Buying overseas for Australia & NZ

LambringoLambringo Member Posts: 104
edited January 2012 in Shopping Elsewhere
I thought I would start a topic where us folk from Australia and NZ can share websites and retailers who will ship internationally and a quick summary on range, pricing, shipping and customer service for each. Other threads contain our distaste for our local RRP so there is no need to discuss it in this topic. Please note that this is my experience only.

The following are for Australia only so please feel free to add comments about NZ.

amazon.fr: Most products sold by amazon (not 3rd parties) ship to Australia and the range is the largest I have found. Listed price includes tax which is removed at checkout for overseas buyers. This reduces the product cost by 18-19%. The listed price is usually lower than Aus RRP. Generally i save between 35-55% on Aus RRP. Shipping method used to be a choice between regular (12-18 days) or priority (2-6 days) but the regular method has been removed recently. This has made the site less attractive as shipping used to be $4-$10 for each item and if if was large, it would usually be upgraded to priority for free. Now shipping can be up to $40 per set. The regular shipping can be a disaster but I believe it is due to DHLs complete lack of care rather than packaging but this is the exception. Priority shipping lives up to its name and is speedy and has always arrived in excellent condition. Customer service has been great with timely responses in Engligh.

amazon.es: Less products than the French site but still a large variety of products sold by amazon (not 3rd parties) ship to Australia. The range is also smaller compared to the French site. Listed price includes tax which is removed at checkout for overseas buyers. This reduces the product cost by 18-19%. The listed price is usually lower than Aus RRP. Generally i save between 35-55% on Aus RRP. Shipping method is priority only (2-6 days) but is capped at 20 Euro. Order as many sets as you like, large and small. Priority shipping lives up to its name and is speedy and has always arrived in excellent condition. No customer service experience required as yet.

amazon.it: Very similar to the Spanish site. Less products than the French site but still a large variety of products sold by amazon (not 3rd parties) ship to Australia. The range is also smaller compared to the French site. Listed price includes tax which is removed at checkout for overseas buyers. This reduces the product cost by 18-19%. The listed price is usually lower than Aus RRP. Generally i save between 35-55% on Aus RRP. Shipping method is priority only (2-6 days) but is capped at 20 Euro. Order as many sets as you like, large and small. Priority shipping lives up to its name and is speedy and has always arrived in excellent condition. No customer service experience required as yet.

amazon.com: Low % of LEGO ships to Australia but some exclusives unavailable from anywhere else apart from [email protected] can be purhcased. No tax reduction as tax is added to RRP in the US, but not for international buyers. The listed price is US RRP so about half price. Generally i save between 25-30% on Aus RRP. Shipping method are a choice between regular (12-18 days) or priority (2-6 days). Regular shipping appears to be based on size/weight and is reasonable (eg Maersk train $20 shipping) but it does not appear to have discounts for purchases with multiple items (4 trains = 4x$20). Priority is very expensive (eg battle of naboo, $25 for the set, $35 for postage). The regular shipping is ok with no major damage but enough dents and creases to be annoyed and I have not used priority due to the cost. No customer service experience required as yet.

B&N.com: Decent product range and most will ship to Australia. No price adjustment at checkout. The listed price is US RRP so about half price. I have only used regular shipping (12-18 days) and it was ok condition, but most boxes had some sort of damage. Not for MISB collector IMO. Shipping costs were very reasonable (about $7-$10 each item. Customer service is very 'cut and paste' response.

Comments

  • sidersddsidersdd USAMember Posts: 2,432
    Don't forget Bricklink - although customer service varies by seller.
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    Great thread. I've been looking into a few of these recently (for New Zealand) but havn't taken the plunge yet. Good to know the Amazon sites that cap the shipping at 20 euros. Also wondering how often B&N update their stock? Seems like they have quite a few old sets and only a selection of newer ones.

    Its a bit hard for me to purchase sets that are readily available over here, as we have been having a few 30% off sales recently, so that makes the cost about equal in some cases. I'm very tempted to get stuff that we don't have here (or don't get included in sales). The only thing I can add to this discussion is private sellers on this forum who can ship sets over and take a small margin as payment.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    My wife is from Australia, more than once in the past few years she has asked me to move the family to Australia.

    This is one good reason NOT to go... The nice people, sandy beaches, yummy Works Burger, and watching the toilet water go the other way 'round are good reasons TO go...

    Hmm... ;)
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    Great topic @Lambringo. And since we are the closest neighbours, we share the same dilemma. And I have been ranting a alot about not being able to get the products in time, in right price range and without any hassles (or being burdened that someone has helped me for free).

