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    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 8th Aug 06, 11:04 AM
    • 8,115Posts
    • 42,285Thanks
    MSE Martin
    0 WOW
    Great 'Buy now from the US' Hunt.
    • #1
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:04 AM
    0 WOW
    Great 'Buy now from the US' Hunt. 8th Aug 06 at 11:04 AM
    Update Note: 17 April 2007.

    This Great Hunt was originally started in August 06; the pound is even stronger now, having just touched $2 per £1 for the first time since 1992, so its the perfect time to rekindle it. Do remember though a little of the info in some of the earlier posts may now be out of date, so always check before acting. Anyway onto the original hunt info....

    The US dollar is at its lowest rate to the pound for years, £1 buys $1.90. Of course this changes every day, but it's likely to be up and around there for the next few weeks at the very least.

    The impact on us

    This gives UK consumers massive purchasing power in the States especially for electronic goods and branded goods. Whether it's being physically there or just ordering from US websites which deliver to the UK (though then you have to beware of customs VAT and duty charges too, it varies with products).

    How to pay

    If you're going to pay in dollars, whether its actually over there or online, the same rules apply. Using the right piece of plastic is the cheapest way... but make sure its the right plastic, read the cheapest way to spend overseas article for details.

    Credit cards are better than debit cards!

    Spend on your credit card and you have more rights than you do on a debit card. This is all about Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act which makes the card provider jointly liable with the retailer if anything should go pear-shaped.

    Up until recently this didn't apply to goods bought overseas but this was challenged so buy abroad and you are now protected. Pay for goods over £100 fully or partially on your credit card and if something goes wrong you can simply make a claim direct against the card provider without having to contact the retailer at all.

    Special Warning on Electricals

    While these are often a lot cheaper in the States, do remember they have a different plug and voltage system. So if you're buying something that plugs in, you will have to incorporate the cost of a transformer or different plug socket into the price. Most laptops tend to include multi-volt transformers so that's not too bad - but other electrical equipment isn't a problem.

    For things like cameras, ipods and other portable goods which just take batteries there's no problem. Though do remember if you buy from the US and it goes wrong its more difficult to send back.

    eBay USA

    Remember as well as buying in stores you can also bid on the USA version of ebay. Most sellers there are more flexible about sending overseas than stores are. However do remember you've even less rights buying in an online auction there than here.

    What suggestions are needed

    I want to tap MoneySavers collective knowledge on what and where to find bargains. Plus include details of whether you actually have to go there or if there is a US website which will deliver to the UK.

    Click reply to add your ideas.

    Last edited by MSE Martin; 17-04-2007 at 9:25 AM.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.

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    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
Page 1
    • CheekyLittleMonkey
    • By CheekyLittleMonkey 8th Aug 06, 11:10 AM
    • 863 Posts
    • 4,863 Thanks
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:10 AM
    • #2
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:10 AM
    I buy a lot of underwear from Victoria's Secret in the States but I always find that I get taxed like crazy when it gets here. Last lot total was approx $150 but had to pay the postman £44 in tax/charges.
    • Sui_Generis
    • By Sui_Generis 8th Aug 06, 11:15 AM
    • 1,163 Posts
    • 532 Thanks
    • #3
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:15 AM
    • #3
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:15 AM
    Electronics are not a good or easy thing to buy because of potential voltage differences UK/UK. However that shouldn't affect things like cameras etc but then you run into further problems where retailers are not allowed to ship outside their geographic market. Even if you find one that does the warranty terms usually mean it has to be retturned to the retailer and that could be seriously £££. It's a pity we can't buy at Amazon US prices and ship returns to Amazon UK ...!

    Despite that there are bargains to be had in portable audio and computing and PC parts too. DVDs are a great buy especially at these prices and I'd recommend DVDPacific for those. Looking forward to reading other peoples favourite retailers across the pond...

    a good point above about import duty and VAT - PC related items are exempt as are packages under £18 (?) so sometimes it's worth paying for separate shipping to avoid the excessive Royal Mail £5-6 admin fee.
    Last edited by Sui_Generis; 08-08-2006 at 11:18 AM.
  • UltraCheap
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:29 AM
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:29 AM
    Costco's,, in the US has great deals and they carry a high-end range of electronics, my recommendation is to place and order, have it delivered to a friend's address in the states, and then go for a holiday to bring it all back. You get a better deal with Costco's if you have a membership (UK membership works overseas).

    Victoria's Secret is great for bras and knickers

    Banana Republic is great for clothes

    Nordstromís is a department store and great for all around items

    AND all of these stores have a 100% guarantee / refund policy, so if the item doesn't meet your high standards - you can take it back 1-2 years later (with your receipt) and get a full refund!
  • UltraCheap
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:33 AM
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:33 AM
    And, if you are going to fly over to the states, then you might as well pre-order a Dell Laptop while you are at it,, the prices are far better the the UK website. Why should the same computer be **twice** the price in the UK?

