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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Buy from US, use in UK?

Buy from US, use in UK?
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Apr 18, 2007, 08:07 PM
 
Does anybody see any issues here?

Will a simple US to UK plug adapter make everything work as normal? Or, would a whole new power adapter be needed?

Or, would one just be routing for trouble here?

Thanks,
onlyone-jc.
     
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Apr 18, 2007, 08:35 PM
 
Yes, all you need is a new duck head ($10ish) for the UK power plug. Or you can use a more generic UK to US plug converter, but that's not as compact.
     
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Apr 18, 2007, 10:09 PM
 
You'll want to set your localization settings most likely, so that the $ sign is a pound sign etc. The UK keyboard is different. Plus, you'll want to spell localization with an 's'.
     
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Apr 18, 2007, 11:02 PM
 
I think you have to consider what the point of the exercise is: if you're just trying to save a few quid by buying a new MacBook Pro in the US then I think you really need to think about it.

Number 1: how much money are you actually saving - especially if you consider that when you bring it into the UK you *should* pay VAT and import duty (if you're a business user you should do this, because otherwise how do you account for the expense!?).

Number 2: if you have a problem you aren't going to be able to take it back to the retailer you bought it from. Apple will honour the warranty, but your consumer rights in the UK will necessarily be compromised.

Apart from that, the standard power supplies are designed to work on 110 or 220-240 volts, so no issues there. Apple wants something like GBP:25.00 for an international plug kit (six pieces, I think), they don't sell them as individual plugs.
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 02:51 AM
 
Yes, it'll work just fine. Either you buy a cheap cable that has a Euro plug on one side and fits into British outlets on the other or you get a Traveller's Kit from Apple. However, make sure to get Apple Care which includes a three-year world-wide warranty. If you just get the ProBook, you'll just have warranty within the US.

However, since a 3-year warranty is a good thing you should get anyway IMHO, just go ahead
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Apr 19, 2007, 04:52 AM
 
Thanks for the heads-up, everybody! I really appreciate it!

Thanks again,
onlyone-jc.
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 05:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
If you just get the ProBook, you'll just have warranty within the US.
Some time ago somebody on this board mentioned Apple's portables all come with a worldwide warranty while the desktop models have warranties in the country of purchase. But I can't find the post. Not sure about it...
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 05:12 AM
 
You'll save so much money you can buy 3 year Apple Care and still have enough to buy Leopard later on and many drinks.

Example:
UK Apple Store: 17" MacBook Pro £1,899.00 inc VAT ($3,798!!!)
US Apple Store: 17" MacBook Pro $2,799.00 (£1,399.50!!!)

£500 saving.

No issues with a UK keyboard. Hit option-3 to get a £ sign.

Get rid of the box and put the laptop in your rucksack. Don't declare it at the airport.
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Apr 19, 2007, 05:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Some time ago somebody on this board mentioned Apple's portables all come with a worldwide warranty while the desktop models have warranties in the country of purchase. But I can't find the post. Not sure about it...
I have had UK PowerBooks serviced at the Genius Bar in US Apple Stores and vice versa with no questions asked. They looked at the model and could see it was less than a year old.
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Apr 19, 2007, 05:19 AM
 
I had my US MBP serviced in Switzerland too, absolutely no questions asked. My Swiss MB was fixed in the US and they didn't ask any questions either (they did however replace the godawful Swiss/German keyboard with a US Keyboard ). But I couldn't find any hard facts about it on the Apple Store website.
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 05:24 AM
 
If you hate the Swiss keyboard you could have seen the standard Italian keyboard Apple shipped with Power Macs five years ago. I couldn't find my way around it.

Come to think of it, with the $1000 saved buying in the US there's not only enough money left over to buy Apple Care but also a weekend plane ticket to New York for a quicky holiday.
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Apr 19, 2007, 10:24 AM
 
There is an issue with the US keyboard, other than the £ being replaced by #. US keyboards have two large shift keys, where Euro/UK keyboards have a large shift key on the right and a small one, plus `/~ key, on the left. Depends how much you use accent keys as to how much you'll notice.

As far as I know Apple warranties for portables are honoured worldwide, but desktops aren't.

I don't know how much the extended AppleCare is these days, but a student I know was offered a two year extension on a MacBook Pro, at the Regent Street shop, for just GBP:60.00 - if he bought it at the same time as the machine.

