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Old 5th September 2015, 10:20   #1
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Default Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

Ever since I got into biking a couple of years ago I have been shocked at the prices that people in this country pay for decent gear. There seems to be a fear of importing ones own gear to the extent that people will pay dealers hefty margins to buy gear here. Given a choice between paying those kind of prices I would probably pick up a ticket and head out to Singapore or Australia to buy my gear but I do recognise that a lot of people cannot put together the funds to combine a holiday and buying gear as you would then have to buy a lot of gear to justify going abroad.

While I do understand that there are genuine dealer websites that take the trouble to import gear and stock it and I think that they deserve to be supported, a lot of websites I have now come across promise delivery in 30-40 days which is pretty much more than what it takes to import the gear yourself and these are the ones who I have a problem with.

Anyways since I have a bit more experience in buying and importing my own gear I thought I would outline the system for those that want to give it a go. It is really not as complicated and fearful as people think it is.

BUYING AND SHIPPING:

I have so far bought stuff from FC-Moto.de, Motardinn.com, Ebay and Gumtree (australian equivalent of OLX). I have never bought through Amazon because they have really expensive shipping costs and an import fee deposit. At the outset it needs to be mentioned that each persons experience with a website is different. For example with FC-Moto there was no indication that my item was out of stock and it was only a week later that they finally shipped. Additionally even though it was shipped through DHL it took a month to land as it was finally delivered by India Post itself here and not DHL.

Some pointers with regard to buying / Shipping:

• I have till date never had an incident of someone not shipping something I have bought, so buying off most foreign websites seems to be reasonably safe. In the one case that the item I ordered went out of stock I was refunded without even having to ask for the refund.

• I do however tend to look for sites that offer paypal as I consider that safer than typing my card number into a website. Additionally paypal offers a redressal system where you can open a complaint against a merchant so this is a better form of protection.

• Most postal services such as USPS, DHL and Auspost offer trackable items, however it is important to note that while the item is in transit by air this tracking number will not reflect any activity for quite some time until it lands in India. Also Auspost has a cheaper shipping option that is not trackable so be aware of what type of shipping is being used.

• Being constantly on the lookout for closeout deals is important as the market abroad is highly seasonal and items from a couple of seasons ago are always heavily discounted (for example check the last chance bargains on the closeout section on motorcyclegear.com). I also got a closeout on an australian website where the guy was dumping his entire stock of RS Taichi stuff at 50% off!!

• Additionally if you really look out there are some fantastic deals on second hand gear abroad as they really do not care about the value of an item once they have no use for it. You would need to look on gumtree / craigslist. However postage on these kind of deals is tricky as you would not have any bill etc in case the item does get stuck in customs. If the person you are buying from is willing to mark it as a gift then you would probably get away with customs however I would not take a chance on high value items such as helmets or jackets this way. Again payment here is made safe because of paypal and its grievance system.

• Remember that sizing is a huge issue and each brand is highly specific in terms of size. For example RS Taichi being Japanese tends to be really small in all their items so I would probably go 2 sizes higher if buying Taichi. Fortunately now that Alpinestars and Dainese are available here in Bangalore I happily went into the stores and tried on their jackets prior to buying my jacket abroad.


CUSTOMS CLEARANCE:

From my experience at the Bangalore Foreign Post office and a conversation with my postman (who due to the large number of parcels and generous tips has now become very friendly with me)

• It is the foreign postal department that decides which items to sent to the customs for inspection (customs is actually on a different floor but in the same post office on museum road in Bangalore) so not all items are guaranteed to be sent to customs for inspection. Apparently typically they target items over 100 dollars in declared value or items that are marked as electronic goods (hence my LEDS came under inspection). As a disclaimer any item that is large enough would probably be treated suspiciously.

• When an item is sent up to customs an internal number is generated to track the movement from the postal to the customs department. Therefore if you want to enquire with the customs department on the status you first need to get this internal number from the postal department by giving them your tracking number and then go to the customs dept with the internal number. My advice is to not call the phone numbers given for both the customs or post as their numbers are constantly busy and it is therefore easier to get the job done in person. I have however put up a link to the numbers at the end of this for those that want to go through this ordeal.

