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Unofficial guide to buying records for non-US people for a little cheaper


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I'll try to keep this short, so let's go.

 

About a year ago I was fed up with intl shipping prices and the new EU tax law, that you have to pay tax (it's 27% here in Hungary) on everything you order, it is especially disgsuting that the amount is calculated on the item + shipping total, so basically a 20-dollar record with the least awful scenario of a 20-dollar shipping would end up in my hands  for a whopping $50,8 which came to the point that collecting is becoming unsustainable. This is when I dug into mail forwarding services, and after about 5-6 shipments without any issues I can confidently say that it's a game changer.

 

Disclaimer: please look into it yourself with your country details etc.

 

So the process is I'm using ship7.com who has a warehouse in Delaware (tax free US state), I ship my records there mostly for free or cheap media mail, I have up to 60 days free period (after that it has a small fee)to wait for multiple packages and then I ship them out to Hungary together for way cheaper than it would be  directly from the labels/stores would be, not to mention you can get US indie exclusives, get stuff from stores that only ship to the US etc.. (Also, this is up to how rulefollower you are you can play with declared value, but then again it might be risky, so it's on you to do it or not, but alone saving on shipping is huge, saving on tax is enermous). Obviously inserting a middleman is always a risk, as you have no help from the place you bought the record anymore after if arrives to the warehouse, but I was at a point of either this risk or selling off my collection. the rant stops now, here are some pictures of my last 10-record (teamed up with a friend for HIL, that's why only 9 records pictured) shipment and a sheet about the savings.

 

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Edited by xfactor675
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I'm also using these companies for the last 3 years and can confirm that it's chipper to buy records outside of US, England, Australia through them. Also I'm living in the fucking Russia and still buy records despite of sanctions on payment and sanctions on shipping. Process became little bit longer and risky (pay with cryptocurrency) but have no other choice for the moment.

 

The only issue I had with mail forwarders is that they cut my Turnover vinyl while opening the shop's package (you can ask them to remove it to reduce the weight of the parcel). But they returned me money for it.

 

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Edited by IndigoHollow
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Thanks for the heads up on this, I was lookint at one of these for ages but didn't know how legit they were, which one I should use or how much tax I would be stung with once landed here, so thanks for the spreadsheet cost breakdown. Going to set up one.

It's annoying because my purchases from the states are always so spread about so will need to plan it out before going in on this.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, IndigoHollow said:

But they do shitty pack job based on my experience

yeah I don't have personal experience with them but bad packaging is what I fear the most. The thing I like with ship7 that I can have them leave the original shipping material and bulk them for free as there is no consolidation fee for that method. Of course with the example I had 6 mailers instead of  one bigger box so the weight and with it the shipping price are obviously higher, but I don't have to risk bad packaging and all the records came in pristine condition. 

Edited by xfactor675
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  • xfactor675 changed the title to Unofficial guide to buying records for non-US people for a little cheaper
10 hours ago, IndigoHollow said:

But they do shitty pack job based on my experience

I use only extra package and to Russia they ship CIA own courier service

May be this save me

 

But 3-4 times their mailguy opens record box with knife and I receive some holes on cover. They fix it now and I got insurance but I'm afraid it may come back 

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14 hours ago, shenanigans said:

Delaware being a tax free state is nice, but it's even better if you can get a member here to be your "ship7"

No that makes no sense. International shipping costs are fixed, none of us can do any better unless you are a bigger shipping company that can get cheaper bulk rates. And the savings in taxes far outweigh any fees they may charge (I can't tell exactly how much, but it can't be that much based on the shipping costs). So unless you can find a very generous member here who is based in a tax-free state, has lots of storage space and packaging materials at hand and oodles of free time, a service like Ship7 will be your best option. 

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9 hours ago, xfactor675 said:

would you do it? :D I'd gladly let ship7 go 

 

3 hours ago, ParallelofDeath said:

No that makes no sense. International shipping costs are fixed, none of us can do any better unless you are a bigger shipping company that can get cheaper bulk rates. And the savings in taxes far outweigh any fees they may charge (I can't tell exactly how much, but it can't be that much based on the shipping costs). So unless you can find a very generous member here who is based in a tax-free state, has lots of storage space and packaging materials at hand and oodles of free time, a service like Ship7 will be your best option. 

Or use a bigger shipping company that passes those discounts on to its users, but yes, the savings in taxes likely outweighs whatever their fees are.

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22 minutes ago, Ilhan said:

Sorry I am pretty new to this (ordering from the US), so how can avoid regular customs fees and taxes? It clearly says they (ship7) won´t dabble with the amount shown on the customs form? Do you get to choose the "value" yourself or how does it work?

ship7 lets you declare the value of the goods, when they receive the package, they have a disclaimer that you need to declare it as much as you paid for it, but I always put one dollar for every record, and they never asked me anything even if there is a receipt in the package that clearly states otherwise. I think they have to state on their website, but it's your responsibility to "not lie", but probably don't really care about and even "giving a helping hand" by not putting the value on the package they ship and by throwing away the receipt printed by the merchant. It's more than likely a grey zone, hell even a fraud but  I'm fed up of paying awfully high taxes on records I can't buy in my country from my already well taxed salary. I'll post from the prison if I got caught. 

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