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Buy Import From China Or buy UK


FrankJ
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I'm looking to purchase the HMS Penelope soon that my father-in-law served on 1940/42.

 

Looking on some sites in UK it appears to cost in the region of 60 odd pounds, buying via Ebay mostly from China  at half price of models sold in the UK.

I'd prefer to buy in the UK but the half price from China is tempting. 

 

Does anyone use these suppliers from China often?

 

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9 hours ago, FrankJ said:

I'm looking to purchase the HMS Penelope soon that my father-in-law served on 1940/42.

 

Looking on some sites in UK it appears to cost in the region of 60 odd pounds, buying via Ebay mostly from China  at half price of models sold in the UK.

I'd prefer to buy in the UK but the half price from China is tempting. 

 

Does anyone use these suppliers from China often?

 

I've bought plenty from Chinese companies and never had a problem.

 

But remember that if the cost of the item (excl. postage) is more than £15 then it is liable for import taxes.  Chinese companies are known for undervaluing the items on the shipping declarations (seemingly to not care such much about the law as other countries) but even so I also factor this.

 

If it does get caught

 

Add 20% to the total price including shipping to cover VAT

Add £15, the arbitrary admin fee that the courier will add for handling the import on your behalf.

 

If it is still a good deal then I go for it, otherwise I don't take the risk.

 

Of course, if you do decide to go for it, there is every chance it won't get caught and you'll save even more.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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That's what we're competing with in the UK. Doing it all legally, paying all the taxes etc because our accounts are auditable versus just writing a nominal value and the word "Toy" on the customs declaration and sending from overseas with no worry about the prosecution and prison time we'd get in the UK for fraudulent tax declarations.

 

It's why it's getting harder to find certain products stocked within the UK at least in any numbers. It's easy to saturate such a market.

 

The mystery is perhaps why all packages from certain countries aren't opened and scrutinized for their true value by customs when they land in the UK. It would take more personnel, but equally the tax revenue would increase to pay for them meaning in the longer term I'd perhaps be able to pay less income tax and/or public services could be better funded. :)

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38 minutes ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

That's what we're competing with in the UK. Doing it all legally, paying all the taxes etc because our accounts are auditable versus just writing a nominal value and the word "Toy" on the customs declaration and sending from overseas with no worry about the prosecution and prison time we'd get in the UK for fraudulent tax declarations.

 

It's why it's getting harder to find certain products stocked within the UK at least in any numbers. It's easy to saturate such a market.

 

The mystery is perhaps why all packages from certain countries aren't opened and scrutinized for their true value by customs when they land in the UK. It would take more personnel, but equally the tax revenue would increase to pay for them meaning in the longer term I'd perhaps be able to pay less income tax and/or public services could be better funded. :)

I think for the most part, the additional revenue wouldn’t cover the time to unpack, research the true price, process the paperwork, repack, and in some cases deal with the challenges when they get it wrong.  We may think it would only take 5 minutes but I’ve seen public sector departments in action first hand and they would make a job like that take hours.

 

Plus the sheer volume is simply unrealistic to staff - it would be like taking an existing team of 10 people and recruiting another 50.
 

For the most part I don’t think they can do much more than accept declared value - only acting if it is an expensive item and clearly undervalued.

 

And show a model kit to someone that doesn’t know the hobby and ask them to guess the price they’d probably say between £5 and £20.  I think most would be very shocked at some of the true prices.

 

Not excusing the practice at all, just explaining why I think it is impractical to do much about it. Note that it generally only from the Far East that we see undervaluing, the US for example have similar laws to the UK so risky for a seller to declare a lower value.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

 

 

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45 minutes ago, nheather said:

I think for the most part, the additional revenue wouldn’t cover the time to unpack, research the true price, process the paperwork, repack, and in some cases deal with the challenges when they get it wrong.

On top of that, for purchases of less than, say, £50 the buyer is quite likely just to write it off rather than pay duties, admin fees etc. And then of course there will be the delays to any legitimate overseas purchases.

 

Don't see an easy answer to this one ... its down to the individual. But ultimately, if you want UK model shops (whether online or bricks & mortar) to survive, buy local. While you may pay a bit more for a kit, do you want to end up in a situation where you have to pay an extra pounds in postage and wait days because you've just run out of black paint/glue/putty etc? 

