I'm in UK, and likewise resent the imposition of VAT, clearance charges, etc., on items imported for private use. It's even worse now that easy money-transfer and Ebay, etc., make it simple to buy overseas.
Problem is that mis-declaration as a "gift" is illegal, and (at the very least) can result in the packet being held by Customs until the matter's sorted out.
I had a genuine "gift" parcel from a friend held for some weeks, just because it looked as though it had been sent from a commercial address. :rolleyes:
Not worth trying to save a few ££'s, IMHO...best allow for potential VAT charge in working out whether it's worth buying abroad.
What's your VAT rate? 15% I think (I know it was 17.5%). Take .15 and multiply it by your shipment's purchase price.
Add in 5 pounds or whatever the Royal Mail charges you for Customs administration charges.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
VAT and duty seems very hit and miss. I've had plenty of items sent to me from outside the EU which went straight through customs without a charge, even sent from business addresses.
However, all 4 packages I've been sent from KEH have been held until I paid import fees at the sorting office.
Be aware some items are liable for import duty in addition to 15% VAT. There is a list on the UK customs web site. The Post Office charge a handling fee for taking the customs fees, it's either £8 or £13, can't remember which but those figures stick in my mind.
KEH have an incredible and ever-changing range of stock. Despite the fees, on each occasion I paid significantly less than buying from an unknown individual on EBay, or a UK dealer.
I would tend to avoid KEH for expensive gear that's full of electronics because of the hassle of returns, but most of my purchases have been manual lenses with very little to go wrong, plus an electronic camera body that was so cheap I was prepared to take the chance of binning it if it wasn't working (for the record, it's still working perfectly, 9 months later).