Buy in Canada or UK????

  shaduf 21:31 07 Sep 2009

My pals grand-daughter who is a Canadian resident with a British passport has come to stay with him long term and wants a laptop. I advised her before she came to buy one in this country because of warranty issues and possible other incompatibility problems.

Now she has arrived we find that what costs £450 in Canada cost £750 in this country. Was my advice valid or would she still be better to get her father to buy one in Canada and ship it over?

  GaT7 22:58 07 Sep 2009

You can usually buy certain brands that come with an international warranty (IW), or purchase a separate IW. With Dell one can easily transfer the warranty - e.g. when the owner moves from one country to another click here. I guess the same would apply when she moves back.

A laptop is a laptop in any part of the world, with the main incompatibility issue arising due to differing mains power arrangements between some countries & continents. This is usually easily solved by purchasing the right power adapters to use in each country.

Well, when shipping anything of high value (anything >£36 I think), you need to also think about:

1. The enhanced shipping costs to cover insurance
2. Import VAT (or similar)
3. Excise Duty to import it into the country.

A few related & useful links to look through at the HMRC website:

'Tax when ordering or sending goods from abroad' click here

'A guide for international post users' click here

You can also call & speak to a human being if you get stuck or need more specifics: "If you need more information about customs procedures for goods posted to the UK, you can contact the VAT, Customs and Excise Helpline on Tel 0845 010 9000. Lines are open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, Monday to Friday except bank holidays."

I'm sure the Forum Editor will know a thing or ten about this, being the avid traveller that he is :-). G

  GaT7 23:08 07 Sep 2009

Well, in short, it would definitely be much easier for her to purchase the laptop here (even if it means doing so at a premium), rather than importing it from Canada & having to go through all that extra expense & hassle.

How much would she actually be saving (after all the extra expenses) if she were to import that £450 laptop? G

  Forum Editor 23:19 07 Sep 2009

to ask her father to buy the machine in Canada and ship it to her.

Legally she will be the importer, but the good news is that there is no import duty on laptops. She'll almost certainly be asked to pay the VAT, which will amount to £67:50 on a £450 laptop, but that will still mean there's been a substantial saving. Her father will pay the shipping costs, but the Post Office will probably add a VAT collection fee.

There'll be no compatibility issues, but her father should check the international warranty situation before he makes the purchase - the machine will obviously not easily be returned to the retailer if it develops a fault.

Canada's mains electricity runs at 110V. Probably worth checking that the Canadian transformer will be able to take our 230V electricity.

Just checked my Dell laptop's transformer and it it suitable for 100-240V inputs so I'm guessing they will all be like that?

  chub_tor 22:19 09 Sep 2009

I doubt if there will be a power issue, all the laptops I have seen in the USA have dual voltage power supplies but in all probability the keyboard will be different and will be printed with the USA layout ie no £ key sign and the @ and " transposed. OK if you are a touch typist but confusing if you have the software set for English while the hardware shows American.

  shaduf 20:35 10 Sep 2009

Thank you all for your very helpful and copius information. Sorry I have been late in responding, at the moment we have the builders in and after dinner each day I have to restore the house to a reasonable living situation and the computer doesn’t get switched on!

The young lady decided to ring Dell and seek advice about the warranty. As a result she has ordered a laptop from them and delivery is sometime next week.

Thanks again for the useful information.


This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Alienware 17 R4 2017 review

Is this the future of VR and AR?

Best iPad buying guide 2017

Comment regarder le Bureau des Légendes en ligne ?