My Vat-Moss experience so far

Till now, I sold my book via Gumroad. They had told me they’d add support for VATMOSS.

So I was very disappointed when I got an email saying that their support was, basically, don’t sell to Europeans(seriously), or get an Excel file with country of sales, leaving you to do all the tax calculations yourself. This is very disappointing, and it means I’ll have to dump Gumroad (as I just can’t sit there doing VAT for 200 countries).

I liked Gumroad because of how easy they were to setup, but now have to find a new seller.

I looked through @rachelandrew list ( to see if I could outsource the Vat collection.

The first link there belongs to FastSpring, who look like they solve the problem for you. Another advantage of Fastspring is that they accept Paypal too. But, they are the exact opposite of Gumroad (in terms of user friendliness). You have to register with them, and then wait for a sales agent to call you back before you can start selling. o_O

They’ll probably ask me to fax my company details to them next, or send a horse rider with the contract. “Hear Ye, hear ye, here be thy contract to sell via FastSpring, thou farmer”.

The next one, Avangate, are similar, though they ask a lot more questions for even registering (and again the salesman will all you back), so I didn’t even bother.

In the remaining list, PayHip and Paddle looked the best. PayHip was the easiest to get started with, but don’t offer recurring solutions yet (they are pure eBook sellers). Paddle do. I’ve registered with both of them, as they both look good.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


You might like SendOwl which is the service I run - details on our VATMOSS support here: It was mentioned on Rachel’s list - not sure if you saw it?

@george_palmer I must have missed it. Or: I thought it was something else.

I’ll have a look.

Edit: I see why I missed you earlier. I’m only looking for solutions where I don’t have to register for MOSS. But other than that, I like your solution, especially the fixed monthly fee concept.

@shantnu ah ok makes sense - let us know if you need any help!

Paddle also takes care of VATMOSS for you and you can signup and get started without having to talk to a sales agent ;). They’re mainly for app sales but can also work for eBooks and other digital products with a Gumroad like payment system.

I’ve moved my books into my already VAT registered business, and am using SendOwl on my site to sell them. As I already run a VAT reg’d business that is working well for me. I actually think the SendOwl payment flow is much nicer than the Shopify/FetchApp solution I had previously.

You can see it in action on

For Perch we have had to implement our own system but that seems to be working well, I’ll write it up when I get chance.

@shantnu, I’m about to set up SendOwl for a customer who’s selling audio and ebooks.

I’ve been impressed with them so far; @george_palmer has been very helpful with my peculiar development needs (I needed to implement some odd stuff via their API)

And I’ve liked what I’ve seen with their response to the #VATMOSS situation.


I’d recommend going through the FastSpring initial pain. The sales agent call may be to protect them from fraud.

Once you are set up with FastSpring, life becomes good with regards to EU VAT rules.

Thanks @SteveMcLeod, FastSpring did approve my application within the 36 hours they’d said, only asking for my address.

Why would you recommend FastSpring? Are they easy to use, offer a lot of options, reliable etc?

I used to use FastSpring and they were VERY good when you get up and running with them.

I just stopped selling out of Marketplaces as my solution to VAT.

I’ve given FastSpring a brief try, and I can’t say I’m impressed by it. Confusing, over engineered, hard to use.

In fact, exactly what I was expecting from a company that expects you to wait for a salesman to approve your account.

For the moment, I’m going to stick to PayHip and Paddle. They both look equally good, still not sure how to decide between them,

fair enough - I used to interact mainly through the API, which triggered all my licensing emails receipts etc etc.

I originally used PayPal exclusively to sell my product. Later on I added FastSpring as alternative, secondary method. It worked very well. 80-90% used PP, the rest went FS.

Because of this stupid VAT change I switched my payment method to FastSpring only. Figured it will be fine, but I was wrong. Register webpage to sales conversion ratio instantly plummeted from 30% to 22%. That’s a huge loss. People obviously want PP.

