My Experience Using IZIVAT Crossborder
Image it: you've just finished a coffee and croissant for breakfast at a Parisian Cafe while people watching. The streets are bustling as everyone is heading to work, but luckily you are headed to shop at the most beautiful boutiques in the world! Le sigh...
One of my favorite daydreams is shopping in Paris. A stroll down Rue Saint-Honoré admiring all the beautiful window displays and a visit to the Galeries Lafayette is something that I constantly yearn for. Whenever I go to Paris, I love to splurge on an item - not only for the experience and memory of buying it in Paris, but also for the cost savings. Buying designer or French brands is much more cost effective IN France, and I have saved loads of money buying some of my favorite bags directly in Paris.
These days with travel being so expensive, I have been fiending for a Paris shopping excursion, but due to schedules and costs, I wasn't able to make it happen this summer. BUT, I got the next best thing- an online French shopping experience thanks to IZIVAT Crossborder. IZIVAT Crossborder is a Paris-based service that allows you to shop French websites and brands from the US with all of the perks of shopping in person- including the VAT (tax) refund!!
As a lover of French brands, I was eager to try IZIVAT for myself because this could be a game changer for the way I shop! Yes, a visit to Paris is always fabulous, but it is not always feasible, so IZIVAT is the next best thing! Below are the full details of my experience using IZIVAT, complete with tips and recommendations I learned during the process!
To begin shopping, you'll need to sign up for an account with IZIVAT at: https://www.izivat.com/en/vat-refund. Once you sign up, you can find a list of their merchants (think all the major designers plus Printemps and Galeries Lafayette!). I was personally looking for a Louis Vuitton bag and learned about the website 24S through IZIVAT, which is a website dedicated to all the LVMH brands! I decided on the LV Crafty Boite Chapeau Souple PM, an online LV exclusive (a bag I was eyeing from the Crafty collection!) and was $300 cheaper directly in France (FYI the euro to dollar right now is almost 1-1!!!), as well as a pair of Celine sunglasses listed for $100 less than in the states.
Once you have shopped around and selected your items, you will need to initiate a new delivery within your IZIVAT account BEFORE you check out with your order. Once you initiate a delivery, IZIVAT will give you information needed to add to the delivery address in Paris. The way it works is IZIVAT receives your order and sends it to you directly for the VAT refund, as opposed to buying directly through the website. This process may sound confusing, but I promise it is easy to navigate and IZIVAT also offers a customer service chat and is available to help walk you directly through the process as well.
Once you have the delivery address from IZIVAT, you can place your order and upon receipt, you'll need to submit your invoice from the order to IZIVAT. Next, your order will be shipped to the IZIVAT office in Paris where they will accept and prep it for DHL shipping and customs. It took a 1 day turnaround from when my shipment was received at IZIVAT to be on its way to me through DHL!
Next, you sit back and wait for your beautiful French purchases to arrive! Once they arrive, you will receive the VAT refund through your IZIVAT account! Easy, peasy!
A few tips:
1. When shopping, be sure it is an item you will not plan to return. The service is fabulous, but the return process can be a bit complex, so I recommend being 100% sure of your purchase.
2. Be aware that shipments going through customs may get held up- its customs, after all. This happened to me as I ordered sunglasses and apparently customs claims sunglasses as medical devices coming into the US (crazy, right?). Due to this, my package was stuck in customs for a few days, however the IZIVAT team worked around the clock directly with DHL to supply the information needed to finalize the delivery and handled everything.
3. When looking at sites to shop from, you can select other French sites that may not be listed on the IZIVAT recommended list! You just want to make sure the site allows you to enter a delivery address distinct from the invoicing address will with IZIVAT Crossborder. If you have questions, you can utilize the IZIVAT chat and they can confirm!!
4. The IZIVAT team is there to help you! Utilize the chat as you need to and ask questions if you are unsure of anything. They were extremely helpful and are the ones who recommended the 24S website to me! You can see captures of the IZIVAT chat support below!
In total, I saved $500+ by shopping with IZIVAT- money which I can save towards my next Paris trip! If you're lucky enough to be visiting Paris in-person soon, IZIVAT can also be utilized for VAT refunds in country all through the IZIVAT mobile app! Learn more at: https://www.izivat.com/en/vat-refund .
*This post is a sponsored partnership between Blonde in the District and IZIVAT. All thoughts and opinions are based off personal experience using the IZIVAT service and are owned solely by Blonde in the District.