Checking an iMac from US to EU

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Transmaro, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Transmaro macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    #1
    I live in Italy, want a new iMac, and am not willing to spend 600 USD more here than it costs in the US.

    This summer I will visit the US, and would like to buy a 27" model. The box is quite large, I want to put it in the checked luggage. Is this crazy? Am I required to pay customs tax on it? In the end I will move back to the US so maybe I can talk my way out of paying the import duty.

    Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #2
    No it's not crazy however I'd probably ship it via UPS, FedEx, DHL etc rather than lugging it to an an airport. Also remember you will get a US keyboard (no you cannot exchange it) and a US power cord so you will need to replace the keyboard if your want an Italian one (about $70 US) and get a new power cord if you want to plug it in without an adapter. Yes you may need to pay customs so you are taking a gamble there. In short, if I were in your shoes I'd recommend savng the extra money and get one in Italy. Experience has shown that trying to save money sometimes ends up costing much much more.
     
  3. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #3
    I would not put a new iMac in as checked luggage - checked luggage has a way of disappearing and the amount the airline will reimburse you is nowhere near the value of a 27" iMac. When the security people x-ray the package they will see the new computer and might just think this is the day to get a new iMac.

    A shipping service will require you to pay customs tax befoe you pick it up.
     
  4. Mr. Dee macrumors 65816

    Mr. Dee

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Location:
    Jamaica
    #4
    Planning on doing the same

    I am from Jamaica, but no way in hell am I paying 2600 for the base model 27 inch which I plan to buy when I travel to the US in November. The money I would spend on purchasing one locally, might as well take a vacation (which I need and have already applied for). Considering that the iMac is likely to be updated by November, why spend that money on old generation technology.

    A local store here has the base model for 256,000 Jamaican (2,560 US) another store 270,000 (2,700 US) which a local popular artiste bought.

    I am dead set on my decision too, its just bringing it back to Jamaica is the big deal right now. The local store said, I could bring it in as checked luggage, since the box is quite hardy and all I need to do is to load it up with some apps and indicate to customs its a personal item in use I got as a gift. They can charge, but likely not what I would pay locally.

    Considering I had a friend ship a $1,500 HP laptop as a gift to me in February, I paid 120 US as duty. He shipped it using US postal service too, came within 7 days. So, it can work out cheaper. That same laptop cost about 2,500 locally.

    In the end, its way better to buy it over seas if you can, especially if you really would spend that much locally. Might as well maximize your cash and get a good vacation out of it.

    Of course, I will look into the logistics of it, if looks like a problem, then I will just settle for a MacBook Pro 15 inch.
     
  5. dextr3k macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    #5
    I had a 2010 imac (before redesign) and I actually moved back to China in 2011. So rather than selling it and taking a hit, I decided that I needed a computer anyways so I just brought it with me. I brought it in a checked luggage. Check out the picture.

    I had a big suitcase and managed to take up one side with just the imac. I bought some industrial foam and stuffed the sides. I had to use a T10 torque screw driver to take apart the stand (look online, ifixit for instructions) and just stuffed the machine into luggage.

    Came back, assembled the stand. Its still my main machine at home. I had a problem with the screen, and Apple China replaced it no problems.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Mr. Dee macrumors 65816

    Mr. Dee

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Location:
    Jamaica
    #6
    @dextr3k

    What is the brand name and size of the luggage you carried yours in? Because, if it was able to hold in such a luggage, it Might do the same, but with it still safely inside it original box and all. :) Also taking into account the dimensions of the late 2012 iMac box is much thinner, it might actually be doable.
     
  7. dextr3k macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    #7
    The box would add an extra big layer over it. I don't know of any luggage that can fit that size. If you will notice, the imac has the stand removed, it would not fit with the stand still attached. It barely fit with some clearance, and I wrapped the imac in foam before shipping it, so it wouldn't slosh around in the luggage.

    The luggage is a samsonite hardshell. Sorry I dont know exact model number, but I do know its a standard 'big' one. You might get away with a 21" in the box, but I doubt the 27" box will fit.
     
  8. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #8
    Buy a starter pistol (the kind they use to start marathons). It is technically a firearm according to airline policy and will need to be declared. I don't think any special licenses are required but you can check in your jurisdiction and the one you are arriving at.

    Your suitcase will be safe if you put it together with the iMac. Why? Because the airline will take pretty good precautions probably to make sure no one touches your stuff because they would not want to risk a scandal where firearms went missing on a flight.

