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  1. #1
    Jim Taylor's Avatar
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    In UK - thinking of buying from freestyle in US

    So. Having read this thread and recently done my annual 'stock-check' to prepare a big order for the coming year, I decided to compare the general costs of items from different suppliers.

    The upshot is, the same order will cost me approx. 100GBP LESS (including shipping) if I order it from the US, rather than sourcing it here in the UK.
    To boot, there's a couple of items that I can't seem to find in the UK that I can get from overseas (namely bulk 35mm Tmax100).

    I've read in the linked thread that customs and import charges will be added when the item is landed in the UK. (Surprise surprise HMRC want to fill their pockets with even MORE of my hard-earned!)

    My question is this: how are these charges calculated and when (and to whom) do I pay them?

    Or more simply... other than what I pay to Freestyle, what else will I need to pay?
    Cheers,

    Jim.

  2. #2
    Dr Croubie's Avatar
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    Not sure about the UK, but here's the story in Aus:
    When it gets posted O/S to Aus, the sender fills in a declaration saying the total value of goods in the package. If it's under $1000, it goes through no problems. If it's marked as over $1000 (or they randomly inspect and reckon it's worth more), then you get a letter from the Customs house saying that you can get it when you pay them the import tax. Then you either pay their bill, send a cheque, whatever, and they'll forward it on or you can pick it up.
    One easy way around all of this is to buy in multiple packs, sometimes twice the shipping is still cheaper than paying the customs duty (and in Aus, all of that is still way cheaper than paying local prices).

    I'm presuming the UK works very similarly, just the max-allowable value of goods will change (I think your max is £300 or something?), someone from your ashes-less end of the world can probably confirm, or it should be on the HRMC website.
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.

    f/64 and be there.

  3. #3
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Find your money limit with customs and, when in doubt, place a couple separate orders. The extra shipping would almost have to be a lower overall amount, I would think.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
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  4. #4
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    You may want to talk to this guy about combining orders.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/1...m-pricing.html
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  5. #5
    onepuff's Avatar
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    It depends on the value of the goods you are importing. For instance goods above £630 in value are subject to a flat rate of 2.5% customs duty plus VAT on the total value of the goods plus the customs duty (yes - they charge you VAT on the duty!). It can vary depending on trade disagreements between the EU and the US - some products can have restrictions or extra duty depending on political wrangles at the time. They don't usually collect duty if it comes to less than £9.00 but you will still be charged VAT. Sometimes the courier will also charge a fee of £10 or so to pay the duty and VAT on your behalf then collect it from you. That is unavoidable and you will need to pay the amount due in full before they will release and deliver the goods to you. I normally add an extra 25%-30% mentally when buying goods from outwith the EU to cover myself.
    Last edited by onepuff; 12-17-2013 at 08:26 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Added
    " ... a cook who relies on nothing but a sharp knife has no guarantee of producing excellent dishes." - Yoshihisa Maitani

  6. #6

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  7. #7

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    Import duty in the UK seems the same as VAT. I'd probably second the advice to buy from within the EU, as that means no import duty/tax.

  8. #8

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    Good Lord almighty. That's about all I know to say after reading all this.

  9. #9
    Neil Souch's Avatar
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    It is a bit of a lottery what you get charged as UK Customs have a complicated list of items with different charge bands. Try to get advice and you won't get helped - it is all down to you - so you take a chance. Sometimes you win and sometimes you dip out. Recently I was charged a £54 surcharge on a lens board from sent from the USA - the original cost was approximately £16 + £8 to ship to the UK. Fortunately the seller was very understanding and advised refusing to pay the surcharge so it got sent back to him. After about 8 weeks it arrived back in the USA and the seller very kindly did a refund on the goods. So be careful would be my advice. But I have had reasonable charges applied before on items from the USA and paying them wasn't an issue. It all depends how the items are classified by UK Customs and indeed if it gets looked at upon UK arrival.

    Neil.

  10. #10

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    ^ It's true, it does seem to be a bit of a lottery as to whether you'll pay anything at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbop View Post

    My question is this: how are these charges calculated and when (and to whom) do I pay them?

    Or more simply... other than what I pay to Freestyle, what else will I need to pay?
    A bit of googling paid off handsomely when I was researching the same subject.

    Almost everything you want to know (and more) is laid out with the usual clarity by HMG themselves here

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/tax-and-duty.htm

    And there are a few sites who make it proper simple for those of us who can't manage HMG's mazes.
    This one for instance:
    http://www.dutycalculator.com/new-im...x-calculation/

    I ended up reckoning to add 30% to the total value of the shipment including delivery charges; if it's still a bargain, then it's worth doing. Plus as Neil Souch says, you might not get charged at all - in which case you've definitely won.

    There is a counter-argument in that if we as UK users don't buy from UK sources, we might end up with no UK sources at all in the long run ...
    Last edited by pdeeh; 12-18-2013 at 04:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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