How to buy blu rays post-Brexit outside of the UK?

N64 Gamer

Completely Average High School Student
I live in Scandinavia where we have no local publishers. The UK was the preferred way to buy blu rays due to English subititles. With Brexit, there will be a 25% customs duty on every purchase made from the UK which is pretty brutal...

I’m trying to figure out what the future is going to be for me and my hobby but it’s not looking too good.

Are there any other people in a similar situation as me? What are your plans moving forward?

What solutions can you think of? I’ve tried looking into Irish websites such as Tower Records and Golden Discs but unfortunately they have a tiny selection of anime and the few anime they do have is quite expensive compared to Amazon UK.

Of course I could just continue purchasing from the UK and pay the 25% customs duties but at that point I might as well just start buying from the US instead since they also have a bigger selection...
 

CommanderZx2

School Idol
I am not sure about a solution to your predicament, if you do wish to start importing from the US instead beware that you will also need to get a BD player that can play media from all regions and get past geolocking.
 

Robin91

Student Council President
I live in Scandinavia where we have no local publishers. The UK was the preferred way to buy blu rays due to English subititles. With Brexit, there will be a 25% customs duty on every purchase made from the UK which is pretty brutal...

I’m trying to figure out what the future is going to be for me and my hobby but it’s not looking too good.

Are there any other people in a similar situation as me? What are your plans moving forward?

What solutions can you think of? I’ve tried looking into Irish websites such as Tower Records and Golden Discs but unfortunately they have a tiny selection of anime and the few anime they do have is quite expensive compared to Amazon UK.

Of course I could just continue purchasing from the UK and pay the 25% customs duties but at that point I might as well just start buying from the US instead since they also have a bigger selection...
The UK and EU have made a trade agreement so you won't have to pay import taxes 😃
 

N64 Gamer

Completely Average High School Student
I am not sure about a solution to your predicament, if you do wish to start importing from the US instead beware that you will also need to get a BD player that can play media from all regions and get past geolocking.

Thanks for the heads up! I actually already have a region A player due to some shows only being released in US/JP! :)

The UK and EU have made a trade agreement so you won't have to pay import taxes 😃

Unfortunately the trade agreement was only for tariffs. Customs duties will still be applied (which for me will be 25% plus import fees). :(
 

britguy

Za Warudo
"tariffs" and "duties" are the same thing and the uk/eu trade deal means most items will be duty free.

The 25% you mention is what I assume is local tax(VAT) which will be charged if and when goods are stopped and inspected upon importation.

There's a good chance items will continue slipping through the net like always (ie only half of things i import from usa get stopped)
 

Robin91

Student Council President
Thanks for the heads up! I actually already have a region A player due to some shows only being released in US/JP! :)



Unfortunately the trade agreement was only for tariffs. Customs duties will still be applied (which for me will be 25% plus import fees). :(
Oh,I thought we wouldn't have to pay VAT(25% moms). That sucks
 

N64 Gamer

Completely Average High School Student
"tariffs" and "duties" are the same thing and the uk/eu trade deal means most items will be duty free.

The 25% you mention is what I assume is local tax(VAT) which will be charged if and when goods are stopped and inspected upon importation.

There's a good chance items will continue slipping through the net like always (ie only half of things i import from usa get stopped)
I don’t think they will be duty free but from what I understand VAT will be paid in the receiver’s country and not the sender.

So pre-Brexit I paid 20% (the VAT in UK) but now have to pay the local VAT which for me is 25%, so 5% more...

Luckily Amazon takes this into account so if I buy from amazon.co.uk it makes sure I don’t pay VAT for both the UK and my own country. But for other websites like anime-on-line or AL, I think they’ll still charge me with UK VAT on checkout, so I’ll end up paying double VAT plus a £20 customs duty fee.