 

Cheers,

 

Colin

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I'll  jump in here;

China and the UK have a reciprocal trade agreement of 'we'll buy £x of yours and you buy £x of ours'

On normal personal and small business sales these sales do not attract customs and excise duties

I buy a lot of my leatherwork supplies  directly out of China. I've been buying from China for about 15 or 17 years now.

Most of my orders are about £25 each. The most expensive item was £36. None of these orders have ever attracted customs duties

 

PS. I cannot buy what I need out of UK or Europe as mostly no one sells the items or if they do, they order from China and add on a large charge and there is more delay.

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3 hours ago, Black Knight said:

I'll  jump in here;

China and the UK have a reciprocal trade agreement of 'we'll buy £x of yours and you buy £x of ours'

On normal personal and small business sales these sales do not attract customs and excise duties

I buy a lot of my leatherwork supplies  directly out of China. I've been buying from China for about 15 or 17 years now.

Most of my orders are about £25 each. The most expensive item was £36. None of these orders have ever attracted customs duties

 

PS. I cannot buy what I need out of UK or Europe as mostly no one sells the items or if they do, they order from China and add on a large charge and there is more delay.

That is interesting.

 

My first thought is whether a reciprocal trade agreement really does mean that you don’t have to pay import duties.

 

I know plenty of people, including me, who have escaped import taxes at times and have been caught by them at others.  I’ve always put down to the luck of the draw.  I’ve certainly not seen evidence that their is an agreement not to charge duty - if so then I personally know of plenty of occasions where the HMRC have taken money that they are not entitled to.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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That doesn't explain or excuse falsified value declarations or rather creative descriptions to fall into different tariff codes. It does limit their insurance values for items which go missing though since the shipping company won't pay more than the declared value so either there's a national gambling problem or they're doing it because they'd be less compelling sending with value declared at the sale price, which is what we businesses must be prepared to provide evidence of when we get a poking. Some of our larger imports will only be released when we provide copies of invoices proving what we've paid for the goods.

 

Just as with the domestic idiots sending flammable liquids illegally in the regular post to attract a few either ignorant or utterly self-interested consumers, it's very difficult to compete with cheats, liars and the criminally irresponsible. So we don't try.

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There is no import tax on models.  There is a sales tax, as described above, applied to everything, import or home goods.  There is on top of this a charge, not a tax, for collecting this duty.  I think that there is a case for this charge to be lower on individual hobby goods, as it seems to be set at a business rate that may be negligible on large amounts but looks excessive here.  There is of course the argument that it takes the same amount of effort to sort out a large number as a small one.  In trade deals between nations, it is usual (I believe) for no sales tax to be charged if the local sales tax is applied before posting, but I could be corrected on that.

Edited by Graham Boak
I did it myself! The charge to be lower, not "tax". Sadly Jamie has already copied it, to my shame.
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17 minutes ago, nheather said:

. . .  My first thought is whether a reciprocal trade agreement really does mean that you don’t have to pay import duties.

 

I know plenty of people, including me, who have escaped import taxes at times and have been caught by them at others.  I’ve always put down to the luck of the draw.  I’ve certainly not seen evidence that their is an agreement not to charge duty - if so then I personally know of plenty of occasions where the HMRC have taken money that they are not entitled to.

. . . 

I've had several packages priced at the top end which came with an HMRC&E label attached which said it was 'trade under the EU/UK trade agreement and was exempt from any duties'. It quoted the relevant trade agreement which upon looking up I found out it was £ for £ 

10 minutes ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

That doesn't explain or excuse falsified value declarations or rather creative descriptions to fall into different tariff codes. . . . 

Never once has any of my Chinese sellers falsified the description or value of the goods enclosed in my orders.

Over the years I've dealt with over 60 sellers located in China. I've kept a record of them to see their performance on my orders. I've used so many as they have a high frequency of disappearing, then maybe re-appearing years later!

