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Thomann post Brexit?

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3 hours ago, unpluggedjack said:

 

Hi All

Just a quick heads-up on my own experience today - UPS man came to the door with my parcel from Thomann and requested for charges to be paid (import duty, VAT and transaction handling charge) - He couldn't hand over the  parcel till I pay the charges (cash to the delivery man or on-line by card)

I ordered parts from Thomann to the value of approx £150 and got stung for £51 charges. Totally forgot we're not in EU anymore. Thomann prices not quite the bargain they seemed!

did you get a breakdown of the charges and how they were calculated, the vat part and collection charge . Did Thomann charge any shipping ?

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I realise that EU returns are an issue, but historically Thomanns have been a great deal more accommodating than most of the UK retailers when it comes to sending things back - in other words, it could still be a problem if we were to deal only with the big UK stores, whether the goods are fragile or not.

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Yeah agreed - Thomann have been just great with their customer service, dealing with returns etc. 

If I was someone who ever kept his glass half full, my guess would be that Thomann will not want to abandon the UK market, which I would guess is in the top two for music gear sales in Europe and will establish a UK sub to look after their UK customers. It's not the most complicated thing to do. 

It's not like other German retailers haven't made a major success of things over here. 

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34 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Yeah agreed - Thomann have been just great with their customer service, dealing with returns etc. 

If I was someone who ever kept his glass half full, my guess would be that Thomann will not want to abandon the UK market, which I would guess is in the top two for music gear sales in Europe and will establish a UK sub to look after their UK customers. It's not the most complicated thing to do. 

It's not like other German retailers haven't made a major success of things over here. 

Agree, let's see how Thomann responds. 

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2 hours ago, Al Krow said:

One of the biggest negative impact on margins for retailers comes from returns. So if we end up only buying stuff from Thomann that we know for sure we really want rather than "trying before we commit" then, perversely, this could actually work out in Thomann's favour.

I get why Thomann is/was so customer friendly. Ordering an instrument online (i.e., no chance of trying it out in a shop) and also from abroad can be risky. To lower customers' risk perceptions, Thomann had to make returns super easy: Order it, try it, return it if you don't like it and we even pay for your return (something most of our local retailers don't do, at least the big three as far as I know). The problem is not only the negative impact on Thomann's margins (which they seemed to be ok with) but also the negative impact on the environment (i.e. carbon footprint). That's also a big problem in other industries, especially (fast) fashion. It even has a name there: wardrobing. 

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5 minutes ago, Eldon Tyrell said:

The problem is not only the negative impact on Thomann's margins (which they seemed to be ok with) but also the negative impact on the environment (i.e. carbon footprint). That's also a big problem in other industries, especially (fast) fashion. It even has a name there: wardrobing. 

Surely the trucks/ferries/planes that bring goods to the UK would be returning to the EU whether or not I'm returning an item?  Better that they're full!

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9 minutes ago, petecarlton said:

Surely the trucks/ferries/planes that bring goods to the UK would be returning to the EU whether or not I'm returning an item?  Better that they're full!

I guess fewer returns = fewer trucks/ferries/planes.

Even if we assume the same number, then they would still be lighter and consuming less fuel and kerosene.  No?

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1 hour ago, petecarlton said:

Surely the trucks/ferries/planes that bring goods to the UK would be returning to the EU whether or not I'm returning an item?  Better that they're full!

Reminds me of how a well known saying came into meaning:

Ships from Newcastle would bring their cargo into London’s docks, then rather return empty they would take a load of urine - which was used as dye for clothing - back with them.

On said return journey they would often pass other ships whose crews they knew, who would enquire what cargo they were carrying. They would often say “ we’ve got a great load, really lucrative” to which the response was:

“You’re taking the p155”.

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Local purchases are good for the local economy and good for the environment. Trade is great for economic development globally. It's a tricky one. 

But I think once Covid passes, becoming carbon neutral is going to start ramping up in importance and carbon taxes will become an increasingly less subtle import duty. 

But at the end of the day, it will rely on having a local manufacturing base. Any reasons we can't make great basses in the UK in the middle market eg to compete with Yamaha and Ibanez? We have some brilliant high end luthiers, we also make great cabs, amps and pedals here. 

But even Chowney get their basses made in China. 

Edited by Al Krow

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11 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Local purchases are good for the local economy and good for the environment. Trade is great for economic development globally. It's a tricky one. 

But I think once Covid passes, becoming carbon neutral is going to start ramping up in importance and carbon taxes will become an increasingly less subtle import duty. 

