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Importing a bass from the US


ReeV0

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Hi all, apologies if this is in the wrong section, please move if required.

 

Does anyone have experience in shipping a bass over to from the US to the UK? A TB member has offered me a bass, but would mean shipping from the US to the UK. Any idea how I could estimate shipping costs and import duty tax?

 

Thanks

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Bass cost plus shipping, then add 20% vat and then import which is about 4% I think.

 

Basically take the bass and the shipping and add 25% and you’ll be close enough. The vat applies to the shipping as well.

 

Do not undervalue it as that is a criminal offence that can lead to confiscation and destruction of the bass, and if it gets damages any shipping insurance will only pay out on the declared value.

Edited by fretmeister
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By the way... the customs people are educated personnel and know their stuff. If you try to say, that the price of a £2k bass is £350, you will see some interesting comments, and a steep fine.

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49 minutes ago, fretmeister said:

Bass cost plus shipping, then add 20% vat and then import which is about 4% I think.

 

Basically take the bass and the shipping and add 25% and you’ll be close enough. The vat applies to the shipping as well.

 

Do not undervalue it as that is a criminal offence that can lead to confiscation and destruction of the bass, and if it gets damages any shipping insurance will only pay out on the declared value.

 

I think it would be more than 25%, I just did a quick quote on USPS and shipping alone came to $140 :(

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1 hour ago, ReeV0 said:

so if I bought it I'd have to pay 20% VAT as well as import duty? I thought I'd just have to pay the import duty?

 

You always have to pay the VAT when you import goods. It's the import duty which only kicks in for goods above a value which I forget. 

 

Also, the VAT is calculated on the item value AND the postage combined.

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I made the mistake of overlooking that and mistakenly thinking it only applied to new instruments. I bought a guitar from a shop in Texas about 13years ago and when it arrived at customs in Stanstead airport I got a call from Customs & excise with a huge bill for duty and vat. Not something i'd budgeted for. This was around the time the MP's were getting caught being creative with their expenses so it made paying it more frustrating.

If you don't pay the taxes and duty it gets sent back to the sender. Thankfully the guy on the phone was really down to earth and a good chap. But paying it still hurt.

 

 

Edited by jazzyvee
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@ReeV0

 

Like the lads have said it's VAT on the bass/shipping/insurance + import duty.

 

Then there's 2 other things to consider.

 

Admin fee for collecting VAT/Duty. About £10

 

Exchange rates. XE currency converter is showing £1 = $1.20.

 

Sadly there's little chance you'll get that.

 

RBS, Halifax and Natwest rates are £1 = $1.16; Halifax have a £9.50 handling fee.

Rate with PayPal is just $1.15 + £3 handling fee.

 

Credit cards fare slightly better , around $1.17, but most carry a % handling fee 

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As an example of buying from the US, I just bought some machine heads from Hipshot in the US.

 

The parts cost $174.24;

Shipping (USPS with $200 insurance) cost $61.71;

Customs Duty - £3.32;

Import Vat -  £33.87;

Clearance Fee (zero Vat rated) - £12.00.

 

Total Cost - £244.59

Original Cost of parts - £144.30

 

:o

The package also took 2 months to arrive, due to various cöckups on the way.

 

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21 minutes ago, Teebs said:

As an example of buying from the US, I just bought some machine heads from Hipshot in the US.

 

The parts cost $174.24;

Shipping (USPS with $200 insurance) cost $61.71;

Customs Duty - £3.32;

Import Vat -  £33.87;

Clearance Fee (zero Vat rated) - £12.00.

 

Total Cost - £244.59

Original Cost of parts - £144.30

 

:o

The package also took 2 months to arrive, due to various cöckups on the way.

 

 

Jeeez... Yeah, I think I'll avoid it. Even if the bass is a really good price.

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11 hours ago, ReeV0 said:

 

I think it would be more than 25%, I just did a quick quote on USPS and shipping alone came to $140 :(


 

you’ve misunderstood.

 

Bass + shipping gives a total. Then add 20% vat to that. Then add import as well at about 4%. 

So the 25% rough total is on top of the shipping AND the bass total. The percentage stays the same.

 

Vat is added to any item that hasn’t been in the UK before.

 

This is why many “bargains” from the US aren’t really bargains when the maths are properly worked out.

