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Old 14-05-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
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Buying from overseas - shipping, info and tips

Buying from Overseas

Since there is an interest in this area, I have started a thread here, and a similar one in the HT section.

Keywords for easy searching: import; importing ; parallel ; shipping ; GST ; authorised dealer ; agent ;


Firstly, the pro of a local dealer:
- service
- warranty
- technical expertise
- product less likely to run the risk of being damaged, and if it is DOA, an exchange is easily sorted out

The cons:
- the local dealer may charge a much higher price
- service may be only half decent


The pros of doing it yourself, or via a professional shipper:

- price = the difference in price can be quite significant (will list some examples later and others can chip in)
- better features
- not available locally

Cons:
- the risk of damage
- voltage issues (more on this later)
- claiming warranty or this may be non-exisitent
- the product may not work locally (tuner channels, NTSC TV sets only)
- complicated shipping
- non-existent shipping
- high tax / cost of shipping
- lousy shipping (more on the choices of shipping)

I think we all know the main reason is COST, and the key is how much we can save, and is it worthwhile?




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Old 14-05-2012, 10:15 AM   #2
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Shipping choices:
In all cases, caveat emptor, and buy insurance if the item is very expensive.

Direct shipping:

For Discs, and books, this method is simple and Amazon offers an excellent track record. I highly recommend them. But they do not ship many electronics and other items.

Barnes and Noble have recently dropped the ball, so be careful. Deep Discount takes a long time and so does Amazon Canada.

Traditional:
DHL, FEDEX etc

Some companies in USA offer such services, as they have experience in shipping overseas. Others do not, and only ship to local addresses. This also applies to UK and many other nations, so check first.

Vpost:
This offers shipping to Singapore from US, UK, Japan and continental Europe

For simple items, single items, it is decent. But if you have many items and they canít arrive at the same time, the costs mount and Vpost does not have a very good track record on this with quite a few complaints.

Comgateway: Alternatives to VpostUSA
Cons for Comgateway:

1. In general I think their cost is higher because they charge per kg or part thereof, whereas Vpost seems to charge per gram
2. Consolidation of multiple items is not as friendly as Vpost
3. They use the computed value of 124.5% instead of the actual amt charged for S/H. This impacts GST calculations, likely negatively.
4. They total all items in a shipment for GST purposes, regardless of merchant. Vpost claims to total it by merchant so you can have ten items from ten merchants and still may not get charged GST if each merchant doesnt charge you > $400.
5. Fees not really transparent - only know when they charge your CC. Vpost is clear what they are charging you when you pay

Pros:

1. Concierge service efficient and cheaper I think
2. Faster service and delivery
Borderlinx: Borderlinx shipping thread - Tips, Info and how to get started
Good for Citibank users.

Note: Vpost bans certain items like speakers, batteries etc. Check on their website.


Other shippers:

Peter Seow
This person offers shipping from USA and UK over at xtremeplace.com

Last edited by petetherock; 15-05-2012 at 10:18 PM..
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Old 14-05-2012, 10:16 AM   #3
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The first item:

Televisions, TVs:

Pros:
USA offers one of the cheapest TVs in the world, and they can be almost half our cost.
You can try Australia, but there are very few shipping options, unless you have friends.

Some have new features and better remotes.

Cons:
Most TVs from USA are not universal voltage and run only on 110v. That goes for Japan and other sources.
You can check but get it in writing since it is hard to return or repair if the TV fries
Most are NTSC
The cost of shipping is prohibitive, unless you know a cheap source
TV panels can be very fragile.




Places to shop:

USA offers many alternatives to buy, and many products are cheaper, or not available here.

You just need to go through the checklist highlighted in the first few posts and assess the risk for yourself.

Hong Kong is another haven, for speakers, HT gear.

China is the factory of the world and when you look for alternatives, there are plenty.

Be careful of knock offs, fakes etc. Many big name items are not cheaper there, especially if you take the shipping into account.

But for cables, tube amps that originate from China, itís a shopperís paradise.

Do note some of them only deal locally, and payment is not easy.

Taiwan offers speakers and other items, but do note the voltage issues.

Australia and UK offer the advantage of having no voltage issues, but the shipping choices are more limited.

But for UK, if you buy off Amazon UK, you get VAT back which is an important savings.

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Old 14-05-2012, 10:16 AM   #4
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Tax and GST



Buyers should know anything above $400 is taxable. There are also laws on what can be brought in. Do read the relevant websites.


Importing goods into Singapore



Goods that are imported into Singapore by parcel post through ordinary mail or speedpost (e.g. for goods that are purchased online) are subject to GST. It applies to all new articles, personal articles, souvenirs, gifts, food preparations and dutiable products.

The amount of GST payable is computed based on the CIF value (cost, insurance and freight) of the goods plus all duties payable. The postage charge paid for the goods can be taken as freight and insurance charges.

However, GST need not be paid for the goods (except for dutiable products) if the CIF value is not more than S$400. When the CIF value is more than S$400, the entire sum would be subject to GST.


Valuation, Duties & GST

Examples of items which are cheaper:

I will leave it to others who have past experiences to post here, but I have brought in items from USA, UK, etc, just that you need to know the risks, and the benefits.

The cost savings can be very significant, and if you are already abroad, you can negate the cost of shipping by bringing it home yourself.

