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Buying a bike in USA

rossgalwayrossgalway Posts: 43
edited December 2007 in The bottom bracket
Has anyone bought a bike while on holiday in the USA?
I'm thinking of it but will i have to pay extra tax at the airport?
Is there any way round it? e.g riding the bike over there so i'm bringing home a used bike?

Posts

  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Doesn't matter whether you ride it or not, if Customs stop you at the airport, you'll be eligible for Vat and duty if you can't convince them you took it with you. With the exchange rate at the moment, even accepting a potential upcharge of 35% you'll still probably save on UK prices. Some people even take empty bike boxes with them! C&E are pretty rigorous - sent any receipts etc by post - don't leave them in your luggage where they could be found. If you do get caught making a false declaration they can fine you 2x as a penalty charge or charge you based on UK price.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    I'd imagine that C&E are being particularly enthusiastic at the moment as there is something of a rush of people going xmas shopping to new york etc.

    customs are up in arms apparently because the tour operators are advising travellers to simply go with hand luggage, buy suitcases there and fill 'em'up - C&E pointing out that you may only bring £149 back tax free...
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Fly BA or Virgin and bike transport is free.
    If you take a hard bike case with you yhey wont even notice when you return.
    To be honest I looked at cost of bikes when I was there a few weeks ago and they were no cheaper than here.
    I looked at lemond, Trek, specialised, Cervello and some others.
    If you do get one, it is not worth locking the box as they will cut it off in customs to check it.
    They cut my lock off twice.
  • I did it in March and saved almost 1200 quid on a speacialized tarmac comp. I bought a bike box out there for 50 quid and kept it in girlfriends parents house whilst we carried on with holiday. Shipped it over with American Airlines and didnt get charged and walked straight past customs who didnt even look at me!!!
    There is never redemption, any fool can regret yesterday...

    Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!
  • RossGalway--
    I believe the thing to do is to fly from Dublin, If you're definitely in County Down. Then when challenged by C&Excise in Dublin you inform them that you are resident in the UK and they wave you through.
    Not sure if this is true or not, as in theory one is supposed to be under the SAD act (Single Administration District for EU ) for customs and supposedly one would fill out a form and give it to HMRC when you arrive back in NI. Also one may have to pay the VAT and associated duty there and then.
    That said if from Co Down you'll know quite well the general lack of coordination between the revenue commissioners both North and South.. just go into any store in NI and there's lots of people buying equipment with southern VAT numbers and vice-versa and not then paying the tax in their own country.
  • sweepsweep Posts: 360
    I bought a Klein race bike a few years ago from Race Pace in Baltimore when visiting my brother. I travelled out there with my Spesh Enduro MTB in a bike bag and returned with both bikes.

    I got the bike shop to give me a Trek box and packed the Klein in that after riding it a bit to stop it looking too new.

    When I got to the UK I strolled through the unmanned customs channel and enjoyed my £360 saving.

    Yo would have to be unlucky to get caught unless the bike is obviously brand new. i.e. still has the factory packing and price tag attached.
    It\'s Only Rock n\' Roll But I Like It!
  • NFMCNFMC Posts: 232
    Is there any way round it? e.g riding the bike over there so i'm bringing home a used bike?

    I'm no expert but I thought this was the way round it. I've certainly heard that if people are wearing their new watch and have thrown away the packaging then it's a used watch.

    Just ride the bike through a couple of puddles and I'm sure you'd be fine.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    NFMC wrote:
    Is there any way round it? e.g riding the bike over there so i'm bringing home a used bike?

    I'm no expert but I thought this was the way round it. I've certainly heard that if people are wearing their new watch and have thrown away the packaging then it's a used watch.

    Just ride the bike through a couple of puddles and I'm sure you'd be fine.

