Flying to the USA to pick up a guitar

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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 18325
    Just pay for a top dollar service from UPS.

    Or fly out with a guitar, sell it in the US (or trade it in) and return with a guitar. I'm sure they won't have seen that before .. ;-)
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • webrthomsonwebrthomson Frets: 394
    I used to live in Philly and hand carried guitars back and forward maybe 6 or 7 times over the 6 years I lived there - I never had any issues with custom on either end and TBH the only thing that stopped me doing it was that airlines stopped agreeing to put them in the sports good lockers where the Ski's and golf clubs get stored.

    I was much less keen when I had to buy a ticket or it went in the hold, for obvious reasons on both counts.
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  • BoromedicBoromedic Frets: 1017
    edited June 9
    I say do it, would be a great adventure but if it's possible try and scope some potential alternative guitar stock local to the one you're going for in case it turns out to be a dog. 

    Part of me wonders if the people complaining about you avoiding import duties are just as concerned about say, Amazon's tax avoidance? As much as they are about your potential miniscule duty payment of a few hundred quid? I bet they still buy stuff from them without a second thought, and then try and pull the hypocritical moral high ground cos HMRC miss out on a few quid. Ridiculous, if I could do it, I certainly would.

    .....and what to my wondering eyes should appear.....      nothing.......


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  • valevale Frets: 1039
    fandango said:
    Sporky said:
    fandango said:
    Sporky said:
    prowla said:
    Suppose you took out an empty case, or maybe one containing a cheapie, and then brought "it" back - would there be any duties...
    How would you prove you took it out? 
    How would they prove the OP didn't? 
    That's not how customs & excise work. The legal burden of proof is on you, not them. 
    Hmmmm ... but Customs have to initiate the enquiry (request proof). They will only initiate an enquiry if something prompts them. If one stays under their radar ......
    easy. hide it under your hijab.
    hofner hussie & hayman harpie. what she said...
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  • webrthomsonwebrthomson Frets: 394
    edited June 10
    Boromedic said:
    Part of me wonders if the people complaining about you avoiding import duties are just as concerned about say, Amazon's tax avoidance? As much as they are about your potential miniscule duty payment of a few hundred quid? I bet they still buy stuff from them without a second thought, and then try and pull the hypocritical moral high ground cos HMRC miss out on a few quid. Ridiculous, if I could do it, I certainly would.
    Yup, all the following companys paid basically zero corporation tax in the UK after making millions in profit:

    1. Amazon
    2. Starbucks
    3. Google
    4. Gap
    5. Apple
    6. Cafe Nero
    7. Vodaphone
    8. Waterstones
    9. EE
    10. Topshop
    11. Boots
    12. MacDonalds
    13. Vision Express
    14. Thomas Cook
    15. Diageo
    16. Glencore
    17. facebook
    18. ebay

    Anyone still bothered by a few £100 in missed inport duty on one guitar?

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  • mburekengemburekenge Frets: 652
    You are a terrible human being! How dare you attempt to avoid paying a couple of hundred quid of tax on a musical instrument...

    paying no tax is only for the likes of Amazon, Starbucks, Vodaphone and those other small timers.


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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 1981
    I never understand when people get upset about individuals trying to get out of tax on one item.
    It's not like you're ever going to see anything from that. 
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 14754
    I'm not sure that's a terribly watertight argument.

    After all, Harold Shipman murdered over 200 people and no-one here did anything to stop him. Does that make it hypocritical for any of us to say murder is wrong? 
    Parachutes are great, for dogs and Frenchmen. 
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  • BoromedicBoromedic Frets: 1017
    edited June 10
    Well is it also not a bit of a stretch to compare being a mass murderer to a dude wanting to dodge a few hundred in tax?

    Plus if Howard came to you first a la the OP and said "Hey Sporky, do you think I'd be batshit crazy if I start knocking off all these old people mate?" "No one will miss em, what's a bit of morphine between friends?" Then it would be the same, in the instance you're referring to you're comparing apples with oranges.

    Edit: Of course there is nothing wrong with pointing out the blindingly obvious to the OP that avoiding HMRC is naughty, (which I'm sure he would've been aware of). Some of you have been offering helpful advice in a friendly way, but others not so much, they were the hypocrites really. The ones who were so absolute in their damnation of the OP.

    .....and what to my wondering eyes should appear.....      nothing.......


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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 347
    tbh it always winds me up when people use a false equivalence or 'whataboutery' to justify actions.  You're going headfirst into something you know is wrong. Own it. Don't try to justify it. In fairness, the OP didn't try to justify it so fair play. 

