UK buyer coming to US - basic question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by yogamonkey, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. yogamonkey macrumors 6502

    yogamonkey

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #1
    Hello all,

    These forums are a great source of information - thank you!

    I've had my eye on an iBook for a while now and am finally ready to make the switch from PC to Mac. I'm going to wait to see what is announced next week.

    This might be a silly question (forgive me if it is) but I'm going to New York in March and wondered if I should wait to buy one when I am in the US. The UK price for an iBook is £899 compared to its £740 US equivalent. So that in itself seems like a good reason to wait, but I wondered if there are any other benefits or drawbacks? Would I be able to sort out any potential problems with it once it's back in the UK?

    Any advice welcome.

    Paul
     
  2. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a

    thequicksilver

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham
    #2
    The financial issues you face are sales tax - think of it as a covert form of VAT that's added onto the sticker price at the checkout - and import duty on return to the UK.

    IIRC sales tax in New York is around 7%, and import duty on return to the UK is another 10% or so. Don't hold me on those figures, but friends have told me that there's no real saving to be made if you do things legally and declare it at customs.

    I wouldn't dream of advocating doing things illegally, but friends of mine have had success with posting the box home from the US, and carrying the laptop through with them as if it's been theirs for ages.

    As for support, you should have no issues with a laptop as regards warranty etc. I've had international support when in France on my UK iBook, and believe that because of their general portability, Apple explicitly do offer international support on notebooks. Check this though with someone who has specific experience with a US Apple 'Book in the UK.

    Don't forget too a few minute differences on the keyboard - the UK Apple keyboard is more similar to a US one than a traditional UK one, but shift and 3 will give you # instead of £ as well as a few other tiny differences. Also the return key's wide and only one line tall (think of it as a mini space bar) unlike our tall jagged return key.
     
  3. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #3
    The warranty and power etc. is worldwide so no problem as far as dealing with the computer or Apple goes (other than getting a 3pin UK plug which are cheap as chips)..

    ..but you should pay VAT on your purchase when you bring it into the EU at 17.5% and you pay US sales tax when you buy it in New York at 4.25%

    so at today's exchange rates your iBook should cost you;
    .£740.09
    +£ 31.45 US Sales Tax
    +£135.02 UK VAT
    =£906.56 (+power cord)


    And you'll have a US keyboard and software bundle (not sure if it's any different to the UK other than Quickbooks type stuff)

    EDIT: There's no import duty on laptops or desktops but if you pick up an iPod there's import duty at 3% to include on top of US sales and UK VAT.
     
  4. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2002
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #4
    For the reasons already mentioned I personally wouldn't bother going down that route. Get yourself to Bluewater shopping mall (I guess thats closest to you?) & buy it from the Apple shop there. You get a UK software bundle, UK keyboard & UK power brick, plus in dealing with real people it will be easier to return if there are any issues etc.
    Vanilla
     
  5. yogamonkey thread starter macrumors 6502

    yogamonkey

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #5
    Sounds like good advice, it's more complicated than I thought!

    Shame though - having March in mind made it a lot easier to resist driving to Bluewater and walking out with a brand new iBook. I managed to calm my impulsiveness by convincing myself that I should wait for New York. Now there's nothing stopping me!! Damn :)
     
  6. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a

    thequicksilver

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham
    #6
    Well there is… on Tuesday Apple are expected to launch new iBooks with Intel processors. You might want to wait until at least then - at best you'll get a far better laptop for your money (or get a great discount on the current ones) and at worst you'll lack an iBook for five whole days. Sure you can manage? :)
     
  7. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #7
    My mother bought her iBook in San Francisco a year or so ago. Since she had a connecting flight from Heathrow, she didn't actually go through Customs with her luggage so wasn't ask to pay the VAT charge on it. That did make it cheaper but you have to count on not being asked to pay it, otherwise as mpw points out, it's not really cheaper. If you have an old style iPod you'll probably have a few UK plug adaptors for the powerbrick around. My mother does find it annoying not being able to use the 'long' cable without having a US/UK adaptor tagged on the end.

    The buying in person thing isn't really an issue. You can take your US iBook (with the Apple store receipt) into Bluewater/Regent St and they'll help you out just as they would if you'd bought it there.

