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Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US
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Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US on 03/11/2013 09:45:12 MDT Print View

The item of interest is a PFD (buoyancy aid, life vest) and is being sold for $118.07 + $22.09 postage.

For those with experience in importing from the UK to the US, what extra (hidden) fees can I expect?

(I asked the On-Line retailer -Jackson Sports- but I'm not certain I understand their response. Figured there would be someone here with first-hand experience)

Edited by rustyb on 03/11/2013 09:48:20 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US on 03/11/2013 10:03:54 MDT Print View

I get bike stuff from Probikekit in UK all the time. the only thing i get sometimes is a currency conversion charge for my credit card which is like 2 bucks. You should make sure that they aren't adding the VAT tax because you aren't in europe.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US on 03/11/2013 10:11:26 MDT Print View

Thanks, Jake. Is the VAT something that the seller would charge? They tell me no other charges will be charged by them.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Re: Re: Re: Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US on 03/11/2013 10:37:09 MDT Print View

VAT would be charged by the seller and should be included in the original price, not added later. Usually, companies will remove the VAT automatically when shipping outside the EU. VAT is charged at 20% so it's worth making sure they remove it from your charge.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US on 03/11/2013 11:19:30 MDT Print View

VAT is value added tax but unlike US sales tax, it is included in the local sticker price and is larger - 20%-30% in Western Europe.

You could compare their US versus UK websites. After currency conversion, you should see lower prices for export by about 20% before shipping.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US on 03/11/2013 11:50:35 MDT Print View

Good point re. VAT -- which is built into the price (truth be told, I wish stores will do the same here in the US in regard to our sales tax but that's a different topic entirely). Price and shipping aside -- there is the potential of having to pay customs (excise) tax upon entering the country --- which the shipping company (UPS, etc.) will in turn charge you before releasing your shipment to you.

But shipping "onesie and twosie" stuff -- I have never actually been charged by customs.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US on 03/11/2013 12:49:25 MDT Print View

Bought fishnet underwear from UK. Total cost was advertised price plus $10 shipping.

No surprises. ($10 shipping was advertised up front.)

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US on 03/11/2013 12:52:54 MDT Print View

Thanks for the additional replies, guys.

I'm leery of ordering due to what seems like a "too good to be true" price, and complex importing rules. The retailer assures me they do not add additional costs. That, they say, is up to US authorities...and from what I can see on the following sites, it doesn't appear there will be extra costs: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/basic_trade/internet_purchases.xml#PostalServiceCouriersandFreight
http://www.dutycalculator.com/

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Never had extra fees on 03/11/2013 15:27:30 MDT Print View

I've done it three times...each time they refunded the VAT, which meant I actually paid less than the advertised price because the shipping was less than the VAT on the item.

Shipping was great and fast, no problems, no customs fees, nada. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again honestly. They have some nice kit over there.....

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Never had extra fees on 03/11/2013 15:56:43 MDT Print View

I too, have never had US customs fees added out of about 30 overseas orders. That is out of the shipper's control, but it seems the US doesn't want to deal with onesies and small retail orders.

Australia added customs fees to a legit wedding gift 25 years ago, but I don't think they have when I helped BPL members by reshipping items recently.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Never had extra fees on 03/11/2013 15:57:19 MDT Print View

I bought an item on Gear swap from Australia and the insured value was about 500$ and had no issues with any fees.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Thanks, everyone! on 03/12/2013 09:34:25 MDT Print View

Seeing these replies alleviates my concerns....at least some what. Being that this is a PFD (albeit small one) and will be in a bigger box, I wonder if it might garner a bit more attn than say "fishnet underwear"?

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: 40°N,-105°W-ish
Importing gear on 03/12/2013 09:53:23 MDT Print View

A few comments from an expat... Ask if the business is VAT Registered. That's a prerequisite to being able to deduct VAT from a sale outside the EU. Most businesses over a certain size will be, but cottage manufacturers, for example, have such small turnover that it's not worth their while. Some companies may charge a processing fee for the VAT refund, so also ask if they do that.

Secondly, the stated value on customs forms is well below the threshold for any kind of duty once the package arrives in the US. It might sit in customs awaiting inspection for a while, or it may sail through. That's the luck of the draw.

Finally, tracking your shipment is expensive and not very meaningful is you go the Royal Mail / USPS route. I had $300 item shipped to me last year from the UK, without tracking, and it disappeared without trace. The company agreed to send me a replacement at no cost, and this time added tracking, but all I could see - days after the event - was when it left Royal Mail's jurisdiction, and that it had been delivered. Depending on cost you might want to check out DHL, UPS or FedEx courier options. It's a balancing act though, as I know UPS from Canada has an additional fee for customs...

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Questions for those who have imported gear from the UK to the US on 03/12/2013 10:06:09 MDT Print View

I've bought a few things from Jackson Sports in the U.K. (meaning bought from them more than once). It's a great place - good prices, pretty quick shipping, no issues at all.

When you go to their website, you can choose to have the prices displayed in dollars instead of pounds, so you'll see exactly what you'll be paying. The VAT is automatically deducted (not charged) when you give your shipping address to the U.S.

I'd buy from them again in a heartbeat - seamless experience.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Thanks! on 03/12/2013 11:09:26 MDT Print View

Thanks, guys! It's also good to hear from someone who has ordered from Jackson Sports.

Chaff - Did you receive your items USPS?

Edited by rustyb on 03/12/2013 11:10:31 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Thanks! on 03/12/2013 13:46:55 MDT Print View

"Chaff - Did you receive your items USPS?"

To be honest, I don't really remember whether or not it was USPS. I can only tell you there was never any issue. I often look at the Jackson Sports site when I'm considering new gear, that's how trouble free the transaction was.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Re: Thanks! on 03/12/2013 14:06:18 MDT Print View

I used to buy a lot of kit from Jacksons when I Iived back in Ireland and they where always a pleasure to deal with.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Tracking on 03/12/2013 14:18:01 MDT Print View

Stuart, after the package left Royal Mail's jurisdiction, did you try to follow the package on USPS's website? That's what happens with packages both ways between Turkey and the U.S. - the tracking transfers to the website of the receiving postal service when it comes into the country.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Shipping Method... on 03/12/2013 14:38:21 MDT Print View

You WANT the package to be sent Royal Mail/Parcelforce/USPS...otherwise you WILL see (automatic) "customs" charges from FedEX or UPS's in-house brokerage houses (scams).

In my experience, the majority of UK e-tailers use Royal Mail. I personally have never been charged excess fees. Bike parts, scooter parts, car parts, outdoor gear...nada.

-Mark in St. Louis

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: 40°N,-105°W-ish
Re: Tracking on 03/12/2013 16:05:46 MDT Print View

@William - What I did was follow the package's progress on the Royal Mail's site, which was quite detailed until it left the UK. However the tracking number wasn't recognized by USPS so I had a big void until it arrived. It took about 7-8 days from the hand-off to USPS to it being delivered. A week or so later the Royal Mail site was updated with the delivery date stamp.