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Importing retired sets into the UK from North America


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With Lego items seemingly retiring in Europe weeks or months before North America, our friends over the pond have had an advantage in that they can stock up on items they know will likely disappear from retail and rise in value very soon.


Now I missed out on the Ideas 21301 Birds set when it retired in Europe. It’s performed really well since then and a MISB example currently fetches more than £70 on eBay. Retail here was £39.99. Knowing that it’s still available in multiple US outlets for $44.95 (£32 or so), I decided to look into the possibility of buying a few online in the US and bringing them home to Europe. 


I’m sure others may have done this but I thought I might share my experience in case anyone else is thinking along similar lines. I Iive in Jersey, Channel Islands but the procedure’s pretty much the same wherever you live in Europe.


So after a little research, I set up an account with MyUS.com, a specialist in onward shipping of items bought at retail in the US. The basic account costs $10 to set up with no monthly cost, but I opted for a $7 per month, no-contract premium deal which costs $20 to set up but offers 20% discount on shipping. That gave me a US address in Florida to which my sets could be delivered. 


I went on to order 3 Lego Birds sets at Walmart and 3 from ToysRUs. Both offered free shipping but added Florida sales tax of $3.15 to the cost of each set. Both offered the option of payment via PayPal which I chose as it avoids problems with credit/debit cards being potentially declined for ’suspicious activity’ reasons. 


So payment and shipping weren’t a problem and my items were duly delivered to my ‘suite’ at myUS. Their website shows just what you have ready for onward shipping and allows you to calculate the weight of a consolidated package with a choice of onward shipping ‘partners’ i.e. DHLExpress, FedEX, USPS etc. What’s most useful is that they open and check your packages and group the contents into a shipping box. They don’t ship the packaging they arrived in unless you ask them to.


Anyway, shipping via DHLExpress (1- 5 business days) was cheapest at around $108 (yep, that’s a hefty sum) and I added optional insurance at $4 and extra packaging at $5 and proceeded with a shipping request. My parcel shipped the same evening, 15th January, with online tracking. 


Early on Monday 18th January, the package arrived in Jersey - impressively quickly, I thought - but was held for Customs clearance. I was aware that while we have no VAT in Jersey, I would have to pay 5% GST (General Sales Tax) on both the item cost and the shipping cost. This I paid online - a total of £12.66. Bear in mind that imports into the UK would attract 20% VAT and other EU countries have their own VAT rates.


Customs than called me to say that imports of toys from the US also incur CCT (Customs Common Tariff) duty. Thankfully this is only 4.7% on the value of the goods, so cost me a further £8.32.


The parcel was duly delivered the following day, 5 days after shipping. It had been well packed and all 6 Birds sets came in pristine condition. 


With shipping and duty paid, the cost per set amounted to £50.86, which I’m happy with. I’m going to hold them for the medium term but even if I were to sell at today’s eBay prices I’d more than cover my costs.


Would I do it again? Well, what I would say is that I’d only recommend this for smaller sets with the ‘retiring soon’  tag where shipping costs can be spread over a number of units and gains can be readily predicted.  Shipping costs for large exclusives for instance would be prohibitive. But yes, I’d go again and as they're still available I’m already in for another 10 x 21301.

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14 minutes ago, justapilgrim said:

Shipping seems high. I shipped 14 RE to Hong Kong direct (larger box, but similar weight) for $78. Ebay might be better option

The package weighed around 13 pounds. For reference I'd checked USPS which quoted $104 so it seemed reasonable. It was very speedy too.

I shipped a Technics Mobile Crane to a neighbouring Island (Guernsey) recently. Just 25 miles away and it took 8 days...

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On 1/21/2016 at 11:03 AM, justapilgrim said:

Shipping seems high. I shipped 14 RE to Hong Kong direct (larger box, but similar weight) for $78. Ebay might be better option

shipping from the us across the pacific is cheap, because of the imports far out weight the exports.  there is plenty of extra cargo space on ships and planes on the trip back.  same can not be said for the atlantic.  this is why these reshippers work so well for asians, but you rarely see them used by euros.

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  • 2 months later...

@ thebrickdad  -  Hello, was your experience of doing this a positive one in the end? thanks.

On ‎25‎/‎01‎/‎2016 at 7:30 PM, thebrickdad said:

Thanks for the push redjersey.  I've been considering this for some time and today have taken the plunge with 5 x 21301's from TRU.

Full report to follow once everything arrives in the UK. 



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