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Sully

Buying from America

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The last thing I got from the U.S was a Davis anemometer for my weather station.

In the UK the cheapest I could find was £139.49 + delivery.

In the U.S the exact same item was £62.84 + £26.47 for delivery. I only had to pay the 20% VAT on top, no import duty, so it worked out at £107.17 all in.

That's a saving of about £45 on this one item and it was here, on the island, in 10 days.

Better in my pocket than someone else's. ;)

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Anyone bought a scope while on holiday and had problems of the warranty variety? You only need one clear night before coming home to check it all works ok, but...

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Some time ago I bought a Celestron from the US. The dealer price there was $3400 and the UK dealer price was £3400. (1 UKP = 1.6 USD) But the product wasn't in stock: "Certainly sir, it'll be two to three months." [ Sea freight, the boat wanders around all over the place on the way from where ever to England ]

Airfreight/courier charges was a smidge over £200 and VAT + duty another £400-ish. Total saving was therefore around £500. It arrived a week after I placed the order. It would've been sooner but UPS kept trying to deliver when I was out, and failed to turn up when I arranged to be in.

So far as warranty concerns were concerned I reckoned the UK warranty would be pretty useless, as there was no UK replacement stock. So an RTB exchange would have needed me to return the faulty item to the dealer, they'd ship (literally) it to the US who would repair/replace and ship back - turnaround: 6 months. As it is, the scope is still working fine to this day. I'm assured it's a better situation these days.

Edited by pete_l

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I have bought "stuff" from the USA - I had it delivered to a buddy in the US who then shipped it to me. Free delivery to him and he sent it to me as a gift. Just sent him bank draft to cover postage costs to Northern Ireland. Am looking at buying 2 Naglers - approx cost in stg - £420 - buting from US will cost approx £350 (i hope to find a better price) any problems with warranty - they can be returned to my buddy who can exercise my rights...

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Factor in the time not just the money. Several months lost of viewing is worth how much?

If you buy something in the UK and it goes wrong you have to ship it back and wait. I remember buying some expensive Italian motorbike gloves that burst. I waited 2 months until I went into the main shop (city centre, Manchester) and had it out with the store manager.

And shipping to the States and back doesn't take months...not since the invention of airplanes.....

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Here's some advice on picking up your items from ParcelForce WITHOUT having to pay their handling charge ...

Yes, they are allowed to charge a fee (under the Univeral Postal Union agreement) that is to cover the costs incurred only. As yet, they have never given a breakdown of their costs. Consumersdirect (part of the government) have agreed that the way they enforce the charge is illegal.

However, they are NOT allowed to withhold your parcel in lieu of the fees, this is a direct breach of sections 83, 89 and 104/105 of the Postal Services Act (2000) and if you offer to pay the VAT/Customs charge they HAVE to release the parcel and the recovery of any monies owed to them is a civil matter they have to pursue AFTER completing their contract and delivering the parcel.

Basically, whenever you go to get a parcel tell them you will pay the customs charges but will not pay their fee at that time, tell them to send you an invoice with a complete breakdown of their costs that make up the charge and then you will pay it. If the guy at the counter refuses tell him he is breaking the law and cite section 104, and then tell him you are calling the police. You will be surprised how quickly your parcel appears :rolleyes:

One more thing, generally you can walk out with your parcel having just paid the customs (which you will always have to pay). Sometimes they will then write requesting that you pay the charge. If this happens write back stating that they never completed their side of the contract in as much as they did not attempt to deliver the item but instead retained it in virtue of a lien in direct contravention of the Postal Services Act. This meant you had to go to the depot at your own time and expense to collect it and if they insist on pressing for the admin fee then you will instigate civil proceedings for damages and also pass the information on to the police for criminal proceedings. :icon_confused:

For reference ...

Postal Services Act 2000 (c. 26)

The bit to highlight on page 89 is

(7)Any charge payable by virtue of this section may be recovered by the universal service provider concerned and in England and Wales and Northern Ireland may be so recovered as a civil debt due to him

paired with this from section 104...