    Thats a bit extreme :D
    How the hell are customs supposed to know if it has been ridden or not?
    If there is that concern just take a pair of worn tyres and fit them to the bike, no need to ride it at all, just tell them you keep it clean!! 8)
  • If there is that concern just take a pair of worn tyres and fit them to the bike

    I was thinking that very thought. Worn folding tyres and maybe also some old worn handlebar tape and a knackered saddle, none of which are very big to bring over with you and can give a good illusion of a used bike. Get loads of stickers* and put them on the bike bag, tear and scuff some. Strap an old cycle helmet to your carry on luggage. Have I though about this too much?!

    *preferably bike stickers and ideally country flag or country name stickers too to give the illusion that you travel a lot with your bike.
    Every winner has scars.
  • DoomDoom Posts: 133
    rossgalway wrote:
    riding the bike over there so i'm bringing home a used bike?

    I have a mate who bought his Colnago C50 in an online sale from an American retailer and had it shipped to his hotel in New York without wheels. He flew over with an empty bike box with a used set of wheels over there took the bike for a test ride around central park and then flew home.

    It all came in under the price of the frame alone here so it was a fair old bargain!!
    FCN: 4
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    I get a bad feeling from this thread.

    regardless of "getting away with it" or not - it's still smuggling

    you might as well put a couple kilo's of coke in your suitcase while you are at it!
  • gkerr4 wrote:
    I get a bad feeling from this thread.

    regardless of "getting away with it" or not - it's still smuggling

    you might as well put a couple kilo's of coke in your suitcase while you are at it!

    I don't know if it's smuggling... Maybe if you were intending to sell the bike when you got back to the UK ? Is resale a prerequisite for smuggling? I dunno.

    What it is, for sure, is tax evasion. Ethically, a little dodgy if you then go on to enjoy the services the tax is funding, or complain about other "freeloaders", but hardly on the same level international drug dealing. It's a question of the level of harm done by the action.
  • HarryBHarryB Posts: 197
    gkerr4 wrote:

    you might as well put a couple kilo's of coke in your suitcase while you are at it!

    Don't be so bloody stupid
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    ok - so a little OTT perhaps - but it;s still a criminal offence
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Doom wrote:
    rossgalway wrote:
    riding the bike over there so i'm bringing home a used bike?

    I have a mate who bought his Colnago C50 in an online sale from an American retailer and had it shipped to his hotel in New York without wheels. He flew over with an empty bike box with a used set of wheels over there took the bike for a test ride around central park and then flew home.

    It all came in under the price of the frame alone here so it was a fair old bargain!!

    Would have been cheaper again had he gone to italy
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    gkerr4 wrote:
    ok - so a little OTT perhaps - but it;s still a criminal offence
    Get a life.
    I suppose that every time you go on holiday you declare every present you buy which exceeds the official limit?
    You never brought more than the allowed perfume, spirits or cigarettes either?
    If not your a fxxxing saint :D
    Why should we be taxed on a bicycle for god's sake.
    If I use my bike instead of a car I am reducing co2 emissions so should be taxed less.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Anyway who would want to smuggle coke in from USA, we can get ot cheaper in UK, just give Am :D y Whotehouse, Kate Moss or Pete docherty a call
  • rustychiselrustychisel Posts: 3,444
    Well, it might be a criminal offense, and it may be amoral, but there's a point of view that C & E are so behind the times in terms of border resptrictions, imports and free(er) trade that you're voting for change. With your cash. Governments are not ahead of the game on these things - ever - and they're scooping up large amounts of your money every time, for what?
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    I\'m only escaping to here because the office is having a conniption
  • Doom wrote:
    rossgalway wrote:
    riding the bike over there so i'm bringing home a used bike?

    I have a mate who bought his Colnago C50 in an online sale from an American retailer and had it shipped to his hotel in New York without wheels. He flew over with an empty bike box with a used set of wheels over there took the bike for a test ride around central park and then flew home.

    It all came in under the price of the frame alone here so it was a fair old bargain!!

