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So I would like to talk about my experience, process and reason as to why I bought from the United States rather than buying locally here in South Africa, also I’ll be covering what laptop and reason etc so you can skip to whichever part you’re interested in 🙂
This post is not sponsored nor was any of the services discounted or gifted in order for me to mention the brand 🙂
This article could be useful for other countries as well, just confirm with the courier company or 3rd party sites whats the procedure etc
I apologize if you find this blog post odd as its not my normal topic but on Instagram when I mentioned many were curious so I thought why not share!
Why not local ?
Price & Model; At first I couldn’t get the model I wanted here in South Africa, after awhile I found it but they couldn’t customize as I wanted and if I had to customize elsewhere guarantee would go. Another reason was that it is a couple hundred dollars more in South Africa.
Even though I had to pay a nice sum of money for shipping and taxes it still worked out cheaper.
Here’s an example of:
Dell XPS 13 9360 Ultrabook Laptop 8th Gen Intel i7-8550U, 13.3″ QHD+ WLED touch display, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM Amazon: $1,399.99 = R17574.21
Everything as above except 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM price: R29,145.07 = $2322.13
Remember there’s a difference in RAM and SSD, it is double in size on Amazon and its still so much cheaper.
It was exciting to see how much cheaper I could get the laptop in the US but my excitement was removed when I was reminded of tax, customs and shipping fees! I started reading local blogs trying to figure out what to do! Should I just buy local pay more but hassle free ?! nah I was determined to make it work!
Many stories scared me, someone mentioned that they had to pay half the price of the laptop for customs, another said the charger was removed and so on. I realized I couldn’t use South African Postal services as there was no assurance as to what I would pay or that I would receive it in one piece. Some said they pay a very minimal fee and another said they paid nothing.
I wasn’t prepared to take the risk so I opted for a private company = courier company example FedEx, DHL etc as the customs is handled and DHL handles it ? I’m not sure how it works but DHL contacts you rather then customs SA and they sort out the papers, I don’t know the specifics but rather its stress FREE!
People have also mentioned that they request the seller to mark as a gift that avoids taxes, I have heard there’s a value limit, also heard its still applicable, I’m not really sure. Others say that some sellers under value the item on the shipping receipt, under valuing the items cost can cause a lot of problems and you can be fined as its illegal, so please stay away.
In order to use these courier companies if the seller/store doesn’t ship internationally or doesn’t have them as an option you would need to use a parcel forwarding company.
How these companies work: You buy an item have it shipped off to the address and suite no you are given and once it reaches their warehouse you request shipping, pay for it and they send it to you via the courier of your choice.
Back to taxes, customs and duty prices,
FedEx and other 3rd party sites like borderlinx, myus, shipito have shipping calculators.
You can pay for customs, taxes and shipping all in one. They have a calculator which you can use before you even purchase, receive a package or even make an account 🙂 . I used borderlink and I didn’t have to pay a cent extra than what I calculated.
Not inclusive of customs, but you can get the amount they tell you then go to FedEx site and use their calculator to calculate the taxes, customs fee.
How it works is you pay only for the shipping then once it comes into the country FedEx will contact you and request payment for the taxes.
You can phone FedEx and confirm if its the same for your country.
I have worked out both ways myus via FedEx and Borderlinx via DHL costed the same, I opted for Borderlinx via DHL as I wanted to pay once and remove one step of the process which is to pay for the clearance.
ps. Borderlinx has 3 warehouses: US, UK, Hong Kong. I learnt that Yesterday (the day before I started typing) the US warehouse closed down due to some disputes 🙁 I hope they reopen soon.
I was going to purchase from Amazon and have it delivered to the warehouse and then shipped off to me. However I was contacting the seller to make sure of the dimensions so that I could verify I was calculating the shipping correctly etc and if I bought it directly from them if there was any difference (I saw they had an online store).
In the process the item was made unavailable from Amazon. I then asked the seller who said that the model was replaced with a newer version. The agent gave me the link to the newer model which didn’t have SSD which I wanted, so I said no I don’t want it, I got a bit irritated as I felt I was getting somewhere and then for the laptop to be made unavailable.
