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Overseas Purchases

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  • Larry Donsbach
    Over these past many months, I have read the messages about people going overseas and visiting the area hobby shops. I occasionally get to do some travel and
    Message 1 of 15 , Aug 28, 2003
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      Over these past many months, I have read the messages about people
      going overseas and visiting the area hobby shops. I occasionally get
      to do some travel and found out early that there is no duty on "toy
      trains" as the Customs Service refers to model trains.

      Because of this, I have sometimes over purchased (to my wife's horror
      and the bank's delight).

      I guess the point that I am attempting to make is: if you get
      overseas to those delightful shops that have so much of what you
      want, don't let the worry of customs hold you back. It is all duty
      free so you can spend the rest of your duty free money on the items
      that your "significant other" wants.

      If you are headed for the Frankfurt am Main area, check out the
      www.morneweg-maerkte.de website for the schedule of train markets.
      There are some dealers there that have only "Z" and plenty of it.

      Happy travels.
    • ted_lamar@peoplesoft.com
      ... Well, then I guess it WOULD have been OK to declare them :) T
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 28, 2003
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        >and found out early that there is no duty on "toy
        >trains" as the Customs Service refers to model trains

        Well, then I guess it WOULD have been OK to declare them :)

        T
      • W. Hansen
        What Larry said is true. I find the mdoel train shops to be great fun because there are always people there that can speak English and want to talk about
        Message 3 of 15 , Aug 29, 2003
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          What Larry said is true. I find the mdoel train shops to be great fun
          because there are always people there that can speak English and want
          to talk about trains.

          One word of caution. All US Customs agents are not created equal.
          Some of them are not too bright and will argue with you about duty on
          model trains. It they try to charge you duty, you have to insist that
          they look up model trains in their book of regulations.







          Over these past many months, I have read the messages about people
          going overseas and visiting the area hobby shops. I occasionally get
          to do some travel and found out early that there is no duty on "toy
          trains" as the Customs Service refers to model trains.

          Because of this, I have sometimes over purchased (to my wife's horror
          and the bank's delight).

          I guess the point that I am attempting to make is: if you get
          overseas to those delightful shops that have so much of what you
          want, don't let the worry of customs hold you back. It is all duty
          free so you can spend the rest of your duty free money on the items
          that your "significant other" wants.

          If you are headed for the Frankfurt am Main area, check out the
          www.morneweg-maerkte.de website for the schedule of train markets.
          There are some dealers there that have only "Z" and plenty of it.

          Happy travels.




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        • ted_lamar@peoplesoft.com
          ... Z stuff is so small and easily hidden in a suitcase....why bother to declare it at all? I hope this doesn t make me sound like a robber...but I have not
          Message 4 of 15 , Aug 29, 2003
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            >One word of caution. All US Customs agents are not created equal.
            >Some of them are not too bright and will argue with you about duty on
            >model trains. It they try to charge you duty, you have to insist that
            >they look up model trains in their book of regulations.

            Z stuff is so small and easily hidden in a suitcase....why bother to
            declare it at all?

            I hope this doesn't make me sound like a robber...but I have not decalred
            any toys the last several trips I've been on.


            I do usually have some other stuff to declare...but not train stuff.

            T
          • Larry Donsbach
            I agree that Z is small but all you need to is to get caught once and you have problems. Why not just be honest, declare it, and save yourself some grief.
            Message 5 of 15 , Aug 29, 2003
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              I agree that Z is small but all you need to is to get caught once and you have problems. Why not just be honest, declare it, and save yourself some grief.


              Larry Donsbach
              San Antonio, TX


              ----- Original Message -----
              From: ted_lamar@...
              To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 1:00 PM
              Subject: Re: [z_scale] Re: Overseas Purchases



              >One word of caution. All US Customs agents are not created equal.
              >Some of them are not too bright and will argue with you about duty on
              >model trains. It they try to charge you duty, you have to insist that
              >they look up model trains in their book of regulations.