As to smuggling in the machine and avoiding the VAT/duty, that's certainly an easy thing to so, and you're unlikely to get caught because so many people are walking through customs legitimately with laptops. But, if it's a business expense, it's not going to be so easy for you to put that on your accounts - because you could get a VAT inspection and they'll see a computer with no VAT charged.

If you're in the position where it is a business expense, and you are VAT registered, then you're just as well paying the VAT and then claiming it back on your return.

With regard to the differential in prices between the US/UK, the cheapest MBP is USD:1,999 (GBP:999.40), or in the UK store GBP:1,148.00 (without the VAT). But that assumes that you'll get $2.00 to your pound, but you won't, and the banks will charge you some commission on your credit card, so assume that you'll lose at least GBP:50.00 of that apparent advantage. Now also remember that when you go into a US retail outlet they may well also charge you some sales tax (which can be up to 12% or so), which you cannot claim back. Now your advantage has disappeared - in fact you could be paying more…

Look at the real figure really carefully before you jump. And remember that if there is any real difference Apple will probably revise its UK prices. Historically Apple UK prices have been no more than about GBP:50.00 away from the US prices (without tax on either side).
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 10:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Clive View Post
With regard to the differential in prices between the US/UK, the cheapest MBP is USD:1,999 (GBP:999.40), or in the UK store GBP:1,148.00 (without the VAT). But that assumes that you'll get $2.00 to your pound, but you won't, and the banks will charge you some commission on your credit card, so assume that you'll lose at least GBP:50.00 of that apparent advantage. Now also remember that when you go into a US retail outlet they may well also charge you some sales tax (which can be up to 12% or so), which you cannot claim back. Now your advantage has disappeared - in fact you could be paying more…
Be real. Even with the poorest exchange rate on offer and the highest US state tax he'll never be paying more, not even close to equal.

It's a good idea to get a sterling and dollar account at Citibank if you want good exchange rates. When you transfer money from one currency account to another the rate is better than what you get at bureau de changes. I used to do that often when travelling otherwise I have "friends" who give me the market rate when converting large amounts of cash.
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Apr 19, 2007, 12:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Aron Peterson View Post
Be real. Even with the poorest exchange rate on offer and the highest US state tax he'll never be paying more, not even close to equal.
Ok, here's my maths on it, tell me where I go wrong:

Assuming a USD:2.00/GBP:1.00 exchange rate: USD:1,999 = GBP:999.50.

From that point on it doesn't matter whether we work in USD or GBP, so 12% sales tax on that = GBP:1,119.44. Add in the commission that you will get charged whether you use a UK debit or credit card, usually 2.75% (this is fact, don't bother arguing with me on it, the only UK bank that doesn't do that is Nationwide - so great if you're one of their customers) = GBP:1,150.22.

At this point it's already *more* money than the Apple UK price (GBP:1,148.00, without the VAT, and I'm assuming that it's a business user who is going to claim the VAT back anyway).

Now get real about the exchange rate you're going to get: HSBC is quoting USD:1.927410/GBP:/1.00 today. Which makes USD:1,999.00 = GBP:1,037.14, add on the card commission and you're up to GBP:1,065.66.

We didn't even do the sales tax yet, but let's guess at 5%, then we're up to GBP:1,118.94.

So, what you're suggesting is that, for a saving of less than thirty quid (or perhaps even paying more), this is worth doing?

I'd wait a few weeks, and more than likely the UK prices will be reduced if the USD rate to the GBP keeps climbing or even stays steady.
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 01:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by Clive View Post
Ok, here's my maths on it, tell me where I go wrong:
For a start you've quoted incorrect prices for MBP products, and this is a MBP forum, and assumed for argument's sake that he is VAT registered.

Secondly, assuming he wants to go to the US for a break too he's not going to go to a state where the tax is high and tourism low. He'll go to NY (4% tax) or California (8.5%).

Thirdly, very few money changers charge commission nowadays. The vast majority of them simply charge a lower rate, by a penny or so. But like I said, go to Citibank and open a Sterling and Dollar account. Takes one hour to do in person or can be done online. Transfering money between accounts is immediate and you get a better exchange rate than the street and no commission. You can use your Citibank debit card in the US too and spend from the dollar account.

