Saturday, 27 September 2014

Tech Pricing - The UK Getting A Bad Deal - International Shipping & UK Import

With the news today that Samsung is not going to be selling laptops in Europe, I wondered about how in the future we here in the UK would be able to get our grubby mitts on their Chromebook offering, and other hardware.

Whilst trawling the interwebs, I became more and more infuriated, now this is a matter I've seen before, but I've largely ignored it.  But with the purse strings needing tightening here at home I've had to think carefully about hardware changes and upgrades, but this problem I'm going to put forward just pisses me right off...

International Pricing... Specifically with technology kit, I was watching a review from Linus Tech Tips, and he was telling how this kit he had costs less than $1000 US... That's £612.89 at the time of writing, not a bad price for the overall package he was touting... However, paying for the exact same kit, from supposedly the same suppliers here in the UK came to a wallet busting, mind numbing, pay-packet stealing rip off price of £1014.58, over a thousand pounds, which is $1655.41... A six hundred dollar price hike...

I could pay for the same goods in the US, pay shipping and import and not end up paying as much!

Here's an example, two Amazon pages, both showing the same item (honest it is the same graphics card, just different pictures)..

£330 to $339... It almost seems as if they've taken the dollar price and slapped a pound sign in front of it, this clearly aids them, in this particular case the card comes to £208 if we convert the dollar price to sterling... £208 for the latest graphics card seems a lot better than £330... So where does the additional £110 come from?

Well, I looked at "Value Added Tax" in both the UK and US... I wondered if Amazon UK was having to add more, and it seems not, most "General Sales Taxes" in the US are calculated per state, and start around 23.5%, so that's more than the VAT 20% rate in the UK... So the US is paying a lower price even after tax.

Okay, what about shipping?... Are there significant shipping costs to bring goods into the UK?... Nope, same container ships burning the same fuel... And then once in the UK they are moved around on a single tank of fuel, unlike the US where deliveries are quite literally transcontinental!

So, if the sellers of goods are not paying more to deliver, and we in the UK are not paying more in TAX where does this £110 hike come from?...

It plainly seems to be because of greed, I can't fathom out a single other reason for the difference, all the goods I've looked at are made in the far east, it's just as far to sail them across the Pacific or around to Britain... It's less distance from any port to Amazon warehouses in the UK because we're such a small island, even if we look at Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Mann they all stack up to be less distance than some of the Amazon Warehouses from Manhattan!

All in all, it makes my blood boil... 

So, what if I just bought the goods from the US?.. Well, apparently here in the UK I'd then have to pay Tax again, so I've paid for the goods taxed in the US, then to even bring them into the country I have to pay again?...

This, this just makes no sense, in this modern age of the internet and it is full of holes, I can go onto Steam log into a US server and order then download a game, paying for it once in one place, I can do this with Music, with Films, with Streaming services, with Porn, with News, with almost anything on the screen... But I have to pay tax to import the screen, and pay for the imported delivery service, and pay to then get it off of the customs chaps who poke and prod it?... Mental.

And I think just a way for the exchequer to keep an eye on what I'm doing, and to skim off the top.

So, how much do I pay?... Well, say it's this £208 graphics card... This comes under the "Non-EU Country" and its "All Other Goods", and I have to pay "Customs Duty on goods with a value that exceeds £135" and "import VAT on goods with a value that exceeds £15"

So how much are these two costs?

Well, the HMRC website doesn't want to give you clear straight forward figures, they give calculators for VAT deadlines, link upon link to registering for VAT.... But never do they give a figure...

So you go to the internet to find out, and you're met with searches which ironically relate to overseas imports from overseas countries... For example this: it has a very nifty calculator, so I stuck the $339 price in, selected $50 shipping and $20 insurance, so this is a total of $409, which is still only £250, so we're still making a saving on our price even importing the item...

The calculation site gives us zero duty, and 20% VAT, to be added, this brings the price to £300... Still a £30 saving.

It's a lot of faffing about, but it's a possible saving... My question now is, who wants to try this out?

No comments:

Post a Comment