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#1 of 23 Anthony Neilson

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Posted April 14 2004 - 12:07 PM

Thanks to a sneaky link I could import THE SIMPSONS SEASON 4 for £18.50 from CD WOW.
Unfortunately, this is still fifty pence over the £18 customs threshold and CD WOW have sadly ended their policy of including customs charges within their prices. I was recently stung for £10 on the Orphic Trilogy Box set.

Sometimes, of course, you get away with it. So my dilemma is pay £18.50 for it and risk a charge or go to the likes of movietyme - who reimburse customs charges - but are selling it for about £5 more.

Can anyone tell me a site that's cheap AND guaranteed customs friendly ?
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#2 of 23 Peter Svensson

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Posted April 14 2004 - 12:32 PM

I´ve have ordered a few titles from CD-WOW the last couple of weeks and regardless of the price, the price on the package always says £8.99. So I guess they lower the price (and put a silver sticky over the real price) and the result is that the customs are no longer interested. We have no treshold in Sweden but our customs didn´t snatch my packages.

#3 of 23 Anthony Neilson

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Posted April 14 2004 - 09:44 PM

That's not been my experience, Peter, unless this is a policy they've recently adopted. The price has always been clearly visible on mine - despite the silver sticky thing.
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#4 of 23 Peter Svensson

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Posted April 14 2004 - 10:35 PM

Ok, but on my packages they have added a green pricetag on the backside that says "CD" instead of "DVD" and the price of £8.99. On the front side it´s a white pricetag, but that only shows the name of the title and the actuall price is hidden by a silver sticky.

When you say that UK has a treshold for customs I assume you mean for orders that are shipped outside the EU? In that case maybe Axelmusic could be an alternative. They ship from Denmark and Germany, in other words, customs free for people who live inside the EU. Simpsons season 4 costs £24 including shipping, but it´s garanted customs free inside the EU.

Simpsons season 4:
http://www.axelmusic...ls/024543119173

So even if you think it´s to expensive for this item, I can recommend it for the future. They have some very cheap editions, so check it out if you have not already. How about T3 for £9, Total Recall (Tin Edition) for £9 and a lot of cheap R1 and R3 editions. They also have R2UK, R2JAP and R4 titles. Shipping is always included in the price.

#5 of 23 andrew markworthy

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Posted April 15 2004 - 07:21 AM

In recent months, anything I've ordered from CD Wow worth over 18 pounds has been opened and a surcharge added (and don't you just love the part of the charge that's simply for opening and resealing the package? - like, you were the ones that wanted to open it, not me Posted Image ). On the other hand, other discs from other companies (principally Play, but also a couple of ebay purchases) have not been opened.

But in the past, stuff from CD Wow has come through unopened, whilst packages from other companies have been opened.

So the end message is - it's difficult to give a reliable prediction. Sorry!

Having said that, I've ordered a lot of Criterion box sets from CD Wow, and even with surcharages, they're still cheaper than anywhere else.

#6 of 23 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted April 16 2004 - 01:41 AM

I bought my Orphic Trilogy from DVD Pacific before Customs started checking their stuff.

The Orphic box is pretty big for a 3-disc set, as all three films are in an individual keep case.

It seems to me (and I work for Royal Mail) that the larger the box containing the DVDs, the more chance there is that it will be surcharged.

The Simpsons' sets aren't all that big for 4-disc packages, so you could get lucky.

Come to think of it, I rarely see CD-WOW packets with red customs labels on them when I am on nightshift (when the London airmails come in).

I was charged £14.13 for a recent DVD Pacific package containing Criterion's Carl Dreyer set and the Facet's edition of The Decalogue. But it was still the best deal I could have got for each film.

It's all about calculated risks, it seems!


#7 of 23 John Hodson

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Posted April 16 2004 - 02:25 AM

You could better off as well looking for supplier who uses a carrier; The Royal Mail's 'admin charge' is sometimes higher than the actual customs bill, while, for instance, DHL's admin charge is about £1.35.

And some suppliers - dv-depot.com - for instance, make great play on their websites about beating customs (check out their forum for their comments), but the downside is that they seem quite expensive. Sometimes you've just got to play 'customs roulette'; it's quite nail-biting, and as Gordon points out, even with charges, suppliers like dvdsoon.com and dvdpacific.com very often work out cheapest.

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#8 of 23 Mark_vdH

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Posted April 16 2004 - 03:50 AM

The frustrating thing about (Dutch) customs is, besides the extra payment, the amount of time it will take before the package will get released again. Sometimes they hold stuff for weeks.

Dv-Depot is the best regarding customs and has cheap DHL courier shipping. Prices are pretty high though, and they don't seem to have that many titles in stock. Also, I don't really like their new system.

Today was a "bad" customs day for me BTW. My new pool cue (isn't it nice? Posted Image ) didn't slip through and because customs held it for a day, I will have to wait 'till Monday and pay an extra €80....
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#9 of 23 RobD

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Posted April 16 2004 - 11:00 AM

Years back I'm pretty sure UK customs held my NBK uncut LD box set for around 6 months!

