canon rumors FORUM

Gear Talk => Deals on Gear => Topic started by: Albi86 on September 19, 2012, 04:43:31 AM

Title: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: Albi86 on September 19, 2012, 04:43:31 AM
If like me you are European, you know very well how frustrating the 1:1 $/€ conversion in street price is.

I noticed that many Swiss shops have amazingly low prices compared to other European countries. Being Switzerland out of the Euro-zone, custom fees still applies though.

One thing is not clear to me:

If I go to Switzerland to pick the stuff personally, how can they demonstrate it wasn't mine already?

Let's put it the other way around: I go to Switzerland and I get checked at the douane. They will find my smartphone, my laptop, etc etc. They are my personal effects bought in my home country, I won't have to pay fees to carry them with me in Switzerland. Now imagine I go back to my country: how can they proove I bought my camera there and didn't have it with me when I arrived?

Or put it otherwise: if I live in Switzerland for 5 years before coming back to my home country, am I supposed to pay import taxes on a 5 years old product I bought there?
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: aj1575 on September 19, 2012, 05:34:21 AM
The prices are very nice in Switzeland at the moment. I hope they won't change to soon.
Actually, you just have to try it to take it over the border. It shouldn't be a problem, it did it the other way round (into switzerland). You should make sure though, that you throw away the box, and store the receipt and the manual far away from the camera, so if they make a search they won't get suspicious. A little bit dirt and grease on the camera should also help (maybe you've got an old lens to mount on it).
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: rambarra on September 19, 2012, 05:35:02 AM
if you get searched when you get back home they can find carton boxes & accessories and ask therefore for Tax payment (typically VAT if you live in another european country).

One solution could be go there, buy the camera/lens etc, flatten the boxes and mail them back to yr address. Then if you get stopped for custom control simply say that the camera is yours.

Check for warranty services in your country though. It is not granted that a swiss warranty card will be accepted in your local repair center.

Anyways if you are into importing things it is usually easier and cheaper to buy items via internet from hk and have them sent to you by courier (with a lower value declared, which would result in lower taxation)



Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: Albi86 on September 19, 2012, 05:41:51 AM
if you get searched when you get back home they can find carton boxes & accessories and ask therefore for Tax payment (typically VAT if you live in another european country).

One solution could be go there, buy the camera/lens etc, flatten the boxes and mail them back to yr address. Then if you get stopped for custom control simply say that the camera is yours.

Check for warranty services in your country though. It is not granted that a swiss warranty card will be accepted in your local repair center.

Anyways if you are into importing things it is usually easier and cheaper to buy items via internet from hk and have them sent to you by courier (with a lower value declared, which would result in lower taxation)

I'm not into importing things for commercial use.

I was just wondering how they can proove that I bought my stuff there if I carry it with me, let's say without being inside the box. It all seems too unpractical, considering the amount of technology people usually bring with themselves while travelling.
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: AmbientLight on September 19, 2012, 09:13:20 AM
Even if you are not importing stuff for commercial use, you will still have to accept customs regulations. You won't be happy, if border police find a sales receipt on you without having paid customs. Then again without the receipt you won't get any warranty.
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: KimH on September 19, 2012, 10:20:33 AM
Living 1 hour away (north) from Shaf'hus i have had these thoughts as well.

I am told that german customs are able - when required - to track your serial number with Canon (in this case) to verify if you did (or didn't) buy it in Switzerland.

I have been living in US for some years and your "household goods" are exempt from this issue when you move back and forth as long as it looks like your own household goods and the values are not excesive (like 20*400 2.8 IS II - NIB vould be)
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: Albi86 on September 19, 2012, 11:41:05 AM
So what if you buy an used lens from Swiss citizen? Are you supposed to pay VAT on that too?

What if you live in Switzerland and go on holiday in your home country? Are you supposed to pay custom fees on all your goods - that you of course bought where you live?
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: luoto on September 19, 2012, 03:16:30 PM
Out of interest any online recommendations in CH. might be there next spring... Doesn't hurt to look. 
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: AmbientLight on September 19, 2012, 04:44:32 PM
there are many online vendors in Switzerland. My personal favorite and as far as I know one of the most successful vendors in Switzerland is www.digitec.ch (http://www.digitec.ch). There prices are quite good and they are very honest regarding delivery times. They have several shops, so that you can order online and then pick up the wares in the shop most convenient for you.

I know this reads almost like advertising, but no, I am not working for digitec, I am just one of their many customers.
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: AmbientLight on September 19, 2012, 04:49:55 PM
So what if you buy an used lens from Swiss citizen? Are you supposed to pay VAT on that too?

What if you live in Switzerland and go on holiday in your home country? Are you supposed to pay custom fees on all your goods - that you of course bought where you live?

Yes, customs apply to used items as well. I suppose you better read some customs regulations to avoid seriously getting into trouble. Just recently I was standing in line at Basel customs behind a guy complaining that he didn't know regulations. This is exactly the recipe for paying extra, that is extra fines. That doesn't make sense to me.
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: rambarra on September 20, 2012, 05:31:01 AM
In most cases at custom control it all comes down to a matter of luck or to how picky that particular officer is. They see such things every day, it is a part of their work and they are used to every possible trick one might say.
For example they could check the number of actuations on you camera. If it says 75 shots taken it will be difficult to prove that you purchased it so-long-time-ago in your home country.