On the high end MBP he will save approximately £400/$800 (after 4% NY tax and an exchange rate of $1.92 which is the worst you can get). That's enough for a weekend plane ticket to NY and an evening out. Screw the hotel. Go on a Friday afternoon. Go out to eat and go clubbing till the wee hours of Saturday morning, have an early breakfast, wait for the Apple Store to open, buy your MBP and Apple Care, set up your MBP at the store and tell them to keep the packaging, do a little sight seeing, get on a plane, arrive in the UK, walk past customs, go home and rejoice.

You see how you can make the system work for you
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Apr 19, 2007, 02:55 PM
 
Post the packaging back to yourself in the UK - it'll increase the second hand value when you come to sell.
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 03:06 PM
 
"Lease this back from the company you sold it to, and that way, it comes under the monthly current budget and not the capital account."
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 05:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Aron Peterson View Post
For a start you've quoted incorrect prices for MBP products, and this is a MBP forum, and assumed for argument's sake that he is VAT registered.
I don’t know what you're looking at, but the price of the lowest spec MacBook Pro on the US store is USD:1,999.00 and the price on the UK store for the same item is GBP:1,148.00. These are the prices I've cited above, and anyone else can see these for themselves. If you have some other information please tell us the source and we can check for ourselves.

Secondly, assuming he wants to go to the US for a break too he's not going to go to a state where the tax is high and tourism low. He'll go to NY (4% tax) or California (8.5%).
I've got no idea where he's going, but even if he is only paying 5% sales tax in the US I've already demonstrated that the maths just doesn't add up on a GBP:500.00 saving.

Thirdly, very few money changers charge commission nowadays. The vast majority of them simply charge a lower rate, by a penny or so. But like I said, go to Citibank and open a Sterling and Dollar account. Takes one hour to do in person or can be done online. Transfering money between accounts is immediate and you get a better exchange rate than the street and no commission. You can use your Citibank debit card in the US too and spend from the dollar account.
You're just plain wrong on this. Those that charge commission will be giving you the rate that I already quoted. Those that charge no commission will probably be giving you five cent or so less to the pound. If you go to a walk-up bureau-de-change then you've likely to get charged commission and a fee and a worse rate.

I know for a fact that you simply cannot open a bank account online in the UK without having a prior relationship with that bank. As to what UK banks will charge you for using a debit or credit card abroad, here's a definitive citation (feel free to add in your own if you have one):

Credit cards abroad : Barclays Personal Banking

On the high end MBP he will save approximately £400/$800 (after 4% NY tax and an exchange rate of $1.92 which is the worst you can get).
US Apple store online, stock 17" MacBook Pro, no extras, no build to order: USD:2,799.00.

The Apple Store (U.S.) - MacBook Pro

Same thing at UK online Apple store: GBP:1,616.17 (excluding VAT)

Apple Store - U.K. - MacBook Pro

Now, let's work out the real pricing:

USD:2,799 @ USD:1.92/GBP:1.00 = GBP:1,457.81.

We'll pretend that there are no other fees in the exchange rate. Add on the NY sales tax (which you say is 4%, but where I've paid a lot more than that), price is now: GBP:1,516.13.

Now assume that you are going to pay with a UK credit or debit card, add on another 2.75% (see the Barclays page above): GBP:1,557.82.

So, after all that you get to save yourself less than GBP:60.00. I think it's also easy to see that if the exchange rate moves against you, or you pay a little more sales tax in the US, then any of that gain can be wiped out, even to the stage where it would cost you *more* to buy in the US.

You can verify the UK prices here:

Apple MacBook Pro from MacWarehouse

Additionally, as I stated before, Apple won't let this kind of price differentiation stand, at the next product update they'll re-harmonise the pricing.

You see how you can make the system work for you
I can definitely see how you find it easy to deceive yourself about the reality of the situation.

So, can you show me how you work out the GBP:500.00 saving?
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 06:24 PM
 
[QUOTE]
Originally Posted by Clive View Post
I've got no idea where he's going, but even if he is only paying 5% sales tax in the US I've already demonstrated that the maths just doesn't add up on a GBP:500.00 saving.
For crap's sake, Clive. WTF goes to the US to buy the lowest end MBP when you DO save £400-500 on the high end model, which buys you Apple Care and a weekend break on top of your laptop.