    You're allowed to dislike more than one thing. Both Amazon's avoidance of corporation tax and people in construction doing cash jobs and not claiming about 75% of their income are both bad.  Deliberately setting out to cheat the HMRC and trying to formulate a grand plan in order to achieve it is not great either, even if it is way down the list on the scale of things. Worse than taking too much duty free sangria back from Benidorm through but not as bad as being a serial killer. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • AnchorboyAnchorboy Frets: 127
    @skinfreak ;
    I've done this twice - flying from Belfast to NYC to collect guitars. Flights were £170 return with Norwegian Airlines which made it a no brainer. Take a capo, old set of strings and some plectrums .. throw them in the case along with a strap and customs would be none the wiser if they ever stopped you. 

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  • SporkySporky Frets: 14754
    edited June 10
    What I was going for is the notion that was expressed - that it's OK to do something you know is illegal if someone else is doing it worse.

    Also the bizarre idea that anyone who's ever done anything naughty is not allowed to express an opinion on other people doing anything naughty.

    Or the suggestion that anyone who has ever acted not-in-keeping with their principles (with no allowance for nuance, context or change of opinion) may not express any opinion. By that metric no-one should ever say anything, including that suggestion itself.

    All of these come across as attempts to shut down opposing viewpoints out-of-hand. I'm not saying that's the intention, but it's the logical/ridiculous conclusion. 

    FWIW, I'm just thinking out loud, not condemning or criticising anyone. 
    Parachutes are great, for dogs and Frenchmen. 
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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 1981
    My point wasn't that other people are doing it worse, it's the people who get really upset and seem to take it on a personal level. Why get upset about something so small that you're never going to see benefit from? I'm not saying its good or bad, though if I were gonna go one way I'd obviously go with bad. 
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  • bacchanalianbacchanalian Frets: 282
    Boromedic said:
    Part of me wonders if the people complaining about you avoiding import duties are just as concerned about say, Amazon's tax avoidance? As much as they are about your potential miniscule duty payment of a few hundred quid? I bet they still buy stuff from them without a second thought, and then try and pull the hypocritical moral high ground cos HMRC miss out on a few quid. Ridiculous, if I could do it, I certainly would.
    Yup, all the following companys paid basically zero corporation tax in the UK after making millions in profit:

    1. Amazon
    2. Starbucks
    3. Google
    4. Gap
    5. Apple
    6. Cafe Nero
    7. Vodaphone
    8. Waterstones
    9. EE
    10. Topshop
    11. Boots
    12. MacDonalds
    13. Vision Express
    14. Thomas Cook
    15. Diageo
    16. Glencore
    17. facebook
    18. ebay

    Anyone still bothered by a few £100 in missed inport duty on one guitar?

    Unfortunately this is the way of the world now. The difference with using these companies as examples is that they provide a large number of jobs and the employees pay tax and contribute to the economy.  In a few years, after current political developments, we may well have to pay some of these companies to stay in the UK.

    It cannot make economic sense to shop in the US or else we would all do it. The only rational reason to go is if the guitar is so special that it is worth the additional time and expense. Only the OP can decide that. Or, if you happen to be on a business trip, paid for by your employer, and you manage to shoehorn in some shopping.
    it is an interesting thing, how some 'thinking out loud' has turned into an economic and moral discussion requiring the input of lawyers, psychologists and moral philosophers.

    (Yes, I know I have added to it)
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 14754
    DefaultM said:
    My point wasn't that other people are doing it worse, it's the people who get really upset and seem to take it on a personal level. Why get upset about something so small that you're never going to see benefit from? I'm not saying its good or bad, though if I were gonna go one way I'd obviously go with bad. 
    Ah - sorry, my post wasn't aimed at yours. I think you posted while I was typing. 
    Parachutes are great, for dogs and Frenchmen. 
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 347
    edited June 10
    DefaultM said:
    My point wasn't that other people are doing it worse, it's the people who get really upset and seem to take it on a personal level. Why get upset about something so small that you're never going to see benefit from? I'm not saying its good or bad, though if I were gonna go one way I'd obviously go with bad. 

    Because if everyone acted that way we'd be screwed. 

    I say this as someone who has had a history of seesawing from the lofty morals of the purest of the pure to those of a feral alleycat.


    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 390
    Hope there’s no customs or VAt people who frequent this forum :)
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 359
    sev112 said:
    Hope there’s no customs or VAt people who frequent this forum :)
    Seems a little harsh. They might do an unpopular job but they should be just as welcome as anyone else surely? ;))
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  • BoromedicBoromedic Frets: 1017
    edited June 10
    Sporky said:
    What I was going for is the notion that was expressed - that it's OK to do something you know is illegal if someone else is doing it worse.

    Also the bizarre idea that anyone who's ever done anything naughty is not allowed to express an opinion on other people doing anything naughty.

    Or the suggestion that anyone who has ever acted not-in-keeping with their principles (with no allowance for nuance, context or change of opinion) may not express any opinion. By that metric no-one should ever say anything, including that suggestion itself.

