Buying a Macbook from the US

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Cattywampus_, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. Cattywampus_ macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2006
    Hi Guys,

    I am after some advice. I live in the UK and am travelling to Florida for holidays in May. I want to buy a Macbook while over there as the prices listed on the website are about 200pounds ( ~380 dollars) cheaper in ths US than the UK.

    My first question is - The price on the Apple Store, does that include Tax? I am looking at getting the base model of the Macbook ($1099). Is that the figure including Tax+VAT etc?

    Second - the 1yr standard warranty - is that worldwide? If something fails in the first year on the system can I send it to Apple in the UK? If I buy Applecare I am sure that will be ok that is definately worldwide.

    Thirdly - since I am in the UK, It would be nice to have a UK power adapter. I will be paying cash for the Macbook so what d oyou think the chances that the nice guys at the Apple Store would throw in a UK power adapter? Is it worth haggling for extras or does it not swing well with them?

    Fourthly - any advice for getting the computer back to the UK and through customs without arousing suspicons? My safest bet is to get rid of the box and carry it in my hand luggage like I have owned it all the time. Someone has suggested sending the box by mail back to me in the UK. Any thoughts?

  2. DaLurker macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2006
    The prices are NOT including tax.Also the US and Canada don't have VAT, we call it something else (usually GST, in Canada there is also PST). The tax rate is dependent on which state you are in. They range from ~3% and up (14% in some places in Canada).

    Yes, Apple Warranty is worldwide, if you have a problem with it in the UK, u can take it to any Apple store there to get it repaired.

    I find people don't tend to haggle at the Apple store, not sure why. You can always give it a try and let me know whether you got a free adapter. Incidentally you can buy the Travel pack which comes with all the plugs of the world for $39.

    The best way is just to start using it, put your data on it, buy a sleeve and ditch all of the retail packaging. If you don't want/need the box, then you should be fine. You should keep the documentation and software in your luggage while you take your Macbook as carry on.

    Your Welcome :)
  3. Cattywampus_ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2006
    Hi, thanks for the quick reply! :)

    RE Tax : Would you be able to work out how much its going to cost for the 1099 Macbook for me then please? I am staying in Florida. Would like to know a final figure. Want to see how much I am saving against buying it in the UK

    RE : Power Adapters. I think I will be ok - I remember last time I was in Florida I bought a world kit for my Ipod that came with a UK plug :)

    RE Customs : Yeah I think its looking like im going to have to ditch the box :) I guess its no biggie - just nice to have the packaging if I ever sell it. I will look into posting it to myself though - should only cost a few dollars.

    Thanks for your help!
  4. smythey macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    Dude, c'mon, Google is there for a reason.... :D
  5. dunnonuthin macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2006
    Florida sales tax

    The state sales tax in Florida is 6%, so your lowest possible price on a $1099 Macbook will be $1165. Counties also levy sales tax on top of the state tax, though, so the total sales tax might be as high as 7.5%, which would make your Macbook cost as much as $1181, depending on the county you buy it in. Still, that's only £612 out the door, which sure beats the £749 you'd pay back home.

  6. smashingly macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2007
    buying Macbook in the US

    Stuppy I am looking at doing the exact same thing! So glad you asked this question and saved me the effort.... here's what I know so far, I know others have answered these questions too:

    1. warranty - you can read Apple's Limited 1 Year Warranty T&Cs here:

    2. Prices & sales tax - go to and click on Store. It'll show you US prices. Failing that, (not will show pretty normal prices. Sales tax - on enter a ZIP code for the area you'll be getting the laptop shipped to. I'll be in NYC so I Googled for a random shop in NYC and used its ZIP code (10011) and the site calculated my sales tax for me.

    3. customs - I've done this before and here's what I did:
    a) post all packaging, manuals, leaflets etc back to your work address in the UK.
    b) stick files on your laptop and customise it a bit, so you at least know your way around and maybe have a login password on it.
    c) if you want, put some (removable!!) stickers on it. I did this with some guitar effects units I bought in NYC once.
    d) carry the laptop in your carry-on - leave a few documents open and put it in standby mode.

    Basically so long as it's for personal use they don't really care anyway, you're more likely to get nailed if you ship it through the postal system. I don't really think they're that anal but the above rules just help to fit the bill that it's for personal use, which it is, in this case.

    I just ordered a Macbook from Apple UK but it's going to take 2-3 weeks to be built and shipped (just cos I wanted a larger hard disk), I'm thinking of cancelling. Why? Because I want a Macbook, iPod and digital SLR. I've worked out that if I buy all that stuff in NYC, it will not only cover my return flights, but leave some left over $$$ for partying. Why not? Just have to ship a whole bunch of manuals and boxes back.

    Oh and one more thing. Don't throw away packaging - keep it for as long as you can. If you ever have to eBay it you'll get way way more if you have all manuals, boxes, CDs, etc. Trust me!

    Let me know how you get on mate, I'm in the same boat! Major price differences over here in the UK. For 80Gb iPod, Nikon D80 SLR, and Macbook I am going to save about £390-£400 depending on the extras I get.


