Originally Posted by Bilge Rat
Is there any real way to get around the import duty other than having it shipped locally to someone and having them bring it across by hand ?
Or is it just easier to pay the duty when it arrives at the door.
I've just priced a Garmin 178C on "get wet feet" for $689 which in real money means £357
thats almost half price what you can buy over here for !!
Short answer is no. Duty is there for a reason and Customs are there to enforce it. The only way around it is to send and hope that it doesnt get checked (although this no longer seems to work) or bring it back by hand. Even in the latter case there is always a risk that the customs officer at LHR will ask to see your baggage and quiz you about that nice shiny boxed chartplotter that you have nestling amongst your smalls!
You could get someone in the US / Canada to buy it an mail it to you as a gift but even then a value has to be declared to customs and you could be liable for duties.
If I couldn't find someone to handcarry for me I would be tempted to be completely above board, get the right tariff code (& everything in the world has its own tariff code) and pay the duty. Remember also that duty is payable on cost of item + freight cost to UK! At the very least it would be worth pricing up for item delivered duty paid to you in UK as a worst case scenario to see if its still cheaper. A few years ago when I was looking at Plotters I found it just as cheap to buy in the UK.