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Importing bass to Australia - my experience

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ScottyBoy, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. Hi,

    I have seen a number of questions from tb'rs wanting to buy a bass in the states and send it to Australia. I recently did this and just wanted to let you know of my experience. I had shipped in cabs and amps from the US before but not a bass.

    Heres a link to the bass -> http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=189609

    I was looking for used so I contacted heaps of stores (bass central etc.), none of them having quite what I wanted. The average cost it seemed to send via UPS or Fedex would be about $250US - $275US - youch!.

    I ended up buying from ebay and got the guy to send it via USPS (United States Postal System) Global Priority. The thing is Australia has a lenght restriction through USPS. A bass is too long. So the guy agreed to take the neck off and send via 2 seperate packages. He packed it very well and I had no problems. I declared the packages at the correct cost and split it up so $400 each package.

    Here are the total costs.
    Bass & gig bag- $800 US
    Postage - $120 US
    Tax Payable at Post Office - $120 AUD

    All up it cost me $1356 AUD.

    It got here in a week and I had absolutely no problems.

    Things I found out.
    USPS global priority has insurance and online tracking.
    Ebay is obviously a risk but one I was willing to take to get what I wanted.
    USPS is also probably a risk but I have never had any problems.
    Always ask ebay sellers if they will ship international - this guys add said no but after asking and proposing how to do it - he agreed.
    All Music stores I contacted will not ship international via USPS.

    Overall I was extremely happy with the shipping. Had no problems what so ever. :hyper:

    Any questions - let me know.
  2. lowrez

    lowrez no.

    Nov 27, 2004
    New Englandish
    I had a similar request some time ago on ebay. I sold a Musicman Stingray II (guitar), the guy wanted me to remove the neck and ship it all usps to europe. Ended up working really smooth and I think it was only around 80 bucks to ship. It's a good idea for those who want to import US instruments. Well, at least bolt on ones..
  3. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    I have received 3 basses that way and never had a problem doing it.
  4. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    i kid you not, that is probably 40% cheaper than you will find in australia. :)
  5. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Congrats on a nice bass and price.

    I've imported a lot of stuff now, and agree with what you've said as a good approach to doing it for basses. Trouble is, as you said, stores won't send USPS even for small stuff like a pickup often. Pity as I've found them and AustPost to be excellent, fast and reliable and I have a very large number of parcels now. The last couple of basses I've brought in have been from a store and included a hardcase or have been NT's, so splitting wasn't an option.
  6. This may be a silly question but what happens when transferring money regarding exchange rates? If I transfer money to an overseas shop bank account will it automatically become their local currency?
  7. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    You generally cant transfer money like you would between Australian banks, you have to do a wire transfer and pay the spread on the exchange rate. Its much easier to use Paypal and your credit card (although slightly more expensive as you get a worse exchange rate).
  8. Yes, transferring money between international bank accounts will automatically adjust for the currency at the agreed exchange rate for that given day.

    I have bank accounts in both Australia and America, and find that this even holds true when using ATM cards on either side, as well.

    BTW...I had a wishbass sent to me from Mr. Wishnevsky via FedEx to Western Australia, and it cost a whopping $250 US shipping (yes, I agree, OUCH)...but I'm happy to be one of very few Aussies with a wishbass. (OK...maybe that's not exactly something to brag about, but I do love its sound).

    If any of you blockes ever get to Gladstone, look me up, and you can give my wishy a go...maybe you can bring your Corvette.
  9. So a 'wire' transfer is different to a usual transfer of funds between bank accounts?
  10. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Theoretically yes, but practically no - its the same process but they charge you a greater fee for it. It probably has to do with the computer software for different banks in different countries not talking to each other well.
  11. Well, some of you guys here may know what a tool I was to order through our local store. I paid AUD$3800 for a SR5. :spit:

    This was just as I started lurking here and I soon got served! :(

    Anyway, next GAS will be done differently. Like someone pointed out to me, for $3800 I prolly coulda gone to the US and bought it there and brought it home as luggage!