You're just plain wrong on this. Those that charge commission will be giving you the rate that I already quoted. Those that charge no commission will probably be giving you five cent or so less to the pound. If you go to a walk-up bureau-de-change then you've likely to get charged commission and a fee and a worse rate.
I'm bloody not wrong or maybe I'm special because I'm buddies with the Kurdish cartel who run 90% of bureau de changes in London

I know for a fact that you simply cannot open a bank account online in the UK without having a prior relationship with that bank. As to what UK banks will charge you for using a debit or credit card abroad, here's a definitive citation (feel free to add in your own if you have one):
Screw that Barclays citation. I'm telling your here right now I do this. I have opened a Citibank account and added further multiple currency accounts online. Hell, when I lived in LA, Citibank on Wilshire Blvd opened two accounts for me with hardly any questions asked and I wasn't a resident.

That aside, what I said about Citibank earlier is 100% true. Get your arse over to Citibank on the corner of Bond and Oxford Street and open a sterling and dollar account if you intend on travelling between the US and UK. It's gold.

So, can you show me how you work out the GBP:500.00 saving?
Yep.

$2799 + 4% NY tax = $2910.96
$2910.96 / $2.00 (market rate) = £1455
$2910.96 / $1.934 (current tourist rate with online Citibank currency exchange, no commission charged to Citibank account holders) = £1,505.15

A 17" MBP in the UK is £1,899.00 inc VAT. Buying from NY therefore represents a saving of about £400 or almost $800 after paying sales tax. Plenty of money left over for the flight, Apple Care and drinks.

Take my 12" PowerBook as a further example. Bought it in early 2005 in LA for around $1850 including Californian sales tax. The exchange rate at the time was $1.88 making the price I paid in sterling £984.

Now get this. In 2006, over a year later, that same PowerBook was still selling in UK stores for £1200...discounted.

So learn this:
1. You don't travel to a 12% sales tax state to buy a Mac.
2. You don't travel across the Atlantic to get a small discount on a low end model.
3. You do travel to a low sales tax state.
4. You do purchase a Mac that offers the best saving.
5. Get an account with a good bank.
6. Avoid commission charges.

If the above very plain English is hard to understand you're beyond hope.
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Apr 19, 2007, 06:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Aron Peterson View Post
$2799 + 4% NY tax = $2910.96
$2910.96 / $2.00 (market rate) = £1455
$2910.96 / $1.934 (current tourist rate with online Citibank currency exchange, no commission charged to Citibank account holders) = £1,505.15

A 17" MBP in the UK is £1,899.00 inc VAT. Buying from NY therefore represents a saving of about £400 or almost $800.
Ok, so what you want to do is add on UK sales tax (VAT) and pretend that's the *real* price and that where it's a business expense the person can't claim that VAT back, despite the fact that all the way through I've calculated the prices based on the fact that a UK buyer can claim back the VAT (an assumption you also went with). Which I think means that my calculations work out exactly as stated.

You've also conceded that you cannot open a UK bank account online, which is what I already wrote.

Which all in, makes your argument just a sophists dream, or to try another metaphor - your argument only works if you move the goal posts.

For anyone thinking of doing this, just do the checking first, the headline prices aren't what you really end up paying - despite Aron's vivid imagination.
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 06:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Clive View Post
Ok, so what you want to do is add on UK sales tax (VAT) and pretend that's the *real* price and that where it's a business expense the person can't claim that VAT back,
You're still skewing facts in favor of winning a stupid ****ing internet argument instead of trying to give quality information to the general Mac buyer who reads this forum.

1. Cut that 12% sales tax crap because nobody with sense goes to those states.
2. Cut that commission crap because it doesn't need to be paid.
3. Cut that VAT claim because most buyers aren't going to claim anything back because they don't have companies.

