Buying a new iMac in the US to use in the UK

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kukomeamp, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. kukomeamp macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2007
    London, UK
    I'm thinking of buying a new iMac. I can hopefully get one via a friend who's in New York for a few days.

    The new 20-inch iMac costs £600 ($1,200) in the US, about 33% less than the UK. With the money I save I can look at upgrading some of the components, possibly even go for the 24-inch version (as I read that the 20-inch version has a number of concerns including whether or not it's a 24-bit screen).

    I'd need a new power cable with a 3-pin plug (there aren't any other power issues are there?)

    The warranty wouldn't be valid would it? (isn't it only valid in the country in which it was purchased?) I read a thread mentioning Apple Care being worldwide- could I get this in the US for use in the UK in place of the warranty?

    Do I need to pay tax? If so, where and how much?

    Has anyone bought a Mac from the US to use in the UK? What was your experience?

    Are there any good websites to look at for any of the above?

    Am I missing something obvious that should make me abort this idea???

  2. nightelf macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2003

    If I recall correctly, Apple changed all the desktop warranties to "International". You do need to buy AppleCare in UK.

    I bought an iMac in the US, and brought it with me to Panama. I did not pay import tax because it was less than $2000.

    Call an Apple Store and ask them if the warranty from the US is valid, just in case. A travel agency can prob help you about the import tax or call the gov.

    BTW, your iMac will probably travel in cargo. It would be a good idea to get an insurance.
  3. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    you'll have to pay customs duty (not sure but i think 3.5%) and import VAT (17.5%).
  4. chedda macrumors 6502

    Apr 17, 2006

    i have often contemplated this route , however you may incur tax at the airport if you declare it. Plus you have the excess baggage surchage and the risk of damage during the flight. I remember when i last sent a new ibook abroad i installed a picture of myself as the desktop and took everything out of its wrappers once that way when they opened it i said how can it be new it's got my photo on it ? I just use the box for shipping etc.I think it really depends on your destination country the UK i guess ? It could be marked as gift by the shippers for you. I think the airport and customs is your only real problem.If it was so easy i think a lot more people would be doing it considering the savings ?
    The only other downfall i can think of is the dvd region being set to America as default this is not really a big problem as you still have 5 more times to change it. But it's an unnecersary detail especially when you finally get locked out later after you use up your changes !
  5. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    won't make any difference. there will still be a liability as to import duty and import VAT if the gift's value exceeds £36.
  6. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Have you factored in US sales tax? You need to add that on since it's not quoted. And depending on how your friend is going to buy it - there may also be a % charge on their credit card for the conversion; it can be anything from 0 to around 3%

    US Applecare can't be activated to a UK address - you'd have to get that back here.

    To be honest, bringing laptops back does save you money - or you can buy at Dixons duty-free and save about the same - and is relatively easy since you can put it in your hand-baggage.

    Asking your friend to lug a fairly large iMac box which is going to be thrown around by baggage handling is slightly nuts. And the 24" one is even more crazy - that weighs a lot. (S)He's likely to incur excess baggage and there's no little chance that's going to go unnoticed by Customs on the luggage trolley.

    I'd recommend you wait for the Applestore to show a refurb that you like or see if you can get a deal from any local resellers with Leopard due out. I know there's at least one reseller in London who is giving away free iPods to the first 50 people buying a Mac that weekend - you could always sell that on and get the appropriate discount.
  7. panda macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2004
    to do, to do not...

    just a few extra thoughts...

    in new york city, there are taxes of ca 10%. these cannot not be refunded even when you leave the US.

    you can try to 'sneak' it in to the UK, but i might not work and then, import duties will be levied.

    as also mentioned above, insurance for the computer will be a good idea, as the airlines own insurance will only cover a fraction of the cost, if it goes lost, or is stolen.

    a laptop in my opinion is doable, not a desktop... but even so, i think its better to buy in europe than risk the hassle. for example, assume there is something you are not satisfied with, you can return it in the UK within a period of days. this is not possible if you bought it in the US. i had a powerbook issue that i'd bought from the soho store just after it opened and it was not fun. eventually the computer was returned and i was refunded, but big hassles and ups shipping to the US...

    how about trying to buy on student discount? or do you know someone that has a business and is vat registered? that person my be able to buy it 'for you' and get the vat back through his business.

    i guess i'm saying that i'm not wild about buying in the US.

    good luck in your choice:)
  8. sananda macrumors 68020

    May 24, 2007
    that sounds super dodgy to me.
  9. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    You will be liable for VAT only. Unless customs rules are different from laptops, neither computer equipment nor software incurs import duty liability.
    The warranty change is interesting, as I understood that worldwide warranties only related to portable products, which excluded iMacs.

    Do not even consider getting a friend to import this "through his business" to save on the VAT. This is a stupid idea. Firstly, quite apart from the fraudulent intent, the computer will belong to the business and have to be accounted for in the business records. You will not be able to buy Applecare for it; the business will have to, as the registration will be with the business. If the business wants to transfer to you, it will have to charge the VAT back to you, so no savings there. If it incurs a loss on immediate sale, HMCE may get interested in why the business has expanded into selling computer equipment (unless that is what the business does already). Just don't even go there.
  10. sigoblin macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2007

    Hi, I'm in similar situation, but am wondering more about the actual computer/software. Coming from a PC background and about to fly to the States early Nov, I'm wondering if there are any software issues that can't be changed (US spelling etc) or whether there is a difference in the US keyboard on a Macbook?

    I'm informed the power adapter although having the US two pin will still accept 115/240V, is this true?

  11. telecomm macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    The keyboard is different on the MacBook, and while the laptops are universal voltage (conversion handled by the white box on the power cord), the iMac probably isn't.

    There was a thread about a year ago where someone bought an iMac in the states, plugged it in and immediately killed the comp. Applecare doesn't matter in that sort of situation.

    Moral of the story? Check the voltage.
  12. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    What Applespider said - it's a bad idea. Laptops? Fine, I've done it on a few occasions (and I even managed to bring the Sony UX390N's back in their boxes unmolested) but an iMac - No.

    As for the Applecare thing though - given Apple's utterly laughable claim of 'world-class support' shown front and center (oh all right, rear and right) on their Applecare documentation, I suppose depending on how annoyingly yet unflinchingly pedantic you can be, you could argue that to offer world-class support, you must offer that exact product to the world.
  13. sebosiris, Nov 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2013

    sebosiris macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2013
    FYI, I wanted to buy my Imac in the US and get it sent to london but I found that Amazon UK was about 200£ cheaper than Apple prices so I bought my 27-inch mac for 1399£ instead of 1599£ so it is defnitely worth it. You ll find the prices on
  14. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    Congratulations. You saved £200 by buying last year's model. The latest 27" iMacs have a 3.2GHz processor as minimum and a 2GB GT755M gpu.

    You should compare specs before spending. This sort of discount is usual on Amazon on old stock of Apple computers, especially from third parties.

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