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Shipping from the US

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 8:02 pm
by Peter Knight
I know there was a related question on the old forum a few days back, but whatever...

I just bought a Distressor from Mercenary Audio. Shipping via Fedex. I got charged $200+ in GST, which I don't mind. But my question is: has anyone bought stuff from OS (or US) recently and gotten stung for something other than GST?

Just in case I wanted to buy some item and I get charged $1000 duty or something; forewarned is forearmed as they say.

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 8:56 pm
by wez
well for a start, isn't duty a thing of the past with imports from the US (part of the free trade agreement)?

i recently bought a taylor acoustic for a mate. no duty, just GST, the usual ridiculous 'opening the box and seeing what it is' customs fees, plus quarantine (its made of wood i guess).

$200 for a rack unit seems pretty steep, but it probably included $60-70 customs fees. was it an express service? fedex aren't the most expensive but they're not the cheapest either.

i just pulled up the invoice for the taylor - customs entry $52.25, Quarantine $79, Security Fee $10.95 (what, so we pay extra to make sure they lock the doors at night?) some of these fees also attract GST (in addition to the GST you pay on the item and shipping). remember how the GST would never, ever be a tax on a tax?

hope this is somehow useful to someone.


Shipping from the US

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 9:26 pm
by Mick

Its a shame those whom wanna import great gear from the states don't at least give those of us that put in some real hard yards getting the gear out here, so all can evaluate it, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye, and its almost......almost non profit.

Anyway, its always a good feeling to be a bit maverick, and non-corporate, but there are some of us out here that use the gear (distressors etc etc etc), and have put in a huge effort to make it accessable and offer easy evaluation and advise on tap....some things are worth paying for...I think fletcher does very well out of his own country and its population, thank you very much!

Talk to us at least...

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 9:27 pm
by davemc
So the no duty thing from the US has come into effect?

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 9:33 pm
by davemc
Hey Mick,

Always check local myself first.

Like today thinking of a subkick.
US$270 on sale normally US$499
Local AUD$1000rrp around AUD$750 sell price.
Bit hard to justify the difference..

Just came back from my honeymoon in the US. Looked at a few items you and others stock and thought just wait and buy them back home.
For a few $'s not worth it..
Although I did pick up a M149 for US$2400 S/H.

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 11:20 am
by Kris
I understand what Mick is saying but how about people like Guitar Crazy who charge $470 for a Sparkle Drive guitar pedal which can easily be bought from the USA for less than $200aud delivered? You've got to be joking!

I bought my Focusrite Red 6 from a (reputable) guy on ebay. Yes, they do exist! The seller said he shipped a fair amount of pro audio gear to oz and had noticed lately that Oz customs was getting quite nasty about it, especially second hand gear, charging people and demanding paperwork etc when they so can't do that. His way to counter that, and I guess to protect his ebay rating, was to ship it to the customer labelled "repair return" so it wasn't targeted as a new item. My red arrived in less than 4 days to my door (from USA), no customs/duty/gst. $1,998aud and it's sweet. The thing looks brand new. When you see people like sound devices offering a red 7 for around the $7k mark why would you bother? At least the guys on ebay are up front about their price. They don't print a list price and then discount $3k as soon as you ask. That wastes my time and theirs.

As for service and warranty, well, it's second hand anyway but there are top quality techs all over the place and for $120 an hour to service an already high end piece of gear, well, I reckon sometimes it's worth it.

The grey market..... embrace it or die.

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 2:03 pm
by David W
I have never bought anything from outide this country before but have to admit that I do feel pretty stupid for not doing so.
On the other hand I have got some very good deals buying directly from a distributor.

At the moment I am looking at buying a Smart C1 compressor. Checked locally in Sth Melbourne (I am told they are made here) won't budge from RRP $4400. Have had an offer s/h $3500.
Have done research ans found two places inc. Mercinary who can do $3k to $3.2K. NEW!!! and a couple s/h $2,250.
If shipping etc will cost more than $1,400 I will buy here but I don't think so.
At least if I orderd from overseas I can rely on prompt delivery ond not the usual month wait for somethig to come from one side of Melbourne to the other.Im not exadurating here either.

If people are not making money out of this in Australia I can see why. There is no use complaining about not being patriotic when we consumers/customers are feeling duped.

Shipping from the US

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 2:51 pm
by Mick
Point taken across the board (joke)....

I have imported just about everything there is to import, and have always been able to get it for folk at less or almost the same as the "grey market", there are issues and there are issues....some manufacturers get their necks a bit twisted, but my argument is that reality is with it, it is healthy to have a distributuion network that has integrity, and less greed, and it can be helpful, when you need a hand.