• Always take all bills and matching credit card statements to show to the customs officer as that is how they ascertain the commercial value and type of goods in front of them.

• If the customs officer assesses that your item is dutiable you would need to pay the duty to the postman who delivers the item to you. The duty is calculated as a percentage of item cost plus shipping cost. For example my LEDS were approx 9k and shipping was 3k which is a total dutiable value of 12k. Customs on electronics was 30% i.e 3k to be paid on delivery of the parcel.

• While they will send out a letter by registered post to inform you that an item is stuck in customs, very often this letter will only land much after you have actually visited the office and cleared the consignment.

• Both the post and customs people have been hitherto quite polite to deal with and I have never had to pay anyone anything so far and the system is quite clear.


A couple of websites that can help:
http://www.dutycalculator.com can help in the calculation of duty on imports
http://foreignpostmumbai.blogspot.in...omer-care.html all the numbers for the foriegn post and customs offices in the major cities.

The usual websites for gear (most of which are discounted and primarily based in Europe)
http://www.fc-moto.de/
http://www.motoin.de/
http://www.motardinn.com/

Last edited by Rehaan : 7th September 2015 at 12:15. Reason: Adding some bold formatting & bullets too :)
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Old 5th September 2015, 14:47   #2
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

Nice tips - thanks for sharing!

The situation has vastly improved now (compared to a decade ago). I shop online all the time. Just posted on another thread of how I bought something on Amazon USA last Friday, and am already using it today .

Two related threads with additional tips:

Buying Tyres Online (My BMW, upgraded to Michelin Pilot Super Sports! Imported from TireRack.com, USA)

Thread 2
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Old 5th September 2015, 22:54   #3
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

This may be working well for Metros & big Cities or places close to sea ports but at situations away from these, the quality of service falls drastically. This is due to the following factors: Poor couriers, distance from Customs offices.

Then there are sites with which problems of returns & exchanges are well sorted out like Amazon, etc. While other lesser known sites don't offer customised solutions. Returning or exchanging with specialised riding gear sites is tough.

For people living far from big Cities the situation is grim, they shudder to order from such sites. Lots of improvements are required, like a single window system for Customs redressal, etc. Lack of air connectivity is another big deterrent.
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Old 6th September 2015, 19:14   #4
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

Good ones from US of A...
http://www.motorcyclegear.com
http://www.ridersdiscount.com
http://www.jcmotors.com
http://www.revzilla.com/

and these days, you can shop right from India as well, this means, no need to calculate import duty or anything which will all be taken care
http://www.motosport.com/

Or other best option, choose the product & ask these guys to ship
https://www.cart2india.com/
http://www.iccworld.com/
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Old 7th September 2015, 09:36   #5
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Default

Adding to the list.

www.bikebandit.com

They deliver by FedEx and customs etc. is calculated and paid during checkout. One time payment except for octroi (if applicable).

They have a very big inventory of motorcycle OEM, aftermarkets parts, apparel and closeouts.
I have had OEM parts and apparel delivered in 5 days.
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Old 7th September 2015, 11:04   #6
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

Thanks a ton for the post! I'm among the people who are not too keen on getting stuff imported privately because the red tape always looks like a downer. Definitely going to give it a shot now, particularly because there's so much stuff that I can't get here.

Quote:
Remember that sizing is a huge issue and each brand is highly specific in terms of size. For example RS Taichi being Japanese tends to be really small in all their items so I would probably go 2 sizes higher if buying Taichi. Fortunately now that Alpinestars and Dainese are available here in Bangalore I happily went into the stores and tried on their jackets prior to buying my jacket abroad.
This is my biggest concern. The sizing inconsistency makes me wary of online purchases. I figure buying items from places like Australia or the states would be a safer bet than somewhere like Japan.
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Old 7th September 2015, 11:18   #7
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

I use iccworld for getting stuff from abroad. Perhaps a bit costly, but I don't have to go to any post office or do any legwork (except to send them identity proof on email for some custom clearance). The item gets delivered at the doorstep.

In some cases, if the shipping cost is differing a lot, then perhaps it makes sense to do things on your own. But generally, I found that using a forwarding service is much more convenient.

