Trusted grey import website?

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12,699
Name
Rich
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Yes
There is a duty threshold for items coming into various countries. The UK has a very low threshold. Sending small value goods in separate packages may increase postage costs, but if each item is legally declared under the duty threshold, no vat/duty is paid, nor is the processing/admin fee levied by Royal Mail or the Courier - so works out considerably cheaper for the buyer. This is a legal method and you should be grateful to them for considering this.
Why then did the companies from the Channel Islands have to stop selling CD's cheap, think they traded under that law.
Used them all the time, can't recall their name, something like CD Wow perhaps?

In the case of the cartridges they were undervalued on the declaration, all very dodgy
 
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2,695
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Yes
The commodity code for importing is 8525803000.
Goods are subject to VAT standard rate (20.00 %).
Importing from outside the EU is subject to a third country duty of 0.00 % unless subject to other measures.

Has a VAT receipt been obtained - yes or no?
 
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1,978
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Brian
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Yes
In the case of the ink cartridges I believe I was misled.
Many casual shoppers would not look any further than the price, why would you in these days of global trade
At one time there was a loophole in the law (which I believe has changed) which said goods of below a certain value (I think it was £15) were exempt from UK VAT.
This gave rise to a number of "off shore" retailers based in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man who supplied memory cards and other small items at bargain prices. This may account for your consignment being split into a number of separate deliveries. I notice recently that there are a number of similar sellers based within the EU that seem to offer similar deals.

In my business, if I purchase an item within the EU, the seller does not charge me VAT, but I have to declare the item on my VAT return and pay UK VAT at the prevailing rate (currently 20%) on that item. Smilarly if I sell within the EU I do not charge the buyer VAT, and I presume the EU buyer is subject to the same VAT requirements as myself.
On the HMRC site it is stated that the UK has VAT "arrangements" with certain overseas companies, but there does not appear to be a list of who those companies are, or even what the so-called "arrangements" are.
I have purchased "grey" imports from several of the companies mentioned here, and the savings are much more than you save by using any UK "cashback" offer.
All the discussion here seems to be centred on tax savings, but there must also be a saving on dealer markup, and the commission paid to the Official Importer for their after sales support.
I have noticed recently that Panamoz in particular, have increased their prices considerably, and in some cases are actually higher than some UK dealer prices - so check carefully, an import is not automatically cheaper than a local retailer.
 
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9,314
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Andrew Cliffe
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In the case of the cartridges they were undervalued on the declaration, all very dodgy
Currently - for items coming into the UK from outside the European Union.

- Commercial purchases arriving under £ 15 are exempt from customs duty and VAT.
- Commercial purchases arriving over £ 15 but under £ 135 are exempt from customs duty, but import VAT is due at the relevent rate for the declared product. There may be an additional VAT collection / administration fee to pay.
- Over £135 customs duty and VAT is due. There may be an additional VAT collection / administration fee to pay.

If you are receiving a gift, then the import VAT threshold raises from £ 15 to £ 39,

So for small item goods, you can minimise the amount of duty / vat the customer pays legitimately by thinking about what you are sending.

Of course, people exploit the situiation and send high value things as a low valued item, or mark it as faulty and being returned. We know that many of the grey importers do this.

If you are buying within the EU, you pay the VAT rate in use in the country you are buying from, unless you are a VAT registered person, in which case the process is what @Brian G mentions a couple of posts earlier..

I think the VAT loophole for the Channel Island exporters was closed about 12 years ago.
 
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9,314
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Andrew Cliffe
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Some of these grey exporters claim to have warehouses in the UK. It could be possible that these are "bonded warehouses", which may be situated somewhere in the UK, but for the sake of the goods, they are considered not to have formally arrived in the UK. Exporters use these as a method of having stock in the UK but not having to pay duty/vat until the goods are sold. Geographically in the UK, but for tax purposes are technically off-shore.
 
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43
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Carlos
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I'm just trying to get a little clarity in this. On the E-Infinity website it states:

https://www.e-infin.com/uk/common/delivery_details

The implication, at least to me, is that the company ships from HK or wherever and the item goes into their warehouse in the UK. They then post the item to the UK consumer. This then makes E-Infinity the importer. If the company shipped directly from HK to the consumer then the consumer would be the importer.
As it happens I suspect that that E-Infinity do not have a physical warehouse facility in the UK and that this is bogus information.
Isn't. My efinity orders come via royal mail.
Panamoz are shipped directly from hk.

