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Buy Globally in US and UK - Ship to India

  1. #1
    Guardian Angel just4kix's Avatar
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    Dec 2007

    Default Buy Globally in US and UK - Ship to India

    Note: This is a long article. But I will hope that you will give it some patient reading. Maybe it will be useful to you.
    Eyeing the latest iPhone 4? Or the Nintendo 3DS? Games? CD/DVD/BD?

    How often you drooled over a latest goods and gadgets that are available at 30-50% less price in USA? How often you wished that you had someone on that side of the world that could get things for you? Well, there is some good news. It is now possible to buy stuff from abroad, sitting right here in India, and get the items shipped to you at your home. Herein I am exploring some options:
    1. eBay Global Easy Buy
      Verbatim from eBay Site:
      Global EasyBuy has the following advantages:
      • Secure and protected transaction via PaisaPay
      • Pay in Indian rupees
      • Payment is inclusive of customs duties
      • No additional charges (except for octroi / municipal tax if applicable)
      • Hassle free buying as the international reseller ensures that the item reaches your doorstep
      • Buy from international sellers who have excellent Feedback
      The advantage of eBay is that everything is completely transparent. All charges are completely known up front. But the disadvantages are high shipping costs. After adding the shipping costs, the goods become very dear and thus no more an attractive proposition. Until eBay offers free shipping, say on a purchase of above $nn, it is for me the last option.
    2. 20 North
      20 North is also a good option but just like eBay has shipping costs. Shipping cost is not abnormally high - quite reasonable in my opinion. The shipping cost, Customs duty and all other charges is clearly indicated up front. So what you see, is what you pay.Shipping is via reputed courier/shipping companies complete with tracking, etc. The best thing about 20 North is that items costing below Rs. 10,000 equivalent are eligible for gifting. I will explain later how gifting works and helps you. Make no presumptions though - 20 North is a very good option; perhaps better than eBay.
      There is some excellent news for Amazon shoppers from India. For a limited time, Amazon (UK), is shipping certain class of items free of cost as long as the order is 25 or above. The bad news that only Books, Music and DVD qualify for "FREE Super Saver Delivery".

      Another good thing about Amazon (UK) is that all price listed are inclusive of GB VAT (20%). When you put them into the shopping cart and select the delivery address as India, the 20% VAT is knocked off. So if the list price is 9.99, then the cost to you is 8.33!

      Once again gifting is allowed on Amazon. If you do order items from Amazon (UK), be sure to mark items as gift to yourself or any other family member/friend, etc. More on gifts later. However, Amazon (UK) will not calculate the customs duty for you. Amazon (UK) will ship via Royal Mail. No tracking will be available. Once the packet reaches India, Indian Postal department will take over. If there is any customs duty payable, the postman will collect it from you at delivery time.
    4. (USA)
      Very similar to Amazon (UK) but no free shipping to India. Shipping charges are very high. But there is an option to lower shipping cost as I shall explain later.

    So as one can see above, there are options but the shipping cost problem remains. But do not despair. There is a low cost shipping solution also. But before I describe the low cost shipping solution, I would like to explain how Customs duty is calculated and how gifting helps. The customs duty is calculated as follows:
    • The customs office has a handbook that determines the value of most items.
    • The customs officer will look at the invoice and if he feels that goods are new and undervalued, he will refer to the handbook to determine the "fair" price; else he will go with the invoice value [A].
    • The shipping cost [B] is added to item cost.
    • The customs duty [C] is 30% on this total (A + B). But it varies from item class to item class. I said 30% because the items usually imported by individuals fall in this price band.
    • If the port of entry is Mumbai, a 4% octroi is added on the total of A+B+C.
    • If the imported item is a heavy item, like furniture or large screen TV, a handling charge is also included.
    • If the total of A+B is less than Rs. 10,000/- and the item arrives as a gift, it is EXEMPT from customs duty. Hence marking the item as a gift helps under certain circumstances.

    The low cost shipping solutions:
    • Aramex Shop and Ship
      Aramex and Ship&Shop together allow you to ship goods to India at low cost. The rates are as follows:
      • up to 0.5 kg: USD 9 + 10.3% India Service Tax on USD equivalent
      • from 0.5 to 1 kg = USD 18 + 10.3% India Service Tax on USD equivalent.
      • from 1 to 1.5 kg = USD 26 + 10.3% India Service Tax on USD equivalent.
      • from 1.5 to 2 kg = USD 34 + 10.3% India Service Tax on USD equivalent.

      Now the above may sound a lot but believe me it is much cheaper than others. Visit the web site to see how it works. There is a onetime $35 registration fee but if you use the coupon code IND4198627, you will save $30. You will need an international credit card or a PayPal account.

      Once you register, you get two pseudo addresses - one in US and one in UK. You can then redirect shipping to these addresses. As we know, Amazon (US) ships free of cost to any US address above a certain $ value order. Same holds true for Amazon (UK). This will remove most of the limitations of shipping to India. So you can shop at Amazon, GAP, eBay or any of these ecommerce web sites and have them ship free to your (pseudo) US/UK address. Then Aramex Ship & Shop will take over and ship the goods to you at the above rates.
    • Borderlinx
      Borderlinx works same as Aramex Ship & Shop but is slightly more expensive. But they deal via DHL and are reputed to be more reliable. I think that Citibank Credit Card holders get a waive-off on the registration fee. I have not registered here; so I am not sure.