I agree wholeheartedly that some prices are outragiously unbalanced...and the outcome is...less homeland sales

I know a bloke who has sold nearly 600 Avalons in a lot of boxes...but there is more to it than moving boxes...that's easy.

And if you knw who i am...please try me (us)...I will always try and make it work for you...we hoe this row together (as NY said)...M/M.

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 7:55 pm
by Peter Knight
Mick, if I look at your site I don't see an Empirical Labs logo anywhere - so how am I supposed to know that you've got them available?

Fletcher has an online shop, writeups on every bit of gear, list and street prices are clearly displayed, shipping is easy to work out. And I can place an order instantly even if Fletcher is in bed and can't answer his phone.

Not having a go at you, but can you see where I am going? And unfortunately I have to say that buying from Mixmasters didn't even occur to me. Sorry, maybe I'll look you up next time.

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 9:19 pm
by rob
check out Front End Audio, Mixmasters' other hat :

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 10:56 pm
by Jason Dirckze
One other thing that sucks about buying from OS.....

* Step down transformers

I have three of the bloody things.....and they are expensive, noisy, and ugly. I also have three pieces of shitty outboard gear that I bought cos they were so damn cheap from OS, and I actually believed I was getting a bargain.

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 12:12 am
by davemc
Step down transformers yeah I saw a lot of nice things on my trip to the US..
Lots with 110v only...
Amazing how cheap s/h gear is over there..
As I said many times before local there are a lot of good places, there are also some that have to work out that hey duty,freight and GST does not equal 100% markup.
A lot of people have brought from O/S now and know what freight,duty and GST really costs.

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 12:38 am
by David W
My major problem is quality of service here. I am still waiting for a capsual for my Neumann orderd through sy^&*^c which was promised to be 10 days. 5 weeks later apparently no show and to make things worse I found that I could have got it serviced overseas for cheeper than what the capsual itself cost and have it returned in 1 week.

One major argument for buying through a local dealer is service.There are several stores that offer impecable service beyond expectation but I think its the some distributors that are letting us all down because when the damage is done all will suffer even those with good intensions.

One year ago I never thought of buying or getting my gear serviced overseas buy know everybody seems to be doing it.Its a F%&^$ SHAME.

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 12:55 am
by Ausrock
It's a shame that second hand pricing, particularly that represented by dealers wasn't more in line with pricing usually seen in "private" transactions.

I've imported a number of rack units and mics (and even more guitars, but they're another story), shipping has nearly always been through the USPS Global Express Mail service and charges rarely exceeded $65.00AU with a 6 - 10 day delivery, sometime faster. Duty, etc., is usually only charged if an item has a declared value of approx., $400AU and over.

A 240<->110V trannie is only a problem if you let it be, mine is set into a 3U rack case with suitable o/seas type outlets on the back to avoid confusion with my 240V rack board.


PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 7:29 am
by Simon B
I have bought a few things from mixmasters. I even asked them to bring in something from the states, the service I received Has always been exceptional. I havent found any other place in australia that offers service like mixmasters. Except maybe the hosts of this forum. I highly recomend speaking to mick if you want to bring in something. I told them what I wanted and where to get it and mick took care of the rest. When it arrived due to my own paranoya I rung them to check something about the power supply. they got back to me very quickly with a solution.

I do beleive in trying to keep money local as much as I can. if I see somehting I want that justify's looking overseas I would only be to happy to get mixmasters to bring it in for me. I just wish there were more places that offerd services like these guys!

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 12:03 pm
by rob
"quality of service"....crikey that is a can of worms.
I've just got off the phone hassling a local distributer for a replacement part i've had on order for over 2 months. I've also been waiting on another part from another distributer for over 4 months. These are from big name manufactuers, not some obscure product. From my experience as a tech this is not an unusual situtation. Let me just make clear that most of the time, the problem is not the local distributer. Many manufactuers don't give two hoots about supporting their products...spare parts, tech support is not a priority. They are in the business of making and selling things...fixing them...someone else's problem. Now i know they will all say they support their products, but it ain't the reality. Local distributers can make things worse through aligning their level of complacency with the manufactuers. OR...local distributers can lift the bar with alot of effort. This is also something i know about. If that effort is made then a local distributer can provide you with techncial support that should form a part of your decision making process when buying something....unless you see it as a disposable product. And many products are these days.
The grey market is a real facet in the modern marketing world, and should put local distributers on notice, however from the buyers point of view, there should be more involved in buying local than just saving a few bucks. If the $$$ difference is significant then you should be talking to the local guys and asking them why. ln that equation you can't expect distributers to be able to pull customs scams to keep the prices down. Sure you might be able to avoid duty, GST, customs fees but the distributers can't and even for you it is a lottery as to what you'll get hit with.
So, i hope you don't have any problems with the Distressor you bought and you probably won't because they are very reliable. But if you'll be sending it back to the USA with all the costs involved in doing that, and unless you engage the services of a customs agent at the hefty fees they charge, you could well pay GST on the full price of the unit when it comes back from repair. I say this not to put any hex on you, but simply to illustrate my story.
Now one of those parts i mentioned at the beginning of this rant that i've been waiting two months for ( and still another month away, if lucky ) is a mains transformer. The unit that requires it was purchased directly from the USA and so was setup for 115Vac, the owner forgot one day to use his step down transformer and blew the transformer. So against the bucks he saved by not buying it locally, he will be without the unit for 3 months and face a repair bill.
I'm seeing more and more of these type of situations....i call it "grey servicing"
now back to the soldering iron.......

