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Buying from the States/Facebook

Discuss vintage Kenner and Palitoy Star Wars toys from the 1977-1985 era.
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Robstyley
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Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby Robstyley » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:55 am

I've only dipped my toe in the world of SW facebook and have bought a few things but I have found myself browsing a bit more lately. It's clearly the biggest marketplace now and I've seen from the Empire and Jedi groups which are U.S based there's more good stuff comes up that I'd like that I just don't see as much over here. And prices (of the items) seem to be often better too. I'm trying to get more variety in my collection and venture into Empire Mocs and it looks like I may have to go further afield to find what I'm after and look accross the pond. I know some of you guys are far more involved in the hobby than I am and buy from all over the world. I'm curious as to peoples thoughts on buying from the States. Is it really worth the cost of postage and import fees etc? What are your experiences, what extra do you pay? Have you found things you've never found over here at an overall price you can live with? It was partly Marks Tie Bomber purchase that got me pondering.

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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby coomber75 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:57 am

great question mate as I was thinking exactly the same us sales I havent got a clue re customs etc

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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby MarkG » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:03 am

We have a lovely chap here called Iain... he lives in the US and will more than likely take delivery for you and send it over to another great chap called Neil...who will then post it to you. Minimal postage and no fees
.. worth a friendly ask. :D
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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby edd_jedi » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:30 am

The key to having a great collection is to look everywhere. Facebook, forums, eBay, live events, antiques shops, and as you say all around the world. I reckon about a third of my collection has come from the USA, you quite simply just have to work out if the postage and import fees make it financially viable. Factor in 33% on top of the sale price, and ask yourself if that would make it cheaper in the UK. Of course you can try and avoid the customs charges, but that is obviously risky and not above board either so I would not recommend it for high value items.

There is no rule really for good prices, I see crazy prices for Kenner stuff in some of the US groups, and I've seen some real good deals too. The same as eBay or anywhere else.

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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby theforceuk » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:12 am

I agree you have to search everywhere, but if like me and your collecting MOCs from a huge pool of options then I don’t think you really need to buy much from America. It’s changed a lot in the last year with £ sliding against the dollar so much the deals just aren’t as easy to find anymore. I’ve still never brought anything from Facebook, think that will change soon, it’s becoming harder and harder to get stuff from eBay.
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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby Mini99 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:01 pm

I do tend to be buying more and more from FB now (Jabba’s manly), still scour eBay for bargains, and they can be found still, just takes more luck than judgement these days, look at Subzero’s Boba Fett MOC fir £175.00 :shock:
I have not bought from the US this time around, but did in the past and always got stung for import charges, which made the item often close to UK prices.
Another thing is that the pound/dollar exchange rate is so poor, and I have always had the thought about what if it arrives damaged, which I have had with some UK sales, it must be easier to deal with a UK return than a US?
I’ve read of guys asking Lian to help, never felt comfortable as I didn’t know him well enough, even though I have bought a few bits and pieces from him, but is food for thought.
As Edd said, look everywhere.
Hope that helps?

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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby subzero » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:53 pm

Iv'e bought the odd collectable here and there from the US in the past and have found one thing, if I buy on ebay.com and the item is being sold via the 'ebay global shipping program', then the customs charge ( which is automatically taken by ebay when you purchase it ) is a lot cheaper compared to the seller sending it through the normal post system via a post office. Funnily enough iv'e just bought a vintage WWF MOC figure on ebay.com this morning and the import cost through the global shipping program was only something like £15, yet if it wasn't sent through the global shipping program then Royal Mail / Parcel Force would have got hold of it and slapped on something like a £12 handling fee alone without the VAT. So I always try to buy from sellers using the ebay shipping program.

I also recently bought a Jedi Luke MOC which came up to about £240 total which included the shipping and import cost, then a week later the exact same one sold in the UK for £390 lol. Some might say that was overpriced but I still won buying mine from the US because I wouldn't have been able to bid on the UK one.
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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby Snaketibe » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:03 pm

subzero wrote:Iv'e bought the odd collectable here and there from the US in the past and have found one thing, if I buy on ebay.com and the item is being sold via the 'ebay global shipping program', then the customs charge ( which is automatically taken by ebay when you purchase it ) is a lot cheaper compared to the seller sending it through the normal post system via a post office. Funnily enough iv'e just bought a vintage WWF MOC figure on ebay.com this morning and the import cost through the global shipping program was only something like £15, yet if it wasn't sent through the global shipping program then Royal Mail / Parcel Force would have got hold of it and slapped on something like a £12 handling fee alone without the VAT. So I always try to buy from sellers using the ebay shipping program.