That's unskewed. If you want to argue for the sake of a trophy go to vent.com or judo class.
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Apr 19, 2007, 07:02 PM
 
What state has 12% sales tax? I was under the impression that the highest sales tax in the US hovered around 9.5%, with California eing one of the highest (8.25%.)
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Apr 19, 2007, 08:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by brokenjago View Post
What state has 12% sales tax? I was under the impression that the highest sales tax in the US hovered around 9.5%, with California eing one of the highest (8.25%.)
I'm sure I've paid 11.75% in NY in the past, but I have to admit that I haven't been to the US since 2001.
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 08:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Yes, all you need is a new duck head ($10ish) for the UK power plug. Or you can use a more generic UK to US plug converter, but that's not as compact.
That's the only hardware thing I can think of, but for the life of me I can't find JUST that part anywhere. (A friend had a tragic "bump the charger while it's plugged in" accident and she needs to replace JUST that duck head.) Where should I look? The Apple Store (brick and mortar) guy said all they had was the whole charger.

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Apr 19, 2007, 08:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by brokenjago View Post
What state has 12% sales tax?
The 51st state somewhere orbiting Pluto apparently.
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Apr 19, 2007, 08:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Aron Peterson View Post
You're still skewing facts in favor of winning a stupid ****ing internet argument instead of trying to give quality information to the general Mac buyer who reads this forum.
I hate to point it out to you geezer, but you're the one that agreed that those facts formed the basis of the whole analysis. And let's at least agree on one thing - those are the facts.

1. Cut that 12% sales tax crap because nobody with sense goes to those states.
As you can see, from the above, I've used 12% as a guesstimate, and I've also used your 4% given for NY sales tax – you lost on the former and the amount you win by on the latter is inconsequential and not worth forfeiting your consumer rights in the UK. This amount can also quickly disappear if the sales tax rates go up or the currency rates move against you – even a little.

2. Cut that commission crap because it doesn't need to be paid.
I've cited the UK position on this and given the source - you've done neither. If you pay with a UK credit or debit card you're going to get charged 2.75% commission by the bank.

Yes, this stinks, but that's the way it is. If you want to avoid this the only UK bank that doesn't charge this commission is Nationwide, apparently.

Your suggestion is that a UK citizen sets up a dollar account and pays that way. My experience of this is that the charges on such an account are going to preclude any savings you might make if you're going to make use of the account on an infrequent basis (ie look at the basic bank charges, and you still aren't going to get an exchange rate of USD:2.00/GBP:1.00 – that's an interbank mid rate, not a "retail" rate). This is essentially a service for businesses or people who have homes/businesses in both the UK and US.

3. Cut that VAT claim because most buyers aren't going to claim anything back because they don't have companies.
Your position is that this is only worth doing if you are buying a top of the range MacBook Pro, right? (that's what you're saying above). I don't know about you, but I don't know many people that would buy such a machine as a "toy". The general rule is that it would be purchased for business use, and you don't need to have a limited company to be VAT registered (I'm VAT registered as an individual).

That's unskewed. If you want to argue for the sake of a trophy go to vent.com or judo class.
There's no unskewing to be done. All I'm pointing out is that the position isn't as straightforward as you make it out to be. Not knowing the original questioner's position I've just tried to offer unbiased advice. And that unbiased advice is that you aren't going to save GBP:500.00 by buying a MacBook Pro in the USA as opposed to the UK, if you take into account the *facts* of the consequential costs of that transaction.
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 08:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Where should I look? The Apple Store (brick and mortar) guy said all they had was the whole charger.
You must be able to get it as a service part, but Apple won't sell you one alone, you have to buy the international pack (six adaptors). Perhaps try to find a friendly Apple service centre?
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 08:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Aron Peterson View Post
The 51st state somewhere orbiting Pluto apparently.
Oh, that's where you are, now I understand why you aren't making any sense.
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 08:35 PM
 
This has got a little bit out of hand, hasn't it?!

I wish I'd never asked now, heh...
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 08:37 PM
 
Sales tax: New York state: 4.00%, New York City: 8.38%.

Source: New York Sales Tax Rates

It's not clear to me whether one gets added to the other (ie 12.38%), or what, maybe a New Yorker can tell us?
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 08:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by onlyone-jc View Post
This has got a little bit out of hand, hasn't it?!

I wish I'd never asked now, heh...
Maybe you can clear up the argument, what are you going to buy, where would you buy it, and are you VAT registered?
     