I can’t speak for the UK, but where I live, customs have been really good at catching all packages. Out of 28 orders I made from Japan, all got caught by customs last year. :(
 

animefan2017

School Idol
trick I find when importing is just get it all sent as one massive parcel. Fortunatly the majority of titles rarely sell out within 6 months so you could always have it so that you do one big massive order once every 6 months and then you only pay one lot of handling fees
 

sniper_samurai

Dragon Knight
I don’t think they will be duty free but from what I understand VAT will be paid in the receiver’s country and not the sender.

So pre-Brexit I paid 20% (the VAT in UK) but now have to pay the local VAT which for me is 25%, so 5% more...

Luckily Amazon takes this into account so if I buy from amazon.co.uk it makes sure I don’t pay VAT for both the UK and my own country. But for other websites like anime-on-line or AL, I think they’ll still charge me with UK VAT on checkout, so I’ll end up paying double VAT plus a £20 customs duty fee.

I can’t speak for the UK, but where I live, customs have been really good at catching all packages. Out of 28 orders I made from Japan, all got caught by customs last year. :(
If you were buying from Amazon, the vat you paid was the rate for the country it was sent to.

This will not change, British VAT will be removed and local VAT will be collected. If customs doesn't apply a charge, the VAT that was pre paid will be returned.

Tbh it's kind of **** of Amazon to not set up an Irish portal for English speaking EU territories.
 

britguy

Za Warudo
I don’t think they will be duty free but from what I understand VAT will be paid in the receiver’s country and not the sender.

So pre-Brexit I paid 20% (the VAT in UK) but now have to pay the local VAT which for me is 25%, so 5% more...

Luckily Amazon takes this into account so if I buy from amazon.co.uk it makes sure I don’t pay VAT for both the UK and my own country. But for other websites like anime-on-line or AL, I think they’ll still charge me with UK VAT on checkout, so I’ll end up paying double VAT plus a £20 customs duty fee.

I can’t speak for the UK, but where I live, customs have been really good at catching all packages. Out of 28 orders I made from Japan, all got caught by customs last year. :(

They definitely are duty free. Again you are confusing the different things. The import DUTY on a dvd/Blu-ray into Sweden from the UK is 0%. Your local postal service are likely charging you a HANDLING FEE (which have always pissed me off)

With any import you will always pay TAX. In the UK with the recent changes to VAT, it will be on the seller to charge the vat wherever they are (say usa) and pay this to hmrc. The same system will come in to effect in Europe in 6 months unless it is delayed again.

Right now, if you buy from a uk company, they should not be charging VAT on an export and you should only pay tax when your item is cleared into your country.

So tldr:

Import Duty rates on Blu-ray dvd etc is 0% source: Access2Markets Results

Local tax will be charged upon importation unless wholesaler has it already set up (like amazon)

Local postal services will likely always charge a handling fee for their "administrative functions"
 

IdiomaticLynx

Student Council President
Are there any other people in a similar situation as me? What are your plans moving forward?
I'm effectively in the same boat, though over here the tax rate on DVDs and Blu-rays is "just" 21%. Nevertheless, the handling fee, additional delay and sometimes poor handling, makes it less enticing to import things. My key advice would be to simply factor in these additional costs whenever you purchase something. For the most part that means that most deals aren't deals anymore and only the really great deals become okay deals. Also try and bundle stuff to at least make the handling fee proportionally smaller.

As for where to buy, I would suggest to stick with Amazon for now. While I hate that advice, at least you know what you get. With other retailers, we'll first have to see that they do not charge VAT and properly declare the value. I wouldn't be surprised if they end up declaring the amount including VAT, or including the shipping cost in the value, split the order (and potentially declare the full amount on both parcels!). Not to mention potential issues with returns or replacements. In time it will probably become clear which retailers do it all correct, but at least for the coming months I'll wait and see how things develop.

