Maybe not !
Ah, that old chestnut !
You’ve spotted something on eBay / Google shopping that is quite a bargain. About 30% – 40% cheaper than here in the UK !!! Well, this week we had a customer telling us a very sad story, so we felt the need to share…
Unfortunately, that bargain price is NOT the price you’ll end up paying. It’s not shops fault, they are not trying to mislead you (or are they ???), but when you buy from the USA (or anywhere outside of the EU) it’s THE BUYER that has to pay all the shipping and import fees, and they can make a huge impact on the final price.
Our customer purchased an LR Baggs M1-A guitar pickup. The ‘Buy it Now’ price was “$169 (approx £101.78)” according to the ebay listing*. Our in-store price, by the way, is £175 so potentially quite a saving. So the “£101.78 approx” price seemed like a bargain…
However, here’s what he had to pay on top of that USA ‘Buy it Now’ price:
ADD “currency fluctuation”* of about 3% = £3.05* see late note
ADD Shipping: in this case $24.14 = £14.54 approx (see later notes*)
ADD on 20% UK VAT: another £20.96
ADD on UK HM Customs IMPORT Duty at 4%: that’s another £5.03
ADD on the UK Post Office / Parcel Force ‘Handling Fee’: £8.
ADD on around 2 – 3 weeks before it ends up through your letterbox.
Total actually paid: £153.36
*The ‘currency fluctuation’ phenomenon: For some inexplicable reason the eBay guestimate as to the USD / GBP exchange rate NEVER works in your favour. I have never ever paid that wonderfully attractive ‘Buy it Now’ US Dollar ebay price, it is always higher than they estimate. Funny that eh ? If it says “$169 (approx £101)” what you will probably pay is more like £105. Plus all of the above extras too, of course.
PLUS, don’t even think about what happens if it gets lost or damaged. Yeah, you are covered, but you better enjoy writing emails, filling in forms, making phones calls etc etc for weeks and weeks. AND all bets are OFF if you asked the seller to lie about the value of the goods or the description doesn’t match the Customs Declaration. Been there, done that !
What about a warranty ?
Ha ! So if this baby goes wrong you are going to have to post it back to the shop in the USA ? Good luck with that ! If you don’t get the export declaration paperwork right the US Customs will keep hold of it until the shop pays the appropriate fees, if they can be bothered that is. There’s not too much you can do either. Phone the US Customs dept ? Email them ? Hell, they are plenty busy enough sorting out domestic issues, you’ve got nooooo hope. So you might as well either ‘hope’ it doesn’t go wrong or just buy a used one and save your money, probably cheaper again, if you want the risk etc
Sorry, what was your point ?
Chris buys loads of stuff from the USA. Rare and hard to find guitar spares, components etc so this tale from our customer is all too familiar.
So the rather long winded message here is, when you buy from Guitar Mania, the Buy it Now price is ALL you pay. There are NO HIDDEN EXTRAS (we even ship FREE to most of UK) and your money goes to an English, family run, legitimate UK Tax paying company. Plus if something goes wrong, it’s a helluva lot easier to sort.
Happy shopping folks !