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4 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

There is no import tax on models.  There is a sales tax, as described above, applied to everything, import or home goods.  There is on top of this a charge, not a tax, for collecting this duty.  I think that there is a case for this tax to be lower on individual hobby goods, as it seems to be set at a business rate that may be negligible on large amounts but looks excessive here.  There is of course the argument that it takes the same amount of effort to sort out a large number as a small one.  In trade deals between nations, it is usual (I believe) for no sales tax to be charged if the local sales tax is applied before posting, but I could be corrected on that.

 

As you say it's pretty much just VAT and a handling charge, and for as long as we were in the EU this could be seen in action again as you say because if VAT is paid elsewhere within the EU it's not payable again here, and vice versa. VAT currently is payable on goods coming from everywhere we source from, including China, South Korea and the USA and where the VAT must be administered there's the handling fee that goes with it.

 

As for the size of the fee - I am reminded of something Siobhan, my hairdresser, related to me about pricing structures. She's often asked for a discount by customers who only want their hair shortened slightly. As she pointed out, it takes her the same time to cut every hair on someones' head and it doesn't matter if her scissors are aimed 1/4" from the ends of their hair or 6"!

3 minutes ago, Black Knight said:

I've had several packages priced at the top end which came with an HMRC&E label attached which said it was 'trade under the EU/UK trade agreement and was exempt from any duties'. It quoted the relevant trade agreement which upon looking up I found out it was £ for £ 

Never once has any of my Chinese sellers falsified the description or value of the goods enclosed in my orders.

Over the years I've dealt with over 60 sellers located in China. I've kept a record of them to see their performance on my orders. I've used so many as they have a high frequency of disappearing, then maybe re-appearing years later!

 

I'd say you've had an exceptional experience then because that's not normal.

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There will be mass whinging in the hobby if (as seems increasingly likely) we leave the EU without a deal and all these kit purchases from Europe start drawing the attention of HMRC.   Well, it's what 52% voted for.  I hope the HMRC has taken on extra staff (not just this hobby...)

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3 hours ago, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

 

As you say it's pretty much just VAT and a handling charge, and for as long as we were in the EU this could be seen in action again as you say because if VAT is paid elsewhere within the EU it's not payable again here, and vice versa. VAT currently is payable on goods coming from everywhere we source from, including China, South Korea and the USA and where the VAT must be administered there's the handling fee that goes with it.

 

As for the size of the fee - I am reminded of something Siobhan, my hairdresser, related to me about pricing structures. She's often asked for a discount by customers who only want their hair shortened slightly. As she pointed out, it takes her the same time to cut every hair on someones' head and it doesn't matter if her scissors are aimed 1/4" from the ends of their hair or 6"!

 

I'd say you've had an exceptional experience then because that's not normal.

My issue with the admin fee is that there is no visibility of it.  It is not made available before you buy.  You aren’t given to option to sort it out yourself.  It depends on who picks it up in the UK which is not necessarily who it was sent by.  And even if you do know who is picking it up UK-side trying finding out what they are going to charge up front.  Try looking on the Royal Mail website and see if you can find anything on their import admin charges.

 

It is just a surprise amount after the parcel arrives and it always seems quite arbitrary - in the past I have seen, £8, £12 and £15 without any explanation.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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I have only seen £8, plus of course the VAT.  I must admit assuming all incoming mail was dealt with by Royal Mail, so don't understand what you mean by "who picks it up in the UK" - it certainly can't be by whom it was sent.  If you are using some kind of UK agent, then he will be responsible for whatever handling charge he choses to impose, but that's his commercial decision that you should be able to know about in advance.

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12 minutes ago, bhouse said:

And why is that, I wonder?

Because no-one in UK/Europe makes them. If they sell the item they buy in from China, add their cut and then sell on at an inflated price.

Samples of things I get;

a. certain sizes and colours of ready-rivets (I'm a genuine rivet counter) which I buy in multiples of 100s, sometimes in the 1000s

b. blades for my skivers (only other source is USA, but blades still made in China)

c. certain sizes and colours of waxed threads

d. certain types and shapes of hole punches

e. pre-cut templates

f. brass stamps made to my specs

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Frank

 

given that its an important purchase for you and standing what you have said in your first post and given the chances of having an issue with the charges such as duty, VAT and handling charges I'd be minded to pay the extra and go to the likes of Jamie who has posted here as you then know what you are paying for and who you are dealing with.  You might save a few bob going the other route but its a gamble.  Sometimes i have bought from the USA and China or japan where I simply could not find the product (usually long out of production) here in the UK.  Sometimes it just sailed in and at others it cost a small ofrtune by the time I had shelled out for a duty charge (which it chould not have attracted) VAT and the handling fee.  No point in complaining as the time spent makes it uneconomic to do so.