  7. djscouserboy macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2006
    Also don't forget that retail Apple Stores may have 'Refreshed' items that are basically in store refurbished items. This can get you stuff even cheaper ! And a lot of the time, it's not advertised - you have to ask an assistant to check for refreshed stock.

    I'm from the UK but now living in the US (temporarily) and I got a C2D Macbook, white, 2.0GHz with superdrive for $1169 + tax which was roughly 8% at the time. The unit was immaculate by the way and so far so good (3 months old).

    The price for electronics in the UK is outrageous ... I'm stocking up on all my Apple gear now before I have to return to Blighty in about a year !
  8. richard4339 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    If I remember correctly, its illegal to purchase a computer in America and export it, unless you are licensed to do so. So, if you're caught doing this, you could get in a crapload of trouble. And I don't mean trouble with customs, I mean Department of Homeland Security type trouble.

    Odds are, nothing would happen, but this is something to remember.
  9. deadpixels macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2006
    what kind of bs is that?? it's the exact same computer you can get anywhere else in the world so why would it even make a difference??
  10. richard4339 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    Same reason you can't do hardly anything in America: "we're fighting the war on terror!"
  11. yogamonkey macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2006
    Do it!

    Having just come back to the UK from New York with a brand new MacBook in my hand I can recommend it! I only went into the Apple Store for a look around, but that exchange rate was just too tempting!!

    Thankfully my other half has been eyeing up my iBook since I got it last year and was more than happy to take it off my hands! So now we're a PC free household :cool:
  12. MaaseyRacer macrumors regular

    Oct 30, 2005
    San Francisco, Ca.
    you are saving $380 dollars buying it in the states. Why are you going to try and degrade some sales person by trying to haggle them. Go to Mexico, or India if you want to haggle. Otherwise suck it up and pay retail.
  13. mikefly macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2007

    retail is for suckers.

    Find a college student, give them $20 to join you at the apple store... get $100 off your macbook.

    Buy a refurb -- have them mail it to your US address (buy before you leave)
    (10% less)

    Bring a dead rat with you to the store - when you get the macbook, say -- there's a dead rat inside my computer - what sort of savages are you people?

    As for actual haggling, I suspect it's entirely pointless. To the best of my knowledge, retail chains in North America (and Europe for that matter) don't negotiate -- If you go to a mom&pop you'll have no trouble bargaining - but not with the big boys and girls.


    p.s. Dude suggesting homeland security is gonna bust your ass for stealing a computer - ON CRACK.
    I'd do a quick search and see if anyone has had trouble though -- all serial numbers are tracked by apple -- do they care if you transport it or not (I have no idea)
  14. deadpixels macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2006
    i know everything went completely parano other there since 9.11, i feel your pain and i'm glad i live in europe :D
  15. smashingly macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2007
    LOL - dead rat hahaha

    I have cancelled my UK Macbook order, it was going to take 3 days to build (cos I wanted a 160 Gb drive), and another 3-7 *working* days to ship to me so we're talking post-Easter. I'm going to go to NYC on the 20th, buy a crapload of stuff (iPod 80Gb, Macbook, DSLR camera) and 'save' myself a lot of money. I've spreadsheeted it, included sales tax on both sides etc. The more accessories I grab the more I 'save' so it's worth stocking up whilst I'm there. e.g. Applecare is US$250 versus UK£199 (US$387) !!! I wouldn't bother with Applecare normally, but with prices that good I might as well bolt it on - it's my first Mac (I'm a switcher :) ) so I guess 3 years' support might be nice, especially since I'm going travelling fore the next 6 months.

    Just peeved now that I have to wait until the 20th. BTW everyone, I checked on Google, there is no UK import duty on portable computers or digital cameras - only VAT. You could get stung for VAT on re-entry to the UK but I've worked out that even after VAT, you'll still save £120 or so on a Macbook. I've walked through UK customs at least 50 times in the last 10 years and nearly every single time I've had my laptop, digital camera and other gadgets on my person - never been stopped once. Only time I got stopped was when I nerdishly confessed to them that I had two cartons of cigarettes in there. Funnily though they completely missed the brand new minidisc player (still in its box) in the same duty free carry bag!

    Only thing I gotta look at now is international warranty situation on digital SLRs. I have a feeling there's no such thing...

    PS: I'm going to pre-order my Macbook (since I want a 160Gb drive) and get it sent to a US address. Anyone know if accepts UK credit cards with UK billing addresses, or will I need to use my friend's US credit card?
  16. Peruvian macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2006
    Just remember, the US macbooks are region 1 dvd setting..
  17. Cattywampus_ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2006
    I decided to avoid all the trouble and just buy one in the UK. I personally think I got a cracking deal.

    Lets just recap -

    In USA, I was going to get a:
    White Macbook
    1.83C2D / 512MB Memory / Combo Drive / 60GB HDD £630 (after tax)

    This is what I actually got:
    Black Macbook
    2.0CD / 512MB Memory / Superdrive / 80GB HDD £699

    So the only bad point is the CPU. However, the only negative point compared to the C2D unit, is that its not a 64bit processor. Performance wise, its not going to be anything noticeable in real life, and its 0.13GHz faster. Same amount of L2 cache etc.