      Well, this is the gist of everything. There are several pieces of information that you may wish to know. You can post on this thread or visit the two web sites and get them clarified yourself.

    p/s. Thank you for your patience. Please rate this article.
    *** Never argue with an idiot. ***

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  2. #2
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009


    Excellent summary of information which is hard to find in one place.

    A note about Amazon.

    When you buy from Amazon, you may be buying from Amazon itself, or from Independent traders using Amazon as a market place. This will be clear from the listing for the item you want to buy. Sadly, many of these traders will not ship to India ... in fact, i think many will not ship internationally at all. One way that you can get around this is to use the Aramex service. (which means Amazon USA) itself has an international division which will ship [some?] items to India. They will calculate the customs duty to be paid, charge you a deposit to cover this, and they or their local agent will pay --- so there will be nothing to pay when you get your goods. You might even get a small refund against the deposit

  3. #3
    Guardian Angel just4kix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Further to this thread, most unfortunately the free supersaver shipping scheme from Amazon, UK has been revoked. Even then, I have found that buying/importing from Amazon, UK works out way cheaper. For instance, here is my latest order of blu-ray discs:

    Your order #202-xxxxxxx-xxx4720 (received February 12, 2012)
    Qty Item Price Delivery Subtotal
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- items (Sold by Amazon EU S.a.r.L.):

    1 Unforgiven [Blu-ray] [1992... 7.08 1 7.08
    1 Doctor Zhivago [Blu-ray] [... 8.33 1 8.33
    1 Spartacus [Blu-ray] [1960] 6.23 1 6.23
    1 Cleopatra [Blu-ray] [1963] 9.33 1 9.33

    Dispatched via Royal Mail (estimated arrival date: Monday, February 27, 2012).
    Item Subtotal: 30.97
    Delivery and handling: 8.05
    Total: 39.02

    This completes your order.
    The prices of the four BDs thus works out to just a little less than Rs. 800/per item. Check the prices of the items in Flipkart and you will know (Cleopatra sells for Rs. 1300).

    There are times when you would want to buy from European market even though things are cheaper in USA.

    For one, you would like to be free of the hassle of 110V/60Hz (USA standard) vs. 220~240V/50 Hz (Indian Standard). Secondly, Video items have a further complication of NTSC and PAL, Region Coding, etc. Most unfortunately, will not ship items to India other than books, DVDs, BDs and software.

    However, there is a solution to this also. We can order from (the German site). will ship almost anything to India. They will collect customs duty upfront. You will get 20% off the sticker price on account of VAT reduction. For instance, I am now wanting to have a Region B blu-ray player (I already have a Region A player). The Panasonic DMP-BDT110EG at €129 should be perfect for me. This is how it works out:

    Item: EUR 108.40
    Packaging & Shipping: EUR 40.00
    Advance payment of import fee: EUR 38.85
    Total amount: EUR 187.25
    Note that the price drops to 108.40 after getting the VAT refund.

    The price thus works out to be close to Rs. 12,800. Not bad for 3D capable Blu-ray player that sells for close to Rs. 19,000 in India and is region locked to Region C while this one above can be made region free via firmware upgrade.
    *** Never argue with an idiot. ***

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  4. #4
    Bronze Member tolkapiam's Avatar
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    Jul 2011


    Thanks for the info. I was under the impression Aramex Shop And Ship was cheaper. Uk's Royal Mail is dependable for small items.

  5. #5
    Guardian Angel just4kix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by tolkapiam View Post
    Thanks for the info. I was under the impression Aramex Shop And Ship was cheaper. Uk's Royal Mail is dependable for small items.
    I have heard many reports that "Aramex - Shop & Ship" is charging hefty charges in the name of custom duties and not providing the duty payment receipt. A number of users have reported this on various websites and forums. Could be one-off cases also.

    The other issue with Aramex S&S is that shipping charges remain unknown till the package is received by them. For instance, suppose you buy some goods from any website and ask them to send it your Aramex S&S PO Box address (and there is a issue here as well), the goods may be sent in one package or multiple packages. A-S&S will charge shipping charges based on the gross laden weight of each package rounded off to upper kg. Also some shippers do not ship to a PO Box address.

    The advantage with Amazon Global EasyBuy program is that all charges are known upfront. Even the approximate duty payable. If the duty collected at shipment exceeds actual duty, then the amount is refunded to your credit card. The reverse (actual duty > collected payment) very rarely happens (0.01 %) but in this case the user has to pay the balance.

    I have never used Aramex till date although I have registered there (even paid the joining fee). So I cannot comment personally. I have not ordered h/w till date and restricted to BD's and DVD's. I found that Amazon works well for the purpose. UK's Royal Mail is dependable for ANY item.
    *** Never argue with an idiot. ***

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