Import duties

  urban gorilla 21:57 09 Mar 2009

I'm thinking of purchasing a laptop that's currently only available in the US.
I'm looking for advice from anyone here who may have gone down this path and what additional charges,apart from the shipping costs, they have incurred ie import duties etc. and what percentance of the cost of the item would i be expecteing to pay?

Thanks for looking.

  urban gorilla 21:59 09 Mar 2009

oops .. i'm meant percentage. You can't edit the post once it has been submitted.

  wjrt 23:31 09 Mar 2009

click here

this will give some info
a quick trawl shows that laptops do not attract import duty but vat @ 15% will be added and as stated in the article the collection of vat is left to the carrier with billing being often after the item is delivered then the collection charge can be quite high . so unless you can find out the carrier and ask about the charges then you could face a quite unreasonably high charge for the privilege of paying the government

  amonra 08:14 10 Mar 2009

One possible way around this problem is to have someone you know in the States to buy it for you, then post it over to you as a "birthday present".

  canarieslover 12:12 10 Mar 2009

With current exchange rates it will be quite expensive anyway and then you may have a laptop that does not have proper support from the warranty should things go wrong. Judgeing by the amount of problems that appear on this forum a laptop has a greater chance of needing warranty work than a desktop. That might be more important than the cost.

  Goofyish 12:44 10 Mar 2009

It will probably have a US keyboard so some keys that are on a UK keyboard will be missing and a few other located differently.

  Demora 13:55 10 Mar 2009

I bought a laptop in the USA in 2002. A Toshiba which had a worldwide warranty. But I was actually over there. (its still working too)

Shipping costs can be very high via UPS etc. Also that VAT.

Unless you're actually visiting the states then IMHO you're better off buying here in the UK. Or EU.


  urban gorilla 21:42 10 Mar 2009

Thank you all for your responses.

wjrt - a great link, very informative. I now know a laptop is a Portable automatic data-processing machine and you're right there's no duty on laptops. You only have to pay VAT on the cost of the laptop + shipping.
Another cost that maybe incurred is one levied by the courier ie broker fee, which means admin charges for paying your VAT to the customs and collecting it from you on delivery. However this can be avoided by telling them you will pay the VAT yourself.

amonra - i don't know anyone in the US but i've learnt that even gifts are liable for duty and VAT. The customs will even estimate a value if no value is shown on the pacaking ..unless it's a laptop then you just pay the VAT.

canarieslover - The current exchange is one of the reasons i'm holding back from making the purchase. I'm hoping the rates will be back to 'normal' soon. With regards to the warranty, the retailer offers 3 yr international warranty and the laptop is an ASUS which has service centers in this country. Also the company has a 24/7 on line support for all other problems if any.

Goofyish - i didn't think about that .. i'll enquire about that ..thanks.

Demora - i was thinking of taking a cheap flight out to the US and collecting it from the store as it maybe cheaper than the overall shipping costs.

can you tell me if you paid duty and vat on your return back to this country?

Thanks again for your responses. I would like to hear the experiences of anyone who has bought (in particular a laptop) from the US and what if any problems you may have had.

  Forum Editor 22:36 10 Mar 2009

you shouldn't have any problems, as long as you understand that if anything goes wrong with the machine you'll be on your own - you'll have no protection under UK or EU consumer legislation. That means you'll have to rely on the manufacturer, and that will only be any good if there's a manufacturing fault. The American retailer may well offer an international warranty, but if it's not honoured there will nothing you can do about it, short of going to America and filing a court action.

Other than that you need to realise that the machine will have an American keyboard.

Generally speaking there's no real advantage to importing American laptops - if there was we would all be doing it.

  Kevscar1 07:22 11 Mar 2009

If you go out there to get it your are allowed to bring back upto £148 value with out having to pay duty to Customs and Excise. I can't remeber the % you ave to pay them over that amount.

  Demora 10:25 11 Mar 2009

Which US supplier would you be buying from and where?

Remember there is sales tax in some states. Florida is 7% I think California is also. North Carolina used to be around 5% and When I was in Boston I think it was 0%

Also a lot of store out there offer Cash back. Be wary of these. Copmpusa and Bestbuy do this a lot. And unless you have a US Bank account you may not get it.

I was lucky as my partner works for a US Company and they acquired the laptop on my behalf. So it was registerd to his company.

As the laptop came into the UK with various Motorbike stuff I do not know what the VAT was at the time (Dec 2002)


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