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Importing a bass to the UK?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ashevans, May 30, 2005.

  1. ashevans


    Dec 22, 2004
    Oxford, UK
    How do i go about paying import duties etc?

  2. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    You get invoiced on delivery. It will be calculated from the value quoted on the customs forms. Which, of course, needs to be correct or you're effectively sending the item uninsured.
  3. I would also make sure you have your cheque book with you on delivery day - if it's a high value item, they won't leave it until you pay them.
  4. I had a Fender Geddy (inc. hard case) sent over from the US, £430 with shipping.
    Got whacked with £98 import tax, which was higher than I expected but the whole package still worked out a hell of a lot cheaper so I'm happy. :)
  5. vometia

    vometia Formerly cbh

    Nov 1, 2003
    If the sender gives you a choice of courier, I'd read their respective small print before deciding: it's a few years now, but in the past I've been pretty seriously gouged for "administrative charges" on several occasions where a big-name courier stung me for incorrectly working out the import duty on my behalf (others have been excellent, though: shame I can't recall which one's which :confused: )
  6. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    For example, parcel force charges £15 for the 'service' of getting money from you to give to customs.

    You pay tax based upon the following calculation:

    (((Price of Bass + Price of shipping) + 3.9%) + 17.5%)


    Bass costs $500 USD, and Shipping is approx $150USD
    Total Bass + Shipping = $650, which = £357.64 (www.xe.com)

    £357.64 = 3.9% = £371.58

    £371.58 + 17.5% = £436.61

    That's providing that customs dont bill you for calculating the duty you have to pay, and that your carrier don't charge you for getting the money from you.

    IME, customs normally charge about £15 to work it out, and the carrier normally charge about £15 to get the physical money from you.

    All in all you'd be looking at paying £466 for a $650 bass.
  7. pedroferreira


    Feb 10, 2003
    I think it's more like this:

    (((Price of Bass + 3.9%) + Price of shipping ) + 17.5%).

    The costums tax only applys to the item. The Vat applies to total (item & shipping).

  8. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    You're right. I'm sure it didn't use to be that way :)

    Although, in my example it only changes the end price by £4, which is really neither here or there.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    So - you paid £528 for this bass - but I've seen them in shops in the UK for well under £600 - the retail price is only £625!

    I must say that I wouldn't see this as a saving and would much rather go to a London shop, walk out with one under my arm, knowing I had the bass I'd tried and that I could go back to the shop if there were any problems.

    So - what if the bass was damaged in trasnit - big hassle, more money....no bass for a long time?

    Also - decent shops will "haggle", throw stuff in and give you a free setup etc. etc.

    When I bought my Lakland from the Bass Centre, I negotiated a discount and got 3 sets of strings and a free Comfort Strappe thrown in - as well as the chance to try all the bass in the shop for several hours... :)
  10. 'I must say that I wouldn't see this as a saving and would much rather go to a London shop...'

    Assuming you live near London, that is. Some of us live a £70 train ride away..

    I'd rather do my research and take a chance. Admittedly, it's always going to be a gamble, but I do what I can to minimise that and any fallout if it goes wrong.

    It's worked for me so far, and I've never once had to set foot in our glorious, overpriced capital city. ;)
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well... if you will live in the back of beyond!! ;)

    How about Overwater in Carlisle, then?

    I bought several amps/cabs from them, on interest-free credit over 2 years and they sent the gear by next-day secure delivery...:)

    I'd never have anything like this shipped from the US, though...:meh:
  12. Overwater... Lovely bunch of folks, great for boutique stuff, but less so for the vintage Fenders which tug at my heartstrings. That's a UK-wide thing, though.

    Gear-wise... I recently bought an Acoustic Image Focus 2. My options were:

    Overwater: £1299

    Renowned US-based retailer (clue - he has a beard): £900, including three-day shipping, credit card charges & duty.

    Guess which path I chose?

    The amp is modular, so if it goes wrong, AI will ship out a replacement part asap. Shouldn't take much longer than a trip to Carlisle and back, assuming they don't have to have a part shipped out from AI anyway.

    I feel bad for taking trade away from our 'local' retailers, but... we're paying through the nose. As simple as that. :)
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    So, when all local retailers have gone bust, as nobody is buying from them ...? :(

    Presumably we will have no option but to mail stuff back to the US, at huge cost, if there is a problem...:meh:
  14. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    If they don't stock what you want...

    Or if they won't compete on price...
  15. I hear you Bruce, but if I can buy it £400 cheaper retail, we're being overcharged by someone in the chain.

    I don't personally have a spare £400 knocking around that I can donate to a good cause like this. Some people do... good for them. :meh:
  16. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Its called V.A.T and Import duty. Thats why the import brands are more expensive here. Just be glad the pound is strong. All the prices are going to skyrocket if / when it falls.
  17. Yes but... the importer doesn't pay VAT when he imports if it's a trade item.

    What I'm saying is.. despite paying these as I'm a private individual, I still pay £400 less.

    It's called 'overcharging'. :cool:
  18. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    It's not called overcharging - all goods bought into this country are subject to import duty (basses at 3.9%) and V.A.T at 17.5%. Which ever way the importer strings it, he can't avoid V.A.T - so things here are always going to be approxx 20% more.

    They dont just charge more because they want to - they charge more because its the law.
  19. As far as I'm aware, if you're VAT registered you can claim it back? I might be wrong.

    Either way, I saved £400 buying from abroad. 'tis a lot of money.
  20. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    VAT and duty are only paid once. The £400 difference is on a privately imported instrument on which VAT and duty have been paid.

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