    Be sure to get your order in about 3-4 weeks before you plan to travel, and arrange a safe delivery address (friend or family).
    • afro
    • By afro 8th Aug 06, 11:49 AM
    • 138 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:49 AM
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:49 AM might be worth a look for CDs and DVDs
    All my views are my monkey's views. I give advice on behalf of my pet monkey and do I give banana related advice. All my posts are my monkey's opinion and no-one else's.
  • woohoo_postingid
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:51 AM
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 06, 11:51 AM
    Postage is a big thing to factor into the price as well. I want to buy some Mountain Dew for a birthday present (can't buy it in UK normally - only on the net which is shockingly expensive) but as it is so heavy, it costs a bomb to send.
  • helenyw
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 06, 2:23 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 06, 2:23 PM
    I buy a lot of underwear from Victoria's Secret in the States but I always find that I get taxed like crazy when it gets here. Last lot total was approx $150 but had to pay the postman £44 in tax/charges.
    by CheekyLittleMonkey
    I bought about $150 worth of stuff from there too, and got stuck with a £20 import tax bill when it arrived! That was the last time I had stuff sent over here. Now I have them sent to my friend's place in New York (free delivery within the US for purchases over $100 too!) and she brings or sends them over.
  • helenyw
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 06, 2:26 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 06, 2:26 PM
    I've never tried these mail forwarding services myself, but sounds like a good idea.
    You have to sign up, and get your own US mailing address, useful for all those free postage offers on websites. They then forward the items to you for a fee.

    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 12-12-2006 at 6:47 PM.
    • nuttywoman
    • By nuttywoman 8th Aug 06, 2:48 PM
    • 2,176 Posts
    • 2,169 Thanks
    I get my fabric for quilting, crafts etc from , great service and delivery its much cheaper than over here.
  • McAzrael
    I buy contact lenses from So far, so good. I've also used american based websites when I have needed to buy a gift for someone in America as it works out a lot cheaper than buying it here and posting it.
    • LucyLocket
    • By LucyLocket 9th Aug 06, 7:20 AM
    • 218 Posts
    • 387 Thanks
    I've never tried these mail forwarding services myself, but sounds like a good idea.
    You have to sign up, and get your own US mailing address, useful for all those free postage offers on websites. They then forward the items to you for a fee.
    by helenyw
    Thanks for this helenyw. I made a lot of use of the late lamented 'shop the states' who were great value, so much so that they have now stopped trading :-(. I have been wondering about an alternative and one of these may do. Even in the absence of 'shop the states' I have still bought gymboree clothes for my dd. Great clothes, great sales prices, reasonable postage and packing and while you may still have to pay a handling charge and also duty (if the value is high enough) , you avoid the real killer charge of VAT because kid's clothes are exempt
    Nothing in it, nothing in it but a ribbon round it .....
    • tenof26
    • By tenof26 9th Aug 06, 7:38 AM
    • 230 Posts
    • 146 Thanks
    i want to buy a pair of heelies from the states, they are like near £100 here, but only $70 there, so even with shipping would be cheaper

    alas everywhere that i find online doesnt ship to uk :-(

    edit : just read the mail forwarding above, may give that ago!

    edit edit : or maybe not at those prices :-(

    anyone ordered shoes from the U.s.a before?

    there shoe sizes are out to by 1 arnt they?
    Last edited by tenof26; 09-08-2006 at 7:40 AM.
    • newleaf
    • By newleaf 9th Aug 06, 7:59 AM
    • 3,006 Posts
    • 3,449 Thanks
    there shoe sizes are out to by 1 arnt they?
    by tenof26
    Be careful with sizing. I take a size 6 and a half in UK, and it's a 9 in US.
    Official DFW Nerd No 096 - Proud to have dealt with my debt!
  • emmalou
    Yeah im an 8 but wear a 10-11 over there - be careful
    • overworked_underpaid
    • By overworked_underpaid 9th Aug 06, 8:44 AM
    • 387 Posts
    • 91 Thanks
    I have found to be very cheap for Computer hardware, cameras, electronics, etc.. But unfortunately they do not post to the UK. However it is worth buying if you happen to visit the States or get someone to buy it for you and post to the UK.
  • slojo
    I have used (contact lenses etc) - very smooth service, never any problems
  • davet
    lol so we haven't actually found anything that's cheap to buy from the US then yet?
    Do not speak- unless it improves on silence.
    • mrs lds
    • By mrs lds 9th Aug 06, 9:12 AM
    • 3,889 Posts
    • 22,275 Thanks
    mrs lds
    cd's are very cheap out there and dvd's at walmart but beware with the dvd as they may not be compatable with your player.
  • yankee rower
    I always get make-up sent to me. I use Clinique and it is half the price in the US (the almost make up is $17.50 from Nordstroms and around £17 here.) if you know your colours, it is well worth using a forwarding service or a friend to send it to you. I also get shoes. I picked up a pair of UGG loafers on the Nordstroms sale for $55.

    Given postal prices, you have to think about what is worth it to get. Things like make up are great, bulkier items are unlikely to save you any money. US Postal Service has a calculator on their website if you can guess the weight of something - If you ship via surface, have it insured. I have had a number of things go astray that were not sent airmail.

    Becareful, you'll likely to be charged VAT on any package that lists a value of over about $35 if it is a gift and somewhere around $20 if it isn't. pageTravel_ShowContent&id=HMCE_CL_001454&propertyT ype=document

    Keep in mind that when travelling from the US you can only bring back £145 worth of goods, that said, I've gone through LHR about 8 times in the past 18 months from the US and they seem to be only concerned with DVDs, software, and cigarettes, somehow rowing machines escape their notice. pageTravel_ShowContent&id=HMCE_PROD_010220&propert yType=document

    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 15-08-2006 at 11:40 AM.
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