I do not believe possible that they check serials, bcs (apart from being very un-practical), if you bought camera  in your home country. and paid VAT to the vendor, and this very same vendor imported the item from (say) switzerland what will happen? Will you have to prove all such things to the officer? Will you have to pay VAT twice? HIghly unlikely IMO.



Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: Albi86 on September 20, 2012, 05:44:46 AM
In most cases at custom control it all comes down to a matter of luck or to how picky that particular officer is. They see such things every day, it is a part of their work and they are used to every possible trick one might say.
For example they could check the number of actuations on you camera. If it says 75 shots taken it will be difficult to prove that you purchased it so-long-time-ago in your home country.



This makes it all very random though. I assume there must be some sort of clear rules.

I'm used to think that one is innocent unless proved guilty. It's not me who has to prove I bought my camera in my country, it's them who have to prove I bought my camera there.

And I wonder how they would do that. I don't think there are differences in serial numbers within Europe.
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: Octavian on September 20, 2012, 06:45:33 AM
have you guys not tried www.idealo.de? (http://www.idealo.de?)
its all stores from Germany in the search results very handy

look for Canon eos 5d MarkIII not mkIII

typcialy values are €2,950 compared to Ireland were it retails at €3399  €450 difference!!   :o
Canon 24-70 II is about €2,150 Ireland €2,599 saving €450

Thats about €900 saved for a MkIII and 24-70 II


Plus importing from Germany doesnt require Vat or Duty to be paid.   8)

Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: romanr74 on September 20, 2012, 07:08:28 AM
I can happen to you that you pay customs and import VAT when YOU cannot proove it belonged to you already when you crossed the border the other way. THEY will not need to proove the opposite.
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: MartinM on September 20, 2012, 07:12:10 AM
So what if you buy an used lens from Swiss citizen? Are you supposed to pay VAT on that too?

What if you live in Switzerland and go on holiday in your home country? Are you supposed to pay custom fees on all your goods - that you of course bought where you live?

I can tell you what the procedure is. I have exported around 40 camera items to Germany, Netherlands and Greece in the past 12 month.

Anything you bring from Switzerland over the border into Germany, that surpasses the free value of 300 Euro need to be declared and VAT will apply (21%). The chance to get searched is minimal and if you don't carry any box with you and you put camera and lenses in the bag, this should be no issue at all.

Anything sent by mail that surpasses 50 Euro, VAT applies. In this case it is like playing Euro Millions. Some of my sendings were taxed and others not. Not the value made the change, thats for sure. The Sony Alpha 900 i sent to Cologne was never taxed. Passed directly to recipient. On the other hand I sent an Acra Swiss Plate to Germany and the german customs asked for VAT ;)

The most improtant thing for German customs is that a proforma invoice is being attached outside of the package and the amount looks credible.

Thats it.

digitec.ch, heiniger ag and brack are good shops I can recommend.
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: pato on September 20, 2012, 07:48:54 AM
Hi,
First of all, I'm swiss :)
About the customs, as far as I know it works like this (only valid when going to Germany, other countries might have other laws).
Let's assume you bought something in Switzerland, like an expensive 5D MK3. In that case you would have to pay 21% taxes when going into Germany (other countries have other taxes), but you can get the 8% swiss taxes back.
If you don't pay them and they beleive you bought this camera in Switzerland, then you need to prove them that you bought it somewhere else. You can prove this by sending them a copy of the original receipt, which often carries either your name/creditcard details/serialnumber on it. Now if you can't bring this up (as you did not truly bought it outside of Switzerland) you have to pay the taxes, plus usually the same ammount again as punishment.

By sending stuff per mail, it's the receiving country which adds the tax. So in that case it depends on which country you send it to.

A new 5D MK3 body is currently around ~2700 EUR, depending on exchange rate.

pato
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: Albi86 on September 20, 2012, 09:18:35 AM

If you don't pay them and they beleive you bought this camera in Switzerland, then you need to prove them that you bought it somewhere else. You can prove this by sending them a copy of the original receipt, which often carries either your name/creditcard details/serialnumber on it.

This would make a lot of sense, if only gifts didn't exist. Or 2nd hand purchases.

I honestly don't have a receipt for every item I own, nor I would ever be able to provide one with my name on it. Also, we usually get general receipts here when you buy in a physical shop, without name or anything else addressing me in particular as the purchaser.

So again, it sounds a lot like custom officers are the gestapo. I doubt one could actually be condemned to anything without clear evidence.
Title: Re: Buying from Switzerland
Post by: aj1575 on September 21, 2012, 04:32:22 AM
there are many online vendors in Switzerland. My personal favorite and as far as I know one of the most successful vendors in Switzerland is www.digitec.ch (http://www.digitec.ch). There prices are quite good and they are very honest regarding delivery times. They have several shops, so that you can order online and then pick up the wares in the shop most convenient for you.

I know this reads almost like advertising, but no, I am not working for digitec, I am just one of their many customers.

Digitec is rellay great; I orderd my 35mm f2 there at 09:00 in the morning, and could pick it up the same day at 16:00. Great service.