I have had americans ask me to mark stuff as 'Made in USA' before to pass customs, do you think we should ask them to mark as 'Made in UK' to see if we don't get stung ?
What we should do is get them to mark the actual purchase price we paid and provide documentation to back it up because that way, if we do get hit, we get hit for the correct and fair amount, not an estimate based on what customs thinks that the parts may or may not be worth, which seems to be the problem in most cases here.
You're right though, why should VAT be payable on a 15 year old product? Local sales tax would have been paid originally. Its not a just system.
If you have to pay VAT, then it should be payed at the rate that would have been applicable if you had bought the product when new. I don't know what that was in the early nineties...15% ? When did it go up?