(2)Anything to which this subsection applies shall have the same immunity from—

(a)examination, or seizure or detention, under a relevant power conferred by virtue of this Act or any other enactment,

(b)seizure under distress or in execution,

©in Scotland, any diligence, and

(d)retention by virtue of a lien,

which basically means they cannot hold your package in lieu of the payment owed to them as that is only recoverable as a civil debt. If you then point out section 83 in particular this part...

(6)A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both,

(b)on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.

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AlistairHowie,

All I can say is wow! That would be some fun having that discussion with our crowd here!

BTW, just to let anyone whos interested know, I just got a fantastic deal from Hands On Optics in the US for the 11mm Explore Scientific 82 Degree EP (new model -N2 and waterproof), delivered to Ireland for a measly $105 or just less than €80 (most suppliers have this at $119 excl delivery). Their delivery cost was only $16 (dont know if this is insured - again dont know whos risk that is, but what the hell, I'll give it a go!) and they are 11 years old so their accessories are all 11% off. Great deal, very happy with it, now just hope it arrives.

Bart

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AlistairHowie,

All I can say is wow! That would be some fun having that discussion with our crowd here!

BTW, just to let anyone whos interested know, I just got a fantastic deal from Hands On Optics in the US for the 11mm Explore Scientific 82 Degree EP (new model -N2 and waterproof), delivered to Ireland for a measly $105 or just less than €80 (most suppliers have this at $119 excl delivery). Their delivery cost was only $16 (dont know if this is insured - again dont know whos risk that is, but what the hell, I'll give it a go!) and they are 11 years old so their accessories are all 11% off. Great deal, very happy with it, now just hope it arrives.

Bart

like your style Bart - must get onto their site. What part of Cork are you from? My in-laws are (West) Corkonians - got married in Gougane Barra and had reception in Clonakilty. Love it down there.

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AlistairHowie,

All I can say is wow! That would be some fun having that discussion with our crowd here!

Bart

It works, trust me - I've done it three times with radio controlled helicopter parts from the US. Never had to threaten them, just politely said their actions were illegal and that I wouldn't be paying the charge at this time. Not once have they even objected - it's like they know they don't have a leg to stand on, that they're resigned to you getting one over on them.

Its actually very enjoyable - I heartily recommend ordering from the US just so you can have fun with Parcelfarce.

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Just remember a telescope size parcel wont be delivered to your door, If using USPS (as I do) it will end up at your nearest Pacelforce depot. You will pay the duty and VAT there, after showing ID

Andy

I got my CGEM DX and 1100 Edge HD scope from the US delivered to my door, so it can be done. You just have to pay the import charges to customs and the courier holds the packages until cleared. My scope took less than a week and the service was excellent.

Even with VAT, shipping and customs duty applied I saved a great deal of money... that was until FLO announced a deal on their 1100 Edge HD scopes! Even with the current FLO deal, I saved a net £400 - enough for some accessories and a new planetary cam.

The trouble is I have no warrantee and I must admit that, as things turned out, I would have preferred to have paid the extra £400 for peace of mind and to give the business to FLO, but at the time I placed my order I had no idea the scopes were going to be on special offer here and nor did FLO and the difference in price at that point was over a grand...

Overall, it's been a good experience. It something goes wrong on my mount, though, I am sure that opinion will change very quickly!

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Do you mind if I ask how much they charged for shipping such a beast over the pond?

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here is a question, if i buy a scope from the states and the total including freight is $400 what charge would customs make..........this might be happening

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here is a question, if i buy a scope from the states and the total including freight is $400 what charge would customs make..........this might be happening
They'll charge you VAT at your country's rate and any import duty that's levied.

