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UK TB'ers help me please!!!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by lopsy_lu, Mar 29, 2006.


  1. lopsy_lu

    lopsy_lu

    Feb 15, 2005
    Scotland, UK.
    I'd appreciate any advice on this...

    I'm going to Boston in 4 days time, and naturally I'm considering picking up a bass or 2 there to take advantage of the cheaper prices etc..

    does anyone on here have any experience with taking a bass back from the US to the UK via air travel??

    Any problems with storage on the plane? customs? etc

    thanks so much for any help here...

    andrew.
     
  2. OK, I've never done this (though I'm thinking of it). What I know is this:

    The bad - Buying a bass and bringing it back, and so not paying import duty, is a criminal offence. Leaving the US is fine, but once you land you've broken the law. If you get caught the bass will be taken and you will get a crimal record.

    The good - You will only get caught if someone bothers to stop you, demands the receipt, and then the import paperwork. If you're a UK citizen (and especially if you're white, sadly that's just how it is), chances are that they won't even look at you on a US-UK flight. If you have any dubious destinations stamped in your passport then that can be a problem. If not then you should be fine.

    You'll always be running a risk, and it's important that you know that. In reality they will be looking for guns and drugs, you will be very low priority. If you do do it, let us all know any tips you pick up.
     
  3. lopsy_lu

    lopsy_lu

    Feb 15, 2005
    Scotland, UK.
    yeh that makes sense...I mean they can't actually prove I didn't buy it in the UK and then took it away with me for "holiday practise" or whatever....or am I being way too naive??

    my passport is like a preacher's sheets so that shouldn't cause any bother...

    I don't like the idea of checking in my bass..even in a hardcase...so it would be hand-luggage.
     
  4. If you get caught, just tell them it was a gift. An American friend of yours bought it for you for your birthday. You don't know how much it cost or where it was purchased from. Works every time.
     
  5. Your being naive. It's up to you to prove that you owned the bass before leaving the U.K. and that your not importing it. Customs have a lot more power than the police.
     
  6. Well, I'm affraid that unless you're traveling first class, or feel like buying an extra seat for your bass, you will have to check it in. I know this because my girlfriend has to check her violin on flights. It's a size thing.

    As to the other point, you're right. They have reason to think that you're doing anything wrong. I've heard stories (though I admit, not first hand) of guys being stopped with instroments, and they ask you to play it. If you can show some chops your story will hold and you'll walk off.

    If it makes you feel any better, my girl's violin has been on a number of fights in luggage and it's always come out fine.

    Happy shopping.
     
  7. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Gifts are not tax-free.
     
  8. Oh that sucks. I think they are in this country.
     
  9. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    +1

    Absolutely!
     
  10. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Here everything imported is tax deductable. We do get a tax-free allowance of about €40 if you're importing via the postal system and you're allowed about €300 of personal purchases if you're travelling back from another country.
     
  11. dirtgroove

    dirtgroove

    Jan 10, 2003
    Taipei, Taiwan
    pm sent
     
  12. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    Heh, can't say I'm surprised that none of the guys who thought I was a thief and liar for trying to do the same thing on the other thread had no problem with this one. Anyway, maybe you should ask the salesman to write you a receipt for something like $100. This way you'll just declare it legally, pay the 20 euro or whatever they ask you for and walk away. Good luck!
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well - it comes down to this :

    Do you want to risk getting a criminal record - just to save a relatively small amount of money?

    So - with a criminal record , you will be barred from a lot of jobs for life - your earning potential could be cut by hundreds of thousands of pounds over a lifetime - is it still worth it? :meh:

    OK - customs are busy and are (rightly) more interested in drug smugglers, career criminals etc.

    But how do you know it won't be their "easy day" - how do you know that a particular customs officer might not be a bass or guitar fan and drawn by the unusual shape.....:meh:
     
  14. lopsy_lu

    lopsy_lu

    Feb 15, 2005
    Scotland, UK.
    thanks for all the replies...but I'm inclined to agree with Bruce above me on this one...its just too much hassle if I was to get stopped..I mean playing bass is important to me yes...but there are some things that come before it...such as not having a criminal record and job prospects...

    thanks again..
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well - you could do it and go through the - "items to declare" channel on return and pay the duty openly - no problem!! :)

    Expect to pay at least 17.5% VAT - as a starter.
     
  16. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    Get a load of tourist stickers from UK cities and stick them all over the flight case.

    Ditch any tags the bass came with.
     
  17. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    Customs people aren't stupid. They won't fall for that.
     
  18. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    Sure... as if they know the difference between a $100 bass and a $1000 one. OK, there is one chance that the guy who checks your stuff, if they check it at all, is a bassist and knows the model you bought. You can always show the receipt and say you bought it used. I really doubt that they would get into the trouble to investigate if the shop wrote a false receipt like it's the end of the world if the bass didn't cost $100 and it cost $300 or $400.

    BTW, I know so many cases where customs people fell for that (and none where they didn't) that you couldn't be more wrong.
     
  19. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    It's their job to know and they have reference material to check prices. If there's a big difference between the value they have in their books and the value you declare they can impound the bass until the matter has been investigated. I wouldn't risk it.
     
  20. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Dlloyd is right :)
     

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