Post Brexit - UK Buyers And EU Stores Etc

Steve_Wales

Member
Messages
18
This is mainly one for UK folks but obviously, feel free to chip in.

Without getting into the politics of it all, which is now agua pasada, I had one transaction post Brexit which turned into a headache and was wondering if people have given up buying from Thomann, Musik Produktiv or even selling to buyers in Europe. Before gettin into my experience, what was totally bizarre, was that I'd sold things to buyers in Australia via Reverb and the process was an actual doddle. The one unusual thing I had to do, was declare that the guitar I sold had no exotic woods, other than that no paper work.

Anyway, here's my tale. I bought a preamp from Musik Produktiv. I was going to get in from Thomann where it appeared cheaper, but when I got an email from them, they were wanting to charge VAT and import duty. Clearly change happened post Brexit but interestingly, Musik P had avoided all of that (I guess they registered for VAT with the UK Gov) and it was the price advertised which also included postage. So far so good.

First issue was the amount of time to get the stuff from Germany. In the past, this was a matter of 2 or 3 days. This took a lot longer. Eventually the item turns up. I didn't like it so asked to return the item. They couldn't have been more helpful. So I box it up and send it back via UPS which was the courier they used to send it.

This is where the nightmare started. It took literally 3 months to complete the receipt and return. It got out of the UK in a week but in Germany it got stuck in a loop and it was impossible to get help from UPS. In the end, Musik P returned the money and said, don't worry, the stuff is in Germany and they trusted the customer.

Since then I haven't dared try out another purchase. What is a shame is that I've had Carl Martin and Fractal kit repaired on the continent free of charge, that's how good both those companies are but I'd be loathed to test that out again/

I suspect I'm not alone but perhaps some have got back on the horse and are trading happily.
 

AndreasG

Member
Messages
2,195
Beeing in Italy I stopped buying from the UK just like I stopped a few years back buying from the US for goods that cost more than a fews hundreds. Customs, VAT and hassles are just not worth it
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,001
I buy guitars and violins commercially from Europe. It's not been fun - I think we all assumed the worst case scenario was that buying from Europe would be the same as from outside the EU, which is a bit fiddler but straightforward enough, but in reality for the last few years it's been easier to buy from the US, Japan, Australia etc than has from France or Germany. I don't want to drag this into the realm of politics and it's a fine line how to discuss it without politics creeping in, but it strikes me that we have an incredibly complicated interim trade deal that no-one really understands and it's taken a long time for businesses and couriers to figure it out. As a small business trading with Europe, we were offered next to no official help from the government in understanding what was expected of us when the time came and most people in the music industry were navigating it by Whatsapping each other going 'what have you tried so far... don't do this whatever you do... is there a way round...' and so on.

Nowadays I think a lot of it is under control and we're at a point where, well, it can still go wrong but more often than not it doesn't. I have one supplier I've stopped trading with because they simply can't get their head around the paperwork but everything else seems pretty much ok except for being a hassle. Warranty issues though are still an absolute disaster and trying to get a guitar sold abroad back to repair and then return to the buyer leaves you liable to three hits of VAT. That's not how it's supposed to be but it seems almost impossible to navigate the paperwork and not have a VAT bill when it arrives.

I've not tried an EU purchase on a personal level since before we left, the combination of a weak pound, VAT suddenly being added to used goods from the EU and the hassle and worry of paperwork all having put me off looking there, but funnily enough I have I couldn't find anywhere but Germany on the way to me right now - so we'll see how it goes!
 

Steve_Wales

Member
Messages
18
Thanks for these comments. My experience is no statistically significant study - being nothing more than dealing with Germany but from someone I know who is German and has lived in the UK for many years, her experience seems to be that Germany are being incredibly awkward about it - trying to prove a point in her words.

Clearly the politics of it has shown poor levels of skill and even maturity on both sides with the outcome as far as I can see, the end point is that despite knowing how to trade with Europe, and vice versa for more than 50 years, the most troublesome, inconvenient outcome has happened for individuals like myself.

It's a shame of course because there are some great dealers on the continent who have excellent prices and superb customer services that are ruined by a mad attitude between the two trading partners.
 




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