Bringing brand new laptop to London

Apr 27th, 2008, 06:53 AM
  #1  
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Bringing brand new laptop to London

It seems it's cheaper to buy a laptop here in US than London so my friend in London wants me to buy him a Dell laptop and bring it with me when I go there in June. My questions:
- will I be paying some customs tax when I get to London?
- do I have to declare the laptop and therefore pay other kinds of tax?
- when I register the laptop with Dell will I be questioned since I had it shipped in a US address and warranty information will be a UK address?
-will it be better if I just take the laptop out of the box and carry it as my own?

I've brought along small electronics equipment as gifts (ipods, cameras) but they were usually less than $400. The Dell laptop will probably be around $1000.00

thanks for all replies.
leonorek is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 07:04 AM
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I'm pretty sure they won't give you any warranty if you buy in the US and give a non US adress. They don't sell online to you in other dell shop than the one of your country for that reason. So I think it is better to give your adress and try the laptop before travelling. If everything is OK, then you can forget about the warranty.If it is not, you can send it back to them. With the money you are saving...your friend can solve any problem with the laptop in the future and still saving money
kenderina is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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When you go through security you have to remove laptops from your carry on and put them in one of those gray bins so yes, you should remove it from the packing box. You can leave the cords in your carry on bag.

I never declared a laptop. I've never been asked if I have something to declare in Europe (except years ago on trains crossing borders).

Don't think Dell will care where the laptop ends up but you could ask them when you call to order. Dell is the only source for the correct answer to this question.

I would open it up before you go to London and test it and make sure it's working properly.
adrienne is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 07:54 AM
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I'd test it before bringing it over - and install some software so it looks as if it's been used
alanRow is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 07:56 AM
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BTW where are you going to get new keys for it so you can have the £ and @ keys will be in the right place?
alanRow is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 08:22 AM
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Legally you should declare it and pay import duty/VAT when you enter the UK. Whether or not you do is your call.

The US warranty probably won't be honoured in the UK. If your friend ships it to the US for repair, the tax issue comes up all over again when it is mailed back to the UK.

AlanRow brings up a good point about the US keyboard. It won't have a key for £ or €, nor an AltGr key. Other keys will be in different positions from the UK keyboard.

You can still get £ and € by turning on NumLk and typing Alt + 0163 for £, and Alt + 0128 for €, but it is a pain in the &*#!

I am posting this reply on a laptop with a UK keyboard, but have a desktop with a US keyboard. Adapting from one to the other isn't all that difficult.
Heimdall is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 09:30 AM
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There's no import duty on computers. BUT you're liable to VAT @17.5% of the purchase price (ie £500) on most imported goods.

It's your call, but if you go through the green channel and are stopped, you risk having the computer seized (and being charged, though...). It's immaterial whether the computer's in a box or in your briefcase: if you're stopped and have two laptops (or, coming fromthe US, one brand new one), the alarm bells will go off. Even the doziest customs officer will notice a machine without MS Office and with no files.

Ultimately, it's your chum's decision whether he wants a warrantyless machine. It's your decision whether you should put yourself in jeopardy to save him £87.50

Old Flanner's Book of 21st Century Etiquette says he shouldn't have put you into that position.
flanneruk is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 10:14 AM
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I recently (March 2008) entered the UK with two laptops. One was my work laptop (slightly used Thinkpad) and the other was a brand spanking new MacBook that I had purchased just days before. I had absolutely no problems getting them through security or customs and no one even asked me about them. I would definitely take the laptop out of the bag and discard the packaging.
lizziea06 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Laptops cost more in the US than in Germany. I'd be surprised, if it would be worth importing them to the U.K. If you can "save" on VAT (and don't let them catch you), it would be cheaper of course.
logos999 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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DVD player/burner - if included, it will be region 1. Europe is region 2.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 10:58 AM
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DVD Players in computers come unlocked and will only be locked to a region once a locked disk is played. Then the region can be changed 5 times before it becomes final.

(Of course there are options to prevent this too)
logos999 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 11:04 AM
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obviously you are required to declare and pay the tax. however, if you decide not to do this, the laptop must be for your own use during your visit to london and you do intend to return home with it. a single laptop in a laptop bag won't ring any alarms with anyone. ipodS, cameraS as gifts however will set off the bells. i believe £145 is the limit for gifts to others. again, one of everything out of the packaging - ipod, camera, laptop is expected gear on most travellers today.

forget that nonsense about problems with the american keyboard. US purchased laptops in britain are as common as US purchased ipods. and most laptops purchased in asia will have US keyboards also. total non-issue.
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 11:56 AM
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>>>Ultimately, it's your chum's decision whether he wants a warrantyless machine. It's your decision whether you should put yourself in jeopardy to save him £87.50

Old Flanner's Book of 21st Century Etiquette says he shouldn't have put you into that position.<<<

Well said, Flanner! My book of etiquette says the same thing.
Heimdall is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:07 PM
  #14  
ira
 
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HI L,

A: You don't buy the laptop until your friend has sent you the money.

B: Your friend has to know that if it is seized at Customs that it is his loss.

C: Ditto that it will be without warranty.

CAVEAT: it might be possible to register it in the US and then tell Dell that you are moving.

Caveat to the caveat: The warranty will be only in your name.

D: Don;t try to bring a new computer in its box through Customs. You should use it for some days before taking it through Customs.

Have a lucky trip.

ira is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:08 PM
  #15  
ira
 
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PS,

Your friend should also accept that if the laptop is stolen, it is his loss.
ira is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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I just looked at the Dell UK site and compared prices with the Dell US site. For the identical laptop it is actually cheaper to buy it in the UK. I think your friend needs to read the specs of the computers very carefully and do his sums more carefully.
hetismij is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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>>>forget that nonsense about problems with the american keyboard. US purchased laptops in britain are as common as US purchased ipods. and most laptops purchased in asia will have US keyboards also. total non-issue.<<<

Yes and No. As already stated, I switch between UK and US keyboards without difficulty, but on a US keyboard laptop it takes seven separate keystrokes (counting switching NumLk on and off) to produce one £ or € character. That could be an issue for people who type those characters frequently.

Heimdall is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 12:50 PM
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>>>>>
For the identical laptop it is actually cheaper to buy it in the UK.
>>>>>

careful listed computer prices from the likes of dell in the UK don't include VAT
walkinaround is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 01:24 PM
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walkinaround wrote: "careful listed computer prices from the likes of dell in the UK don't include VAT"

That depends. On the Dell site, if you choose the "Home" menu the prices are VAT-inclusive; if you choose a "Business" menu the prices are before VAT.
Padraig is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 02:33 PM
  #20  
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Thank you everyone for your input.

The keyboard isn't an issue because he currently has an iMac with UK keyboard and a 5 y.o. Dell laptop that he bought when he was here in the US for 2 years as a student and is still currently using. So switching from one keyboard to the other is a no brainer for him.

Dell was just a first thought because that is currently what his laptop is. But hetismij, you're right. I also checked both sites and the price difference isn't much. I think he saw the laptops available at BestBuy and Circuit City which probably seem cheaper to him. Or he may be thinking about a MacBook.

Ira, that's what he was thinking of saying in case he had to call the manufacturer for warranty - that he had moved out of the country sice he bought the computer. Otherwise he's okay with risking the warranty-issue (I think he's got friends who know their way around computers) but that is probably something to ask Dell or whoever we end up buying it from.

According to him, most of his friends has bought expensive laptops and cameras while on vacation here and they don't pay VAT when they go through customs. Don't know if these friends are gutsier doing this because they are entering into their own country.
leonorek is offline  

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