              Z stuff is so small and easily hidden in a suitcase....why bother to
              declare it at all?

              I hope this doesn't make me sound like a robber...but I have not decalred
              any toys the last several trips I've been on.


              I do usually have some other stuff to declare...but not train stuff.

              T





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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • ted_lamar@peoplesoft.com
              ... have problems. Why not just be honest, declare it, and save yourself some grief. ... I plan to do that from now on :) Especially since it is duty free
              Message 6 of 15 , Aug 29, 2003
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                >I agree that Z is small but all you need to is to get caught once and you
                have problems. >Why not just be honest, declare it, and save yourself some
                grief.

                >Larry Donsbach
                >San Antonio, TX


                I plan to do that from now on :)

                Especially since it is duty free anyway....I wonder if that is because
                you've already paid the VAT?

                Appreciate your advice.

                T
              • Larry Donsbach
                You can get a form from a lot of hobby shops that will let you get a refund on the VAT. VAT is 16% and you get a refund of about 13% at the outgoing airports.
                Message 7 of 15 , Aug 29, 2003
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                  You can get a form from a lot of hobby shops that will let you get a refund on the VAT. VAT is 16% and you get a refund of about 13% at the outgoing airports.

                  As long as you declare toy (model) trains, why worry about the reason.

                  Larry Donsbach
                  San Antonio, TX


                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: ted_lamar@...
                  To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 2:36 PM
                  Subject: Re: [z_scale] Re: Overseas Purchases



                  >I agree that Z is small but all you need to is to get caught once and you
                  have problems. >Why not just be honest, declare it, and save yourself some
                  grief.

                  >Larry Donsbach
                  >San Antonio, TX


                  I plan to do that from now on :)

                  Especially since it is duty free anyway....I wonder if that is because
                  you've already paid the VAT?

                  Appreciate your advice.

                  T





                  Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
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                  "Z" WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE! Highly addictive in Small DoseZ!


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                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Tobias Giles
                  ... U.S. Customs Duty Free number for model trains: 9503.10.00 Write the number down on the back of your credit card. ;-) -- Cheers, Tobias Tobias Locomotive
                  Message 8 of 15 , Aug 29, 2003
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                    "W. Hansen" wrote:
                    > One word of caution. All US Customs agents are not created equal.
                    > Some of them are not too bright and will argue with you about duty on
                    > model trains. It they try to charge you duty, you have to insist that
                    > they look up model trains in their book of regulations.


                    U.S. Customs Duty Free number for model trains: 9503.10.00

                    Write the number down on the back of your credit card. ;-)


                    --
                    Cheers,
                    Tobias

                    Tobias Locomotive Works
                    http://www.tobiaslocomotiveworks.com
                  • bill.foote
                    Perhaps your (US) Customs are different to our (UK) Customs - in my experience with UK Customs the easiest way is to always declare everything - frequently, if
                    Message 9 of 15 , Aug 30, 2003
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                      Perhaps your (US) Customs are different to our (UK) Customs - in my
                      experience with UK Customs the easiest way is to always declare everything -
                      frequently, if I have declared something modest (for example an ETS gauge 0
                      train set from the Czech Republic that had a value well over the permitted
                      individual limit* at that time) that is liable to duty/tax on import, the
                      response has been "Is that all you have to declare?", reply "Yes", and then
                      the final response is "Thank you for being honest, Sir, please carry on"

                      Adopting this strategy, I have _never_ been asked to pay duty or tax on such
                      items

                      *We were a family of four and the set value was less than the sum of our
                      "concessionary" allowances, but UK rules do not permit the combining of
                      several persons allowances to make one purchase

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: <ted_lamar@...>
                      To: <z_scale@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 7:00 PM
                      Subject: Re: [z_scale] Re: Overseas Purchases


