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Buying Astro Gear from UK retailer to EU


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Just wondering if any members of SGL residing in the EU (or beyond) has bought gear from a UK retailer post Brexit. I'd be interested on hearing how your experiences were - especially with regard to duty, shipping expenses, insurance and any import fees you needed to pay.





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I buy regularly from FLO with shipping to Saudi. Ex Vat at checkout, flawless service, the record so far is 4 days from order to receipt.

DHL Express are good here so they issue a bill online via DHL app for import duty and local VAT. 

UPS on the other hand, as used by another large German retailer for delivery here, are abysmal. I just received a shipment after 15 days of non communication, non issuance of pending fees and taxes, had to make loads of calls and emails to sort it out

It will vary depending on location and courier

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Have bought from from FLO a couple of times post brexit and really not much to say, everything went smoothly on FLOs end and as smoothly as customs dealings can go on my end. DHL informed me when the package had arrived to customs and needed declaring and then i did this at the Finnish custom web declaring service, which while confusing and needs some updating to the current century is a minor headache at worst. I suspect its this way in many countries but for us we have to know the exact product code and search it on an impossible to browse catalogue of different products and if it goes wrong the package is held until someone checks it. Had this happen once many years ago (on a non astro purchase) and it was a huge pain in the backside to deal with. Thankfully everything astronomy related goes under "telescopes, their mounts, and their parts" so its somewhat easy with astronomy purchases.

I find that prices are very much comparable to EU retailers even with VAT and customs fees included so availability of stock is really the only thing that decides where my money goes in the end.

I wish @FLO had non VAT prices visible for foreign customers though. They do subtract VAT at checkout but i have to add the product to the shopping cart for the non-VAT price to be shown and it would be a nice quality of life update to just have an option somewhere where i can choose where im shopping from.

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Thanks for the feedback. If I bought an OTA for 1000€ from a British retailer, I know I would have to pay German VAT but what typically are the additional import fees specifically for importing telescopes into the EU or the individual member states? I checked out the German customs page but couldn't find a reference to scientific instruments.

Edited by Peter_D
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For me it was 4.2% import tariff from the UK. Not sure if this applies to Germany too, but i imagine it would if this is an EU thing.

Telescopes and other telescope related items all fall under the code 9005 and its subcategories. The code i would use for import is 9005 80 "other instruments" under the wider 9005 code: Binoculars, monoculars, other optical telescopes, and mountings therefor; other astronomical instruments and mountings therefor, but not including instruments for radio-astronomy :   (TN701)


You can try to browse this impossible site to get the import codes, but you would have to put these into a German customs service or calculator to see if you will be charged the extra 4.2% or not, couldn't find this info easily.

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