    The plus sides, its Black, bigger hard drive, and it has a Superdrive. Plus, this unit has a UK keyboard layout.

    I bought the unit off the Refurb site. There is not a single blemish, scratch or mark on it. To me, it looks like a computer that never got sold (old stock).

    I think I have done very well with this. I changed the memory to 1GB using memory I pulled from my Macbook Pro. Very pleased :)
  18. mikefly macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2007

    Yup.. Disc drive is set to region 1 -- and you can only change it 5 times or something.

    So, for your enormous savings, you'll get to change your dvd settings 1 time less. (personally, I'd forget the whole thing)

    --on that note -- can you reset this? - software -- or just take the drive out? odds are I don't care as really.. who cares? but I'm curious.


    p.s. I used the dead rat trick and got myself a free MacPro with 64 gigs of RAM. Try it -- it really works.
  19. dr_lha macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Haggling for a Mac is mostly pointless, I'd admit. However haggling is not pointless on other things. Big box stores like Best Buy and Circuit City do have some leeway on what they change, you can certainly haggle sales staff down. I personally have haggled a couple of hundred bucks of a TV at Best Buy, and got a electric piano for half price by haggling a guy down in Sam's Club of all places (last place I'd think it would work would be in a Wal-mart owned store).

    The fact is most retailors in the USA have some sort of price promise, and the price of most electronics (not Macs though) varies wildly from store to store. This gives you some pretty good leverage to get high price items lower than the price tag.
  20. smashingly macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2007
    [perhaps in Stewie from Family Guy voice] DAMN!

    Forgot all about the DVD region thing. Does anyone know if anyone's come out with modded firmware to get around that? Every DVD drive I've ever owned had modded firmware available, altho admittedly these were ones I bought after researching said availability of firmware. I suppose that invalidates the warranty though huh.

    TBH I'm not that worried, I only own about 5 DVDs, I'm more of a TV watcher and I get my TV over the net anyway, or record it via a TV card. I've also done some digging on Google, there's ways around this that would be totally satisfactory for someone like me - e.g. there's an app that'll rip a DVD to hard drive and strip out the region protection so you can play it, then you can just delete it off when you're done, to free up HDD space. Or you can Bootcamp it and use VLC under Windows (somehow, and I really don't understand how VLC does this, it gets around the drive's H/W RPC - maybe it actually pulls the DVD data off, removes RPC from the stream, then plays it, a bit like the app I described above, except in real time?).

    I'm happy to go with the above workarounds because I'm not a big DVD watcher. I'm about to leave the UK in 2 months and go on a big adventure around the Med and possibly South America (the laptop will probably stay locked in a safe somewhere during that leg of the trip!) - so I don't think I'll be watching a ton of DVDs. I can always change the region to Europe, then US, then Australia/NZ (my final destination as it's where I'm from) and still have 2 changes left.

    Thanks for all this input guys, it's really appreciated (and keep it coming!) - these are all the little things that I'd never have thought of until it was too late. I'm really excited to be making the switch to Mac - I'm an IT professional and have a huge body of knowledge tied up in the Windows arena, but despite this - or perhaps because of it - I'm making the switch. I'm just fed up with crap that doesn't work.

    The question I'm wondering now is a sort of "extrapolatory" one - if a Windows veteran like me is making the switch, how many other PC people are thinking of doing the same right now? It sort of makes me think that the only area Microsoft can feel safe in is the business computing world (I can't imagine corporations making the switch that easily). I think Apple are attacking the market in exactly the right way. Especially given that I can always bootcamp or use Parallels if I want to keep Windows XP within arm's reach.

    Keep the ideas coming, if you have any more, re: UK vs US purchasing. I'm going to be booking my ticket to NYC soon! (geez the idea of waiting another *month* to get my Mac is excruciating!!!!!!)

  21. jayeskreezy macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2005
    I live in florida. the tax is 6.5%
  22. shu82 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2007
    Rocket City, AL
    Don't worry about the homeland security stuff. All the US guys here should encourage these trips. Apple is one of the few US companies that make products that everyone else wants. The tax system in europe is insane! We should encourage these mac excursions, they help our economy!
  23. yippy macrumors 68020


    Mar 14, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    There is nothing illegal about exporting a US laptop to the UK. What is illegal is not paying taxes on it to the UK when you enter the country. The worst they will do is make you pay a couple hundred in VAT when you go through customs.
  24. benjiP macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2003
    keyboard layouts

    so how different are the US and UK keyboard layouts?

    FYI, got an excellent deal on my Nikon D80 at Dixons Tax Free on the way out to Canada last time £595 with kit lens + UK warranty, plug etc., so it's not always better in N. America...
  25. Bob Jovi macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2006
    I was in NYC at the beginning of the month and picked up a 2.0 C2D macbook. had no problems at customs, they didn't even check my bag. can you use VLC to get your mac to play all regions of DVDs??

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