Will post more on this later.
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Old 15-05-2012, 08:26 PM   #5
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i think the benefit of ordering from UK is the voltage is the same.

also add that borderlinx serves UK.

btw, i think you should amend comgateway which benefits citibank credit users, it should be borderlinx instead.

if ordering from US, note that some merchants may not accept international credit cards. only US approved credit cards. eg newegg.com. thus a concierge service or order for me service may be needed.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:01 PM   #6
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petetherock - based on ur request, will share my experience.

first I bought my bose v35 home theater. it was sold at 7.5k sgd. after hunting in amazon, it came to about 4.35k sgd. then hunted high and low at ebay with good seller rating(100%), shipped to singapore thru comgateway(include taxes), i spend 4k SGD flat. the good thing in this deal was the device is dual voltage and international warranty.

the next big recent deal was sharp 80" 3d tv(not available in singapore, so warranty is only valid in US). it was a big risk buying this tv, as even delivery within US had damaged screens.

searched high and low on several websites and finally got a good deal in ebay for 4.3K USD. then shipped to singapore thru comgateway(include tax) was 1.4k USD. my total spend was 7.4k SGD. the shipping was expensive not due to weight, but size. DHL requested for tv to be crate, which i rejected. as there was crating cost and additional weight cost. the shipping could have been cheaper if i used a freight forwarder, for which i have no contact. also, DHL refunded me my insurance for potential damage item, however it was still protected under missing item/lost.

the tv arrived safely with no damage screen. was this deal worth--YES.
june GSS, sharp 70" 2011 model was sold at 7.5k and I got a 80" 2012 model at 7.4k. warranty is an issue. so was the voltage. but got a gd deal at craiglist for a gd transformer.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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is the a concern for running the tv on a transformer on a long term? a transformer steps down the voltage to 110-130v but frequency is still @ 50hz. so my question is if the frequency makes a difference?
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:09 AM   #8
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is the a concern for running the tv on a transformer on a long term? a transformer steps down the voltage to 110-130v but frequency is still @ 50hz. so my question is if the frequency makes a difference?
depends on the transformer you get. good quality ones will convert to 60Hz, most dun.

most electronics devices actually convert AC to DC, to freq is not a concern.
like the bose, it comes with a external power adapter, which takes in any voltage and converts to DC.

as for the TV, there is no external or internal convertor which takes in any voltage, hence need an external transformer
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:39 PM   #9
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petetherock - based on ur request, will share my experience.

first I bought my bose v35 home theater. it was sold at 7.5k sgd. after hunting in amazon, it came to about 4.35k sgd. then hunted high and low at ebay with good seller rating(100%), shipped to singapore thru comgateway(include taxes), i spend 4k SGD flat. the good thing in this deal was the device is dual voltage and international warranty.

the next big recent deal was sharp 80" 3d tv(not available in singapore, so warranty is only valid in US). it was a big risk buying this tv, as even delivery within US had damaged screens.

searched high and low on several websites and finally got a good deal in ebay for 4.3K USD. then shipped to singapore thru comgateway(include tax) was 1.4k USD. my total spend was 7.4k SGD. the shipping was expensive not due to weight, but size. DHL requested for tv to be crate, which i rejected. as there was crating cost and additional weight cost. the shipping could have been cheaper if i used a freight forwarder, for which i have no contact. also, DHL refunded me my insurance for potential damage item, however it was still protected under missing item/lost.

the tv arrived safely with no damage screen. was this deal worth--YES.
june GSS, sharp 70" 2011 model was sold at 7.5k and I got a 80" 2012 model at 7.4k. warranty is an issue. so was the voltage. but got a gd deal at craiglist for a gd transformer.
Hi there,

That's a good deal u got. When the TV came, is there any damages to the box? Also, u not worried it cannot receive our local channels through the home antenna?

I just seen the prices in amazon. Really very attractive, esp those sets with dual voltage. No need to worry abt the voltage.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:46 AM   #10
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there was a minor damage to the box, which got me worried. i think customs opened it up to check. no scratch on screen. i wonder why tv manufacturers dun ship with some sort of protective screen.

i m not sure if this tv comes with dual voltage...but i always source for price on both ebay and amazon. ebay is normally a few hundered cheaper for a new set.

as for local channels, using starhub cable blox. so no worries for now.

Hi there,

That's a good deal u got. When the TV came, is there any damages to the box? Also, u not worried it cannot receive our local channels through the home antenna?

I just seen the prices in amazon. Really very attractive, esp those sets with dual voltage. No need to worry abt the voltage.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:49 AM   #11
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Thanks for sharing, the key is to remember both the pros and cons of buying overseas.

Do not be blinded by the Singapore Bird - 'cheap cheap' and forget the risks.
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:37 PM   #12
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Can post some photo of your new led tv?
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:29 PM   #13
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So, it is cheaper to buy a LED TV in USA than in Singapore without including the shipping cost? by how many percent are we talking about?

LED 3D TV price comparison USA vs Singapore
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:44 AM   #14
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TVs are not so expensive in Europe... the essence of the buying overseas is that
- there is potential money to be saved
BUT
understand the risks
- breakage
- voltage (USA)
- warranty
- shipping costs

You decide if these are worth the potential savings.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:24 PM   #15
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phey_05

The question to be settled first is: Will the set bought from USA work here?

The set you are interested in and being sold in Amazon is Samsung UN46ES6100 while the local set is UA46EH5306MXXS. They are different products. The voltage difference can be settled by a step down transformer, if you accept the inconvenience. However, in USA a different tuner is used. Check the Samsung America web site and you will find that they use ATSC >>Advanced Television Systems Committee standards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . This tuner is incompetible with our DVB-T.

I understand the set is meant to be used in France. It has migrated to the DVB-T since 30 Nov 2011 >>Digital television transition - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. So local set can be used there. But in making price comparison, do factor in import duties and VAT.

ambasnakeman

I am surprised by your experience of imported TVs receiving Starhub channels. The frequency allocations for various channels based on PAL used here are different from that of the NTSC in USA. When you tune the sets, are the channel nos shown on your TV different from that indicated by Starhub?
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