    Granted, this needs to be weighed with the cost of buying said starter pistol (or similar item which would need to be declared as a weapon).

    I read this tip on Lifehacker btw, don't have a direct link now but they had more details I think if you google it.
     
  9. evangw macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #9
    The Italian keyboard layout is basically the same as the US keyboard layout except for special characters. Also you can just change the system preferences to pretend your keyboard is Italian. You will need to pay customs IF it's in the original box and package AND in the incredibly unlikely event you're stopped. Otherwise you can pretend it's just your personal computer and you're coming back from college in the US or whatever story. Just make sure the box is opened, receipt is not with it, and all the original plastic has been taken off the screen /etc.

    I'm in a similar situation myself and ended up paying the premium for buying the 27'' iMac here, but all of my laptops I've purchased in the US. 21'' iMac would fit in carryon luggage, 27'' not so much (even if you can remove the base in the current generation).

    You'd probably be best off buying a decked-out 21'' iMac and then using some of your extra savings to buy an external display, if such a solution would work for you.
     
  10. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #10
    And it's even more possible the security people will open the package anyway if there is a weapon in it. I doubt they can tell a starter pistol from a real pistol on an x-ray, plus just declaring it will get attention from the security snoops.
     
  11. Mr. Dee macrumors 65816

    Mr. Dee

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Location:
    Jamaica
    #11
    I will be taking precautionary measures

    - Such as Applying a Firmware password.
    - Take out the memory/keyboard and mouse, carry those with me on my carry on.
    - Turn on location services when I buy it at the Apple store
    - Make sure I have the serial number

    Just in case, I hope it doesn't reach this, but I am being precautious anyway.

    Will also put a message on the box with the above information so it will be deterrent for any sticky fingers working at the airport.

    So don't even try buddy! :)
     
  12. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a

    DesignerOnMac

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #12
    Had a similar problem. I did not want to leave my iMac behind. I had kept the original boxes the iMac shipped in, etc. Paid $50.00 for checked in luggage, (was flying from USA to South America). Had three transfers. iMac arrived with me, and still works fine.;)
     
  13. Mr. Dee macrumors 65816

    Mr. Dee

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Location:
    Jamaica
    #13
  14. Gregintosh, Jul 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013

    Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    #14
    Big Mistake!!!!

    I had my friend ship an iPhone to me from the US (I am currently in the Philippines on business).

    Here's what happened. He shipped it in March, and I received it in June. That's right -- 4 months, even though it was supposed to be here in a matter of a few days! On top of that, it took about $150 in customs fees.

    And that's not the worst of it. In order for me to get it at all, I had to have a local employee of mine follow up and make a lot of calls over a period of those several months to get it at all, because Fedex and the Customs office kept telling me about missing paperwork, which was baloney. They had me fill out the same form about 15 times and every time when my employee would follow up they said that same form is missing and it needs to be filled out again.

    About half way through all these fill ups I was informed my phone was to be abandoned in favor of the government because of the missing paperwork and me failing to provide it for 60 days (keeping in mind that by that point they had already been sent that paperwork by email and fax about half a dozen times).

    After a lot of aggressive phone calls and going up chains of commands in all organizations involved (customs, fedex in the Philippines, and fedex stateside) my phone finally came in, 4 months late with a $150 bill attached which I had to pay before the Fedex man let me touch it.

    Apparently, my story is not unique. From googling around for problems with customs and sending Apple products abroad, it seems like many people in many countries share similar tales, not all of which end as well as mine did.

    My cost was $150 to ship the phone, and $150 in customs fees, so basically I paid an extra $300 for the $750 phone, for a grand total of around $1,100+when sales tax on the original purchase is included. The same phone would've cost me just around $1,000 in the Philippines (and I could have had it right away) but I thought I would save $100-$150 by having it sent to me. WRONG.

    Keep in mind this is just a small phone that cost me $150 in shipping with insurance coverage up to $900. I shudder to think what a 30 pound iMac box is going to cost to ship and how much will insurance add if you need it insured to its full value.

    My piece of advice: if you can't bring it with you (and checking it in is a gamble because it can be stolen or damaged in shipping at which point you lose the full value of the item) then just buy it locally when you arrive.

    It may cost you a little bit more than buying it in the US but that's only until you consider the hassle and stress of bringing it abroad, the risk factor of maybe losing your entire purchase, and shipping/customs fees which may be added onto you. In the end you are going through a whole ordeal to save maybe $100 or something, assuming the process goes smoothly, and if it doesn't you may be out the entire purchase price of the iMac!

