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Tassie Devil

Warning about importing from the USA (& possibly elswhere)

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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 regulating 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!

 

 

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I had to pay a traffic ticket with a CC and there was a convenience charge. Convenient for whom?

Sent from my ASUS MeMO Pad 7 using Tapatalk

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Cafad   

If you use Fedex then they have a department that handle the customs duties.  They will contact you instead of customs and they are quite quick about it, generally calling you while the item is in route.  It won't cost you any less but it is faster.

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frankn   

You do need to do the sums before paying good money.  I would like to say it is not too hard to do this though.  Not all audio items attract a duty above the 10% GST.  That is checked on the site as TD said.  

Once the goods land at Customs then Aus Post sends you a notification and you are required to send the Import Declaration (I used the N10 form).  I emailed my Import Declaration correctly filled out - There wasn't any need to attach the invoices - just the amounts.  Then you wait for the confirmation of the total charges - mine were 10% GST (on total, which includes shipping and insurance costs) + AUD 90 processing fee.  

If you don't want extra fees then pay by EFT.

The packages were released a few days later and arrived in 3 working days.

 

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Hergest   

Also worth noting is that you might go to somewhere like xe.com to get the current exchange rate but your credit card/bank/Paypal don't do anything close to that rate but can be a fair percentage different that is never in your favour. Also of course there is overseas transaction fees by your bank if you are billed in another currency.

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frankn   

There are 3rd party services like Torfx, OFX, I think XE now allow you to purchase overseas currency at a fixed rate and will deliver the amount to the bank of choice in the local currency - cheaper than what your CC or Bank will do.  I saved several hundred dollars recently using these services.

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acg   

Use, Fedex, DHL, UPS etc. and all the customs stuff is handled for you.  Cheap rates for these carriers can be found with freight forwarders such as Transdirect or Interparcel and the like.  I have brought heaps of stuff in from overseas and it is generally less expensive to break it into smaller consignments to stay under AU$1000 + shipping if possible.  If not possible then you have to just pay the tariff and be happy.  

 

Make sure it is insured correctly though.  I sent some vintage drivers over to the UK for servicing by the manufacturer and they were opened, dropped and more of less destroyed by UPS in the UK.  Luckily I had arranged for them to be covered by the manufacturers marine insurance and not the carriers insurance and I had lots of photos of the drivers as they were packaged for the trip.  Without those photos I would have been up for about $6k to repair those drivers instead of a $130 excess.  So insure the item properly and make sure you have photos from the vendor of the packaged item especially if it is not new.

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frankn   

I used Chapter85 as my reference;  http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Impo/Work#Schedule3

Chapter 85 - Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles

 

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I get you Tassie Devil, i wanted to buy the latest Nvidia 1080Ti GPU for a PC build. The card is around $1299 in aust or $799 in usa. Buy it in USA and self import it right?!?! No brainier?

 

After all Google tells me: "799 usd to aud" google search gives a $994 AUD currency exchange price.

 

well there you go, says naive shopper, i buy it from the USA i save $300!!! click now click now! 

 

Not quite ;)

 

Im going to buy the card locally. ITs the better deal.

 

 

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MattyW   

Mmmm, I guess I'm lucky I ordered my Oldchen KT88-K3 amp without tubes. With courier costs it was a bit over $700. Tubes would have taken it to over $1k.

I sourced other, better tubes separately.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

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44 minutes ago, MattyW said:

Mmmm, I guess I'm lucky I ordered my Oldchen KT88-K3 amp without tubes. With courier costs it was a bit over $700. Tubes would have taken it to over $1k.

I sourced other, better tubes separately.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
 

Yes you were lucky.  As posted earlier the acknowledged exchange rate  does not always apply.  Often I have ordered on Amazon, where they convert to $AUD for you, only to find an added cost later because the exchange rate was not really the same as the one Amazon used.  Strangely I've never had a refund because the exchange rate went the other way.  Odd that isn't it? :ohmy:

 

And do not forget that Customs take the freight cost into account for GST & other charges.  That said, importing from O/S can save as long as you wear the guarantee which you hope will never be needed.  But just buying locally does not mean there is no cost involved with a guarantee claim.  Items might need to be sent back overseas for repair with the buyer bearing freiught costs.  However the local retailer will have the hassle of customs processing which can be a real PIA.  