Not sure if this applies to where you live as well, but if importing goods are exempt of tax under a certain threshold, certain items might end up very slighty cheaper. In my case, anything with a value under 22 euro is exempt. So if I buy something off Amazon (or, in theory, any UK retailer) that is below this threshold (without VAT) I won't have to pay import tax. Some quick math and verification on Amazon.co.uk shows that ordering any DVD/Blu-ray in the range of ~17 to 23GBP works out cheaper (by a couple pence). If, like me, you tend to only really buy CEs, than that price range doesn't help much, sadly. Also worth nothing that other product types don't benefit from this as their shipping cost is higher and especially for books, as there is no VAT on them to be subtracted.

On the subject of books, I'm slightly torn on what to do. I used to buy books off bookdepository and wordery quite often. But both of them are situated in the UK. Now, I can continue doing that, but it would work out significantly cheaper if each book would be sent out individually. While a giant waste, I'm contemplating to order books one by one of these sites from now on, just to be sure they are sent individually. (Though recently I've also been buying German releases, and since they have a fixed price, I can just buy them whenever instead of waiting for a coupon a deal. So I might end up doing that more instead)

Of course I could just continue purchasing from the UK and pay the 25% customs duties but at that point I might as well just start buying from the US instead since they also have a bigger selection...
It never hurts to consider importing from the US as an option. Though if things would work out roughly the same price, I'd personally still pick the UK, just for the reduced shipping time and (hopefully) easier returns/replacements in case something does go wrong. When importing from the US, it can be worth it to check out different retailers, as some even reship from somewhere in the EU or undervalue goods (questionable). This thread (Anime retailers No Import Fees List) list some of them, but be warned that the information can be outdated, or in certain cases the reshipping might actually occur from the UK 😐

With Kickstarter you'd often see the same pattern, where EU orders were fulfilled by an UK fulfillment agent. I hope that in time other EU countries will start taking that role, but I'm not very hopeful, since the UK was a natural fit both as target audience of the Kickstarters and communication due to the language.


Another option is to broaden your horizons and look into releases from other countries. It's never too late to learn a new language 😉 My collection consists mostly of UK releases, closely followed by US, but then it's a close call between German and Japanese releases, followed by Spanish, Italian and French. Now, becoming a polyglot for your hobby, might be a bit excessive. Instead if you're a bit tech savvy it's possible to put any subtitle under any video. Sourcing these subtitles can be questionable and the experience is definitely no longer plug 'n play, but it is an option.

Obviously there are various downsides to this. If you don't understand the language most extras (e.g. booklets) become useless, it can be hard to find information about the video quality and possible other issues with releases, which retailers are the best for which country's releases is yet a whole other journey, etc... The biggest advantage is the broad selection of releases to choose from. You can even buy your favourite show over and over again 😅

Some quick bits of advice. German releases tend to be expensive (and in volumes) and in certain cases they translate the onscreen text(!) Generally I'm quite impressed with how they do it, but would still prefer an unaltered video stream. Italian publisher Dynit has some great releases (more info over on Blu-ray.com: The Offical Dynit (Italy) Thread). Kazé is still Kazé in all countries they operate in.


Anyway, sorry for the long post, but hopefully it can be of some help. I think the best thing to do is to share findings and experiences going forward.
 

Robin91

Student Council President
This is some info from the Swedish customs website. Couldn't find it in English but it pretty much says that if a consumer sends you a package and not a business you don't have to pay additional VAT for items up to 1600sek = 140£.

So maybe it will be cheaper if you have someone buy in the UK and then ship it out once in a while 🙂

20210103_145959.jpg
 

sniper_samurai

Dragon Knight
On the subject of books, I'm slightly torn on what to do. I used to buy books off bookdepository and wordery quite often. But both of them are situated in the UK. Now, I can continue doing that, but it would work out significantly cheaper if each book would be sent out individually. While a giant waste, I'm contemplating to order books one by one of these sites from now on, just to be sure they are sent individually. (Though recently I've also been buying German releases, and since they have a fixed price, I can just buy them whenever instead of waiting for a coupon a deal. So I might end up doing that more instead)
Books have a 0% rate of VAT.

