... Yes it seems to be limiteed to that option.

No response from GS (none expected anymore), No way to voice protest via PM cancellation, Little interest from the rest of the community... So since there is no communitywide solution, complaining doesn't change anything, I look for an individual solution that anyone interested can use (or not).

 

If there si another way*, I do not see it.

Thore

 

*that is worth the effort for the amount gained, given that any success will most likely be individual, rather than systemic. T

 

No, it seems that you snipped what I was responding to, which was the idea that you give Groundspeak a fake US address to get the US rate and evade the VAT.

 

That was my post, where I said it would appear to work (although I didn't get as far as completing the transaction) and where I also said if you didn't want to avoid paying the VAT - a number of people have expressed a willingness to pay taxes and an unwillingness to pay Groundspeak a handling fee of their choosing - you could approach your tax agency and pay the VAT. It would mean you paid $29.99 (currently £19.13) which would attract UK VAT of £3.82 and give a total price of £22.95. In other words, based on current exchange rates you pay Groundspeak a 9% premium for the rather questionable benefit of knowing how much you'd pay.

 

Given the number of people (myself included) who remain uncertain, based on Groundspeak's broken promise to communicate, whether the surcharge is actually going to find its way to HMRC at any time I personally wouldn't regard looking to make an online purchase while also looking to pay the VAT myself to be tax evasion at all, any more than asking a US-based family member to gift it. The only way it could be considered "defrauding" Groundspeak would be in that it denies them the chance to charge European customers more to cover their own cashflow issues and, since it would resolve the cashflow issues, would only deny them any extra profit they were trying to make while also trying to give the impression the new price wasn't about increasing their profits.

 

The thing is for those who want to continue playing the game they can either pay the new higher price charged to people in Europe, or they can use one of many ways to pay the lower price. Or they can decide they don't want to deal with Groundspeak any more and play as a basic member, or do something else instead.

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I think we are all in violent agreement.

I am sorry if my snipping caused confusion around quotes, I was trying to save bytes...

 

Thore

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Beach_hut is correct; the VAT is something that the EU requires, not something that we have imposed. Yes, the change has led to a price increase overseas, and was decided on to allow for a buffer with ever-changing exchange rates and the like. As for where the extra £1.44 goes at this time, those decisions are made above my pay grade! :) In any case, if you currently have a recurring Geocaching Premium Membership, we will honor the price with which you signed up.

 

 

They had to pay the VAT the last 10 years to the governments too, so this is not the reason. It´s a company, nothing more, you can´t tell me they gifted the VAT to us for 10 years.

 

I'm sorry to say, but that is exactly the case. We have been working with the EU to come into compliance and this change reflects that effort.

 

You are definitely correct, however, that this could have been communicated much better, and for that we are sorry. The team is discussing ways to do better as I type this.

 

Many thanks for listening and for your response :)

It is very helpful and good to read the Team is looking at ways for better communication.

 

Perhaps via the newsletter

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Many thanks for listening and for your response :)

It is very helpful and good to read the Team is looking at ways for better communication.

 

Perhaps via the newsletter

 

Are they listening? I don't see much evidence of that. It seems to me that it would not be hard to find ways for better communication. Bryan could provide the information he promised to make available, or explain why Groundspeak cannot offer the kind of information that others provide. Groundspeak could inform its users of why it raised the base price (excluding VAT) for those who have renewed in the past; what they are charging users for their service (excluding VAT); and why they do not offer a detailed knowledge book article to explain the system they are using.

 

You do not improve communication by dropping out of a discussion that could have answered users' questions a month ago. Simply announcing that you are going to improve communication and doing nothing more is a little like making a better mistake tomorrow.

Edited by geodarts

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Many thanks for listening and for your response :)

It is very helpful and good to read the Team is looking at ways for better communication.

 

Perhaps via the newsletter

 

Are they listening? I don't see much evidence of that. It seems to me that it would not be hard to find ways for better communication. Bryan could provide the information he promised to make available, or explain why Groundspeak cannot offer the kind of information that others provide. Groundspeak could inform its users of why it raised the base price (excluding VAT) for those who have renewed in the past; what they are charging users for their service (excluding VAT); and why they do not offer a detailed knowledge book article to explain the system they are using.

 

You do not improve communication by dropping out of a discussion that could have answered users' questions a month ago. Simply announcing that you are going to improve communication and doing nothing more is a little like making a better mistake tomorrow.

 

No you need to read what Bryan said

First, I’d like to apologize for the lack of clear and proactive communication. You deserve better and we’ll do our best to provide clear information more proactively in the future.

 

He did not say he would communicate more on this subject. He already has in post #136. It is communicated and it is over. Bryan clearly said in the future not the present. So far they seem to have held to that position quite well.

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He did not say he would communicate more on this subject. He already has in post #136. It is communicated and it is over. Bryan clearly said in the future not the present. So far they seem to have held to that position quite well.

 

In post 130, Bryan promised two things: to proactively improve communication and to provide the VAT registration if Groundspeak was able to do so. Since other companies provide the latter, there is no reason why Groundspeak could not do the same. Improved communication would be either to provide that or explain why they cannot do so. This is the first test of Bryan's commitment to better communication. Dropping out of the discussion does not offer much hope that matters will improve. It is a meaningless statement unless it is reflected in their present actions. In a very real sense, the future (at the time Bryan posted) is today.

