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Buying from USA and other countries

spartacus 15 31
22 Mar 2003 2:50PM

Are we being ripped off in britain buying cameras. I have had a search through various american online shops and found over a 100 pound saving on a canon eos30e (elan7e) with a lens. (bhphoto.com vs jessops.com)

OK. I know there are issues about the camera breaking down and taking it back, but realisticly how often does this happen.

Should I consider buying from the USA. I am planning a holiday to the far east, and I have heard cameras are redicously cheep there. So should I keep my pennies until I go on holiday.

I know there are probably import taxes and stuff but if no-one checks up on this, will I really have to pay it.

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User_Removed 16 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2003 3:49PM
Nothing to do with your posting Alan but are you really a Doctor?
paulowen 16 146
22 Mar 2003 4:20PM
Hi Spartacus

Just to let you know that I returned from Thailand yesterday and I brought two Nikor Lens that would have cost me over 4,000 in the UK and I paid only 1,400.

The lenses carry a worldwide warranty and only the cameras are subject to a geographical warranty.

However a word of warning if you are planning to have items shipped to you in the UK. If you have items shipped to the UK you will be liable to an import duty and VAT which generally will cost you an absolute fortune.

There is however a way around this and if you ask the seller to stipulate on the package that it is a Gift you are exempt from the duty. I have asked the question of Customs & Excise if its ok to Buy yourself a Gift they said that they had no rules against such actions.

Obviously you would need to clarify the actual rules in this respect Smile.

The moral of the story is wait until you need a few items and then just go on holiday!

I hope this helps?

User_Removed 16 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2003 4:49PM
Two things.

Firstly, if you buy a digital camera abroad and import it into the UK, then it is FREE of all UK import duty (VAT will still have to be paid though).

The second thing is in regard to items bought in some countries in the Far East (and Thailand is particularly well known for this).

It is not uncommon for fake cameras and lenses to be sold as Nikon, Canon etc. They come complete with warranty books etc and look like the real thing except they are not. I would be very careful in buying any item of value in that part of the world.
Flashman 15 156
22 Mar 2003 9:00PM
I purchased an olympus digital camera in Boston last year, had to pay the 5% tax on it, got to uk and walked through customs, who knows if you took it out the country on your holidays?
spartacus 15 31
22 Mar 2003 9:59PM

Barry, I'm not a doctor, but in six weeks time I might be, if I pass my exams.

In the mean time I'm contenting myself by avoiding studying and dreaming about spending my first wage on a redicously expensive camera.

I was thinking about going to Vietnam. I know there is a market for fake goods in the far east, but surely the difference would be noticeable in a high spec canon SLR.

Does anyone know of reputable dealers that export from the far east, or local traders that import goods.
paulowen 16 146
23 Mar 2003 8:27AM
Two things.

If you carry anything into the UK personally you are not liable to import duty no matter what the equipment.

Furthermore if you carry in via hand luggage you are not liable to VAT either.

The levies are only applicable if you have items shipped from overseas.

If you do look at buying from Asia it is always worth buying from a recognised dealer. I got mine via the Nikon website and then visited the agent whilst away and still saved over 3,000.

B&H are ok but they charge a huge shipping cost which can often negate any savings.

I hope you find what you are looking for and please keep us in touch with your progress.
J-P 15 396
23 Mar 2003 10:03AM
Paul, are you sure ? Why is there a red channel at customs at every international airport ?
User_Removed 16 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
23 Mar 2003 10:14AM
Sorry Paul - that is not correct. You are not liable only because they don't know they are there. If HM Customs and Excise discover you are 'importing' items and not disclosing them, not only will you have to pay the duty and VAT but you will face a punitive fine as well.

If you buy items from a member state of the EU and the goods are for your own use and you have paid the tax opn them in the country where they were purchased then that is fine but we are talking about the US and the Far East ( click here for more details)

It's called smuggling and in days gone by we used to hang people who did it Smile

jadyzur 15 33
23 Mar 2003 11:47AM
Hi Spartacus
Check http://www.digitalrev.com. They operate from Hong Kong. They trade a lot on eBay and got positive feedback. (Dont forget to read the small print as well).

Dartmaster 15 46
23 Mar 2003 3:12PM

How come I have never found a US camera website with this "Import Duty" information on?.
Surely it would be a big plus for camera retailers to advertice "No import duty to the uk", and would boost sales no end.

Apart from on here, I have never read this information anywhere else either.

ella 15 43
23 Mar 2003 11:17PM
My dad until last week ran a shipping company in Florida, so as you can guess I buy anything from the US if it saves me money.

Firstly - don't forget to add state sales taxes into account. They differ from state to state. Technicallly if you declare your goods at customs coming into the UK there is a way of getting the US tax back - you don't have to pay both.

Secondly - generally you will get away as having items declared as a gift if they are shipped, but this is not that straightforward and always a risk that you will have to pay tax. I had to pay tax on my daughter's birthday present!

Thirdly - make sure it is sent with a good shipping agent. US mail is very unreliable. Fedex is the best but expensive. UPS is generally good.

You should also consider buying from Canada as the exchange rate is even more favourable.

Smuggling is a serious crime and can result in your goods being impounded.

Sources of info would be UPS, Fedex, Mail boxes etc.

try www.mbe.com
at a last resort get your parents to emigrate and bring stuff when they visit you! works for me!!!
Dartmaster 15 46
25 Mar 2003 6:59PM
As an update:

I have visited the Customs Website and still can't find anything that says you can bring in Digital Cameras duty free. The nearest thing I could find is where you can bring in a gift for yourself, (providing it is not going to be used for comercial reasons) and pay no duty at all. However, customs don't give you much and have capped it at about 50. So, I could nothing which says that you can bring in any sort of camera and not pay duty on it.

I have also visited a page which works out for you the money you would have to pay plus vat for bringing in a Digital Camera from the USA.
Off course, if you bring in anything from the EU and pay the local taxes when you bought it, you would not be liable to pay again when entering in to the UK.


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