 

A couple of years ago I had to return a big electrostatic speaker to the USA for repair.  I had all the evidence I sent it back from here but the local customs house absolutely refused to clear it on its return, muttering something about how there could be drugs or other contraband in it that he would not take responsibility for.  I had to pay an extra $100+ to a Customs agent for him to do the job before it was released. Very frustrating.:emot-bang:

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Oldchen KT88-K3 amp? Huh whats that some under 1k amp that has never been reviewed by reputable high end audio outlets? Isnt stocked in Australia? Yeah you got lucky you got that one into the country. Im sure its great. Enjoy your overseas purchase friend.

Edited by soundreference

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MattyW   

Yes.... You're quite right. A piece of gear can't possibly be any good if it hasn't been reviewed. Especially if it comes from China. So silly of me to trust my ears. I don't know what I was thinking.

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i don't think the freight cost forms part of the GST base cost, but it is used for calculation of duty.

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2 minutes ago, givita_burl said:

i don't think the freight cost forms part of the GST base cost, but it is used for calculation of duty.

 

If freight is on the commercial invoice, it is part of GST calculation.   It is the service part of GST.

Edited by metal beat

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On 30/06/2017 at 3:39 PM, frankn said:

I used Chapter85 as my reference;  http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Impo/Work#Schedule3

Chapter 85 - Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles

 

Frankn

Does this mean that if you can find the particular electronic device in chapter 85 Tarrif Concessions, is it not subject to the GST or some other concession? Want to be able to follow/understand what you have put up as I import loads of this stuff and don't like getting ripped, particularly to Customs. Would be good for me to check (maybe my margins as well)

matt

 

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5 minutes ago, [email protected] said:

Stupid question perhaps but do Customs and GST charges apply to second hand goods such as LPs & vintage Hl Fl?

 

1 minute ago, 125dBmonster said:

Frankn

Does this mean that if you can find the particular electronic device in chapter 85 Tarrif Concessions, is it not subject to the GST or some other concession? Want to be able to follow/understand what you have put up as I import loads of this stuff and don't like getting ripped, particularly to Customs. Would be good for me to check (maybe my margins as well)

matt

 

 

EVERYTHING is subject to GST if it is over AU $1000 chargeable.   Generally this is based on the commercial invoice value.

 

Duty is per the tariff concessions.  

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12 hours ago, metal beat said:

 

 

EVERYTHING is subject to GST if it is over AU $1000 chargeable.   Generally this is based on the commercial invoice value.

 

Duty is per the tariff concessions.  

Thought so, GST $hits me to tears there is no escaping it, normally shipping under $1K is a PITA for any volume and any savings soon taken up in shipping costs of smaller boxes over the Customs and G$T, they get you every which way :lol: basta==s

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12 hours ago, Full Range said:

 

HSBC has predicted that the AU $ will reach $0.90 by 2nd Qtr of 2018

 

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/hsbc-the-australian-dollar-is-heading-for-90-cents-2017-9

YEA BABY, that will help me a great deal give really great deals on power electronics for renewable applications to all and sundry :thumb:

EDIT, Almost every Asian Country I deal with uses USD and it has been crap after the big fall a few years ago

Edited by 125dBmonster

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9 minutes ago, 125dBmonster said:

Thought so, GST $hits me to tears there is no escaping it, normally shipping under $1K is a PITA for any volume and any savings soon taken up in shipping costs of smaller boxes over the Customs and G$T, they get you every which way :lol: basta==s

 

When people actually  go through all the freight, govt and forwarder charged, then add rent, wages, bank overdraft etc and finally GST based on the sell price.

    The Aussie retail is not so obscene - especially on gear that retails for 4-5k and less.

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Hi Guys

 

I understand how, like me, you all wish to pay the least possible price for the best possible value, but my original post was to warn you that importing from O/S, new or used, is not always the wisest pollicy.

 

Yes, the 10% GST hurts but is much less than the equivalent VAT in the UK but conversely much more than in most states of the USA.

 

Horses for courses but the bottom line is to be careful it is not a donkey!!!

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12 hours ago, metal beat said:

 

When people actually  go through all the freight, govt and forwarder charged, then add rent, wages, bank overdraft etc and finally GST based on the sell price.

    The Aussie retail is not so obscene - especially on gear that retails for 4-5k and less.

Tell me about it, better margin in selling milk or corn flakes as opposed to high quality power electronics

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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!
       
       


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