Ebooks however have VAT applied as it is considered a service.
 

IdiomaticLynx

Student Council President
Books have a 0% rate of VAT.

Ebooks however have VAT applied as it is considered a service.
Where I reside books have a tax rate of 9%, so for any book (or bundle of books) over 22 euro I will now have to pay that 9% and a handling fee of 13.50 euro. Now a manga or LN volume stays under this, but two bundled together don't :(
 

Hunter_Killer

School Idol
trick I find when importing is just get it all sent as one massive parcel. Fortunatly the majority of titles rarely sell out within 6 months so you could always have it so that you do one big massive order once every 6 months and then you only pay one lot of handling fees
I do this twice a year with shipping from the USA. I am using a company where I have a virtual PO box. I send parcels there (they can stay there even a year without any problems). When a lot is collected, I send to my country. In addition, when I choose slow sea shipping (it lasts from 3 weeks) with a huge package, I pay some funny money for shipping. Thanks to this, I buy items in the USA for promotions and only then send the combined package to myself. It comes out very favorably. Yes, they charge me VAT + their service, but it's still cheap (because I save on shipping and buy at great prices).
 

Stiivun

Stand User
Seems the custom services here in Belgium thought all these years that Guernsey was part of the UK territory for import (which it’s not BTW). So from January 1st onwards anything shipped by Zavvi is in danger of getting caught by the custom services.

In fact just had to pay a whopping 40,66€ (24€ administration and 16,66€ VAT) for Weathering with You. I wonder if I could contact Zavvi for refunding the UK VAT as it doesn’t make sense to pay VAT twice? Not sure if zavvi.ie or zavvi.nl would be an option as i suspect they also just ship from Guernsey?
 

IdiomaticLynx

Student Council President
Not sure if zavvi.ie or zavvi.nl would be an option as i suspect they also just ship from Guernsey?
Zavvi.nl definitely used to ship from Guernsey quite often. I even got hit with customs before :(. Just checked and it seems they've added a Brexit Update on the Dutch site. It states that the majority will be sent from EU distribution centers and in case it does get shipped from the UK any import duties or tax will be prepaid. (Source, in Dutch: Internationale verzending)

While that sounds great, their FAQ tells a slightly different story, claiming "all our products will continue to be shipped from the UK", but luckily also mentions import duties and tax being paid in advance (Source: Help Centre)

This does sound somewhat promising, as that could mean zavvi might remain an option. Although it remains to be seen what this means in terms of pricing and possible availability.

Edit: It seems similar statements can be found on zavvi.com (Zavvi UK). So most likely zavvi.nl (and others) are just (poorly) translated fronts and there will be minimal difference when ordering from either(?).
 
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sniper_samurai

Dragon Knight
Zavvi.nl definitely used to ship from Guernsey quite often. I even got hit with customs before :(. Just checked and it seems they've added a Brexit Update on the Dutch site. It states that the majority will be sent from EU distribution centers and in case it does get shipped from the UK any import duties or tax will be prepaid. (Source, in Dutch: Internationale verzending)

While that sounds great, their FAQ tells a slightly different story, claiming "all our products will continue to be shipped from the UK", but luckily also mentions import duties and tax being paid in advance (Source: Help Centre)

This does sound somewhat promising, as that could mean zavvi might remain an option. Although it remains to be seen what this means in terms of pricing and possible availability.

Edit: It seems similar statements can be found on zavvi.com (Zavvi UK). So most likely zavvi.nl (and others) are just (poorly) translated fronts and there will be minimal difference when ordering from either(?).
The Irish portal has the same statement that most items will ship from the EU.

As some customers may have experienced in the past, we have multiple dispatch locations across the globe to enable us to provide you with the best experience possible. The majority of orders will be fulfilled from within the EU, but some products will be sent from the UK.

We have made all necessary changes to ensure any products sent from the UK to EU addresses are delivered as normal with no impact to you.
 
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