Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

Rufusgj

Buying gear from abroad?

Recommended Posts

Hey all,

Not sure if this post is in the right place (feel free to move mods) but has anyone bought from the following supplier in NY USA? Or any other foreign supplier for that matter...

B&H Photo Video Digital Cameras, Photography, Camcorders

My question is surrounding customs/taxes/duties etc and importing goods from abroad - The gear is much cheaper (even after shipping costs) but are htere other costs associated with buying from abroad?

Has anyone had experience of buying from abroad and could share it here so that those of us Newbies can decide whether to make some of our more expensive purchases this way or not?

Example - Celestron Nexstar 6SE would cost £503.53 + postage costs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just bought an Astrotech 65mm refractor from Optcorp in California.

A couple of days later I looked on Ian King's site, and he's got it, branded as Teleskop Service, for £50 cheaper!!

The actual scope was a little under £400 from Opt, but once I'd paid £16.36 import duty, and £81.18 VAT, and an £8.00 clearance fee, the price had been knocked right up. (you get charged VAT on the postage too).

The reason I imported it from the states was that I didn't think they were available here....oh well!!

Cheers

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've bought one or two things from the USA and Hong Kong and had a similar experience to Rob - by the time import duty, VAT and the "handling charges" have been added on there was little, if any, saving.

In some cases I believe the manufacturers will not honor the warranty of goods sourced from outside the EU (that may be Celestron and Meade's policy, I'm not 100% sure).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never had much luck with buying from the US. Nearly always got hit by customs and Royal Mail, ended up saving a few £ at most. And that was when the £ was strong against the $.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've bought plenty from USA and only been hit by customs once and it was still cheaper than UK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

B&H have a very good reputation amongst a few American friends i have living in NY/NJ area. Its run by a family (father and son) of ultra orthodox Jewish people. They are said to be very nice to deal with. They are closed on EVERY Jewish holiday, so check your dates before your order from them or you could be waiting a while because some of those holidays last a week or two.

I have bought a few small bits from America and the prices are pretty good. What you save easily covers the cost of shipping etc.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies,

It's a bit of a mixed bag of responses in terms of the intial question - it amazes me how expensive scopes can be in Europe compared to other countries and I guess as someone new to astronomy I'm always looking for the best deal on gear without breaking the bank too much!

Having read a lot of posts on this forum it's pretty clear that it can become a very expensive hobby!

Simon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was looking at the German retailers, TS and Astroshop.de, and their prices for Skywatcher bits are pretty awful by comparison to the UK. No incentive to buy from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the way that you even get charged VAT and import duty on second hand goods as well! Was going to get a meade 5000 80mm apo that worked out less than £300 but with all the charges it boosted it up to nearly £400 not as much of a bargain then!

RobH that clearance payment, was it from dhl or something paying the import duty for you? Read a thread about it, if it was and it is an illegal practice by the courier!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I Just inported a meteorite from the USA, it cost me $45 (45 dollars) and on that I was charged £18 by parcelforce, £8 handling fee and roughly £10 in taxes...

I would only buy from abroad if its something that can NEVER go wrong and need to be returned...

I was goind to but an Orion XT8 from the US but it worked out much cheaper to get the Skywatcher version when you take into account the shipping and taxes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think B&H will quote you a price including delivery and duties so you get an idea of your final outlay. Better to support local business though ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I Just inported a meteorite from the USA, it cost me $45 (45 dollars) and on that I was charged £18 by parcelforce, £8 handling fee and roughly £10 in taxes...

.

I've just noticed this post.

I've imported dozens of meteorites from the USA and other countries around the world over the past 5 years. Despite these samples being properly identified on the export forms I've never been charged import duty, VAT or anything else other than the sellers standard shipping costs. I don't believe mineral specimens attract any sort of import duty :(

You should have challenged this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've bought eyepieces from Japan. Import duty and charges etc. added about 30%. If you can get what you need from the UK (or the EU) you might as well because it adds up to about the same. I ordered the ones I did because they are not available anywhere else. They can take a while to arrive, I tracked the order - it took 24hrs to go from Osaka to Tokyo to the UK. Then 3 days at Coventry clearing customs and another 2 days at the Parcelforce depot before I got a note asking me to pay the duty.

Edited by SimonR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing to consider is what happens if the item is faulty.....like my scope has turned out to be.

I now have to send it back to Optcorp at my expense....another £50, and I bet they try to charge duty when the replacement is sent :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Rufusgj

I can speak very highly of B&H in NY and often recount the story of my visit there some while ago, I often bore friends and relatives of my visit to the store.

Great place.

But as with many of the previous posts can only advise to look at the TOTAL cost for comparison, which will be 20%+ above the advertised price.

Additionally you should always be aware of the service proposition of sending something back to the U.S.A if it's no good.

Europe is a considerably better option if the price is similar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the comments and feedback - I guess it's hit and miss with the customs charges - probably best to look for a good deal in the UK - namely FLO!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.