#10 of 23 Anthony Neilson

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Posted April 17 2004 - 04:14 AM

I actually e-mailed CDWOW - who responded speedily as ever - and they said that there's been a customs clampdown recently (thanks Osama!) but that they hope to sort the situation out soon.

BTW, Gordon - when did Customs start intercepting DVD Pacific's stuff ? I ordered Alias S2 late last year and that got through. They were the company I was thinking of going with because they're very cheap and I've heard that they somehow bypass customs. The downside is that delivery takes at least a couple of weeks, as opposed to CD WOW, who usually take a week.

Movietyme will reimburse customs but their prices are very variable and if you cancel an order you have to take credit, instead of a refund.
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#11 of 23 andrew markworthy

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Posted April 17 2004 - 05:14 AM

Sorry to be the party pooper, but I think that talk of 'bypassing customs' is potentially encouraging illegal acts (more specifically, smuggling). I don't think anyone is intending to mean this, but perhaps a little caution, guys?

#12 of 23 Anthony Neilson

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Posted April 17 2004 - 05:23 AM

I didn't mean bypassing in illegal terms - I'm sure that's not what they're doing - but I don't know quite how the system works. I'm presuming there are loopholes and shipping routes that are not illegal as such but that avoid, shall we say, the more punitive regimes. And there's no denying that the UK customs laws are so unnecessarily draconian that they impede free trade.
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#13 of 23 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted April 17 2004 - 10:49 AM

DVD Pacific parcels started to be harpooned last month, I believe.

Single discs don't get snagged but multiple sets and boxed sets (ie, LARGE boxes) often get checked, depending on how busy it is - not matter which DVD supplier it is from. If it's an airmail from Japan, USA, Canada and it is a big box, it will probably get checked over.

It's annoying, but the alternative for me is to NOT buy Criterion and other only-available-in-region 1 boxed sets.

Musn't grumble! Posted Image

At least it is actually possible to import DVDs from overseas. A £5-10 import charge isn't as bad as it COULD be!


#14 of 23 andrew markworthy

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Posted April 17 2004 - 07:25 PM

Anthony, I know you weren't implying anything illegal. And I agree, a lot of the fuss is silly. The only time I've had any sympathy was a few years ago when a company I used was having everything opened and checked, and delays in receiving stuff ran into weeks. I have a friend in Customs and checked on why. It transpired that child porn was being smuggled in using copies of the company's packaging (I should stress the company was an innocent dupe - one of the reasons it was used as a mule was because it didn't sell porn of any type), and so everything had to not only be opened but the DVDs checked by being played. In those circumstances, I can sympathise with delays. However, in the normal run of things I cannot see that it's cost-effective to collect the revenue compared with the cost in man-hours.

Equally, as Gordon has said, it's usually only a few quid and I reckon that even with the charges levied I've usually got stuff more cheaply than I would have done.

#15 of 23 Peter Svensson

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Posted April 18 2004 - 01:32 AM

Play.com delivers items under £16 from Jersey (outside the EU), and items over £16 is delivered from the UK mainland. If the UK customs doesn´t check items under £18 it would mean that there is no risk for UK consumers to buy from Play.com. Items under £16 slips through without checking and items over £16 is delivered from UK=no custom charges.

They don´t have the season four box, but they do have the promo editions for the other seasons for £15.99.

http://www.play.com/...earch&adudisc=y

#16 of 23 Anthony Neilson

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Posted April 18 2004 - 06:50 AM

Just to clarify, Peter, play.com sells only R2 UK product so I wouldn't expect to pay customs charges on those. It's playusa.com that imports from the rest of the world and - as far as I know - they'll be stopped for customs like anyone else.
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#17 of 23 Peter Svensson

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Posted April 18 2004 - 07:16 AM

Yes, but that wouldn´t matter if they ship the items outside EU, right? In Sweden we have to pay custom charges if we buy something outside the EU, no matter what items they are.

#18 of 23 Mark_vdH

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Posted April 18 2004 - 10:19 PM

Play sends their UK discs from Jersey, a tax haven which doesn't belong to the EU free trade zone. So technically, EU customs could charge you VAT for Play packages over 18 euro (my country's threshold), but that doesn't seem to happen.
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#19 of 23 Anthony Neilson

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Posted May 11 2004 - 07:02 AM

Hey - I've come up with what I think is a pretty good way around customs charges.

Websites should SELL vouchers. Customers could buy them in units worth 50p, £1, £1.50, £2, £5, £10 etc and use them at purchase point against the price of items.

That way, the site could legitimately label their packages at the reduced price - beneath the customs threshold - completely legally. Everyone's happy, right ?

What do you think ? I've suggested this to CD-WOW so we'll see what they say. But a scheme like that could obliterate customs charges across the board, no ?

Large box sets might still be stopped but the more marginal discs - Criterions etc - would probably get through.

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
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#20 of 23 John*C

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Posted May 25 2004 - 01:25 PM

I am a USA customer and buy from EZY and Amazon, neither charges me any VAT taxes just air mail via pigeons that takes days to arrive instead of a day. They shouldn't have retired the Concord, for it would arrive and the date would be yesterday. Posted Image