    Would have been cheaper again had he gone to italy

    Spotted a Colnago C50 frame in a bike shop in Jakarta for 30Mill Rupiah - about £1600 - so bloody tempting, but even at that price it is a bit of overkill for my skills and ability.
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    gkerr4 wrote:
    ok - so a little OTT perhaps - but it;s still a criminal offence
    Get a life.
    I suppose that every time you go on holiday you declare every present you buy which exceeds the official limit?
    You never brought more than the allowed perfume, spirits or cigarettes either?
    If not your a fxxxing saint :D
    Why should we be taxed on a bicycle for god's sake.
    If I use my bike instead of a car I am reducing co2 emissions so should be taxed less.

    I do try and get a life - but thanks for pointing it out...

    well - yes I do actually - i don't really bring that much back from holiday anyway, but yes i would keep allowances in mind if I was buying anything.

    "why should we be taxed on a bicycle" - well, whether you like it or not, (and this thread isn't discussing the taxation policy on bicycles 'cos if it did I would probably be in agreement) it's the law.
  • gkerr4 wrote:
    ok - so a little OTT perhaps - but it;s still a criminal offence
    Get a life.
    I suppose that every time you go on holiday you declare every present you buy which exceeds the official limit?
    You never brought more than the allowed perfume, spirits or cigarettes either?
    If not your a fxxxing saint :D
    Why should we be taxed on a bicycle for god's sake.
    If I use my bike instead of a car I am reducing co2 emissions so should be taxed less.
    Well, it might be a criminal offense, and it may be amoral, but there's a point of view that C & E are so behind the times in terms of border resptrictions, imports and free(er) trade that you're voting for change. With your cash. Governments are not ahead of the game on these things - ever - and they're scooping up large amounts of your money every time, for what?

    Nonetheless, it's still illegal. If you import goods into this country without paying the required duties and taxes, it's illegal. What you are doing is rationalising an illeagal act with typical responses. It's not that big a deal, everyone does it. Anyway, it shouldn't be illegal anyway. In other words, you are selectively deciding what laws should be obeyed and which ones should not. BTW, I agree with you in sentiment. I don't think bikes should be taxed either, but that is a different issue entirely. My point is, the only reason law works is that it is applied consistently. You might not think it's important to obey this law, but others might have the same view about some other "offence" that you would want enforced. I doubt you would accept their justifications that "everyone else does it", or "I think it's a stupid law".

    Just to be clear, I'm guilty of doing this too. I'm from the US, and go back to visit family about twice a year. I do buy things from time to time (I can count on one hand) that I probably should declare, but don't. I've got a lot of reasons for doing this, but they are all based on self interest. Mostly, I can't be bothered with all the paperwork required, and I like to save money as much as the next person. But, I do not then try to justify my actions as being anything other than what they are. It's not civil disobedience, it's me saving some cash by doing nothing more than simply walking through the "nothing to declare" doors at the airport. If I get caught, I'll pay the penalty

    The only other thing I'll say is that I don't think it's that big of a deal to buy the occasional item overseas, and bring it over without declaring the goods. The level of harm done to others is minuscule (IMHO the only real judgement of morality). I also suspect that the powers at be aren't all that concerned with the occasional transgression for personal use. It's the people who do this all the time, usually to sell the goods on the black market that are main concern. Both types of offenders are covered under the same law. I get the impression that with this, as with other laws, it's a case of selective enforcement. Which is why people think it's OK to do.

    Sorry for the rant.
  • 4 Cannondales so far.

    Never had a problem and have a 5th due soon.

    Have even taken one of them back to the US and brought it home again!

    I just chuck my suitcase in my bike bag on the way out and come back with a bike on board. Usually use the bike when I am in the States anyway, but I have flown unused ones back in the past. Cannondales are a particular joy to buy as they are about half the UK price.

    I worked in the states for 2 years so the constant back and forth no doubt lowered any suspicion!

    BA usually don't charge me any extra and American only charged me £50 when I came back with a bike, three bags and a turbo trainer....Nice!
  • rustychiselrustychisel Posts: 3,444
    benny2891 wrote:

    What you are doing is rationalising an illeagal act with typical responses. It's not that big a deal, everyone does it. Anyway, it shouldn't be illegal anyway. In other words, you are selectively deciding what laws should be obeyed and which ones should not...

