From abroad or not from abroad, that is the question...

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The advantages and disadvantages to buying electronics goods from abroad are below


Price:  The items are generally cheaper than buying from with the UK.  Lower prices and greater economies of scale help foreign sellers keep prices.  Bear in mind the total price to compare with other sellers should include the delivery charge.

Stock:  Generally the sellers have huge stock levels, as opposed to UK sellers who do not keep large stocks due to the fluctuating currency rates and memory prices.


Customs charges: 
There may be customs charges to pay when the item is delivered to you.  Many foreign sellers do declare the packages below their true value, but BeWaRe that this will invalidate any insurance, even if you pay extra for it!  This is also illegal, and customs do have the right to charge you the full custom and VAT charge, on top of an administration charge.  They can also launch legal proceedings against you, but unless you are importing great quantities they will more than likely not be bothered with all this hassle.

Delivery charges:  Delivery charges will generally be higher than in the UK, although many UK sellers to put the delivery charges up on their auctions to remain competitive with the foreign sellers.  The cheaper delivery charges will generally not be trackable or insured, and to think Royal Mail can lose half a million packages every year, the chances of getting something all the way from the other side of the world are significantly lower!

Delivery times:  Delivery normally takes between 7 and 10 days from abroad.  If you need something in a rush this certainly isnt an option for you!  But if you dont mind the wait, and want to save some cash then this might be an opportunity.

Warranty:  Warranty claims are a huge hassle with foreign sellers.  You will need to return the item by Royal Mail Airsure delivery if you wish to get a signature on delivery, which is highly recommended.  For an mp3 player it will cost you around £7.50 to return it to China.  You should check with previous customers to find out how quickly their return was dealt with, and how helpful the seller was with the return.
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