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Old 01-19-2019, 02:04 PM
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JayBee1404 JayBee1404 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,526

Originally Posted by Dronfield View Post
Hi JayBee

Living in the UK, out of interest, what sort of level of import customs duties/taxes would i need to factor into the costs and potential savings when buying a guitar from the US?
Hi Rich,

Karel has pretty much hit it, I'd just comment based on my personal experience...

The most I've paid for shipping and insurance was US$230 (approx. £180 at current X-Rate) - that was in 2012, so may have changed substantially by now, although £500 (US$650) looks like a possible over-estimate. You'd need to discuss with your selected dealer to get a firm figure.

The duty and VAT are based on the USD value of the instrument, minus discount, plus the actual shipping cost, as declared by the dealer on his commercial invoice which accompanies the shipment.

If you're considering a purchase via this route, I'd advise you to call your selected dealer, and discuss with him. Ask him for the USD value for customs purposes including shipping cost which he will declare, convert to GB£ at the current X-Rate (Google it), multiply the result by 24%, and you'll have a 'ball-park' figure for the 'added' costs on this side of the Atlantic.

This will become moot from 1/2/19 with regard to Martin guitars, as CFM will introduce new rules on that date which restrain US dealers from shipping cross-border (except, I think, to Canada). There may be other builders who have similar rules so, if you're looking at another brand, you would need to check with the dealer.

My experience with U.K. dealers is that the 'Deep Discount Culture' doesn't really run over here - what's on the ticket is what you generally have to pay and, if you are fortunate enough to be able to get a discount from a dealer, it will be pretty skinny. For instance, I recently went to a large dealer to check out a guitar with a ticket price of £3,899 and the best discount they would go to was £200 (approx 5%).
Brook ‘Lamorna’ OM (European Spruce/EIR) (2019)
Lowden F-23 (Red Cedar/Claro Walnut) (2017)
Martin D-18 (2012)
Martin HD-28V (2010)

Last edited by JayBee1404; 01-19-2019 at 02:14 PM.
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