    No, you said that, not I. You're not even paraphrasing me here, just trying to put words into my mouth.
    But, I do not then try to justify my actions as being anything other than what they are. It's not civil disobedience, it's me saving some cash by doing nothing more than simply walking through the "nothing to declare" doors at the airport. If I get caught, I'll pay the penalty...

    I don't do it. But I do buy lots of cycling gear online because of the strong $A and the outrageous markups. Yes, it's also about saving dollars.
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    I\'m only escaping to here because the office is having a conniption
  • benny2891 wrote:

    What you are doing is rationalising an illeagal act with typical responses. It's not that big a deal, everyone does it. Anyway, it shouldn't be illegal anyway. In other words, you are selectively deciding what laws should be obeyed and which ones should not...

    No, you said that, not I. You're not even paraphrasing me here, just trying to put words into my mouth.

    Sorry, I made the mistake (out of laziness) of replying to two people at one time. I did, however, assume that you do bring goods over without declaring them. -- shouldn't have done that.

    While a good deal of my comments can't, and shouldn't, be applied to what you wrote, I still maintain that using the term, "...voting for change. With your cash" in the context of this forum could be seen as rationalising breaking the law to affect political change. I'd argue some of my comments could be seen as a reasonable paraphrase. I might have misinterpreted what you said, but I was I was not trying to put words in your mouth.

    If that isn't what you meant, then I stand corrected.

    No offence intended. :oops: I hope none taken.
  • 18921892 Posts: 1,592
    You could always post the bike back to yourself, just mark it as a gift
    Justice for the 96
  • rustychiselrustychisel Posts: 3,444
    none taken.

    IMO these are grey areas, in part because legislation always lags behind the real world. By passive acceptance we effectively send a message to legislators that the status quo is acceptable. It's not. When we're frequently told we're now members of a global community, and that business and commerce demand we be instrumentally active in issues of trade and capital flow, there's no reasonable excuse for some of the imposts which are levied. You may think of them, in a close cousin sort of way, as tariffs applied to individuals for the protection of home industries. Whose industry? 'What English cycle manfacturers need protection from a flood of illegal imports?', you ask, since that's the point of all this discussion. More pertinent, when they're all importing from Taiwan and China, and Malaysia as fast as they can, who's zooming who? Additionally, since the £ ihas no parity with the Euro yet is in many ways seen as a comparable currency, I'd say (from first hand experience) that you guys are being ripped off blind every day. But that's another topic.
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    I\'m only escaping to here because the office is having a conniption
  • EurostarEurostar Posts: 1,806
    Some tips:

    - avoid state sales tax in the US by making the purchase over the phone with your card (a 'customer not present' transaction), having the bike delivered to an out of state address and then have it shipped back to wherever you happen to be. I saved $1000 on a top of the range Serotta this way - bought it in San Francisco, had it delivered to a friendly bike shop in Nevada and then straight back to where I was staying in San Francisco.

    Other tips which I couldn't possibly endorse:

    - make shiny surfaces look dull with egg white
    - coffee grounds are convincing fake dirt
    - fit some part worn tyres
    - attack the bar tape with a cheese grater for that crashed look
    - put the odd bit of scruffed up gaffer tape on the frame
    - ship the bike in a cardboard bike box with a different brand name on it
    - post the receipts and manuals home (obviously)
    - pack the bike with worn/smelly cycling clothes and a scratched old bottle
    - get a sticker from a British bike shop and stick it on the frame
    - look as if you have actually been on a cycling holiday, with appropriate tan marks
    <hr>
    <h6>What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway</h6>
  • clantonclanton Posts: 1,287
    Out of curiosity - how much would it cost you to do it all legally? ie saying you wre heading to the states in any case, what import duties do you pay on a bike?
  • EurostarEurostar Posts: 1,806
    Look it up on the Customs and Excise site - there's a very helpful chart there.
    <hr>
    <h6>What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway</h6>
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