    The keyboard is a minor irritation - you just have to remember how to get the £ and the € signs - but I didn't think there was a difference in the bundled software aside from not being able to get the same deals if there are post-in rebates. Apple UK currently have one on MS Office and a printer (although that's only useful if you're planning on buying one or other of them).

    I'm assuming here that you're not a student so the educational discount isn't of any use to you?
     
  8. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #8
    It's worth noting that Apple only charge ~£25 more for the same machine in the UK than the US, and for that they have to make a number of smaller changes for our much smaller market, they have to employ a bunch of people for our much smaller market, they have to run localised marketing campaigns and build in some protection from currency fluctuations.

    That's ~3% but next week when the new [insert product] is released everyone from the UK will start bleating that Apple are over charging by ~30%!
     
  9. yogamonkey thread starter macrumors 6502

    yogamonkey

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #9
    I'm a part time post-grad student at Manchester Uni - hence the reason for the US study trip actually! I have a student ID card if that has any impact on anything? So far all I've done with it is get 10% off at TopMan :)
     
  10. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #10
    Your mum could use any long power cable with a two pin socket to fit in the Apple powerbrick, I use the same one for my digital camera, camcorder, iBook and it's the cable that came with either a DVD player or my old Sky digibox.
     
  11. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #11
    Apple's UK Education price is £844.83 including all taxes, that'll be your best bet!
     
  12. yogamonkey thread starter macrumors 6502

    yogamonkey

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #12
    Thanks so much for all this information - I had no idea they gave a student discount. I just rang their education sales and was quoted £773.15 for a 14" iBook. Brings it practically down to US prices. Lots to think about now. Cheers everyone.
     
  13. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a

    thequicksilver

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham
    #13
    Don't just use the Education store, use the Higher Education store. You have to be on a computer on your University's network to access it online, but once you're there, go to http://apple.procureweb.ac.uk/ - it's a few percent cheaper than the normal Education store.
     
  14. Uma888 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    #14
    Just mail it to your self (Including the reciepts) from the US to the UK.

    Enjoy your Tax free, Cheap iBook

    I get items all the time from USA and Japan, All i ask is that the seller (frm Ebay ect )marks the Value of the product Down. Works all the time ;)
     
  15. stevep macrumors 6502a

    stevep

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    Don't just use the Education store, use an Egg Money card to get an additional 10% instant cashback! See this thread http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=164019&highlight=egg+money
     
  16. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #16
    If it goes A.W.O.L. you're totally screwed though... as you are if it gets damaged, as you are if customs decide to check it. Bit risky on £700+ quids worth of hardware if you ask me.
     
  17. scarlets knees macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
    #17
    or you could go to the refurb store on the apple website, http://promo.euro.apple.com/promo/refurb/uk/

    they've got ibook refurbs there with a 20% discount making it £719, they've also got powerbooks from £786 and up all with over 25% discount, they have a full year guarantee and I think you can even buy applecare to extend the warranty to 3 years, i.e. they're as new. It says it's only open until 4 Jan but as it's the 5th today and there are new portables expected next week I guess it'll be up until the end of the week....
     
  18. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #18
    To add to the last point, if you ordered before 31st December, you would have had an extra £50 off by using the discount voucher for iBooks. There's a thread here with all of the current ones. For example refurb 12" iBook was available for £475 as opposed to £699 retail. Prolly the cheapest iBook evah.

    Discount voucher link here
     
  19. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Oztrailya
    #19
    This is all interesting. I didn't realise there was an extra import duty on iPods. I am going to the States in February and was planning to get a 30gig iPod there, at $299. With 7% tax (I think in Washington state) that's $320, which is currently £182. Sounds okay, but not a huge saving considering that they start at £200 here, with a higher ed discount. I shouldn't get hit with VAT (that would be bad luck; I'd just shove it in my pocket :cool:).

    Hmm. But... I won't be able to use it on the plane to while away the hours, because I won't have any music to load onto it in the US... so I'm figuring it would be worth the £18 or so just to have it for the trip and buy the darned thing here.

    Now I'm wondering if I even need another toy... :p :rolleyes:
     
  20. yogamonkey thread starter macrumors 6502

    yogamonkey

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #20
    I checked out Egg Money for info and they are only offering a 5% cashback on apple products. Still better than a kick in the bum though.
     

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