Have you also considered the shipping costs, and the potential import fees and duties associated with ording a movies from the UK? It happens.
If it ships via Royal Mail/USPS, then you're probably safe. I've gotten movies shipped via Royal Mail from the UK without incident (movies I couldnt otherwise get over here) ... But I have also had my share of problems if it ships by DHL or UPS. Since you can't choose the carrier, once it ships it's yours. When it lands on this side of the pond, you could be in for a real treat paying for brokerage fees on top of those duties.
And don't THINK "well, I'll just refuse the shipment and have it sent back" -- because once it's over here and you refuse it, it sits in a bonded warehouse until UPS or whomever is good and ready to send it back -- or if Amazon UK requests it be sent back (which takes a fair amount of prodding because it's not a normal practise for them). You won't see your refund until a good 4 or 5 months later if you're lucky enough that it does eventually get returned.
Knock yourself out if you're willing to accept those risks.
I think I just explained the problems in the previous post... brokerage fees and duties they want to collect when it lands here. Some items that ship via DHL out of Germany (even if bought from .UK) tend to arrive here via USPS - and those usually aren't a problem. However if it comes via DHL state-side, it's subject to those extra charges.
I, too, have ordered many dvds, blu-rays, and cds from Amazon's UK website (as well as a few from their French and German websites). Typically I'm just ordering stuff that's released over there that's priced more over here because it's an import, but occasionally I'll get a region free disc at a significant discount versus what the same title costs in the U.S., the only difference being the graphics on the package. It's crazy, but even after paying for shipping it's sometimes less expensive to buy a disc from the UK.
I've never once been hit for a customs fee, but I am generally only ordering $100 or less worth of merchandise at once (usually much less than $100). The only problem I ever had was ineptitude at the post office, holding stuff at a local office claiming I had been given notices to pick up three packages after failed delivery attempts when, in fact, no notices were left and I was actually home waiting for the mail on a couple of the days they claimed they attempted delivery.
I've never had any of the Amazon's ship anything to me using anything other than standard mail (no FedEx, no DHL).
I agree, it doesn't happen often but it does happen and it's a bitch when it does.
For me, it was for a movie I couldn't get here, and while I wasn't happy with the extra charge, it something that crosses my mind before each order I place from the UK.
For a friend of mine, however, he refused the shipment and it's his experience that I detailed above. It was a nightmare to get his refund back because the parcel was in bonded "limbo" -- he couldn't even retrieve it and pay the fee once he opted to refuse it.
I've ordered DVDs from the UK that were just unavailable here. Seems to work pretty well. The biggest problem I've had is the merchandise inside getting beat up from the trip here. Once, a DVD took forever to get here. Amazon sent me a new one, no questions asked. The original shipment arrived the next day, looking like it had gotten *soaking* wet on the way here. Never had taxes, duties, customs fees or brokerage fees.
>>>> You're right, I didn't realize they had restarted US operations after an almost 3 year absence between 2008-2011. <<<<
No, he's always been right.
DHL ended domestic deliveries in 2008, but they continued to provide International express services.
He is also correct that when you get your merchandise in the mail, it is very different than when you get your merchandise through a common carrier.
And refusing a package coming by common carrier does lead to a lot of problems. The original shipper has to pay the taxes, and then pay the carrier to ship it back, too. Expect those costs to be deducted from your refund.
The region is not the only thing you need to be concerned about. The other caveat to ordering DVDs overseas is despite them being region-free, you have ensure that your player will convert PAL to NTSC for viewing on your TV over here. If it doesn't, despite the disc being region free, your player will still reject it. Now, if your PLAYER is region-free, unless it was hacked to be, there's a good chance it will also convert PAL to NTSC.
On the other hand if you're ordering BLU-RAY discs, then the PAL/NTSC issue is non-existent. Not only that, but MOST (not all) studios publish region-free Blu-ray discs. -- FOX is one that doesn't, mind you. Almost ALL of their titles are Region locked (Region B in the UK) However, Warner is one that almost always does publish region-free Blu-ray discs. I've seen mixed results from Columbia, Universal, and Disney... but for the most part those have been region-free as well. Regardless, all of the disc stats, inlcuding PAL format, and Region codeing are usually listed on the details on the Amazon UK listing.
