OK, this post is mostly useful to Brits (maybe other EUers) purchasing from the US. The only reason I can think of for a US cousin wanting to purchase from Britain is if a bargain Brit valve head (eg an old Laney or Carlsbro) comes up. For my cousins across the pond, I suggest you look at parcels2go.com and contact the seller to agree to ship this way. Most heads (even 100W) are under 25kg and fit the dimensions, so shipping would be about $60. I've used them, and they're good.

Anyhoo, tips for the Brit buyer of keenly-priced US products:
1) Anything under $35 is EXEMPT from UK duties.
2) "Gifts" are not exempt, but the bar is raised to about $70. Many bona fide companies resent being asked to declare the goods as "gifts", so don't ask them to.
3) When merchandise (new or 2nd hand) is shipped from the US to the UK, the seller must fill in a little Customs Declaration sticker (CN22), and stick it to the package. It describes the type of goods, its value, and whether it's a gift, sample or merchantable goods.

If it's worth less than $35, you're fire-proof. If you've just bought a $150 trem or a $150 ash body; it gets a bit trickier.
Try to get the seller to send the item in a USPS (United States Postal Service) GPM (Global Priority Mail) envelope. Have a look at usps.com and search "Global Priority". GPM is brilliant, but most US sellers don't know about it. Face it - do you know how to send a pickup to Armenia? The GPM envelope costs either $5 or $9, depending on size, and includes the posting. It's made of fairly stiff card. It has bags of room for bubble-wrap etc. In short, it can take p'ups, bridges, tuners, and at least six sets of strings (probably eight to ten for guitar).

Better still (perk up ears, Lee), it is an envelope. So it goes through the standard Royal Maul procedure. ie, it flies past on a conveyor belt (GIVE THE SELLER YOUR POSTCODE, DAMMIT) and is in Postie's satchel before you know it. I get the stuff inside a week from ordering. More importantly, no-one really reads the CN22 sticker. It might say "Pamela Anderson's left nipple. Value = $3 million" and no-one will notice. This is the route of choice for small but higher-value items that exceed the $35 limit. In the case of a person not claiming to be 1bassleft :wink: , '60s Fender pups, '70s Ric pups, '80s Musicman pups, etc have all been pushed through the letterbox. The sticker clearly says "used guitar parts - value $xxx", but nobody read it.

If it won't go in the envelope (eg amp tubes), then USPS air is OK if the box is small. Approx 10 days, and it's still handled by Royal Maul. The best bit is, Postman Prat is not au fait with all of this import stuff. A little box containing a piezo bridge arrived, covered in "You must pay import duty" stickers. Because it didn't squeeze through the box, Pat left a card saying it was round my back door. Of course, I never found that box, did I? :wink:

Lastly, and I can't help but it's a warning, the blimmin' big parcel. Say a guitar body. Whether it's sent by courier or USPS, you'll take a hit. Those big stickers are slapped on and here comes the duty. Worse still (and this bit really :evil: :evil: s me):

Say you buy a body for $100. That's £50. Shipping is $20/£10. Your doorbell rings and ParcelFarce are there with your box. Before they hand it over, you have to pay the import duty to Customs of 17.5% of BOTH merchandise and shipping. Better still, ParcelFarce or the courier (or Royal Maul, when they're awake) want a "handling fee". Surprise, surprise, this "handling fee" is 110% on top of the import duty. It covers their arses.

That $100 body? Plus s+h = $120. Import duty amounts to $21 so now you're looking at $141. But wait, ParcelFarce has a 'handling fee' of $23 so now that $100 body has cost you $164. Not such a bargain, now :evil:


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