I created a partial solution last night. Non-EU IP addresses will face a PayPal/FastSpring choice page first, EU addresses will only see FastSpring. I should also work out how to reject paypal customers using EU addresses from outside of EU - it happened already, it will happen again.

Is there a way to block certain countries in PayPal? According to my investigation there WAS such an option but it’s gone. I seem to be unable to reject transactions with my IPN handler. Anyone has experience regarding this?


I may be wrong but Fastspring should support Paypal payment as well?

Sure it does, but people don’t care about it. Some of them back off if they don’t see a PP button, apparently.

Glad to see you’ve signed up to Paddle!

As you probably know by now, by selling through us you won’t have to deal with VAT MOSS at all – we’ll handle everything from customer data collection + storage through to filing VAT returns. (You won’t have to go through lengthy signup processes either.)

Once you finish setting up that product in your Paddle dashboard, you’ll just have to add a checkout link to your website. And while Payhip charges you 5% on top of PayPal fees; Paddle only charges 5% + $0.50 per sale, and that includes a checkout with PayPal + debit/credit card options.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Wow, that’s definitely not my experience with Fastspring. I’ve never had to talk to anyone from Fastspring on the phone, and especially not a salesperson. Admittedly I signed up several years ago, so I guess things have changed.

One of the things that impressed me was that Fastspring created the entire purchasing form for me, they added in all my products with screenshots and descriptions and prices from my website. (Which was actually unnecessary, as I also use their API instead.) Sad if FastSpring’s service & support has changed.

I’ll also give a +1 to SendOwl - while I haven’t used it, I seem to remember running into @george_palmer on a conference bus in Portland & talking about e-commerce. He knew his stuff, I was impressed!

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I registered with FastSpring last summer. They reviewed my website in a few hours and that was it. Their support and their service is very good.

My experience with FastSpring is great. I signed up some years ago and I don’t remember exactly how it went but there were no phone calls for sure and I think it was quite quick. Depending on your needs it might take a while to set it up but their app/backoffice and service is impressive. Support requests are always resolved within the same day and they even contact the client on your behalf if needed. I was very relieved to know that I’d had to do anything about the new VAT rules because they took care of everything. Highly recommended.

I think it’s time for an update.

Gumroad is one of the easiest sites to use. A six month baby who can’t change his own nappy could sell a product from Gumroad. That’s how easy it is. So when I was looking for an alternative, I wanted something as easy to use.

Before we go on, a rant. The exact opposite of Gumroad is FastSpring. It’s like the CEO of FastSpring said:

Let’s make the website as hard to use as possible, and let’s get a programmer from the 90s using COBOL to program it. We’ll show these customers!

FastSpring have a long and complicated checkout form you can’t change. I wanted to remove the phone number from it, just so that my buyers don’t have to give unnecessary details. But there is no way to do so. I emailed customer services, but they said I couldnt change the form “To prevent fraud”. They would remove it if I sold a few things, which leads me to believe they think I’m the fraud.

I then asked them why I couldnt see Paypal in the options. Because my account was in trial mode, they said. I’d have to raise a ticket. I did so, but was then told I’d have to create a product, fill out a form describing what it was, have it approved, then they would approve my account and move it out of trial. And this was after I had to give my limited company’s address, my accountant’s address and wait four days to have my account created in the first place. At this point, I was like, Are you fu%^&g with me?

And FastSpring have the highest charges in all the companies I have seen. Bad service with high charges. A winning combination!

End of Rant

That left PayHip and Paddle. PayHip is one of the easiest websites to use, almost as easy as Gumroad. I found it great to use.

That said, I decided to go with Paddle for now. They accept both cards and Paypal, have options like setting discounts, coupons (I think, I haven’t used it yet), and they also offer recurring charges.
On the downside, they aren’t as easy to use as Gumroad or PayHip, their help doc is pretty thin, and their webapp is still pretty basic.

But I still chose them because I like the overall package. Even sold a few items this morning. We’ll see how it goes long term with them.