But at the end of the day, it will rely on having a local manufacturing base. Any reasons we can't make great basses in the UK in the middle market eg to compete with Yamaha and Ibanez? We have some brilliant high end luthiers, we also make great cabs, amps and pedals here. 

But even Chowney get their basses made in China. 

Cost, economies of scale, a large enough market etc.

Thomann can sell great basses at low prices because they buy in huge quantities. A smaller company simply wouldn’t be able to compete.

To be honest, basses here are like guns in the USA. We’ve got more than enough already in circulation!

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59 minutes ago, Burns-bass said:

We’ve got more than enough already

I'm reporting this heresy to the police 😳

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16 hours ago, Steve Browning said:

79 quid from Thomann comes under the 135 limit so that would be ££94.80 + delivery.

Yep the free delivery threshold is now higher than it used to be. 

Which means you add the £8 pretty much regardless, unless you want to pay all the extra fees involved with going over 135 quid. 

If I was buying bits and pieces from Thomann I would add a few things to the basket to tip it over the free delivery threshold, it felt like an £8 discount on a packet of strings or some patch cables. 

Not knowing what the total bill will be, but knowing that it is going to be high, is pretty off putting. 

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I know that this has been said elsewhere, but i just want to make sure I fully understand ...

So the threshold for free delivery is £135, which is also the threshold for VAT, and when VAT is involved the courier/agent will also charge a handling fee.  Does that mean that the ideal order would be for £134.99 + the £8 delivery charge?

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7 minutes ago, DrBike said:

I know that this has been said elsewhere, but i just want to make sure I fully understand ...

So the threshold for free delivery is £135, which is also the threshold for VAT, and when VAT is involved the courier/agent will also charge a handling fee.  Does that mean that the ideal order would be for £134.99 + the £8 delivery charge?

unless the £8 is counted as part of the 135...

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4 minutes ago, stewblack said:

unless the £8 is counted as part of the 135...

It isn't in the basket I've got sitting there at the moment. It appears that £134.99 ex delivery is currently the max order that you can be sure of the total cost.

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Just now, nilebodgers said:

It isn't in the basket I've got sitting there at the moment. It appears that £134.99 ex delivery is currently the max order that you can be sure of the total cost.

I shall follow your progress with interest 

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5 minutes ago, stewblack said:

unless the £8 is counted as part of the 135...

On the Thomann FAQ page

"VAT will be added and charged by Thomann GmbH after processing an order only if the net value of the items is equal or less than 135.00 GBP or if delivery will be to Northern Ireland. In these cases, no additional fee will have to be paid upon delivery."

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From HMRC

What the £135 threshold is based on

The starting point for determining whether a sale of goods located outside of the UK, made to a UK consumer, is subject to UK supply VAT under this measure is to consider whether the selling price of the goods exceeds £135, exclusive of VAT. For this purpose, the value should be based on the ‘intrinsic value’ of the goods, which equates to the price at which the goods are sold, excluding:

  • transport and insurance costs, unless they are included in the price and not separately indicated on the invoice
  • any other taxes and charges identifiable by the customs authorities from any relevant documents

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I haven't read the whole thread in detail, as I'm fretting and psyching myself up to start the email process, but I have had an outstanding warranty repair with Thomann, held up by covid and the Brexit confusion itself. It was returned in November, so under normal circumstances would have been back to me well before the Brexit axe finally fell.

The item has finally made it's way back in my direction, but I have recieved an email from UPS saying the I owe £44.27 in import fees, on an item worth about £170 when I bought it, just over a year ago.

I realise that rules have changed, but I wonder if this might be a bit of a mistake- I already paid VAT on the purchase, and this was a warranty repair with the vendor. All postage is covered by Thomann too, so ultimately this would have been cost-free to myself. Even considering new handling charges this seems inordinately high, and I'm likely being asked to pay the tax for a second time.

First port of call is to speak to UPS to attempt to clarify. If they have no recourse, then I'll see if Thomann will graciously issue a refund and accept the item back.

Worst case I'll just have to suck it up and waste some money at the hands of this... I don't know what to call it, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

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15 hours ago, Eldon Tyrell said:

I guess fewer returns = fewer trucks/ferries/planes.

Even if we assume the same number, then they would still be lighter and consuming less fuel and kerosene.  No?

Tru dat!  Complex situation all round.

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14 hours ago, Al Krow said:

But at the end of the day, it will rely on having a local manufacturing base. Any reasons we can't make great basses in the UK in the middle market eg to compete with Yamaha and Ibanez? We have some brilliant high end luthiers, we also make great cabs, amps and pedals here. 