 

It is not over and the discussion continues because Bryan promised more. Instead, Groundspeak is acting like . . . well, like Groundspeak generally has. As I have written in the past, it is disappointing because there are several other companies registered under the same scheme that provide not only the VOES number, but explain the VAT scheme, state how much they are actually charging customers for their services, specifically address why they are not discriminating against Europeans, or inform customers how they can verify the registration number as provided on the invoices or through the web site. These provide examples that Groundspeak could follow if they are actually interested in improved communication.

 

I have defended Groundspeak in many ways and tried to explain in various posts what Bryan meant when he referred to the special scheme for non-EU businesses (since he did not bother to do so), but I am not sure if there is any specific area where the company has "held to their position quite well." The only measure I have is through this thread and it is not encouraging.

Edited by geodarts

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Beach_hut is correct; the VAT is something that the EU requires, not something that we have imposed. Yes, the change has led to a price increase overseas, and was decided on to allow for a buffer with ever-changing exchange rates and the like. As for where the extra £1.44 goes at this time, those decisions are made above my pay grade! :) In any case, if you currently have a recurring Geocaching Premium Membership, we will honor the price with which you signed up.

 

 

They had to pay the VAT the last 10 years to the governments too, so this is not the reason. It´s a company, nothing more, you can´t tell me they gifted the VAT to us for 10 years.

 

I'm sorry to say, but that is exactly the case. We have been working with the EU to come into compliance and this change reflects that effort.

 

You are definitely correct, however, that this could have been communicated much better, and for that we are sorry. The team is discussing ways to do better as I type this.

 

Many thanks for listening and for your response :)

It is very helpful and good to read the Team is looking at ways for better communication.

 

Perhaps via the newsletter

 

Listening? Are you serious? A post nearly two months old apologising for bad communication saying they were looking to do better and still no communication?

 

Hard to see how that counts as listenig or even trying to do any better.

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Beach_hut is correct; the VAT is something that the EU requires, not something that we have imposed. Yes, the change has led to a price increase overseas, and was decided on to allow for a buffer with ever-changing exchange rates and the like. As for where the extra £1.44 goes at this time, those decisions are made above my pay grade! :) In any case, if you currently have a recurring Geocaching Premium Membership, we will honor the price with which you signed up.

 

 

They had to pay the VAT the last 10 years to the governments too, so this is not the reason. It´s a company, nothing more, you can´t tell me they gifted the VAT to us for 10 years.

 

I'm sorry to say, but that is exactly the case. We have been working with the EU to come into compliance and this change reflects that effort.

 

You are definitely correct, however, that this could have been communicated much better, and for that we are sorry. The team is discussing ways to do better as I type this.

 

Many thanks for listening and for your response :)

It is very helpful and good to read the Team is looking at ways for better communication.

 

Perhaps via the newsletter

 

I consider this pure irony...

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I consider this pure irony...

 

I'd call it sarcasm.

 

BTW, as exchange rates are now €30 is US$40 or 33% more than PM rate before VAT. Can't wait for € to weaken so exchange rate is less than US$1.2 for €1.

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I consider this pure irony...

 

I'd call it sarcasm.

 

BTW, as exchange rates are now €30 is US$40 or 33% more than PM rate before VAT. Can't wait for € to weaken so exchange rate is less than US$1.2 for €1.

 

You're probably right, my sarcasm detector wasn't functioning fully when I replied.

 

On that basis I, too, would like to thank Groundspeak for listening and keeping their promise to communicate with us. I've had all sorts of interesting guff in my mailbox, from why I should log a DNF to why I should attend a mega-event to why I should go out caching with other people. I'm sure the communications about the VAT registration details Bryan promised to provide were just overlooked in all the exciting news about caching.

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I consider this pure irony...

 

I'd call it sarcasm.

 

 

I also missed the sarcasm in the two posts above. Perhaps because I had been working all day on a situation at work that should have been sarcastic but it was not. Sometimes satire blends with reality, reality becomes satire, and sarcasm is the only appropriate response. This whole thread has brcome the theater of the absurd.

 

In this light, jholly was right. Groundspeak has held to their promise to improve future communication quite well.

 

I am certain that Bryan was going to be posting any minute to clarify this. Instead he can formulate plans for future improvements and work to make a better mistake tomorrow. I am glad that there is no need for him to be diverted from more important tasks.

Edited by geodarts

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Can i just ask that others raise the issue with HMRC, at the end of the day the more people communicate a potential tax fraud the more likely it is that someone will look. It should be a simple matter for the authorities to check and the online form is simple to do, then they can look at the tax records to ensure that VAT is being paid. If at the end of all this they are paying tax and they have sneaked in a small increase in prices then the matter is moot, price rises are inevitable and a price for life was never going to be easy to honour.

 

Jeremy et al have proved time and again that their customer service record is rubbish, they have always followed the treat the customers like mushrooms approach and we have let them because there are no real viable alternatives for our hobby. They know that no matter what they do we will continue to pay and continue to use their site, the most annoying thing is that after all this there will still be a long line of people waiting to shake Jeremy's hand and the hand of every lackey that arrives for the Mega event, the adulation of the person treating us in this manner means that he will continue to do so. It's like giving a chocolate treat to the dog that's having a big dump on your carpet.

 

So tell the tax man, it's very easy, tell your friends and everyone else you meet to do the same and then consider how you will act when you see the man or his minions in a few weeks time.....

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