If you are considering making a luxury purchase such as importing a designer bag into the USA from overseas, then you will need to do some planning and think ahead to make sure that you get the goods that you want, that they are genuine, and that you know what you will need to pay in terms of shipping and tax.
The Challenge of Getting Legitimate Goods
One of the biggest issues that people face when importing designer goods is making sure that what they buy is genuine. As obvious as it may seem, if you find a bargain-basement website which has designer bags on it at “too good to be true” prices, then that’s probably because the deal is indeed too good to be true. The best way to get designer goods is from approved boutique retailers, or direct from the designer themselves. That way, you can be confident that what you are getting is authentic.
There is a market for second hand designer goods on auction sites, and you may be able to pick up some good deals if you go that route. However, you should make sure that you buy only the brands that you know well. Look for markers of authenticity. Compare images of known genuine goods with those that are on the auction site. Is the embroidery for the logo exactly the same? Are the tags the same? Is the strap attached in the same way? How does the stitching look? Don’t shy about asking for more photographs of the item if you have any concerns. That is the only way that you can be completely confident that what you are getting is legitimate.
Importing Designer Goods into the USA
If you do find something that you want to buy, the next challenge is making sure that you get it and that you don’t end up paying over the odds. International shipping can be expensive, and there are customs challenges and insurance issues to think about.
It is usually worth paying for a good courier and for your product to be shipped using an insured method. Yes, you could use a normal postal service and let the product come by sea, but the longer it takes the more risk there is of it going missing. Usually, the standard postal service options do not have very good tracking. Pay for a known courier to handle your goods, and you will have a record of the package being accepted and a record of every warehouse that handles it along the way. This could save you a lot of hassle in the long run.
Make sure that the person who ships your designer bag fills out the customs form accurately. It can be tempting to tick “gift” on the label in the hopes of getting it through customs without extra charges. While there is a chance that you could save money doing this, there are limits on the value of gifts that will get through in this way, and if you declare your bag as being lower value than it is then at best, you run the risk of being caught out and having to pay more than you expected. At worst, if the package goes missing you won’t get the value of the bag back in your insurance.
As a general rule, if the item that you are importing is worth more than $2,500 then you will need to arrange for formal entry into the USA with an ACE manifest. If you went to buy the item in person and then are bringing it back with you then you can declare it orally. Many designer bags will exceed this threshold and it is important that you declare the value of the goods properly. As long as the bag is just a standard leather/fabric item and it does not have anything particularly unusual on it then there should not be any issues. Jewelry has its own special regulations, and diamonds have regulations as well. Seek advice if you are not sure if you will end up facing more restrictions than just a customs fee.
Exchange Rates and Buying Designer Bags Overseas
Another consideration that you will face when buying designer goods overseas is that of exchange rates. The value of the dollar can swing wildly from day to day and even hour to hour. So, you might agree to make a purchase one day and find that your new bag costs more than you thought when the time comes to make the payment. It’s a good idea to lock the value of the product in early. Alternatively, if you have a budget in mind when you are shopping for a designer bag, use Forward Contracts to lock in the cost of the currency for the purchase of the product early on when you can get an advantageous rate, then buy at your leisure.
You Can Get Great Deals Overseas
If you really want to get a great deal on a bag online, then it is possible. If you have specific tastes, love a particular designer, or are after something retro or particularly high fashion then importing from overseas can make sense. It is not something that you should be doing if you are not well-educated in customs, exchange rates, and designer goods in general. There are a lot of scammers out there that are looking for people who are a little too eager to get a bargain.
If you are willing to educate yourself, and you know exactly what it is that you are looking for, then you can get some good deals. Be patient. Don’t get too invested in the product that you are hunting for. Remember that designer goods carry a premium price for a reason, and that if a seller is too eager for a quick completion there is probably an ulterior motive. Shop smart and you should be able to get a good deal on the bag that you have always had your eye on.