Bringing stuff back from the US into the UK

What are my chances of being caught by customs bringing a Laptop back into the UK from the US

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#1
Given that in the UK we get bumfcuked on price when purchasing Laptops and other techno goodies is it a good idea to "smuggle" US kit bought at a much lower price into the UK? Hypothetically speaking of course.
 
#3
At present the first £145 value is duty free and you then have to pay tax on the extra. This is due to be doubled to £290 in the new year so 2008 could be a good time to go. The nice people at Customs will tell you what your duty liability may be and if you factor this in buying in the US you may well still be in profit. Equally if the kit is used and thus cannot be sold 'as new' the value will be reduced which may also help.

If you are bringing stuff in do not keep the original packaging as that will make you a target, I once bought a camera in dixons vat free and picked it up on my way back and was pounced on but having the dixons paperwork in my hand was a good get out of jail free card. Equally remeber they can be quite harsh if they think you are trying to pull a fast one, doubling the duty, and /or cnfiscating the goods just to avoid prosecution.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
It has been known for some people to purchase their electronic goods in the US and then opening and using said goods, whilst removing all evidence of US purchase for the return journey. These erroneous miscreants of no moral fibre have put these devices in their hand luggage and pretended it was theirs all along, would you believe.

Allegedly, the illegal import duty fraud method has met with some success.

I strongly advise you not to engage in any such act as it is illegal for a person to knowingly defraud HM Government of taxes and duties, punishable by fine, confiscation of goods and maybe even a prison sentence. As a further disclaimer, the information herein this reply is passed on merely as heresay and no actual event or people involved is known to me.

I hope this helps.
 
#5
I say go for it. UK customs seems to be 'run' by people with about an hours training compared to US customs.
 
#7
Brilliant!
 
#9
Better still take an old cra*y laptop (can buy on ebay for £50) and make sure that it is checked in as luggage, with extra insurance of course, and then replace it in the USA. If you get stopped at customs on the way back (unlikely) just tell them it is the one you took out with you, thus avoiding the need to pay tax.

N.B Not that I in any way condone ripping of HM Government of their rightful Tax and Duties, thus depriving them of larger bonuses, kick backs etc etc etc
 
#10
supermark500 said:
I say go for it. UK customs seems to be 'run' by people with about an hours training compared to US customs.
Having done a lot of international travel over the years I can assure you our guys can be just as effective, and will take an extremely personal dislike to some one trying to work as fast one. Recently I watched our local chaps pull the cigarette smagglers of our holiday flight each one had gone on holiday with hand baggage and come back with a suitcase, each one was stopped and the collared many thousand cigarettes
 
#11
maxi_77 said:
supermark500 said:
I say go for it. UK customs seems to be 'run' by people with about an hours training compared to US customs.
Having done a lot of international travel over the years I can assure you our guys can be just as effective, and will take an extremely personal dislike to some one trying to work as fast one. Recently I watched our local chaps pull the cigarette smagglers of our holiday flight each one had gone on holiday with hand baggage and come back with a suitcase, each one was stopped and the collared many thousand cigarettes
While I commend them on a job well done I have never actually seen anyone manning the customs area at Heathrow within the last 5 years (but I only fly twice a year). But trying to get into or out of USA has always been a bit of a hassle.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
I concur. Getting in and out of Heathrow or Gatwick, no problem, but arrival and departure from the states with my four wives is always quite problematical. Is this because of my religion, or the fact that my wives faces are covered, or is it merely down to the electronics we carry about our persons?
 
#13
supermark500 said:
maxi_77 said:
supermark500 said:
I say go for it. UK customs seems to be 'run' by people with about an hours training compared to US customs.
Having done a lot of international travel over the years I can assure you our guys can be just as effective, and will take an extremely personal dislike to some one trying to work as fast one. Recently I watched our local chaps pull the cigarette smagglers of our holiday flight each one had gone on holiday with hand baggage and come back with a suitcase, each one was stopped and the collared many thousand cigarettes
While I commend them on a job well done I have never actually seen anyone manning the customs area at Heathrow within the last 5 years (but I only fly twice a year). But trying to get into or out of USA has always been a bit of a hassle.
Just because you can't see them doesn't mean that they're not there. I for one don't propose to tell a professional how they should be doing their job. Of course they always do seem very surprised if anyone does go through the red channel and tries to declare something. Maybe they're paid by commission or something.

Having done a number of trips to the US in the past few years, I've never had a problem with customs. I just hand them a little piece of paper that says I'm not smuggling nuclear material and go straight through. US Immigration on the other hand :twisted:
 
#14
True, and I guess they do know the 'sort' of person they are looking for and can spy on them with CCTV. I would at least expect there to be someone visible in the green aisle.
 

Mr_Fingerz

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
PassingBells said:
. Maybe they're paid by commission or something.quote]

They aren't (though they were many years ago). They get the same salary as any other AO or EO in the civil service (with enhancements for shift work and being on-call).
 
#16
apparently US immigration has managed to get itself mentioned as a reason why people don't want to got to the US on holiday :roll:
daft gits still havn't figured out you can do they same checks witthout pissing people off
biped as you come from hastings how does your dna get classed as human in the states anyway :twisted:
 
#17
My advice is buy the laptop over there, put it in the hold and secure it with a couple of packets of marzipan, duck taped to the top and bottom, slip a copy of the koran into your hand luggage and wear a turban. Helps if you have a few weeks growth on the face. Maybe top it off with some sunglasses and an unnaturally thick coat for the time of year. You'll probably breeze through customs.
 
#19
on a slightly more geeky note.... make sure it goes in the cabin with you, if it goes in the hold there is a chance the screen can end up ruined due to condensation getting between the laminate layers.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
brighton hippy said:
apparently US immigration has managed to get itself mentioned as a reason why people don't want to got to the US on holiday :roll:
daft gits still havn't figured out you can do they same checks witthout pissing people off
biped as you come from hastings how does your dna get classed as human in the states anyway :twisted:
You evil b!tch! :evil:

Mind you, the last time I went, they helpfully provided a bus service with nice curtains to take me out to an even better destination than the one I'd been planning. I'd never been to the desert before, and this place was so remote, the area was called just that 'Area' and then some number or other. I wasn't keen on the sexual experimentation or the helicopter playing notes and flashing lights at me. It didn't end too well, because after I'd seen the medical insurance doctors, my ride back was in a cage.
 

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