Dunno about others

Efinity also takes 2 extra days on average. So I assume they send from HK to their UK warehouse, then post it to clients. This is why they take about 1 week to "ship it", as the first week while they "process payment" its actually them waiting for the item to arrive to UK.
 
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4,290
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Tommy
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Some of these grey exporters claim to have warehouses in the UK. It could be possible that these are "bonded warehouses", which may be situated somewhere in the UK, but for the sake of the goods, they are considered not to have formally arrived in the UK. Exporters use these as a method of having stock in the UK but not having to pay duty/vat until the goods are sold. Geographically in the UK, but for tax purposes are technically off-shore.
They aren't e-infin orders get delivered to a council estate flat in London before being shipped on.
 
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4,290
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Tommy
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Really? How do you know that?
A while back one of my orders went missing and they gave me the tracking number for the TNT delivery to England and I looked the address up on Google maps.

To be fair to them Panamoz's old U.K address was a flat somewhere in London too before they started paying for a virtual office, although that was a few years ago now.
 
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4,621
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Neil
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Some of these grey exporters claim to have warehouses in the UK. It could be possible that these are "bonded warehouses", which may be situated somewhere in the UK, but for the sake of the goods, they are considered not to have formally arrived in the UK. Exporters use these as a method of having stock in the UK but not having to pay duty/vat until the goods are sold. Geographically in the UK, but for tax purposes are technically off-shore.
Importers, exporters & manufacturers use bonded 'customs' warehouses.
Anything coming into the wareouse from overseas (outside the EU) will still need an import declaration at the point of entry into the UK, so they will always be 'formally arrived' just the taxes due from the consignee are suspended until the item(s) leave the bonded facility or unless they're moving to another bonded facility (common for booze for example).
I doubt these people are using them.
 
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4,621
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Neil
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That's how I know about them. They are a Royal pain in the bum, admin-wise, but have massive cash flow implications/benefits.
I used to import & export vast quantities of wine, beers and spirits from all over the world....given the admin & how close customs monitor them, it's simply too risky to run a smuggling operation through one.....keep looking at the Efinity D850 price though :cool:
 
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539
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Importers, exporters & manufacturers use bonded 'customs' warehouses.
Anything coming into the wareouse from overseas (outside the EU) will still need an import declaration at the point of entry into the UK, so they will always be 'formally arrived' just the taxes due from the consignee are suspended until the item(s) leave the bonded facility or unless they're moving to another bonded facility (common for booze for example).
I doubt these people are using them.
I agree with your thinking on this one...

This raises the question though - if the grey outfits are not using legitimate bonded warehouses - and your reasoning seems sound - I do not argue with that.

Surely this implies that once the good arrive in the UK, tax and duty that are due are due immediately upon arrival - i.e. e-infin for example. Not to the end user, where it appears to have been 'shipped from a UK warehouse'.
 
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4,621
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Neil
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Surely this implies that once the good arrive in the UK, tax and duty that are due are due immediately upon arrival - i.e. e-infin for example. Not to the end user, where it appears to have been 'shipped from a UK warehouse'.
Any taxes due will be payable by the importer, immediately - so to me it looks like these are being 'sold' to a UK company at a very low price (as will be declared on the commercial invoice) to avoid any hefty duty & taxes and that company then arranges the final delivery.
 
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539
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Any taxes due will be payable by the importer, immediately - so to me it looks like these are being 'sold' to a UK company at a very low price (as will be declared on the commercial invoice) to avoid any hefty duty & taxes and that company then arranges the final delivery.
I agree with that thinking - that then means that the original importer is the party avoiding import duty with the reduced amount on the commercial invoice.

This reasoning also supports what x4dow was saying re. the likes of panamoz/e-infinity etc. reselling a 'used' item to you.
 
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43
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Carlos
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A while back one of my orders went missing and they gave me the tracking number for the TNT delivery to England and I looked the address up on Google maps.

To be fair to them Panamoz's old U.K address was a flat somewhere in London too before they started paying for a virtual office, although that was a few years ago now.
Efinity emails me a photo of every item before they ship it to me, the background of the photos look more like a warehouse than a council flat.
Based on order numbers i got across the last 3-4 years I can tell that they got about 40-50k orders between 2017 and 2018, around 60k orders between 2018 and 2019 and 70k orders between 2019-2020. Thats about 200 orders a day , dont think you could deal with that many cameras and lenses in a little council flat.