    Or another idea is to settle for a Mac Mini. You can bring that with you as a carry on no problem. It's not as cool as an iMac but it is more portable (and cheaper...)
     
  15. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #15
    Remember that guarantees does not apply to Apple desktops. World-wide guarantee is not valid in this case. Keep that in mind.
     
  16. Mr. Dee macrumors 65816

    Mr. Dee

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Location:
    Jamaica
    #16
    It really depends...

    Thanks for your concern, I will look into the logistics of it when I am in the US.

    I think your issue might have been unique to the country you shipped to.

    Yes, Jamaica has its own issues with customs and duties, but based on receiving two expensive PC's:

    Workstation (30 pounds) - took about 19 days to deliver, received it in December 16th 2011. The item was sent as a gift and I ended up paying $80 US to clear it. Considering this computer cost US 2,200, I would say it was worth it.
    I suspect the reason why it took that that long through US Postal service was because of the time of the year.

    Laptop (6 pounds) - took about 7 days with tracking to deliver. Paid US 120 to clear it. Laptop was sent as a gift, estimated value is US 1,500.

    I remember in 2009 I won an iPod Touch which I let a friend purchase with gift card and ship to me. It was a 32 GB 3rd gen model. End up spending 120 to clear it. The problem with that, my friend should have devalued it, he actually put the full cost.

    So it can work out purchasing abroad, but take into consideration where you are shipping to.
     
  17. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    #17
    Is the iMac 110v and 220v compatible? If you buy a 110v iMac in the US, it won't work in Italy without a step-down transformer. (Unless the are dual voltage).
     
  18. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #18
    If you don't declare it and they catch it, you're likely to have to pay duty plus a fine.

    This was easy enough to check on the Apple website before you posted. Almost all power supplies in Apple products are auto-sensing including the one in the iMac, so the only issue is the power cord.
     
  19. Chippy99, Jul 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013

    Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    #19
    No s*** Sherlock.
     
  20. Insar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2013
    #20
    1. iMac has a world-wide warranty.
    2. Carry only in the original double the shipping box with a sticker fragile.
     
  21. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #21
    Every PC and Mac built in the last 10 years has dual voltage. All reputable laptops have dual voltage chargers as well. I remember traveling with a Dell laptop in 1995 to Spain and for power we just borrowed a line cord from one of the unused PCs in the client's office and had no problems.
     
  22. Acorn macrumors 68020

    Acorn

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    macrumors
    #22
    I had sold an item that was valued at about 750 dollars to canada from usa. i sent it as a gift and they still had to pay 150 dollars to get it. my mistake was i valued it at 750 when i sent it. i should have said it was valued at a lot less so they didnt get screwed. however if its damaged you sort of screw yourself because you devalued it.

    There has to be a way to send valuables from usa to other countries without paying all those taxes and dutys. after all what if your moving to another country your not going to pay for all that stuff again just because your bringing it to another country. its not new stuff.
     
  23. evangw macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #23
    Then it's considered personal belongings and you don't pay a tax. Gifts are taxed because it's still something new that you get.

    Generally there's a limit to the extent of 'personal belongings'; e.g. when you move to Europe (Switzerland, at least) you can take one car per adult without paying import tax... if you can prove that you owned the car for at least a year prior to moving.
     
  24. KaraH macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Location:
    DC
    #24
    Not just Apple stuff. My spouse was going to different countries to demonstrate something (basically a big hard drive + a simple laptop) and usually breezed through customs with it. At one country she got a lot of grief with it and they wanted to hold it for longer than her planned stay in the country. Luckily her boss was also there, plus they knew some big wigs in the country so eventually got it (although delayed). Even though the paperwork had been sent long in advance declaring it specifically as for disability education (which, by their own rules, should have made it exempt from any hassle).
     
  25. nickandre21 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    #25
    i think apple has international warranties even for their desktop systems. Their apple tv and Iphones just do not have it.
    I had visited hong kong early 2012 and went to ifc apple store where in i got myself a macbook pro and my brother an Imac. We both filled in pictures we shot while on the trip, synced our mails loaded music. I put my laptop in my bag and box in the check in luggage and he put his imac box with his imac covered with packing material in check in baggage. He only declared it at customs since we did not want issues later in India. When we arrived here they asked to open up we said its our personal use and booted up and they let us go.
     

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