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Traders’ anger at ‘non-vat’ price hike

TRADE STAND holders have questioned the Darlington Championship Show Society for charging ‘grossly exaggerated’ prices for trade stands, despite an official ruling by VAT inspectors that the society was not allowed to charge VAT in its trade stand prices . . . but the society has retained the original price, even though they have rated it as ‘free from VAT’.

The Show Traders’ Guild told OUR DOGS this week that they felt Darlington Championship Show Society were wrong in the recent Committee decision to retain the ‘plus VAT’ trade stand price of £85 per metre, after VAT officials told them that they could not charge VAT, due to the society’s structure excluding them from VAT registration. If the Committee had removed the VAT charge from their hire charges, then the cost per metre would have been almost £15 lower, i.e. just over £70 per metre.

Traders who have already booked stand space at this year’s show fee that they should be given a refund or, at the very least, a discount on stand space at the 2008 show in lieu of their over-payment. All traders have already been charged a £100 deposit for space at this year’s show and are expressing their disquiet at what they see as questionable ethics.

A guild official told OUR DOGS: ‘Many of the traders planning to have a stand at Darlington this September are very put out by this development. The Society have been clearly told that they cannot charge VAT, and on this year’s booking forms they state that the charges are Zero VAT registered, yet they have retained the original price per metre that was charged inclusive of VAT. Even allowing for increased running costs - which all shows must surely face - a rise of nearly £15 per metre is grossly exaggerated.

‘The society say that we get more back of stand space than other shows give, but that is not the issue here – we are talking about the price per metre for stand frontage. Larger traders will of course be over-paying by a greater degree, but smaller traders can ill afford to be overcharged in this way.

‘The Society may not be acting illegally, but they are certainly acting immorally.’

Mrs Freda Marshall and Ernest Paterson, Secretary and Treasurer of the Darlington Championship Show Society declined to comment earlier this week, but pointed out that the matter was due to be discussed at the next Committee meeting last Tuesday evening as OUR DOGS went to press.