We were discussing buying bits from China (Hobbyking, Banggood, Ebay etc) at Cosmo and there seemed to be some confusion over import duty and when it is applicable.
At the present time, if the value of the goods + shipping costs is more than £15, then you will have to pay import duty, VAT and a handling charge from the post office or shipper. This can add up to quite a bit of cash. However, if you keep your orders below £15, then there is nothing to pay.
I often buy low value bits and pieces from China via Banggood and Ebay without paying any duty. The secret is to split up the orders to keep below the limit which is easy as all Banggood and a lot of Ebay prices from China already include shipping. For instance, say you wanted to buy two servos at £10 each from Banggood; if you ordered both of these together, this comes to £20 and would attract about £12 of duty and charges on top when you receive them. However, if you place two orders of one servo each, you will pay only £10 for each order and no duty or charges at all.
As long as you stick to the under £15 rule, you will have no bother other than having to wait a bit longer than usual.
Note however, this may change after Brexit, especially if the government decides to lower import duties to zero to stimulate trade, as has been suggested.
The usual warnings about counterfeit bits apply, of course, so I would never buy a Spektrum or similar parts from China - its strictly caveat emptor! But its useful for little bits and pieces at cheap prices. After all, most of its made there these days anyway.
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