They also tend to reply any of my emails/messages within 15-30min.
Unlike the emails i sent to for example Currys pc world , that didn't sent me an item they had in stock, didnt reply emails of phone for over 1 month, cancelled my order after 5 weeks and im still waiting on my refund.
 
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12,092
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Mark
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Efinity emails me a photo of every item before they ship it to me, the background of the photos look more like a warehouse than a council flat.
Based on order numbers i got across the last 3-4 years I can tell that they got about 40-50k orders between 2017 and 2018, around 60k orders between 2018 and 2019 and 70k orders between 2019-2020. Thats about 200 orders a day , dont think you could deal with that many cameras and lenses in a little council flat.

They also tend to reply any of my emails/messages within 15-30min.
Unlike the emails i sent to for example Currys pc world , that didn't sent me an item they had in stock, didnt reply emails of phone for over 1 month, cancelled my order after 5 weeks and im still waiting on my refund.

Keep living in cloud-cuckooland, mate. I hear the weather is lovely there.
 
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5,875
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Rob
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Efinity emails me a photo of every item before they ship it to me, the background of the photos look more like a warehouse than a council flat.
Based on order numbers i got across the last 3-4 years I can tell that they got about 40-50k orders between 2017 and 2018, around 60k orders between 2018 and 2019 and 70k orders between 2019-2020. Thats about 200 orders a day , dont think you could deal with that many cameras and lenses in a little council flat.

They also tend to reply any of my emails/messages within 15-30min.
Unlike the emails i sent to for example Currys pc world , that didn't sent me an item they had in stock, didnt reply emails of phone for over 1 month, cancelled my order after 5 weeks and im still waiting on my refund.
One problem with your numbers is that you are thinking they only sell to UK buyers. Their website has stores for UK, Australia, Europe and Worldwide. UK sales are probably a small percentage of overall worldwide sales.

Any taxes due will be payable by the importer, immediately - so to me it looks like these are being 'sold' to a UK company at a very low price (as will be declared on the commercial invoice) to avoid any hefty duty & taxes and that company then arranges the final delivery.
So you’re not buying from E finity because they are selling to a UK company who then are legally selling it to you with imports paid but you paid e finity to send it to that other company so they can sell it to you but not really ‘sell’ it to you? That sounds normal to you? In no way strange or possibly dodgy in anyway?


The main point that’s not been covered is that it has nothing to do with the fact customs and Excise don’t have the resources to open and check everything single parcel coming into the UK every day? Regarding grey importer sellers we aren’t talking about 1 or 2 containers but multiple single parcels that will be hard and costly to police. It seems pretty obvious to most how it’s done and what’s going on......
 
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4,290
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Tommy
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Efinity emails me a photo of every item before they ship it to me, the background of the photos look more like a warehouse than a council flat.
Based on order numbers i got across the last 3-4 years I can tell that they got about 40-50k orders between 2017 and 2018, around 60k orders between 2018 and 2019 and 70k orders between 2019-2020. Thats about 200 orders a day , dont think you could deal with that many cameras and lenses in a little council flat.

They also tend to reply any of my emails/messages within 15-30min.
Unlike the emails i sent to for example Currys pc world , that didn't sent me an item they had in stock, didnt reply emails of phone for over 1 month, cancelled my order after 5 weeks and im still waiting on my refund.
:ROFLMAO:
 
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4,621
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Neil
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So you’re not buying from E finity because they are selling to a UK company who then are legally selling it to you with imports paid but you paid e finity to send it to that other company so they can sell it to you but not really ‘sell’ it to you? That sounds normal to you? In no way strange or possibly dodgy in anyway?
To simplify...

1. You buy from Efinity & pay them
2. Efinity send it to their UK agent / branch
3. The UK agent / branch pay the import duties / taxes & reclaim them from Efinity Hong Kong
4. The UK agent / branch sends it on to you.

As someone who's profession is global logistics & supply chain management, I can tell you this is perfectly normal business practice.
 
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12,092
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Mark
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To simplify further...

1. You buy from Efinity & pay them
2. Efinity send it to their UK subsidiary, usually mislabled.
3. They send it on to you.

UK VAT and other duties are evaded.

Job done.
 
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4,200
Name
Laurence
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Yes
To simplify...

1. You buy from Efinity & pay them
2. Efinity send it to their UK agent / branch
3. The UK agent / branch pay the import duties / taxes & reclaim them from Efinity Hong Kong
4. The UK agent / branch sends it on to you.

As someone who's profession is global logistics & supply chain management, I can tell you this is perfectly normal business practice.
How does this square with the package I received from an HK supplier a few years ago that stated that the value of the contents was £26 and described as a sample when the contents were valued by the company as £450 and was a lens?
 
