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Thankfully the law is clear on this matter...

The Postal Services Act 2000, Section 104, Sub-section 2(d) provides that items going through the postal system cannot be withheld from the recipient until a charge is paid.


Now if Parcelforce could just operate within the law, there'd be no problem!
Unfortunately that's no longer the case as the act was amended in 2011. I'll leave you to make you own conclusions on how that happened!

See section 35 of the link below:

Postal Services Act 2011

"A postal operator may detain the packet until the correct postage and any surcharge have been paid."


They are, however committing fraud by claiming on their invoices that the handling fee is levied by HMRC (false representation). I think the only thing that can be done is to report them to action fraud but it's unlikely that the police will do anything.
 

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Oh... nice spot!

I thought the 2011 changes were only in respect of Royal Mail as an organisation, but I see some extras have been sneaked in there too! (Sections 36 / 105 relating specifically to VAT and import charges).

Obviously it's been some time since I last imported something and paid Parcelforce's middle-man fee. :rolleyes:

At least it's nice to know that Parcelforce are no longer acting outside the law, because the law was changed to accommodate them.

Just a shame that, in the OP's case, it doesn't seem like they've provided good value for money!
 
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