    As soon as Mr Sadowsky makes one of those Geddy 5's in a lefty, I'm flying out! :D
  12. Paypal is definately the way to go. Payment is instant!

    You do have a choice to take Paypals exchange rate or use the exchange rate of your credit card provider - which is converted a few days later. I always take the later as your credit card seems to give a better exchange rate (even though it can go down after you make the purchase).

    Credit cards will charge you for the foreign currency conversion - usually about 1 - 1.5%. Oops, now that I think about it - you probably wouldn't get charged the 1% if you let paypal do the conversion. Probably not enough difference to worry about though.

    Paypal also has insurance cover to a certain dollar amount on certain ebay items - which I had on the Warwick.

    SouthPaw1 - I feel your pain! THat must be about full Australian retail on the Musicman! The shop didnt do you any favours - at least you know for your next one ;)

  13. I assume paypal is credit card only (which I don't have)?
  14. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    No it can be linked to a bank account.
  15. Classic5


    Mar 31, 2002
    Hi Guys,

    Just wondering about the taxes paid on importing a bass. Do we pay duty as well as GST or has duty recently been abolished with the free trade agreements?

    Now is certainly the time to buy with the exchange rate where it is (approx A$1=US$0.76). Grab a Sadowsky metro before the Aussie drops again and they end up costing twice as much.

    Cheers ;)
  16. I don't know, I didn't pay duty or GST for my wishbass...???...

    I have ordered stuff from the states for work and have had to pay duty...I think GST is just for goods and/or services provided for on this side of the pond...so my guess is that you'd have to pay duty, but I believe that there is a minimum threshhold...
  17. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Price + shipping = total + 10% GST. If the bass is made in the US, no duties applicable. If it's made elsewhere and comes from the US, you may sneak through, or there may be 5% duty. There will also be a Customs entry fee of $A50 (roughly) whether through a carrier like UPS/Fedex or USPS/EMS if the declared value of the item is >$A1000. Don't undervalue it greatly, as your insurance won't pay out fully if it's lost/damaged, and Customs have net access and can look up pricing, so make sure an invoice is sent with it. If it's a private sale and there is nothing to substantiate the purchase price, they will value it themselves and you will pay based on that. Best to have the paperwork right.

    If AQIS get their hands on it, it may be irradiated to kill any borers etc that may be in the wood. This is usually $A68, but I've also been charged $A32 for the same thing.

    A full size bass in a hardshell case from the US is about $US250 via Fedex/UPS and only takes a couple of days. Getting the higher cost express services is a bit of a waste as it can spend a day or two in Customs anyway, destroying the time advantage.

    Make sure you have proof of purchase, costs, invoices, ID etc when you go to collect it. If you buy off ebay, print out the screen with the winning auction info and take it as proof of purchase. Get there early, be patient, polite and friendly to the Customs people; they can be a great help or a huge PITA. They're also usually responsive to questions on what to do and what's required to facilitate it moving through.

    Overall the process is not hard, not too time consuming or nerve wracking and can save you some decent money. Definitely worth it for a lot of new instruments, and for more unusual or older stuff, it may be the only way to secure the item.

    Couple of other misc points:
    - basses from Japan will fit inside EMS dimensional limits and are cheaper and fast.
    - Steinberger sized instruments can go via USPS air or EMS for good savings over UPS et al.
    - If buying secondhand privately and without a case, bolt on basses can be seperated and sent in either one or two cartons via USPS to get inside the 41" length limit.
    - Lots of people like to bash AustPost and USPS, but over a large number of parcels sent from the US, I've found them excellent and fast. On avaerage, about 5 days from the US for USPS economy air. Customs may increase that though.
    - Items sent via mail, with a value under $A250 don't attract GST, and quite often higher value items sneak through.

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