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Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

iPaqowner
Grafter
Posts: 73
Registered: 22-06-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

I'm off to Florida at the end of the month for 2 weeks holiday and as I'm thinking of buying a laptop I'm just wondering if I should consider buying when I'm over there as they are a lot cheaper or more "bang for your buck" than here in the UK.

Aside from any warranty issues and making sure the mains psu/charger is a universal 110-250v type...I presume the keyboard will be an American layout...are they significantly different from a UK model layout...do they have £ and Euro keys?
Whatever flavour of WinXP I get I presume it will be "American English" instead of "UK English"?
Are there any other pitfalls I haven't thought about?
14 REPLIES
N/A

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

I have a US sourced Toshiba (which I'm still using now), purchased when I was living in the US in 2002. I'd say support varies between vendors - I used to have a UK purchased Tosh and had it repaired in the US during a business trip in 1998 - Toshiba UK wanted me to drive the laptop to their Ealing base; Toshiba US sent appropriate packaging to my house in the US, sent DHL to collect the machine, repaired it and returned it within three days. And all under the UK warranty.

AFAIK, all laptops will have multi-voltage PSU's; US laptops will not have £ or Euro keys (but Character Map can be your friend) and as for the Windows, you can set the UK date and number/currency formats without any problems.

In summary, you'll be fine (and will save money) but I'd be wary of the UK customs folks on your return.
iPaqowner
Grafter
Posts: 73
Registered: 22-06-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

Quote
In summary, you'll be fine (and will save money) but I'd be wary of the UK customs folks on your return.


Thanks Jeremy.
Someone on another forum suggested I buy a laptop bag (some may even come with a bag) and just carry it through customs on my return and he suggested I post the laptop box and packaging to my home from the states as he said some laptop manufacturers (Sony) wouldn't entertain a repair under warranty without the box/packaging.
I may just take the chance...on the last 10 or so flights back to my home airport (Glasgow) the green "nothing to declare" channel has been deserted with no customs officers on duty...at least none on the desk...hopefully none are reading this. :lol:
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

Just take care to purchase from a manufacture that offers a “Worldwide” warranty, just in case you need it.

Chilly
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

Quote
hopefully none are reading this.


Oh yes we are, and we have our beady eyes on you !!
iPaqowner
Grafter
Posts: 73
Registered: 22-06-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

Quote


Oh yes we are, and we have our beady eyes on you !!
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Moderators note by John (johnessex) Quote altered so as not to be a full quote and against the Link:rules
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

I bet you think shermans is joking don't you. :?
iPaqowner
Grafter
Posts: 73
Registered: 22-06-2007

Re: Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

Quote
I'm off to Florida at the end of the month for 2 weeks holiday and as I'm thinking of buying a laptop I'm just wondering if I should consider buying when I'm over there as they are a lot cheaper or more "bang for your buck" than here in the UK.

Aside from any warranty issues and making sure the mains psu/charger is a universal 110-250v type...I presume the keyboard will be an American layout...are they significantly different from a UK model layout...do they have £ and Euro keys?
Whatever flavour of WinXP I get I presume it will be "American English" instead of "UK English"?
Are there any other pitfalls I haven't thought about?


Just an update on this.
I bought an Apple Macbook Pro from the Apple Store in Orlando Florida...International Warranty, worldwide psu.
My daughter also bought a Macbook...I posted the boxes home.
I downloaded the Apple "bootcamp" software and installed Win XP Home on it making it dual-boot...so now have the best of both worlds Cool
Alecto
Grafter
Posts: 2,886
Registered: 30-07-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

So how much did you save then?(including P&P)
Are the price differences as vast as all that?
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,056
Thanks: 196
Fixes: 3
Registered: 05-04-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

Bear in mind the main issue is that technically when you bring goods from outside with EU with a value of I think over £145 (which we can safely assume a laptop will exceed) then you are subject to paying Blair VAT and import duty for that item. VAT is obviously 17.5%, not sure about import duty - for some reason a figure of 2.5% rings a bell in my mind.

So unless the laptop is significantly cheaper (and of course you've taken the warranty and keyboard issues into mind) then I would say it wasn't worth it.

Of course you can take the green channel and take your chance, but you might want to add 20% onto the purchase price as worse case scenario is that is what you'll have to pay on top.
Alecto
Grafter
Posts: 2,886
Registered: 30-07-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

The OP posted it back, so presumably it was labellled "Emergency medical supplies for asylum seekers" to avoid VAT and Duty.

I've had a quick look and it's not easy to find the official duty payable on a laptop.

Somebody posted this supposed letter from HM Customs:

From HM Customs;


Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail received 3 November regarding import duty on
computers.

Laptop and desktop computer is free of import duty, but they will attract 17.5% VAT. If you bring it back with you from your travel, you can benefit from duty and tax free allowance of £145, exceeding this limit means the whole value of the goods will be charged.

But no doubt we'll get the full story when the OP comes on again.
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

Quote
Oh yes we are, and we have our beady eyes on you !!


An we'll be waiting for him !!
N/A

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

With a Laptop though there is no point to declare it. After all its a laptop and it would be hard to prove you didnt purchase it in the UK or via Europe.

Although this is not legal, it makes better sense lol.

To be honest though in places like Germany (alot of computer hardware is actually made here) you can sometimes pick up extremely cheap laptops etc.

Of course the keyboard will have a few of the German keys but you can usually buy a replacement UK keyboard for next to nothing and they are extremely easy to replace.

Personally I wouldnt buy while on holiday as ultimately there is always a cheaper deal to found online.

The only way to get a proper saving by going abroad is if you use the online retailers who only ship within the country where your staying. Such as www.newegg.com for the U.S.

Not always the case, but sometimes people are quite surprised how much a retail shop on the high street differs from that of an online store. For example an RJ45 5 metre cable from PCWorld would cost you probably around £10, from Asda it would cost £6 and online you could get it for 0.99p lol

Just to prove I am not making this up:
PC World
eBay
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,056
Thanks: 196
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

Ah I didn't catch the but about posting it, but I guess they could look at the power supply, keyboard and serial numbers to determine where it originated. Whether they would or could be bothered is another thing. I'd imagine you'd be OK.

PC World is a rip off when it comes to accessories, some of their stuff is reasonably priced (like their deals). Cables and accessories have always been expensive. It makes me laugh when they charge something like £15 for a USB cable situated near the printers which would cost a couple of quid elsewhere. Ridiculously you could buy a cheap peripheral for a couple of quid more (£20 or £25) which comes with the cable included.
iPaqowner
Grafter
Posts: 73
Registered: 22-06-2007

Buying a Laptop in the USA for use in the UK

Quote
So how much did you save then?(including P&P)
Are the price differences as vast as all that?


I bought a Macbook Pro...saved £300.00 compared to UK price from Apple.
My daughter bought a Macbook...saved £114.00.