Yea, and I would have agreed until my friends and I experienced said "hassles". But as I said earlier the import duties and brokerage fees from the UK are not frequent, nor are they rule -- but they do happen and when they do, any amount you saved is lost entirely.
I paid $25 (after shipping and dollar exchange) for the Lethal Weapon blu-ray set back in early 2011. I had never paid duties or fees before, but everything in the past came by mail. However, when it arrived by UPS, I paid $30 in brokerage fees and duties. A final cost of $55 was not what I was hoping to spend, but it was a collection I couldnt get here at the time. (and now that it is available here it's nearly $50 anyway -- I just had it about a year earlier)
A friend of mine ordered the Indiana Jones Blu-ray collector's edition from the UK last fall. It's a set with all the swag that is NOT available here, but at the time he ordered it the price was the same as if he bought the movie-only set here (taking shipping, VAT and dollar conversions into consideration). When UPS came knocking, there was another $40-something charge for duties and brokerage fees. He rejected it, assuming like domestic orders, it would be refunded when it got back to Amazon. It never got sent back, until he contacted Amazon UK looking for his refund. Then he tracked it down through UPS to find out it was in "international unclaimed parcels" warehouse. UPS wouldnt return it on his request because the parcel was no longer his... he had rejected it. In fact they wouldnt even let him reclaim it as his even IF he paid the brokerage fees. -- And since Amazon UK hadnt requested UPS to send it back it was in Limbo. It was a mess. He contacted Amazon UK twice to see if they would request the parcel back, and they said they would "take care of it." -- This was back in October, and he only JUST (2 weeks ago) got his refund - and I don't know if it was a full refund or not. Nor do I know if Amazon UK ever got the parcel or not.
As for the retort by ELO that I've only mentioned "one" problem myself, my "share of problems" are experiences spread across myself and other friends of mine. Again, I wouldnt say it's a rule, but of the approx 20 orders to have come out of the UK, and placed by myself and friends, 4 came with duties and brokerage fees attached. When 25% of our orders have arrived this way, it's not something I would say is impossible, nor improbable.
As I said, it's a risk you take, and if you're willing to accept the risk, knock yourself out. I would rather the OP know the possible risks than to have everyone tell him that he has nothing to worry about.
PAL/NTSC formats ARE an issue with Blu-Rays, as you can see from the many complaints on Amazon about British Region-Free Blu-rays. The new Tarja "Act 1" U.S. Blu-ray Act 1 [Blu-ray] was mistakenly released in PAL format over here, and you can see the litany of complaints about it not playing in many U.S. Blu-ray players (or the Sony PS3) on Amazon's product page reviews, despite the disc being Region-Free. It plays for me only because my Blu-ray player supports the PAL format.
From the two examples Daniel mentioned, it looks as though UPS might be the problem? Do you remember if those orders were Standard Delivery or Expedited Delivery to the US, and did either of you specifically select UPS as shipper? I just ordered from the Amazon UK site and selected Standard Delivery. They split the order and sent part of it via Royal Mail and the other part via DHL. Now I'm worried about getting charged an Import Fee.
The orders we place from the UK are always standard delivery. They arrive within 4 or 5 days anyway.
DHL has also required brokerage fees and duties on two orders friends had placed. I didn't mention them because they were received and fees paid.
There is a slight difference, as I mentioned earlier, when you are expecting something via DHL... DHL shipments that come from Germany (even though you ordered from the UK site) are most likely "Deutsche Post" DHL -- which means they'll most likely get handled by USPS in the US.
But if it ships DHL as an international courier (versus regular post mail), regardless what country it comes from, then DHL will handle it here.
The chance that your order was split is probably because one shipped from the UK and one shipped from Germany. You'll only know when the order arrives. Chances are that if you don't get a tracking number on the DHL portion, you probably are getting it via USPS when it gets here.