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Bruce, ordering from U.S.?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Spike, Aug 10, 2000.

  1. Hi Bruce,
    I wondered when you buy your strings from the U.S., do you have to pay import duty, VAT and Post Office charges, or have I just been unlucky?

    If you do, does it still work out cheaper than buying in the UK including the U.S. shipping charges?

    The last small order ($50) I had for Ric spares was held up in customs and I had to pay the three duty charges, plus wait for weeks.


  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Nope! I have bought Strings, Books, Videos and CDs from the US many times via the Internet and have never had to pay anything other than the shipping charge made by the supplier. When I finally get the bill on my credit card it is always at least half what I would pay inthe Uk and sometimes less!

    I know that Books are VAT exempt but I think it is more down to the fact that all the items I have received, have had small green customs stickers saying exactly what was included. Usually as long as these are used you don't have to pay, as the customs won't bother to open them, as they have such vast numbers to deal with.

    They might have been suspicious about the "parts" thing even if it did have a sticker and presumably the lumps of metal. The trick is for it not to get stopped in customs. They are the only people likely to stop it and then you are going to get charged. If it has a "convincing" decription on the customs label then it goes through. (Funnily enough I work for the Post Office and although I am now a Direct Marketing Consultant, I have in the dim and distant past been involved in operational areas like this)

    I have heard from people though, that invariably if you buy basses from the US you get **huge** import charges slapped on! I guess that this size of package is just too large to go through unnoticed and the "bored" customs staff probably enjoy opening them up and having a look. I suppose a bass case might also be a good "vehicle" for drug smuggling etc. but once they have opened it up and found it's not, they will slap as much duty as they can on!
  3. Thanks for the info Bruce.
    I guess I must have just been unlucky as it did have the green sticker and cost of goods etc.
    Maybe next time I’ll get away with it.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Maybe they just thought the description on the form was vague - what did it say "parts","spares" ? - and they were suspicious. The weight might have been another factor - strings are usually pretty light.
  5. It was marked :- second hand pickup cover + Ric o sound box, value $50, had a large Rickenbacker label on it and came in a medium jiffy bag. It didn't appear to have been opened.
    Also it was quite light, shipping was only $6.

    In fairness to the dealer, he did warn me that I might have to pay duty on it, and marked a lower price on the pro former. ;)

    At least I now know from your experiences that I was just unlucky and it is unlikely to happen to me again. I suppose they just pull something out for checking now and again.

    Thanks for your help.

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