The agent replied to my questions saying if you buy it from their store its $50 cheaper as Amazon listing fee, also I would be able to choose my specifications via their website and they can customize, I was smiling once again 🙂
The store is: excaliberpc I then went on their store chose my specs and purchased it, inputted the shipping details I was given by Borderlinx for my suite address.
Shipping inclusive of taxes etc came to $250
Once it was shipped from excaliberpc I received tracking no, I had to wait a few days for it to skip over 9 states (it was sent via FedEx ground, FREE shipping 😁)
After a few days I got a notification saying it has been delivered, but I didn’t get any notification from borderlinx and on the site it said 0 packages in suite, anyways the FAQ said there will be a delay, I waited 21.8 hours before borderlinx said it arrived.
Date & Time breakdown:
FedEx delivered: Thursday 19th US local time 11:53am 5:55pm
Borderlinx acknowledged: Friday 20th 8:35am 2:35pm
I granted release on: Friday 20th 9:59am 5:59pm
Package shipped: Monday 23rd 9:59pm 5:38pm
*time on the right is my local time (South Africa), the time shown next to each event is the time of local destination which was United States Ohio
Package reached South Africa, placed in customs: Tuesday 24th
Customs cleared: Thursday 26th
DHL customs department contacted me on Thursday saying that it was stopped by customs and that the invoice attached didn’t specify a currency, so I emailed them the invoice and within 15 minutes it was cleared. I wasn’t asked to pay any taxes nor did anyone say anything.
Friday was a Public Holiday; so a long weekend.
Packaged delivered to my door: Monday 30th
Specs of laptop
ASUS VivoBook Flip 14″
Full HD Touchscreen (Glossy) Laptop
Processor: Core i7-8550U
System Storage: 8GB DDR4 2133MHz
500GB Samsung 860 EVO M.2 SATA SSD (boot)
1TB Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD (Flash-enhanced HDD)
2x USB 2.0
1x USB 3.0
1x USB 3.1 Type C (Gen 1)
1x Volume up/down
1x Microphone-in/Headphone-out jack
Illuminated Chiclet Keyboard
Touchpad Built-in fingerprint sensor in the touchpad and Windows Hello
Battery Pack 42WHrs, 3S1P, 3-cell Li-ion
Reason for it
My first laptop I bought it when I was on a budget as a student and in a haste. I didn’t know much about computers as at that time I was sharing a computer with my younger brother and all I did on the computer was play pc games. I had just began learning to code in HTML and I was getting frustrated of sharing a pc, having time limits and so on.
I wanted a laptop so that I could code whenever I wanted to and keep on learning, thus I bought a cheap laptop. It worked out fine as I could access the internet, use notepad++ and that made me happy.
As I used chrome and other ram killers I realized it wasn’t a good decision to buy just any laptop and one with a crappy processor. Anyways I carried on using it by being very patient and staying away from programs that were a killer to the machine.
A few year later and I still haven’t gotten rid of that laptop 🙈 well I converted it into an Ubuntu machine and its running smoothly. I bought this Asus machine to run programs that can’t be run on Linux and also:
Why Asus VivoBook ?
I don’t own a tablet or ipad by choice as I wouldn’t use it much, but sometimes when travelling I wish I had one. This VivoBook is a two in one and its 14″ body is small and light enough for you to use it on the go.
Why Asus and not Lenovo ?
I don’t have a “reason” for it, like some people have their lists of reasons etc, me it was the first one that caught my eye! Love at first sight 😍
haha 😂 something strange about me is that if I see something I like I go for it and don’t think twice, my sister says its my good quality when shopping but sometimes I wonder if its bad as I might miss out on something better ? anyways I am like that! see something you like buy it and don’t look twice!
Some might think that I didn’t check the specifications, and say she’s such a “typical” girl 😡 You’re wrong! I looked through a few models and this model checked the boxes, also I had the storage and boot customized so its not how you would buy it out of the box.
I’m loving the laptop and haven’t had any issues.
It’s light, fast boot & powerful.
There’s not much I can say about it as I’m not one who uses all the features and pushes a laptop to its limits, also I haven’t been using it long enough 🙂
How did everything go? Great! I’m happy and I have no regrets.
Would I do this again ? Sure why not!
To be honest I was quite scared, also very stressed at certain points of the process but everything went quite smoothly and I’m happy 😃
If you have any questions I’ll gladly reply to them so drop them below!