UK versus HK


Carabosse 16 41.3k 270 England
20 Aug 2019 7:49PM
I am really tempted by the new Sony RX100 Mk VII, as a replacement for my Panasonic TZ100. I have looked at endless YouTube and other online reviews.

It is first in that line to have a microphone socket and thus makes it very suitable for video, in addition to stills which (for a 1" sensor anyway) are said to be second to none in quality for cameras of this format. Not to mention AF which, some claim, is second to none on any camera currently out there.

However there is a downside: the price, typically around 1200. This is a big wedge of cash for a small compact.

One can mitigate that - somewhat - by buying from a Hong Kong based dealer, typically for around 980. Still a lot but a saving of 220 (18%) is not to be sniffed at. Downside is the warranty. You get a seller warranty not a manufacturer's warranty.

I have previously bought a grey import (Panasonic GX8) but that was from a retailer who had a physical shop quite near where I live and was therefore more "get-attable" if a problem arose with the device. He assured me that all he did was send it back to the manufacturer himself if a problem arose within the warranty period.

It is a bit different when the retailer is based many thousands of miles away.

I'd like to hear about any experiences and any advice about buying from Hong Kong especially from dealers who only have an online (e.g. eBay) presence.

Thanks. Smile







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LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
20 Aug 2019 9:02PM
One thing to check with Hong Kong based companies is there sales terms and conditions - often well hidden on a web site - and sometimes not even available.

Often they make the buyer responsible for VAT on cameras and VAT plus import duty on lenses.
They also usually require any legal claim to be made under Hong Kong law, not UK Law.

I have helped one person recover their money when things went wrong, and one friend lost nearly 2,000 when goods were not delivered - and was out of time.

You have potential recovery rights under a credit card transaction - provided PayPal (or similar) does not act as payment intermediary - in which case you go to PayPal etc.

If you pay by debit card provided you act quickly if there is a problem you can get the transaction reversed - the time limit (from memory) used to be 60 days.

If you are generally honest and feel you should declare to Customs Revenue if VAT is not paid by the seller you save little on price. On a digital camera you are unlikely to get a UK warranty either.

Questions you might like to ask yourself is how much are you prepared to risk, and what is your view on perhaps no UK warranty and probably VAT not being paid at source.

For me a 50 item (under the VAT declaration limit) from China, Hong Kong or Korea for a small price item is quite different to a 500 + item.
JackAllTog Plus
10 5.6k 58 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2019 12:22PM
Personally I've used HK sites for a cheap lens, though Canada bodies have all been UK based.
capto Plus
7 5.8k 12 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2019 4:28PM
If an item purchased from abroad is sent without the vat paid, and sometimes with a false valuation on it, customs may hold it for a considerable time. They will only release it when the duty plus admin charges are paid.....by you of course. This happened to me, fortunately on a much lower priced item than you are considering. I won't be repeating the experience.
LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
21 Aug 2019 5:05PM

Quote:If an item purchased from abroad is sent without the vat paid, and sometimes with a false valuation on it, customs may hold it for a considerable time. They will only release it when the duty plus admin charges are paid.....by you of course. This happened to me, fortunately on a much lower priced item than you are considering. I won't be repeating the experience.

A sobering comment.
I know buying from Amazon USA starts off cheaper as UK taxes are not included. Amazon charge a fixed amount for UK taxes - with little overall saving - and sometimes a higher than UK price.
The taxes are paid by the Amazon shipping agent on arrival in UK - so goods should arrive with taxes paid. Amazon USA agree to stand any taxes above what they charge the buyer, and to refund the difference if taxes are lower than the initial charge.
The price differences mentioned by the OP make ir highly likely the 220 saving does not include UK VAT.
Carabosse 16 41.3k 270 England
24 Aug 2019 9:53PM

Quote:The price differences mentioned by the OP make it highly likely the 220 saving does not include UK VAT.


It does rather seem to be the difference!Smile

I could make a 160 saving by buying from a HK dealer with a customer service centre in Scotland, from which items are dispatched to UK customers (so no VAT/duty issues, but lower saving). But there would still be only a dealer warranty but...... they do say the following: "All In-Warranty Repairs will be processed by manufacture authorised service centre, an official Manufacturer Service Report will be supplied for all repairs."

That does sound a little bit more reassuring, but not entirely? If something went wrong I would merely send it to the centre in Scotland; I assume it would wend its way to HK and be repaired there under HK warranty.

Is it worth it? Am I worrying too much? Blush



Jestertheclown 10 8.0k 252 England
24 Aug 2019 10:13PM

Quote:Is it worth it? Am I worrying too much?

I suppose that depends upon how much you feel that you might need to use the warranty.

I'll be in the market sometime fairly soon for a new camera which will almost certainly be a grey import simply because of the difference in the cost.