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 2:26 pm
by PeterR
This is what I do - the local guys get every chance.

I use online prices in US$ then apply a generous shipping cost in US$, add duty (5%) and then GST (10%). The GST amount is calculated including the 5% added for duty. Then I convert to AUD. If the local guy is within 10% of that figure then its no questions - the local guy will get the sale. More than 10% over I will bring this information to their attention and see what happens.

There are reasons the local guy is not within that figure - sometimes its because they bought their stock when the Aussie dollar was worth $0.65US which is unfortunate but those are the risks of trade. Sometimes its because they are not doing the usual 10-15% markdown from RRP. Im sure there are other reasons too that I don't know of.

Front end audio for example are quite good but take a UAD1 Project Pack

$800RRP take off 15% max for store sale = $680? if you are lucky

order from JRR shop in US

$300US after $100 rebate.
$50US shipping
$17.50US duty
$36.75US GST
$405US total
$531 AUD total

thats $150 cheaper from the US assuming the that Turramurra music take 15% off front end audio's RRP. Thats about 30% more expensive. For such a small amount of money I'd probably wear the 30% but when you get into gear costing $2000-$3000 well thats a different story.

I think the local guys miss out on the hobby sales not the real pro sales.

The local importer/retailer offer valuable services to the professional but much of this is lost on us hobby guys who record our own music for enjoyment and don't have deadlines, important clients or a business to run.

If the US$ strengthens say 10 cents against the AUS$ the grey imports from the US will dry up very quickly I reckon.

gee that was a long post.

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 3:22 pm
by davemc
Are we still paying the 5% with the FTA?

Most of the time yeah 10-20% diff I buy local. If they have stock.
I waited 4 months last year for a item that took 3 days to get here from the US.

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 9:59 pm
by Martinez
It's an interesting subject,

I'd be iterested to see what the stats were in regard to the dollars lost to grey imports and ebay.

I've heard a lot of people just buy stuff off ebay now cuz it's so much cheaper, and that's gotta hert!

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 3:06 am
by Peter Knight
Let me point out that I would love to support local businesses with great service. However, the main thing that has struck me about this whole discussion was that it never occurred to me to (a) ask mixmasters what I could buy through them or (b) buy via frontendaudio, mainly because I barely knew they existed!

I'll give you guys a call next time, I promise.

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 1:31 pm
by David W
If were really going to get into supporting local buissiness how about the local manufacturers of audio protucts who offer do REASONABLE PRICES and PROMPT SREVICE.
I can think of a coupple off the top of my head Rhode and Sebatron both are growing friends overseas.The more I see or read what people are using these guys get mentiond more and more and price and service is more than friendly.

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 4:53 pm
by mfdu
my 2 cents.

if we dont support the local suppliers (and even better, our local manufactureres like JLM, rode and sebatron) then either they'll go under, or (even worse) go OS

and if you buy something from overseas and it goes poopies (as said above) back over it goes for any repairs. you pay postage.

but what about the skilled technicians and service-dudes in australia? what will happen to them?

and if all our suppliers / manufacturers / technicians die out, we loose those skills.

and then what will happen to us? apart from backwards baseball caps, reality tv and super-sized crap food? if ZM electronics didnt exist, no repairs to my Ta@#$% 58, no tape-joy for me. sad christopher.


i believe that if the difference b/w local and OS price is within 20%, then the best we can do is support our local industry. and if it beyond that difference, then think hard about the service and support you require.

but i'll shut up now.

PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 5:34 pm
by url
I imported just recently and was stung. Previously i've done so and sided with the usps (rather than ups) option so it was delivered to my door. Not this time. Had to trek down to customs, 10% gst, 5% duty and $55 to get the brokers to fill out the form. The money i thought i was going to save was the money i lost. It would have been cheaper to buy it here retail.

Oh, well. It's the first time i've lost out on imports. Best to do the above calcualtion before you bother importing. For an extra $50 or $100 here it's not worth it. Definately double think if it's going to cost you more than a $1k, that costs extra.