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4,621
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Neil
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The main point that’s not been covered is that it has nothing to do with the fact customs and Excise don’t have the resources to open and check everything single parcel coming into the UK every day? Regarding grey importer sellers we aren’t talking about 1 or 2 containers but multiple single parcels that will be hard and costly to police. It seems pretty obvious to most how it’s done and what’s going on......
If they're doing it the way i suspect they're doing it, then technically they're doing nothing wrong although it could be argued that 'selling' goods on to your agent at a huge discountto avoid taxes is not quite ethical, however you do get a quality product at a much cheaper price than buying locally so i guess the only loser is the treasury and the EU budget.
 
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2,971
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Surely this condundrum is very easily resolved? Simply show those £40k worth of receipts to HMRC and ask for their professional opinion. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to give appropriate advice.
 
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539
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To simplify further...

1. You buy from Efinity & pay them
2. Efinity send it to their UK subsidiary, usually mislabled.
3. They send it on to you.

UK VAT and other duties are evaded.

Job done.
It that case - with those assumptions in place - the UK subsidiary is at fault
 
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613
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I've bought a few bits from E-Global or whatever it's called; mostly £50 or less. Biggest purchase was a Nikon FTZ adapter for £110, cos the £270 most UK retailers want for it, is quite frankly taking the p***. I do think supporting our own economy is more important than individual money saving, but I can appreciate many people will go for big 'discounts'; that's Capitalism, after all. I'm not sure I'd want to 'risk' spending large amounts on stuff; my Z6 kit was perhaps £100-200 more expensive than the cheapest grey importers at the time, but I did at least get a 'free' 64Gb XQD card, and a full UK warranty. And peace of mind. And helped to support our own economy. But I'll not pass judgment on anyone who chooses otherwise; that's the thing about Capitalism, see; choice. That's what we're always being told.
 
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150plus postS, when in reality every single person buying from these companies know full well why they are cheap, it is tax evasion end of the matter, there are no ifs or buts, it’s tax evasion.

To x4dow ( you local competitors must love you getting a 20% plus advantage on equipment) please contact HMRC, tell them you have spent 40k on goods and where from, then come here and post the response, let’s see how it pans out for you.
 
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43
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Carlos
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150plus postS, when in reality every single person buying from these companies know full well why they are cheap, it is tax evasion end of the matter, there are no ifs or buts, it’s tax evasion.

To x4dow (are you a wedding photographer by chance?) please contact HMRC, tell them you have spent 40k on goods and where from, then come here and post the response, let’s see how it pans out for you.
Yeah I declare all my expenses on them and never had issues.

I assume you guys never bought used kit, as most of it is also imported. Apparently the problem is from whoever has the glass on their hands and not who actually imported it

I'm not saying isn't imported. I'm saying even if there's any evasion somewhere, it's not on my end, nor my problem.

They buy it in HK, send it to UK, someone in the UK sells it to me. They are the importers, not me.


I imported a 70-200 once (me being the importer) and paid the vat/import duty on arrival and with that included was cheaper than these websites. So I think they can still be doing things legit and make a profit. But my point remains, if there's something not legit, it's not me that's breaking the law, it's them.

The same way if I sell my used gear to you, isn't your problem either
 
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4,290
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Tommy
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Yeah I declare all my expenses on them and never had issues.

I assume you guys never bought used kit, as most of it is also imported. Apparently the problem is from whoever has the glass on their hands and not who actually imported it

I'm not saying isn't imported. I'm saying even if there's any evasion somewhere, it's not on my end, nor my problem.

They buy it in HK, send it to UK, someone in the UK sells it to me. They are the importers, not me.


I imported a 70-200 once (me being the importer) and paid the vat/import duty on arrival and with that included was cheaper than these websites. So I think they can still be doing things legit and make a profit. But my point remains, if there's something not legit, it's not me that's breaking the law, it's them.

The same way if I sell my used gear to you, isn't your problem either
You are hilarious
 
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43
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Carlos
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If the taxes are paid or not is not even part of this topic anyway. They are going off topic.

Some people just get butthurt that someone can buy the same kit they got for 1/3 less. You want to go in a shop, unbox half the stuff and try it first before you buy? Go there next day and ask the guy the difference between jpg and raw, cool go to the shop and pay retail price.
I'll keep buying imports.

As if their cameras are "made in the UK" anyway. Probably voted brexit too.
 
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