But even Chowney get their basses made in China. 

The short answer is scale and costs.

The UK is a medium size market, worth selling to but not big enough to sustain a large scale manufacturing business. The fact that we have now put up barriers to our biggest export market doesn’t help, but of course at least there are no tariffs in place. The bigger issue (arguably) is costs. There is no way that the UK can compete with China and the far-east in larger scale production, even taking tariffs and shipping into account. To do so, it would have to massively reduce its costs, and seeing as the major element of that is labour, then that would mean paying significantly lower wages as well as reducing other associated costs (pension / NI contributions, etc).

As you say, the UK is good at small scale, high-end production (note that the same is also true for other northern european countries), but there is a reason why its manufacturing base has declined. I could answer in a lot more detail, but that leads to a risk of derailing the thread and of opening up a debate that the mods won’t like.

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On 15/01/2021 at 09:46, DrBike said:

I know that this has been said elsewhere, but i just want to make sure I fully understand ...

So the threshold for free delivery is £135, which is also the threshold for VAT, and when VAT is involved the courier/agent will also charge a handling fee.  Does that mean that the ideal order would be for £134.99 + the £8 delivery charge?

Just to address the above highlighted points:

 

 

 

Quote

and when VAT is involved the courier/agent will also charge a handling fee. 

This is what i was confused about. I've not seen any real world experiences on this from others who can say how much they've actually been charged, but I think it's most likely that there will be no handling charge if all the VAT business is handling their end (ie if the price shown on the website is less than £135)

 

 

 

Quote

£134.99 + the £8 delivery charge?

It's my understanding that if the net value of the goods(ie what's shown on the  website) is below £135 AND the final price after VAT is added by Thomann afterwards is greater than £135, then we will not be charged a shipping fee.

 

 

This leads me to believe that the sweet spot for avoiding as many different extra taxes(eg handling costs and shipping fees) is when we're buying an item with a net value of less than £135, but when the final price after VAT is added is greater than £135. In other words anything on their website between £112(ie £135 / 1.2) and £135.

The "1.2" is "100 + 20%VAT / 100".

UPDATE: apparently the shipping cost is added before the VAT (ie final price= (net price + shipping) x 1.2) . This seems strange given that the £8 shipping already contains VAT.

 

Edited by TheLowDown
amendment

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On 13/01/2021 at 21:31, jimmyb625 said:

Musicman pretty much only build to order (or at least that used to be the case), so if a store hasn't got one on order with them, there's going to be a fair wait.

 

This appears to be the case, i've been watching the one from Thomann's, & it's been on a countdown for months. I was hoping it might have come in prior to Brexit, but sadly that wasn't the case. They confirmed this morning that they only had the one item as well.

With that in mind, & not knowing when the next left handed Sterling might come along, i've bitten the bullet & ordered it from them.

Fingers crossed it's a pretty painless experience, but i'm expecting it to take longer to arrive, & cost more than pre-Brexit. I've calculated the 20% VAT, import fees, paperwork fees as best i can, & come up with a ball park figure, so hopefully there'll be no nasty little suprises along the way. 

Hopefully i'll be able to report good news on here. If you don't hear from me, you'll know that it ended badly!! 

Edited by Graham A
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4 hours ago, Jus Lukin said:

I haven't read the whole thread in detail, as I'm fretting and psyching myself up to start the email process, but I have had an outstanding warranty repair with Thomann, held up by covid and the Brexit confusion itself. It was returned in November, so under normal circumstances would have been back to me well before the Brexit axe finally fell.

The item has finally made it's way back in my direction, but I have recieved an email from UPS saying the I owe £44.27 in import fees, on an item worth about £170 when I bought it, just over a year ago.

I realise that rules have changed, but I wonder if this might be a bit of a mistake- I already paid VAT on the purchase, and this was a warranty repair with the vendor. All postage is covered by Thomann too, so ultimately this would have been cost-free to myself. Even considering new handling charges this seems inordinately high, and I'm likely being asked to pay the tax for a second time.

First port of call is to speak to UPS to attempt to clarify. If they have no recourse, then I'll see if Thomann will graciously issue a refund and accept the item back.

Worst case I'll just have to suck it up and waste some money at the hands of this... I don't know what to call it, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

I think you’re right, I’m sure there was some kind of “waiving” of those fees for samples, repairs and in some cases gifts 😉(yeah right) for items moving back and forward from countries outside the EU in the past, I would think they would now apply to movement to and from the EU now we’re out. I’d imagine at the minute UPS is tarring everything with a big wide brush.

Edited by torby

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