I also recently bought a Jedi Luke MOC which came up to about £240 total which included the shipping and import cost, then a week later the exact same one sold in the UK for £390 lol. Some might say that was overpriced but I still won buying mine from the US because I wouldn't have been able to bid on the UK one.

As someone who buys from the US on eBay all the time, yes, I completely agree that the customs charges are usually less with the Global Shipping Program since the Royal Mail can't add on their 'money for doing nothing' fee. The downside however is that the ordinary postage charge from the US to the UK is (in my experience), usually much higher than if the seller doesn't use the Global Shipping Program. As with all these things, and as said above, you need to work out the total cost to you before making the purchase and decide if it is acceptable to you.

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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby subzero » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:29 pm

Snaketibe wrote:The downside however is that the ordinary postage charge from the US to the UK is (in my experience), usually much higher than if the seller doesn't use the Global Shipping Program. As with all these things, and as said above, you need to work out the total cost to you before making the purchase and decide if it is acceptable to you.


That's true too, I have been lucky though with all my figure sales from the US so far as iv'e happened to find ones where the shipping has only cost around £15, like the WWF figure I ordered this morning was £15 shipping too. But yes like you say most / nearly all of them do have high shipping cost.

Also another cheeky way around the VAT is to ask the seller if they can ship the item as a gift and mark the value under $20, 90% of sellers won't do it for obvious reasons but you can get lucky and get a surprising "yes" from the seller, usually when they just want to get the sale for an item that's taking a while to sell. I bought a He-Man MOC figure this year for £430 with shipping and paid zero import 8)
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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby edd_jedi » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:45 pm

Yep the GSP gets a lot of stick, but at least it's transparent and a lot quicker than Royal Mail (that's what pisses me off most about RM customs charges, not only do they sting you for about 25% extra, it also holds the package up for at least a week longer so you have to wait longer to pay more!)

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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby Robstyley » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:56 pm

Some good info there chaps, thanks. I think it could be the case for me that if the price is good, if it's of reasonably high value, if the postage + charges are half sensible and it's something I really do want quite a lot then it will be worth it, every now and then. I know that's a lot of ifs but as people have said you need to weigh it all up and then decide if it's viable. It's prob not going to be worth buying something for a small amount only to find it'll be the same again to send it! I might give it a go with a Moc just to see how it goes.

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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby Mini99 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:20 pm

Robstyley wrote:Some good info there chaps, thanks. I think it could be the case for me that if the price is good, if it's of reasonably high value, if the postage + charges are half sensible and it's something I really do want quite a lot then it will be worth it, every now and then. I know that's a lot of ifs but as people have said you need to weigh it all up and then decide if it's viable. It's prob not going to be worth buying something for a small amount only to find it'll be the same again to send it! I might give it a go with a Moc just to see how it goes.


Sounds about right to me, good luck and enjoy what ever you chose to do.

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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby theforceuk » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:17 pm

A good tip with expensive items in America is getting the seller to send the item to AFA for you, get it graded and pay no custom charges what so ever. :)
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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby Mini99 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:33 pm

theforceuk wrote:A good tip with expensive items in America is getting the seller to send the item to AFA for you, get it graded and pay no custom charges what so ever. :)


Now that’s a clever idea!

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Re: Buying from the States/Facebook

Postby peekaygee73 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:28 am

subzero wrote:Also another cheeky way around the VAT is to ask the seller if they can ship the item as a gift and mark the value under $20, 90% of sellers won't do it for obvious reasons but you can get lucky and get a surprising "yes" from the seller, usually when they just want to get the sale for an item that's taking a while to sell. I bought a He-Man MOC figure this year for £430 with shipping and paid zero import 8)

Risky though; if it's sent as gift you're not covered should your item disappear in the post. When you're talking about a 5% customs charge (and I know it involves a lot of red tape to claim back as they usually charge 20%) it's worth paying for the peace of mind on an expensive item.


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