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Duty free camera

Old Jan 30th, 2008, 11:51 PM
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Duty free camera

Please excuse my ignorance on this subject, but the only things I have bought in duty free so far are alcohol and perfume. I need a new camera - I am travelling to Europe via Singapore in a few months time. The camera I have in mind is not an expensive one by any means (around $200 Australian dollars), but if it means an extra meal somewhere, I am happy to be known as a cheapskate! Do you really save much by buying such things in Duty-free? Do you then have to declare it? And how does it work - do you just purchase and that is that, or do you have to apply to get the duty back, or what? If the savings are really worthwhile, I might consider a video cam as well. However that will be several fewer meals for me. But that's probably a good thing. Thanks.
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Old Jan 31st, 2008, 02:25 AM
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I would check with the manufacturor about the warranty.

A product purchased bypassing the local distributor very often is referred to as "grey market" and they may not honor the warranty. If the locals didn't make any money on it why should they do the work?

You have to check with the manufacturor to see if their warranty is world-wide and will be honored.
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Old Jan 31st, 2008, 02:51 AM
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You don't have to declare it provided it is within your duty free allowance. If it is over that then officially you should declare it, and pay the tax which defeats the object of the exercise. Make sure you keep the receipt! You don't have to reclaim the duty - it is the same as buying booze or perfume.
Nowadays cameras are often as cheap at online stores as they are in the duty free shops. You then have no guarentee worries, and have a chance to learn how to use it before your trip.
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Old Jan 31st, 2008, 02:53 AM
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Duty-free goods sold in real duty-free shops (like airports) are simply sold at a certain price, which the retailer will imply is less than you'd pay if you'd bought it with all taxes on. You don't need to claim anything back. Some European town-centre shops have "duty-free" signs up, meaning you can reclaim the tax before you leave the country., but don't confuse them with real duty-frees at airports.

On return to your country, you have to treat them like anything else you bought outside your country, and - if your Customs requires you to declare foreign purchases, or purchases over a certain amount - declare them on re-entry. This MIGHT include declaring anything you bought in the duty-free shops when leaving your country: your country's Cstoms authority will explain the rules and limits on its website.

Although there's enormous duplicity in duty-free shops, they can sometimes be worthwhile.

A bit of history might help. "Excise duty" was a term used in Britain for special taxes on some luxuries (like booze and cigarettes). The term and practice was inherited by the Irish Republic on independence: when Shannon Airport invented the idea of duty free shops after WW2, it was offering to sell some goods without excise duty. That didn't necessarily mean the prices excluded import tax, or a country's standard sales tax (like Australia's GST): what "duty free" shops are actually free of varies around the world. As do the taxes they're supposed to be free of: a camera's no cheaper at Hong Kong airport than in town, because the shops in town don't have any taxes to charge anyway. Booze is never worth buying in US duty-free, because their booze taxes are usually trivial, and there's no more sales tax on perfume in Europe than on a bar of chocolate.

To add to the fun, some airports (like those in the UK operated by BAA, and like Amsterdam) impose a condition on duty free shops that their prices must be what they charge in off-airport branches, minus relevant tax. Other airports don't, and duty-free shops just hike their prices to exploit what they see as a captive audience. And some airport operators have a low-price strategy to induce transit passengers to spend money: others have a high price strategy, to maximise margin, even if volumes are low

The net of all this is that you can't generalise. It's astonishing how often, even if you've researched a high-ticket item, what's actually on sale in Singapore or Dubai is a different spec or model number from what you've seen at home.

The only answer is, if there's something you want, to know the price at home and buy it "duty free" only if there's a real saving. The more retail-hungry airports usually have prices on their websites, so you can do some research before leaving home. On modern electronics, I wouldn't worry about warranties: they all get overtaken by better new models before breaking down.
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Old Jan 31st, 2008, 08:15 PM
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Thank you Myer, I never gave the warranty a thought. Hetismij and flanneruk, thank you too for your useful info. From what you have all told me, I think I'll just buy the camera here before I go (and get used to it), and check out the possible savings on video cams in Singapore. It is interesting to know, flanneruk, that taxes and duties are so varied from country to country (although it makes perfect sense when you think about it!). My thanks to you all.
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Old Jan 31st, 2008, 08:22 PM
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I bought a camera three weeks before a big trip and it wasn't quite enough time. I did practice with it, but wish I had done a bit more, to practice low-lighting and also to work with my stabilizer.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2008, 09:51 PM
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Thanks 5Alive, you can be sure I will...maybe I had better buy that camera sooner rather than later, then!
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