As for a warranty, Panamoz, for example, offer a three year warranty, presumably their own, which I'd hope would offer some peace of mind but the cash saving that I'd make by buying from them looks good enough that I'll probably take a chance and hope that I never need to find out if it's any use.
25 Aug 2019 12:56AM
I purchased a camera from a direct dealer in China back in 2012. I paid for it with a credit card (not pay pal). The camera was sold as new and an American market certified item. The camera arrived broken and without a warranty card. The plugs for the charger were Chinese, not North American. I immediately contacted my credit card company who fought hard for me and got the charges reversed. The seller never asked that the camera I had been sent be returned to him. Sometime later I took the camera to a repair shop and asked how much it would cost to repair. The shop owner said the camera was grey market, and that no certified repair shop would touch it on that account. I tossed the camera and counted myself lucky for the experience. I live in the United States. I've never bought a camera again from a direct dealer in China. I have bought many from dealers in Japan with no problems. What is the savings from a Japanese dealer? If China is lots cheaper I'd be running away from that dealer real fast.
Carabosse 16 41.3k 270 England
25 Aug 2019 12:13PM
I see E-Infinity (HK-based) have this camera at 949. A saving of 250. That is very tempting.

Reviews of E-Infinity on the web, hopefully not all written by the outfit itself Tongue are generally very favourable.

Had anyone had experience of dealing with this firm? In particular has anyone ended up with a demand for import VAT or other customs duty when buying from them?
LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
25 Aug 2019 4:35PM

Quote:
Had anyone had experience of dealing with this firm? In particular has anyone ended up with a demand for import VAT or other customs duty when buying from them?


No experience - but see their trading conditions.

The conditions (on the web site if you look deep enough) say they are Hong Kong based, offer no warranties, say any claims must be brought under Hong Kong Law - and ask for a "hold harmless" if anything goes wrong - meaning YOU pay their costs!
This last detail alone would make me run a mile.

There is reference to a "UK warehouse" - also one in the EEC.
Having in the past been involved in getting UK fraudsters "porridge" a "UK warehouse" is not necessarily in the UK - it could be a section of a warehouse in Hong Kong.

On the plus side they say "We assure the prices you see on our site are final and there won't be any taxes or duties to pay when the product arrives".
You could send an email asking if the invoice specifies the VAT payment Grin
If they are evasive I would take it they do not give you any proof they or their carriers are paying VAT - leaving you potentially liable.


Looking at Trust Pilot 90% seem happy - and the other 10% rate ar only 1 or 2.
This implies a 10% risk of a potential serious problem.
Carabosse 16 41.3k 270 England
25 Aug 2019 7:37PM
I have emailed E-Infinity about the warranty and also about import taxes/duties. Smile

But 250 for peace of mind seems quite a bit to pay. Represents 26% over their 'grey' price.

LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
25 Aug 2019 10:02PM

Quote:I have emailed E-Infinity about the warranty and also about import taxes/duties. Smile

But 250 for peace of mind seems quite a bit to pay. Represents 26% over their 'grey' price.



The guidance on VAT can be checked via https://www.camerapricebuster.co.uk/blog/?p=517
Unless you get a VAT invoice - you could get charges around 200 plus a Customs handling charge.
Promises of "nothing to pay" are not the same as VAT actually being paid by the seller.
Jestertheclown 10 8.0k 252 England
25 Aug 2019 10:14PM

Quote:Unless you get a VAT invoice - you could get charges around 200 plus a Customs handling charge

That's the chance you take and if you don't get that invoice etc., you're quids in.

Just out of interest, has anyone here, or anyone you know; ever been charged VAT etc. on a grey import?

I'm not referring to dubious stories from the internet; I mean a real, living person.
Carabosse 16 41.3k 270 England
25 Aug 2019 10:14PM

Quote:Promises of "nothing to pay" are not the same as VAT actually being paid by the seller.


Absolutely - and thanks for the link.... very interesting!

Clearly it is crucial to know whether import VAT and other charges have been paid. I will see what they say.
LenShepherd 11 4.0k United Kingdom
26 Aug 2019 8:24AM

Quote:
Clearly it is crucial to know whether import VAT and other charges have been paid. I will see what they say.


Adding a bit more detail you are liable to get charged VAT on anything over 39 from outside EEC https://www.gov.uk/goods-sent-from-abroad/tax-and-duty.

This is part because companies outside UK cannot directly pay VAT.
Also a "shop front" is not evidence of trading and paying VAT in the UK. If in doubt check if they are a company listed at Companies House or with the Customs and Excise to pay VAT.

The only way I know of is is for a seller outside USA to use a shipping agent (like DPD) to contact Customs and Excise on arrival in UK, to pay the VAT (charged as a separate invoice item by the seller) and goods should arrive taxes paid. Digressing slightly this is what Amazon USA do when shipping goods to USA companies.

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