Because LinnStrument isn't available in many stores, I try to make it easy for customers around the world to buy direct from my site by offering free worldwide shipping to many countries. For LinnStrument, I ship by Federal Express International Economy. For AdrenaLinn III, I use US Postal Service Priority Mail International, which is flown to the destination country then handed off to the country's government post for final delivery. However, I have had delivery problems in some countries, and in the event that a shipment doesn't arrive, it's too expensive for me to pay for the shipping and to return the customer's money. For this reason, the free shipping is limited to the following countries:
* China (See below for info about high import taxes and Customs difficulties.)
* New Zealand
* South Korea
* Thailand (See below for info about high import taxes and Customs difficulties.)
* All EU countries in the Schengen zone
* United Kingdom
Note: Free shipping is not included to Russia. Because of difficulties with Russian Customs, shipping cost to Russia is a flat $200. Contact me (Roger) to handle this, or order from Thomann in Germany.
* Costa Rica
* Dubai, UAE
* Saudi Arabia
* South Africa
Over the years, I have received very few orders from countries other than the above. If your country isn't listed above, please email me because depending on current political conditions and other factors, I may be able to include free shipping to your country. Otherwise, I'll let you know the shipping cost to your country.
Importing into China
Here are reports from two LinnStrument owners who bought from our online store and shipped to China
From a LinnStrument (large model) buyer in Shanghai:
The problem is that the China customs sort any order of amount over 5000 RMB (about 773 USD) into "company goods", and that is why FedEx showed me a form with my name filled in the "company" field. That is the form from China customs.
"Company goods" has to be dealed by a company, and worse, because they treat this as company goods, they require a safety standard form called "CCC certificate waiver". Since I'm not a company, I can't get this waiver. This is unreasonable since I'm going to use it myself and not selling it to anybody.
I found some unofficial way of handling this, letting it go through some other company's name, but they told me that the duty tax amout is absurd. The tax amount is about 881 USD, plus handling fees, they will charge me 1020 USD. That equals a LinnStrument 128, and I'm still not sure if it is a safe way to get it.
The cost they gave me breaks down into this:
Usual import tax: 179.88 USD
Value plus duty tax: 285.41 USD
Extra US tax (25% compound): 417.37 USD
Transportation: 32.81 USD
Process fees: 104.93 USD (because I will use a company name)”
From a LinnStrument (large model) buyer in Guangzhou:
“Due to covid restrictions preventing me leaving China and avoiding customs duties, I've taken delivery of quite a lot of gear this past year delivered by FedEx, UPS, and DHL, and I have them all down to a science after a few hard lessons. First and most important: the customs declaration must have exactly one item on it. If it's more than one---even if that other item is a case or other standard accessory---China customs will be very strict, particularly if that item has its own, separate price. They will be required to classify the parcel as professional equipment whether it's for personal home use or not, and this sounds like what's happening to [customer #1 above], though I can't be sure. Even for other goods, though, if there's more than one item in the parcel, I know from personal experience that China customs will either refuse it (I had a supply of vitamins refused) or require you to be a company or whatever.
If this is not the case with [customer #1 above], then I don't know what the problem is. All I can tell you is that I'm looking at 15 sets of import documents for various items of pro audio gear using the three carriers mentioned above. In each case, I supply them scans of the following documents:
1) entry stamp on passport
3) proof of payment
5) a personal statement (I've attached a blank copy of the one I use for FedEx. DHL's is more informal, includes the same info, plus the statement that this is for personal use to play music at home)
6) photo of item on sale page
7) residence permit
8) selfie with passport
The customs duties are 20% on pro audio gear, which is unpleasant, but far less than what [customer #1 above] is describing.
Aside from the multiple-items problem, if [customer #1 above] is a mainland China citizen (i.e., is required to use the China national ID card, not a passport), then perhaps a different set of rules kicks in, but I don't know anything about that.“
Importing into Thailand
Hi. I'm an American living in Thailand. In early 2021, the stars came together that I could purchase a Linnstrument full-size for myself. Joyous!
Over the years I have purchased various pieces of equipment from outside the country, generally with no problem at all. It just comes to my door & I pay any duty and taxes at that point. Worst case, I pick it up at the local post office.
This time though, there was a hold up that ended up adding nearly a month to the delivery time. I'd like to share what I learned in the experience, and offer tips for others who might buy things from outside their country of residence. Details here are specific to Thailand, but I don't doubt there are other destination with customs systems that might introduce speed bumps (or worse) into the import process.
Note that this is the experience of a foreigner, not a citizen. If I were Thai, I've no doubt some things would have gone differently.
1. Threshold value. The main reason I fell into this 'pit of despair' was because the shipment had a higher value than the items I usually purchase from overseas. It seems that below a threshold of about $1300 USD, the carrier (FedEx here) handles processing without need for the customer to be involved. Above that amount, it's necessary to do a 'registration' procedure so that the customer becomes officially a legal importer of goods into the country. Generally this take a week or so to do.
Federal Express will handle this, but it requires some user participation. You yourself have to sign a couple of forms in Thai language and provide multiple signed copies of particular pages in your passport. Your original passport also must be presented when paperwork is filed.
This can lead to weirdness, depending how far away the custom's office is from where you are living, and how you feel about turning your passport over to FedEx for a day or two. In my case, another 2 weeks were added to the delay as I don't live close to Bangkok and I did not feel good about relinquishing that precious document. I could have avoided this additional delay. Even failing that, I'm just a few hour drive away from the customs office, so could have taken a day to run up. As it was, I decided instead to wait until I had some other business to take care of in the capital. So my personal choices account for at least half of the total delay.
2. The 'Weird Goods Clause'. I don't really know, but I have a distinct impression that my shipment encountered additional scrutiny because is wasn't immediately recognizable to the customs agents. Probably if it were a keyboard, its match with the tariff code for a musical instrument and the meaning of the description 'Expressive MIDI controller' would have been recognized. Btw, the box was never opened. Thai customs discovered the internet ages ago & you can take it as read they will know what your order looks like as well as its general value.
In my case, the practical result was that even after completing my registration I had to provide additional information to clarify the item's description and use. Not hard, but it added a few days.
3. True Names. Thai customs requires that the name of the importer match that on the person passport or government. The Western system of First-Middle-Family name is not transparent to them (fair enough). This required that FedEx file another form to change the recipient name from Gary Hall to Gary Sewell Hall. Cost me $50 and likely added a day or two.
So I have my instrument now (and love it), and a good result is that my registration as an importer is good for 1/2 year and will be renewed when I import anything else within that period.
So what might this mean for yourself, assuming you are also a Stranger in a Strange Land?
* First-off, if there is a dealer of the product you want to buy in-country, you should consider buying from them. Usually, retail price here include duties and taxes and thus is higher than retail where the product originates. You might think you can save money by ordering in, but unless your purchase is under $100 (and sometimes even then), you're going to have to pay that anyway. If you buy from the local dealer/distributor, any paperwork and delays for importing are already taken care. And you will have a friend if anything comes up in relation to your new purchase.
* If you bring in something relatively big-ticket, you might look into things ahead of time to anticipate what might come up. Depending on where you live in relation to the point of import, whether you might trust a company such a FedEx with your passport (which you might), and so forth. There are also customs brokers who love to be involved in helping you get your shipment in quickly. Maybe you know somebody who knows somebody...
Gary Hall, Hua Hin Thailand