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Apr 19, 2007, 09:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
That's the only hardware thing I can think of, but for the life of me I can't find JUST that part anywhere. (A friend had a tragic "bump the charger while it's plugged in" accident and she needs to replace JUST that duck head.) Where should I look? The Apple Store (brick and mortar) guy said all they had was the whole charger.
I took an intermittently functioning 12" PowerBook wall-wart to the Apple Store in Cambridge, MA and the Genius figured out it was a bad duck-head and sold me one for $9.88. He may have swapped the whole adapter and not told me, but I don't think so.
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 12:08 AM
 
Sales tax paid in NYC is 8.375% (not 12%). Highest in the US is 9.5%. Most states are 4-6% with NY and CA as the notable exceptions. Wikipedia has the goods.
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 02:29 AM
 
There we go.
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Apr 20, 2007, 04:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
That's the only hardware thing I can think of, but for the life of me I can't find JUST that part anywhere. (A friend had a tragic "bump the charger while it's plugged in" accident and she needs to replace JUST that duck head.) Where should I look? The Apple Store (brick and mortar) guy said all they had was the whole charger.
Glen, if you can't get the original duck head a simple $3 cable like this one will solve the problem. Not as elegant, but inexpensive and available at every decent hardware store.

( Last edited by Simon; Apr 20, 2007 at 04:45 AM. )
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 04:40 AM
 
In summation:

1) The price you see in the US Apple Store is not what you will pay.
2) If you have to pay VAT on the purchase for business reasons, you might not save much money, or you might even end up paying more depending on exchange rates.
3) If you don't have to pay VAT on the purchase for business reasons, and you are willing to lie to Customs about having nothing to declare, you can currently save quite a reasonable amount of money, assuming you were travelling to the US for other reasons and not just going there to buy a Mac or assuming you could get a cheap flight and a cheap hotel for the period of your stay.

Can we leave it at that?
     
JKT
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Apr 20, 2007, 04:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Glen, if you can't get the original duck head a simple $3 cable like this one will solve the problem. Not as elegant, but inexpensive and available at every decent hardware store.
Alternatively, a universal plug adapter for international travel can be purchased and you can plug the two prong US plug that comes with the Mac into that and then the adapter into the UK socket.
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 04:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by JKT View Post
Alternatively, a universal plug adapter for international travel can be purchased and you can plug the two prong US plug that comes with the Mac into that and then the adapter into the UK socket.
Yes, but Glen's problem is that the two prong plug (the duck head) is broken.
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 05:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by onlyone-jc View Post
Will a simple US to UK plug adapter make everything work as normal? Or, would a whole new power adapter be needed?
Hi, Is this what you'll need?

AC Adapter B922-5464 PowerBook G4 / iBook / iPod / MacBook UK AC Plug Adapter Apple Mac Parts and Repairs from VIS Ltd
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 06:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by Clive View Post
With regard to the differential in prices between the US/UK, the cheapest MBP is USD:1,999 (GBP:999.40), or in the UK store GBP:1,148.00 (without the VAT). But that assumes that you'll get $2.00 to your pound, but you won't, and the banks will charge you some commission on your credit card, so assume that you'll lose at least GBP:50.00 of that apparent advantage. Now also remember that when you go into a US retail outlet they may well also charge you some sales tax (which can be up to 12% or so), which you cannot claim back. Now your advantage has disappeared - in fact you could be paying more…
If you are with the Nationwide Building Society in the UK, you won't be charged an extra fee for international currency transactions.
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 10:02 AM
 
Yes, but it would be cheaper, though not prettier to buy this http://www.lindy.com/uk/productfolde...0059/index.php

Better still buy the travel plug set in the USA as well.
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 10:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by JKT View Post
3) If you don't have to pay VAT on the purchase for business reasons, and you are willing to lie to Customs about having nothing to declare, you can currently save quite a reasonable amount of money, assuming you were travelling to the US for other reasons and not just going there to buy a Mac or assuming you could get a cheap flight and a cheap hotel for the period of your stay.

Can we leave it at that?
Near enough, though you don't get the choice of whether you pay VAT or not (not sure if that's what you meant?) – you have to pay it. The only issue is whether you can claim it back or not (because you are VAT registered).
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 10:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by smsm1 View Post
If you are with the Nationwide Building Society in the UK, you won't be charged an extra fee for international currency transactions.
I think I already noted that, twice.
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 10:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Glen, if you can't get the original duck head a simple $3 cable like this one will solve the problem. Not as elegant, but inexpensive and available at every decent hardware store.

