So two thirds of that unexpected bill was the VAT that she would have paid anyway, but of course it's a better story if you don't make that clear and put the detail several paragraphs below the initial claim.
I on occasions import optical equipment from the EU. The company that I predominantly deal with are now selling into the UK to exclude local (German) VAT when the price of the goods exceed the £135 (150 euro) threshold. So one would expect to be paying hopefully the VAT on the goods once.
However, I have noticed that some companies, either in error or deliberately are charging local VAT for goods that are clearly being exported to the UK which should be "local" VAT free as far as I can determine.
Again, I think that there will be quite a few "anomalies" until it all settles down. But during the interim I suspect, as I have eluded to in a previous post, an awful lot of charlatans will get on the band waggon.