 

$140 shipping from the US is cheap. And probably not insured!

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1 hour ago, ReeV0 said:

 

Jeeez... Yeah, I think I'll avoid it. Even if the bass is a really good price.

 

It's not a good time just now. I remember when you got around $2 for £1. Bargains were definitely on the cards, even with VAT and duty on top. Nowadays, not so much.

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19 minutes ago, fretmeister said:


 

you’ve misunderstood.

 

Bass + shipping gives a total. Then add 20% vat to that. Then add import as well at about 4%. 

So the 25% rough total is on top of the shipping AND the bass total. The percentage stays the same.

 

Vat is added to any item that hasn’t been in the UK before.

 

This is why many “bargains” from the US aren’t really bargains when the maths are properly worked out.

 

$140 shipping from the US is cheap. And probably not insured!

 

Ahh ok understood, thanks for explaining. The bass is a genuine Stingray for $800, which aside from the shipping and tax, is a great deal 🤑😁

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IME it is only worth privately importing any music instrument if all of the following are satisfied:

 

1. The brand/manufacturer does not have a distributer in your country.

2. It is second hand.

3. It is something you really want and you can afford the price including shipping VAT and import duty.

 

Edit: A Stingray does not fall into the categories above. Suspect that by the time you've added on shipping VAT import changes and handling fees it will be about the same as buying one in the same condition in the UK.

Edited by BigRedX
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11 minutes ago, ReeV0 said:

 

Ahh ok understood, thanks for explaining. The bass is a genuine Stingray for $800, which aside from the shipping and tax, is a great deal 🤑😁


It’s not that good. You’ve forgotten about the exchange rate. Which sucks at the moment.

 

You can find stingrays for under a grand here, just not the newer specials. But £1200 would get you a nice one and wouldn’t have to worry about shipping or not being able to send it back / trying it out first etc.

 

Stick a wanted ad in the classifieds and see what you get offered.

 

 

Edited by fretmeister
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5 minutes ago, fretmeister said:


It’s not that good. You’ve forgotten about the exchange rate. Which sucks at the moment.

 

 

 

I'd pay £680 for a Stingray, seen them go on here for £1000-1500

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1 hour ago, ReeV0 said:

 

I'd pay £680 for a Stingray, seen them go on here for £1000-1500

 

...but it wouldn't be £680! 

 

£680 + shipping = £800 + 25% = £1000

 

So your £680 bass is in reality £1000 and you really have no idea how good it will be when it arrives.  :/  

 

This one just sold on ebay for £30 more but you could have picked it up and tried before buying.  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/165593451318?hash=item268e238b36:g:ThYAAOSwKZBi06zu

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36 minutes ago, warwickhunt said:

 

...but it wouldn't be £680! 

 

£680 + shipping = £800 + 25% = £1000

 

So your £680 bass is in reality £1000 and you really have no idea how good it will be when it arrives.  :/  

 

This one just sold on ebay for £30 more but you could have picked it up and tried before buying.  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/165593451318?hash=item268e238b36:g:ThYAAOSwKZBi06zu

 

Sorry I meant just the cost of the bass. Gutted I missed that one on ebay!

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I’ve bought plenty of stuff from the US before but they have been particular bargains and when the exchange rate was better, with the total cost including VAT and other fees still coming out as cheap. The other angle is paying what you deem to be a reasonable price for something you can’t easily get in the UK.
 

Probably just not a great time to buy from the US right now because of the exchange rate. As others have said, just be sure to do the maths before you buy. 

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On 06/08/2022 at 01:42, kodiakblair said:

@ReeV0

 

Like the lads have said it's VAT on the bass/shipping/insurance + import duty.

 

Then there's 2 other things to consider.

 

Admin fee for collecting VAT/Duty. About £10

 

Exchange rates. XE currency converter is showing £1 = $1.20.

 

Sadly there's little chance you'll get that.

 

RBS, Halifax and Natwest rates are £1 = $1.16; Halifax have a £9.50 handling fee.

Rate with PayPal is just $1.15 + £3 handling fee.

 

Credit cards fare slightly better , around $1.17, but most carry a % handling fee 

I was about to recomend my credit card that charges no handling fee … but looked up and don’t have that benefit any more!! 

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