Edit: great minds think alike aargee
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Old 8th September 2015, 19:33   #8
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

Great thread. I recently bought from fc-moto.de and the customs put a whopping 40% duty on it. Do you think I'd have been slapped with lesser duty if I had gone and submitted the document in person?
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Old 8th September 2015, 23:29   #9
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by theredliner View Post
Great thread. I recently bought from fc-moto.de and the customs put a whopping 40% duty on it. Do you think I'd have been slapped with lesser duty if I had gone and submitted the document in person?
Well not quite sure what you bought because my LEDs were pretty much the highest bracket as they were termed electronics items at 30% customs. Again if you had the specific item HS code (which you can search for on dutycalculator.com and the duty calculation then you could probably have argued your case at the office.
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Old 10th September 2015, 23:06   #10
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by bik1906 View Post
Well not quite sure what you bought because my LEDs were pretty much the highest bracket as they were termed electronics items at 30% customs. Again if you had the specific item HS code (which you can search for on dutycalculator.com and the duty calculation then you could probably have argued your case at the office.
I bought riding boots, gloves and back armor for jacket. From what little search I did, it doesn't come around 40% at all.
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Old 11th September 2015, 06:53   #11
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by theredliner View Post
I bought riding boots, gloves and back armor for jacket. From what little search I did, it doesn't come around 40% at all.

Just curious as to whether you combined this into one shipment and what was the sticker value. I upgraded my back armour to a level 2 RS taichi which was brought in from japan, but I wasn't charged anything. I didnt even have to go to the post office for that one.
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Old 13th September 2015, 11:09   #12
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

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Originally Posted by bik1906 View Post
Just curious as to whether you combined this into one shipment and what was the sticker value. I upgraded my back armour to a level 2 RS taichi which was brought in from japan, but I wasn't charged anything. I didnt even have to go to the post office for that one.
Yes, I combined all the items into one shipment to save costs.
Both gloves and boots were running discounts, but the customs could not have known the original price as it was not mentioned anywhere on the product or the bill.

Total cost including shipping was about 147 EUR. It was around INR 10.5k on that day. The customs collected around 4.5k from me.
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Old 14th September 2015, 21:01   #13
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

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Originally Posted by theredliner View Post
but the customs could not have known the original price as it was not mentioned anywhere on the product or the bill.
But that is exactly the problem because if the cost was mentioned and the type of goods with a bill then they will have to calculate based on HS codes which have clear tariffs and duties. In this case they would have known they could put an arbitrary sum and get away with it. Im not sure how your supplier didnt declare the prices in the first place as most postal systems require a declaration of what the goods are and what their commercial value is.
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Old 16th September 2015, 14:14   #14
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

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Originally Posted by bik1906 View Post
But that is exactly the problem because if the cost was mentioned and the type of goods with a bill then they will have to calculate based on HS codes which have clear tariffs and duties. In this case they would have known they could put an arbitrary sum and get away with it. Im not sure how your supplier didnt declare the prices in the first place as most postal systems require a declaration of what the goods are and what their commercial value is.
I should have made that clear. The seller did include a bill.
What I meant to say was, the bill mentioned only one price, i.e, the discounted price. Nowhere on the product or the bill was the actual price before discount mentioned. The bill appeared as if I have not got any discount.

So for the customs, the discounted prices are the actual prices. They would not have known that I have got a discount on the products.
What was indeed missing was the declaration I believe. At least, I didn't get to see anything like that when I collected the product. The customs people might have taken it away.

Anyway, if it is not much of an issue, could you please give a list of the documents and their formats that should be included by the seller so that the customs don't rip me off the next time? Any links to those are also fine.

Last edited by theredliner : 16th September 2015 at 14:20.
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Old 17th September 2015, 16:29   #15
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Default Re: Guide: Buying, shipping and customs for imported riding gear

There isnt a list of documents. As I mentioned the parcel goes to the postal department for sorting, they decide based on the declaration which is stuck on the side of the parcel. The bill and your credit card statement is only required to be shown if the parcel is not released by customs.

Im really not sure how your seller billed you the whole amount as they will have to pay taxes on the billed amount in the country of origin (unless for example goods being sent abroad out of the country and then VAT does not apply by law like in Australia or the EU). I think you should name the website that you bought from so other people dont get ripped off as well.
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