                      > Z stuff is so small and easily hidden in a suitcase....why bother to
                      > declare it at all?
                      >
                      > I hope this doesn't make me sound like a robber...but I have not decalred
                      > any toys the last several trips I've been on.
                    • bill.foote
                      But you should have got the VAT back at the airport before you left Germany (or whatever European country you visited) - ask the retailer to give you the
                      Message 10 of 15 , Aug 30, 2003
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                        But you should have got the VAT back at the airport before you left Germany
                        (or whatever European country you visited) - ask the retailer to give you
                        the necessary forms, etc., next time

                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: <ted_lamar@...>
                        To: <z_scale@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 8:36 PM
                        Subject: Re: [z_scale] Re: Overseas Purchases



                        > I plan to do that from now on :)
                        >
                        > Especially since it is duty free anyway....I wonder if that is because
                        > you've already paid the VAT?
                      • Melissa Musante
                        I ve actually found that US customs officials become suspicious when you have little to declare. Recently My husband and I were returning from the Virgin
                        Message 11 of 15 , Aug 30, 2003
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                          I've actually found that US customs officials become suspicious when
                          you have little to declare. Recently My husband and I were returning
                          from the Virgin Islands and he was almost detained! We declared
                          EVERYTHING even stuff we didn't need to and they kept saying are you
                          sure that's all? They just couldn't get their heads around the idea
                          that we didn't buy a bunch of stuff...maybe if I had found a duty free
                          train store in St. Thomas we've would have had something to declare!!!!!

                          melissa

                          On Saturday, August 30, 2003, at 07:13 AM, bill.foote wrote:

                          > Perhaps your (US) Customs are different to our (UK) Customs - in my
                          > experience with UK Customs the easiest way is to always declare
                          > everything -
                          > frequently, if I have declared something modest (for example an ETS
                          > gauge 0
                          > train set from the Czech Republic that had a value well over the
                          > permitted
                          > individual limit* at that time) that is liable to duty/tax on import,
                          > the
                          > response has been "Is that all you have to declare?", reply "Yes", and
                          > then
                          > the final response is "Thank you for being honest, Sir, please carry
                          > on"
                          >
                          > Adopting this strategy, I have _never_ been asked to pay duty or tax
                          > on such
                          > items
                          >
                          > *We were a family of four and the set value was less than the sum of
                          > our
                          > "concessionary" allowances, but UK rules do not permit the combining of
                          > several persons allowances to make one purchase
                          >
                          > ----- Original Message -----
                          > From: <ted_lamar@...>
                          > To: <z_scale@yahoogroups.com>
                          > Sent: Friday, August 29, 2003 7:00 PM
                          > Subject: Re: [z_scale] Re: Overseas Purchases
                          >
                          >
                          > > Z stuff is so small and easily hidden in a suitcase....why bother to
                          > > declare it at all?
                          > >
                          > > I hope this doesn't make me sound like a robber...but I have not
                          > decalred
                          > > any toys the last several trips I've been on.
                          >
                          >
                          <image.tiff>
                          >
                          >
                          > "Z" WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE!  Highly addictive in Small
                          > DoseZ!
                          >
                          >
                          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • W. Hansen
                          Listen to what Larry said. The US customs people are generally very easy to work with...however they are in a position to make your like miserable. If they
                          Message 12 of 15 , Aug 30, 2003
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                            Listen to what Larry said.

                            The US customs people are generally very easy to work with...however
                            they are in a position to make your like miserable. If they catch you
                            once, they will be looking for you the next time. Remember they scan
                            you passport when you enter the country.

                            You have everything to loose and nothing to gain by NOT being honest.

                            Not declaring everything you bought overseas is industrial strength
                            stupid. You can bring back all of the trains you want for free plus
                            $800 in other stuff before they charge you.







                            I agree that Z is small but all you need to is to get caught once and
                            you have problems. Why not just be honest, declare it, and save
                            yourself some grief.