 

Oh and I found that the Royal Mail web site would not take my money due to technical difficulties but if i'd care to drive 30 minutes to a sorting office, pay there and drive 30 minutes back then that would work.  That parcel never got picked up as my day job is just way too busy for that sort of nonsense.  That was the last time I bought from outside the Eu.

 

I'd say go the "local" route.

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20 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

I have only seen £8, plus of course the VAT.  I must admit assuming all incoming mail was dealt with by Royal Mail, so don't understand what you mean by "who picks it up in the UK" - it certainly can't be by whom it was sent.  If you are using some kind of UK agent, then he will be responsible for whatever handling charge he choses to impose, but that's his commercial decision that you should be able to know about in advance.

A few years ago I made a large order from a on-line site in China, it was split into two boxes that travelled together to the UK.  One was delivered by Royal Mail, it had a customs note declaring model kits, value £70+, no extra costs or VAT.  The postie gave me a collection note for the second parcel as it had VAT to pay on it, plus the admin charge.  I collected it from the Post Office (10 miles away) paid the VAT and fee, the customs note on that box was for £48 ???? 

Speaking to a postie he told me that the VAT collection was imposed on them by customs and it involves a lot of faffing about hence the admin fee, by why is it so random?

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46 minutes ago, Black Knight said:

cause no-one in UK/Europe makes them

A classic way to create a monopoly is to undercut the competition. If you're based in a low cost environment (eg low wages, poor H&S standards, little regard for environmental concerns) this is very easy to do.

 

Do it for a while and the competitors all go out of business. That's what's been happening to a lot of manufacturers...

 

If something is cheap, it's rarely the best overall choice.

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Agreed, but in most cases here I think we are talking about kits etc that UK distributors just choose not to handle, or charge a lot to handle.  By buying abroad you can often find rare subjects or bargains on commoner types, at the eventual cost to the country (and by default yourself) by not supporting UK companies/individuals.  But you are still required to pay the VAT or this would not be "Fair Trading".  Undercutting your competitors (not to mention invading them and destroying their businesses) is how Britain got rich in the first place.

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47 minutes ago, Graham Boak said:

Undercutting your competitors (not to mention invading them and destroying their businesses) is how Britain got rich in the first place.

Indeed... And as far as China goes, that was just the beginning 😞

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20 hours ago, FrankJ said:

I'm looking to purchase the HMS Penelope soon that my father-in-law served on 1940/42.

 

Looking on some sites in UK it appears to cost in the region of 60 odd pounds, buying via Ebay mostly from China  at half price of models sold in the UK.

I'd prefer to buy in the UK but the half price from China is tempting. 

 

Does anyone use these suppliers from China often?

 

As this has drifted way off your question.

If you get hit by customs. you'll likely pay about £10 to the taxman and £8 to the PO for paying him for you. 

Thats £18 added to the cost of the model you might have to reckon in.

Is it still worth it?

 

There is also the possibility you may not have to pay any extra.

Prepare for the worst, be surprised if its better

 

Also reckon in how long it might take to get here.

Some of my orders are taking only 10 days, but others are taking as long as 100 days! Average now is about 21 - 28 days. The global delivery system is still up the left

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A lot of good answers from my 1st post, pro's & cons buying from china, by the time everyone has had their cut from taxes/charges it' can be pretty near what I'd pay from a UK shop. I think I'd rather buy in the UK, at least I know what I'll pay incl' vat.

 

 

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Plus you are supporting a UK shop, and if we don’t do that then we’ll lose them.  I know I am more fortunate with my salary than some, but personally I’d pay a little more to Jamie & his fellow-strugglers and see them survive every day of the week.  Of course, that assumes that it’s possible to find what you’re after from a UK suppliers; let’s face it, us ship modellers are seen as pretty niche in the UK modelling market, and the UK market itself is minuscule compared to Far Eastern (& Eastern European) equivalents.

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