My friend has her extension cable, but it's a pain to keep it from being a tripping hazard-otherwise I'd be all over that sort of cable.

I'll keep looking...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 11:16 AM
 
Hello all, this is my first post--

I looked in on this thread, because this is just what I plan to do. Some differences however:
--I am a US citizen, UK resident.
--I usually take my holiday to visit my family in the US
--I work in the UK-- and am paid in ££

I never expected the advice in this thread to be so controversial-- or perhaps I mean---- contested.

What do I have to add? Well, as a non-business perchaser of a computer, I would NOT receive the VAT back, so It makes more sense for me to buy in the US.
Also, are you all aware that there is at least ONE US state which has NO sales tax? Delaware-- and we all love driving down for some shopping there

Now yes, I am cheating Gordon Brown out of the VAT I should pay on the computer when I return with it in my carry-on luggage, but then, if I buy it in the US and use it for 4 weeks there, am I really required to pay VAT here?
I will be most interested to see if Apple really does adjust the prices between US and UK-- and the Citibank account sounds like something I should have had long ago, since I have one foot on each continent!
Thanks all!

Anything else I should know?
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 12:12 PM
 
A few observations:

1. Citibank is an excellent option for international transfers -- in fact, you can transfer money internationally (between Citibank UK and Citibank US) instantaneously as well, not just between USD and GBP accounts at the same bank. We kept my fiancees Citibank account in the US when we moved to the UK, and it's fantastically useful to have held on to US accounts and credit cards for various purchases. The only downside is that Citibank is reportedly shifting everyone to a 10-quid-a-month basic account in the near future. Not sure if this is something that can be avoided, if it can't then it's probably no longer worth having a Citi account...

2. What has been established in this entertaining thread?
2i. That if you add on all taxes and fees in both countries and pay your import duty when you bring the laptop into the UK then the price differential may be rather less than you would initially expect (i.e. potentially even a loss).
2ii. If you buy in a high-tax state then the benefit is less (Delaware best, NJ not a terrible second if you're only going to be in NYC)
2iii. If you pay VAT or can claim VAT back then you might as well buy here in the UK.

3. Just to throw one more observation in -- if you have access to a legitimate educational discount then the price differential can still be huge. I'm legitimately enrolled in both MIT and UCL, the MIT discount made the MBP the same price as the UCL-discounted MB!

4. And back to the original question -- you can buy a plug adapter (no need for a voltage adapter), you can buy Apple's international plug-set, or you can buy some random black cable instead and all will enable your US-bought MBP to charge here in the UK without a hitch. The bricks can take any voltage between 100 and 240 so you're covered.

HTH,

jon
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 12:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Yankbear View Post
Also, are you all aware that there is at least ONE US state which has NO sales tax? Delaware-- and we all love driving down for some shopping there:
Yes, if you really want to save some money buying a Mac the easiest way to do that, for a Brit, is to go to Jersey or the Isle of Man (or Gibraltar) – where there is no VAT. You don't need to go all the way to the USA and there will be no doubt about currency fluctuations or foreign transaction surcharges on your credit/debit card.

How many Apple resellers there are in Jersey is another question altogether…
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 03:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Yankbear View Post
Now yes, I am cheating Gordon Brown out of the VAT I should pay on the computer when I return with it in my carry-on luggage, but then, if I buy it in the US and use it for 4 weeks there, am I really required to pay VAT here?
This was partially my fault... what I meant was import duty and not the VAT, and yes, legally you are required to pay import duty and import VAT. Failure to declare your imported goods could lead to you being stiffed for £1000 in fines as a civil penalty (and up to £2500 for serious offences) if you get caught.
     
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Apr 20, 2007, 04:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
You'll want to set your localization settings most likely, so that the $ sign is a pound sign etc. The UK keyboard is different. Plus, you'll want to spell localization with an 's'.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
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Apr 20, 2007, 06:19 PM
 
No state in the US has a 12% sales tax. That's crazy. The highest really is California, New York (city, not state), and then Texas has 8.25% (where I live). Everywhere else is much lower, like 4-6%.

Though one question I might have is that might UK customs get suspicious about your new MacBook Pro? I mean, where exactly are you going to put the box?
15" MacBook Pro C2D 2.16Ghz | 2GB RAM | 120GB HDD | 128MB X1600 GPU
     
 
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