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By Tassie Devil
I'm discussing problems associated with importing items over $AUD1000 so are subject to Customs and GST charges - they mount up!
It is too easy to be lulled into the belief that at an exchange rate of 75C - 76C you can import and save heaps over what a local distributor charges for the same thing. Think again because there are factors which are easily overlooked:
1. Customs charge a $90 handling fee
2. Audio items attract a duty charge
3. GST is added on top of freight costs
The net result is that you effectively need to muliply the basic cost in USD by a factor of 1.74 to cover all exchange, freight, customs and GST charges. e.g. something you discover listed at $USD1500 will end up costing you over $AUD2600 in total.
And there is another frustration. You pay a bit extra for faster delivery. Yes it is fast to arrive at the Customs depot but there it will sit for a week or more before you receive notification from Customs. You will be required to email them all invoices, clearly showing freight costs and will then have to fill in an Import Declaration form which state the tariff classification of the goods (you have to hunt up that number from their site at www.border.gov.au) . After awhile you will receive their costings which can be paid by CC on the net with an added surchage because the CC was used!
Obviously you are better buying locally for guarantee purposes, even if it means paying a bit more, but it well could be that the local costs are actually less!! And of course buying locally is much less hassle and you will get the goods heaps faster.
As I understand it, the current rules and regulations regarding goods with a declared value of less than $AUD1000 still hold so the above scenario does not apply. However freight charges are now quite high from many countries, including the USA, so heavy, used items, even if available at enticing prices, might not end up good value, particularly if they prove to be unreliable. Maybe I've been lucky as I've not had my fingers burned with such used gear but I certainly did find myself paying more than I should have on a new import. Hence this post to warn others!