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Thread: Buying online from USA sites

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Default Buying online from USA sites

    Hello there fellow CSers, I've been pretty confused about the mechanics of online buying of photography equipment from sites like B&H Photo and Amazon.

    Walk me through the calculations for these 2 items please?

    #1
    Canon Speedlite 580EXII
    US$ 409.95, S$565.321 when S$1 = US$1.379 (Eh? Wth, the US$ depreciate until so low?)

    #2
    Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
    US$ 1140, S$1,572.06 when S$1 = US$1.379

    Lets say that I will take the UPS / Fedex international delivery methods and am willing to wait long for the product to be delivered.

    What will be the additional costs of importing like that? I'd take a wild guess and say that the US export tax, SG import / GST tax and international delivery costs are the only factors that'll affect right? If so, what'll be the approximate costs of attaining the above products?

    Oh, and do you guys think that buying online is justifiable in terms of cost savings and stuff? I mean, would you guys buy from online (plus additional costs) and save some money, instead of buying from local stores like CP, MS and John?

    Thanks for reading, and hopefully I can have a better understanding of the calculations soon =)

    Cheers~
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying online from USA sites

    You'd probably be taxed for any item over $400. As for shipping and handling costs, it varies from vendors. Some vendors will only ship EMS which costs significantly higher than registered air mails. You better check with them before making the purchase. Don't forget to include bank charges be it CC, TT, etc. So your final rates could be more than what you think. My most recent purchase using UOB card, the rate was $1.388. It doesn't really add up to much but its still good to know.

    There is always a risk buying something which you have not tired or seen before in person, especially so for electronics. You have to gauge the risk yourself. Although most of these online shops have return policies but there will be costs incurred(on your side) even if they allow you to return the goods, you have to pay the shipping costs to send the item back to them. On top of this, precious time is lost. Typical shipping time from the US to Singapore is around 7 to 10 days.

    In all; if I were you, I'll save the trouble and get it local. For things that can't be purchased locally, I'll consider getting them online.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Buying online from USA sites

    And not forgetting a 8% tax for purchase which lots of people missed out. Furthermore, more of the ultra cheap websites only accepts American credit cards and even for delivery, either they don't do international delivery or very expensive! Also, I think there's a clause that fragile items cannot be shipped.

    Maybe these issues could be specific to certain portals but there's lots of grey areas which we need to be careful of!

    In addition, the warranty will limited to USA only due to the liberal return policy (I know most Singaporeans will not be bothered by warranty which we've not much consumer rights...)

    I still believe that buying locally is a safer option....

  4. #4

    Default Re: Buying online from USA sites

    For me I'm a bit more kiasu, so I suggest using a slightly higher rate of conversion, because the banks always charge you more. So approx 1.43 instead of 1.379.

    I don't know about Amazon, but B&H has the shipping costs preview that you can see.

    + documentation / admin work on the courier's part (not sure if there will be extra charges for this. call the courier that you want to use)

    Also need to consider repair / warranty. If buy online, even if they offer repair, you usually have to pay for shipment of spoilt back to them. Possibly pay for the shipment of the repaired item back to you also. Depends on who you buy from (and sometimes how much you "argue".)

    And last but not least, what if the item gets stolen / lost / damaged in transit? What's the shop's policies? Will they want you to make police report? If they say refund, how long before the refund? ie. Are they going to tell you they will refund you after they get confirmation and insurance payment from the courier / post office etc? If you use registered mail, you could be waiting for months for this. UPS is also pretty bad *cough*. Fedex is the fastest in processing these, but more expensive also. Or if you decide you don't want to wait, does your payment method allow you to get back the money? Eg. Credit card chargeback, but must be done within 30 days. (double check the days with yours, and I heard your credit rating might also suffer). If paid via paypal... it's random hit and miss. TT or Western Union, forget it.

    I know a lot of people will think "sure won't happen one lah" but if it really happen how? Are you willing to take the risk? (Ps. If it really gets stolen / damaged, take photos, and keep all the packaging it came in. I do mean ALL, including the outside box / styrofoam / paper etc)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Buying online from USA sites

    Thanks for the replies people! Really appreciate them.

    Point taken about the warranty, cost of delivery back for repair / replacement and risk of not getting what you intended (bad copy etc).

    What I actually want to see are actual 'calculations' on the estimated cost.

    Lets say the 580EXII costs S$580, you need to add 7% GST, delivery fee of say S$50?.. that'll bring the cost up to about S$670.. any more extra costs? (What is the 8% tax purchase Halimao?)

    Cheers~
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  6. #6

    Default Re: Buying online from USA sites

    according to price guide on Canon forum, the 580EX II is ~S$750. Is 10%/$80 saving worth the risk?--during delivery and DOA or defect item.

    not for me.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Buying online from USA sites

    Quote Originally Posted by Headshotzx View Post
    Thanks for the replies people! Really appreciate them.

    Point taken about the warranty, cost of delivery back for repair / replacement and risk of not getting what you intended (bad copy etc).

    What I actually want to see are actual 'calculations' on the estimated cost.

    Lets say the 580EXII costs S$580, you need to add 7% GST, delivery fee of say S$50?.. that'll bring the cost up to about S$670.. any more extra costs? (What is the 8% tax purchase Halimao?)

    Cheers~
    got test on the B&H website. delivery fee around 40+ USD for cheapest option.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Buying online from USA sites

    Quote Originally Posted by kurtlim View Post
    according to price guide on Canon forum, the 580EX II is ~S$750. Is 10%/$80 saving worth the risk?--during delivery and DOA or defect item.

    not for me.
    Actually, it's S$720 from CP / MS, and no I'm not planning to buy the flash online just to save 70 bucks. It's more like a 'case study' if you want to call it that =)

    @foreverlovex: Thanks for the headsup!
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

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