IFAIK in the UK the duty is 5.1%

HM Revenue & Customs: Customs Duty, Excise Duty and Import VAT: introduction

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They claim to charge 4.2% duty on a telescope then 20% vat on that. This applies to the total cost including shipping (I've been reading up ;) )

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here is a question, if i buy a scope from the states and the total including freight is $400 what charge would customs make..........this might be happening

See my post No 25

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So, what happens if you buy a Celestron product out of the country, have no warranty and it breaks? How exactly does it get sorted, and what sort of time frames are involved? Does it go to David Hinds, or all the way back to the US? Are repairs under warranty done quicker?

I've been looking a buying direct from the US. Even adding on the 24.2% uplift on price and shipping there are still some savings to be made, but the biggest expense appears to be the shipping rates to the UK for such heavy packages. If repairs are only carried out in the US, then any time you have a problem and have to ship an OTA back ... or worse with a CPC a combined OTA/Fork mount weighing 89lbs packaged ... that is a real issue.

Please tell me repairs can be done in the UK???

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So, what happens if you buy a Celestron product out of the country, have no warranty and it breaks? How exactly does it get sorted, and what sort of time frames are involved? Does it go to David Hinds, or all the way back to the US? Are repairs under warranty done quicker?

I've been looking a buying direct from the US. Even adding on the 24.2% uplift on price and shipping there are still some savings to be made, but the biggest expense appears to be the shipping rates to the UK for such heavy packages. If repairs are only carried out in the US, then any time you have a problem and have to ship an OTA back ... or worse with a CPC a combined OTA/Fork mount weighing 89lbs packaged ... that is a real issue.

Please tell me repairs can be done in the UK???

I really prefer not to think about this. I suspect that repair via Celestron would be pretty much unenconomical, least that's the assumption I'm working to...;)

[there isn't a smilie of an astronomer sticking their head in the sand, but if there was, I'd be using that one!]

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Do you mind if I ask how much they charged for shipping such a beast over the pond?

I had thought it was US$500, but actually on reflection I think it was US$600... and I repeat, it was still way cheaper including the VAT and the customs duty.

I played it completely by the book so nothing to hide from HMRC. You can use this easy-to-use, free online calculator to find out VAT and duty charges for your purchase.

By the way, I bought from Hands On Optics and they were excellent.

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I had thought it was US$500, but actually on reflection I think it was US$600... and I repeat, it was still way cheaper including the VAT and the customs duty.

I played it completely by the book so nothing to hide from HMRC. You can use this easy-to-use, free online calculator to find out VAT and duty charges for your purchase.

By the way, I bought from Hands On Optics and they were excellent.

Excellent that calculator I just what I needed. Well done that man

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....Please tell me repairs can be done in the UK???

You might get caught between a rock and a hard place with this. If the repairs require parts then I would think you would have to be an authorised Celestron dealer to get them. If you are a Celestron dealer then I reckon you wouldn't touch a scope that has by-passed the normal import channels. If you did and Celestron found out you could loose your authorised status.

I may be wrong in this but my understanding is that it's the brands that call the shots on this, not the dealers.

Edited by John

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Thanks! There's a chance work might send me out that way, and they normally shout for business seats (and luggage allowance!) on longer trips.

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So what sites do people use? I have some family coming over from the US and they said if I post it to them they will bring it over but no idea what are good sites there

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I have used Agena Astro, Scope City and Hands On Optics. All very helpful and prompt.

Bart

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like your style Bart - must get onto their site. What part of Cork are you from? My in-laws are (West) Corkonians - got married in Gougane Barra and had reception in Clonakilty. Love it down there.

Hi Mick,

I'm originally from Galway but living here in East Cork, near Youghal, since 1997. Only another 20 years and I'll be accepted. West Cork is nice alright, we bring the kids camping there.

BTW, my 11mm Explore Scientific arrived all safe and sound, no VAT, duty, nowt! Very, very happy.

Even snuck a quick look through it last night (not supposed to as its my Christmas present, but couldn't resist it, sitting there, all nice and weighty in its little box)

Have a good Christmas and may the skies be clear for us all. With a few days off and a new moon, may have to pull an all nighter!

Barry

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