    All of these come across as attempts to shut down opposing viewpoints out-of-hand. I'm not saying that's the intention, but it's the logical/ridiculous conclusion. 

    FWIW, I'm just thinking out loud, not condemning or criticising anyone. 
    I actually agree with you, the discourse is a good thing when people are being reasonable, its good for the OP to hear opposing viewpoints that's for sure. It just seemed like a few people wanted to bang tables, whilst others shrug their shoulders at worse things but want to shut down one person because they can. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on the OP, after all that's what was asked for. Just don't be an ass about it either.

    .....and what to my wondering eyes should appear.....      nothing.......


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  • DefaultMDefaultM Frets: 1981
    Sporky said:
    DefaultM said:
    My point wasn't that other people are doing it worse, it's the people who get really upset and seem to take it on a personal level. Why get upset about something so small that you're never going to see benefit from? I'm not saying its good or bad, though if I were gonna go one way I'd obviously go with bad. 
    Ah - sorry, my post wasn't aimed at yours. I think you posted while I was typing. 
    Oops!
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  • notanonnotanon Frets: 236
    @skinfreak are you still thinking of flying out shipping? Can you say what the guitar is yet? Pictures or links please ;-)
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  • ricorico Frets: 939
    I’d bloody well go for it. It sounds like fun!
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  • vizviz Frets: 5106
    If you want to check the instrument before buying it and you fancy a trip and can afford it, go for it; you can still pay the duty. That way you have a dream guitar, you’ve had a fun time and you haven’t broken the law.

    If the above doesn’t apply, pay for a platinum courier service.

    If the whole thing is about evading customs duties then I don’t recommend it!
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  • The biggest mistake the OP has made here isn’t alerting the tax people it’s alerting his wife!

    The only course of action available now is to travel to the states for a nice holiday with his wife, and come back with a guitar if there is enough money left in the piggy bank :-)
    Link to my trading feedback: http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/58787/
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  • AustrianJohnAustrianJohn Frets: 414
    Boromedic said:
    Part of me wonders if the people complaining about you avoiding import duties are just as concerned about say, Amazon's tax avoidance? As much as they are about your potential miniscule duty payment of a few hundred quid? I bet they still buy stuff from them without a second thought, and then try and pull the hypocritical moral high ground cos HMRC miss out on a few quid. Ridiculous, if I could do it, I certainly would.
    Yup, all the following companys paid basically zero corporation tax in the UK after making millions in profit:

    1. Amazon
    2. Starbucks
    3. Google
    4. Gap
    5. Apple
    6. Cafe Nero
    7. Vodaphone
    8. Waterstones
    9. EE
    10. Topshop
    11. Boots
    12. MacDonalds
    13. Vision Express
    14. Thomas Cook
    15. Diageo
    16. Glencore
    17. facebook
    18. ebay

    Anyone still bothered by a few £100 in missed inport duty on one guitar?

    Legally minimising the tax a company pays is quite reasonable. The real problem is that the Government/HMRC provides the loopholes for these companies to exploit.
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  • kt66kt66 Frets: 199
    I went to Manny's NYC mid 90s, they told me if I bought a guitar they would do me a form to say it had been returned for repairs
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  • designerseye88designerseye88 Frets: 281
    kt66 said:
    I went to Manny's NYC mid 90s, they told me if I bought a guitar they would do me a form to say it had been returned for repairs
    With vintage guitar shops often competing for business I guess it may be quite easy for a shop to do this if needed as so to get your business?

    On another note what If you go on a cruise to New York and back? is their the same level of customs? On a ship you could argue you took the guitar to just play? 
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3447
    I used to live in Philly and hand carried guitars back and forward maybe 6 or 7 times over the 6 years I lived there - I never had any issues with custom on either end and TBH the only thing that stopped me doing it was that airlines stopped agreeing to put them in the sports good lockers where the Ski's and golf clubs get stored.

    I was much less keen when I had to buy a ticket or it went in the hold, for obvious reasons on both counts.
    This, BA especially have clamped down on instruments as hand luggage, smuggled ('cos th's what it is) or otherwise.
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • siremoonsiremoon Frets: 577
    I don't really follow the Amazon et al comparison.  What those companies do may be immoral, ethically untenable etc but it is not illegal, smuggling goods through UK Customs is.
    “He is like a man with a fork in a world of soup.” - Noel Gallagher
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 1723
    siremoon said:
    I don't really follow the Amazon et al comparison.  What those companies do may be immoral, ethically untenable etc but it is not illegal, smuggling goods through UK Customs is.
    You're probably right.
    And if you actually think that sneaking a guitar through without paying duty is worse, I'm assuming you must be the CEO of Amazon so can you let me know when you are next having a blow-out on Gibsons please?
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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