                            Larry Donsbach
                            San Antonio, TX


                            =====
                            http://RoyaltyFreePhotos.com
                            High Impact Professional EUROPEAN GLAMOUR PHOTOS
                            Starting at $8.95 for web size images
                            ********************************************************
                            ********************************************************

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                          • ae9f
                            ... Telling the truth may have saved my butt (perhaps literally). A few years ago, when returning to SFO from Frankfurt, an agent (Customs or Immigration, I m
                            Message 13 of 15 , Aug 31, 2003
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                              > Why not just be honest, declare it, and save
                              > yourself some grief.

                              Telling the truth may have saved my butt (perhaps literally). A few
                              years ago, when returning to SFO from Frankfurt, an agent (Customs or
                              Immigration, I'm not sure) pulled me aside before reaching the
                              inspection tables. He was sure he had seen me before (not in a good
                              way), even though I hadn't been out of the country in 10 years. He
                              didn't care for my joke ("all gray-bearded fat guys look alike" [well,
                              we DO]), and he started dishing out some grief with all kinds of weird
                              questions. He looked at my declaration sheet, which listed the
                              my-wife-would-kill-me-if-I-were-married amount of model trainZ (thanks
                              to very pleasant visits to Schmidt and Scholz, and tips from Augie
                              Jagau). He put two and two together, and came up "geek." Off I went,
                              and I couldn't even open my Z-bag to show-off the cool stuff to anyone
                              with a badge.

                              Danny
                              http://www.dannyg.com
                            • rohirrim98236
                              ... Allow me to add another word of caution, based on very personal experiance: The USCustoms computer database has a very, VERY long memory. Should one get
                              Message 14 of 15 , Sep 1, 2003
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                                > Z stuff is so small and easily hidden in a suitcase....why bother to
                                > declare it at all?

                                Allow me to add another word of caution, based on very personal
                                experiance:

                                The USCustoms computer database has a very, VERY long memory. Should
                                one get caught with undeclared items, the traveller may be able to
                                prove that they are not dutiable. (By the way, thanks to the member
                                who supplied the customs classification number for model trains!) But
                                you can be sure that an entry about the attempted deceit will be made
                                in the traveller's record and that will flash on screen for every
                                Customs official as long as one owns a passport!

                                I was an officier at a company that had disagreement with Customs
                                about an import freight shipment. It took many months before the case
                                was finally closed and USCustoms agreed that the importation was bona
                                fide and legal. But somewhere during those months, notations were
                                made in the files of myself and at least one other corporate officer.
                                For what appeared to be unknown reasons, that other person and I
                                often seemed to spend more time clearing Customs than other
                                travellers. More than 5 years after I had left the company, I was
                                stopped at USCustoms and had a rare opportunity to get a peak at the
                                screen; I was shocked to find that the original allegation was
                                flashing in front of the Customs officer with NO information of the
                                final outcome. It took the intervention of our US Senator and
                                Congressman (again many months and legal fees!) to get the files
                                cleansed of the outdated and incorrect information. Since then, I
                                have had no unreasonable delays at Customs.

                                Sorry for the somewhat-off-topic-post, but the bliss of traveling and
                                bring home Z treasures should not be ruined by a blithe disregard for
                                the potential consequences of an act of ommission.

                                (My wife and I normally prepare a neat handwritten list of items we
                                are bringing back with their $ values and we hand that to the officer
                                with an offer to provide the receipts -- which are in our other hand
                                where they can be seen. Such a helpful and open gesture goes a long
                                way to making our return to the US more pleasent that it might
                                otherwise be. Usually a quick glance at the organized list is followd
                                by a polite "welcome home.")

                                ELF
                              • ted_lamar@peoplesoft.com
                                But you should have got the VAT back at the airport before you left Germany (or whatever European country you visited) - ask the retailer to give you the
                                Message 15 of 15 , Sep 2, 2003
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                                  But you should have got the VAT back at the airport before you left Germany
                                  (or whatever European country you visited) - ask the retailer to give you
                                  the necessary forms, etc., next time


                                  Thanks - I will.

                                  T
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