    Sadly, no site of Amazon ships to my country. So I have to rely on my contacts I have made via Bricklink or some willing members of this Forum. But I guess soon I will pull away from Lego and only buy stuff which get available in my country even though they won't be anything latest and lack of variety is staggering.

    Ebay is another option for people from our region. Sometimes the deals are quite good to say no to.
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    ^One good thing about that I guess is if you get sets released a few years later, you might get a better idea about what sets collectors are interested in and stock up!
  • JasenJasen Member Posts: 283
    I live in Brisbane and I do alot of BLR.... BrickLink Research hehe. When I want to buy I hunt for it, I don't just get the first on the list. The idea is to also look through the shop to find other stuff that interested you be it parts or sets. You will find alot of cool sets at good prices (EG I got a Coast guard set here at the same price as US and from victoria so no postage as well) plus you will limit what little postage by buying slightly more. You can click in the search for stores located in Australia (or NZ for that matter)

    Also for more "spur of the moment" stuff take a look at www.BricksDownUnder.com it has people posting from all over Oz about sales etc, it's quite handy.
    As for NZ buyers I can only suggest BL.
    A.Fr is no good for MSIB (as stated above) and eBay is great if you're not sure what you want to eventually end up paying.... plus it's just too fussy. On BL people are more fastidious about their Lego so you get better service for the most part.
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    @StuBoy, you just revealed too much info ;) Kidding. But you are right :)
  • b3b3kb3b3k Member Posts: 12
    if you are in Australia try norfolk island. they sell cheap lego. u can have surface mail or air mail shipping...too bad surface mail can take up to 2 months to arrive but of course cheaper shipping. too bad they dont have the collector edition or hard to find item. other than that...their goods are not so bad with the price
    link here: http://www.travelcentre.nf/toys.htm
    you can email them and ask for the catalogue: [email protected]

    "Norfolk Island boasts the cheapest Lego in the world, and has a huge range of models, games and pastimes.
    Be careful though, time passes very quickly in a toyshop......even for adults!" h
  • glendoglendo Member Posts: 22

    My wife is from Australia, more than once in the past few years she has asked me to move the family to Australia.

    This is one good reason NOT to go... The nice people, sandy beaches, yummy Works Burger, and watching the toilet water go the other way 'round are good reasons TO go...

    Hmm... ;)

    you could also have a great business opportunity to move down here... keep your buying in the US, and sell in Oz... if your prices are good, trust me you will get customers.
  • LegoBrickSteveLegoBrickSteve Member Posts: 43

    you could also have a great business opportunity to move down here... keep your buying in the US, and sell in Oz... if your prices are good, trust me you will get customers.


    This may, or may not, be the case. My wife is from Australia as well, and I've recently moved here from the The States...bringing our collection with us.

    Reliable shipping can be terribly expensive, as can bringing extra luggage, what with airline restrictions and pricing these days. We had been exporting it 4-5 large suitcases/boxes at a time over the past year, so if you are thinking about buying U.S. to sell for profit in Australia (because the price difference is HUGE), be sure to consider and factor in what it is going to cost to get those sets over here.

    For us, bringing the boxes, etc...was NOT an option. We had to break everything down into Zip-Loc baggies or bubble wrap.


  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    edited March 2013
    Ive been looking into the options too, isnt it cheaper just to ship a container rather than do it in bits?
  • LegoBrickSteveLegoBrickSteve Member Posts: 43
    Here is an example of how it worked once for us:

    We had a lot my wife was going to take back from my place in California to NSW Australia. Because she was flying Virgin Australia (and was a Gold Club Member) they let her bring what was a total of 5 large suitcases back with her for only an additional $100.

    We had previously taken the same amount to the UPS store in California, and they wanted $875 USD to ship that amount...

    That is just one example, and I'm sure rates can vary. All I was trying to illustrate is that the transport can be pricey, so doing so strictly for resale may, or may not be worth it. For us, it was just a matter of transferring our collection, so we were never doing the figures for profit.

    Not sure if that even helps, but it was our experience...
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    Ahh I see, seems like you have a bargain there. I think if we move house it'll be by putting stuff into a container. Mind you, it does make you think whether you should just sell everything you own and buy what you need again at the other end.
  • LegoBrickSteveLegoBrickSteve Member Posts: 43
    Price and availability in Australia are not what you would be accustomed too in The States. I'm still getting used to that fact.
  • duilimduilim Member Posts: 61
    Here's a crazy thought......
    I was thinking that with TRU in the US offering international shipping that it would be prudent for AFOLs in each city to meet, determine which sets each person wants, then bulk buy and split the shipping cost. I'm sure it'll be much cheaper this way.
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