Importing from USA

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Cycling Naturalist, 14 Apr 2008.

  1. Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member

    How easy is it to buy stuff from American suppliers? The dollar is so weak that the prices for many items of specialist kit seem very attractive. I understand that you have to pay a 5% tax and VAT of 17.5%, but how is it all done? If I bought anything, I'd want it all to be strictly legitimate, so please no advice on smuggling techniques.
  2. ChrisKH

    ChrisKH Shorts Adjustment Expert

    Good question. You can order directly and will end up paying the appropriate amount of customs duty and VAT if shipped by a reputable company. I have to say I have not been involved with bikes or bikes stuff , however, at work if we order IT equipment from the States for example, it is usually the shipper (e.g. Fedex or DHL) who will charge you for any taxes due based on declarations you make to them.
  3. simonali

    simonali Über Member

    Stuff isn't overly cheap there. You can save lots on complete bikes which go for a song over there (my bike £549 here, $549 there), but components aren't all that much cheaper, particularly European stuff.

    I saved about £15-20 on a pair of Specialized shoes when I went over there last time, but the Oakley lens I bought was very nearly half price compared to here (£70 vs $75). Assos clothing in the store I went to was of a very similar price, though.

    Most American online stores only post to domestic addresses and those who do international usually charge a lot for it. Also, I think customs charge you the VAT on the UK RRP, not what you paid.

    Just take a trip and stock up while you're there! :blush:
  4. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    If it goes via Royal Mail then they charge you the VAT and £8 handling charge :wacko:
  5. Dayvo

    Dayvo Just passin' through

    I bought the Belgian national retro jersey from a supplier on the net in the States; can't remember which, but it was $60 instead of double that in sterling here!.
    Didn't pay any duty or the like.
    I suppose it depends on what you are planning on importing, Patrick! :wacko:
  6. Mortiroloboy

    Mortiroloboy New Member

    Just another case of us getting stitched for the cost of items that those in other countries get at pre ( prices. Why?:wacko::biggrin:!
  7. OP
    Cycling Naturalist

    Cycling Naturalist Legendary Member

    In a lot of cases, it's something pretty specialised that a UK dealer will only stock if there's a good margin on it, because he knows that he's going to have to carry some expensive stock for a long time and give space to it.
  8. topcat1

    topcat1 vintage Mercian 2012

    Last summer I bought a l/s wool jersey from vintage velos which came to £85 you can now buy them over here for £105.
  9. simonali

    simonali Über Member

    Or £39.95 from Prendas?
  10. TVC

    TVC Living La Mala Vida

    Last year I bought a couple of jerseys and some arm warmers from the US. I paid by Visa and they turned up 4 days later, just like buying from Wiggle - except they actually arrived.
    I don't know the score if you ordered anything bigger than a jiffy bag full, but I was delighted with the service and the £80 saving.
  11. simoncc

    simoncc New Member

    I've bought a few bike bits and other things from shops in the USA and Canada and never given a thought to tax and never paid any. The parcel just arrives and I get billed, just as if it came from Wiggle or Spa Cycles.
  12. Chuffy

    Chuffy Veteran

    Most of my kit is from Ground Effect in New Zealand and I've never been stung yet for Customs duty. Baggy and I have had a fair bit of stuff from US suppliers but only once been caught by the Customs net. I don't know what criteria they apply when selecting which items to slap the dreaded red sticker on, so you pays your money and keeps your fingers crossed...

    ..I won't dare ask what 'specialised items' you might be ordering...:wacko:
  13. bobg

    bobg Über Member

    Crosby Merseyside
    I buy a fair bit from Bicycle Supply in the States. If the value is under £25 ( I believe)its deemed to be a gift and is not chargeable with tax. This importer and many other endorese the parcel "Gift value under .... " and you will be unlucky to have it checked by HMC@E at the parcel post depots where they ( used to ) select very few for internal examination. With staffing and targetting even more crucial, I suspect getting an internal is even more unlikely these days. However if you are unlucky i't'll cost you a big chunk extra. The PO charge for HMC's decision to open it and that's passed on to you too!

    Theres a HMCE leaflet available on the bnet somewhere, I'll track it down and post a link if I can find it.
    Friend of mine gets DVD's from the States .. packages up to £100 value ... over 300 to date and no charge as yet
  14. sheddy

    sheddy Guru

    My son has bought sports kit. He we have been clobbered for 25% + courier handling charge + 17.5% :wacko:
  15. bobg

    bobg Über Member

    Crosby Merseyside
    Just checked with a friend .. below £18 and endorsed GIFT ... no charge. Still cant find the VAT Leaflet though.... A quick call to HMCE Importation Enquiries Queens Dock Liverpool will do the trick though:smile:
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