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Old 02.05.2011, 21:39
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buying stuff before or after move?

Hi,

My husband and I (and baby) are moving to Switzerland soon. In fact hubby is leaving in the next few weeks and we'll follow, probably a month later.

We're currently trying to decide what to bring - we're getting a moving company - but obviously the price goes up the more you bring and some of our stuff is quite old and tatty and we were thinking of replacing it anyway - in particular our sofa, which most recently was vomited on profusely by our very ill (at the time) baby. Whilst I can wash the covers, the cushions are stained and frankly it's old and I want a new one!!

Does it make more sense to buy it here and ship it (given we'll be shipping stuff anyway at least 6 cubic metres I think) or buy it in Switzerland? The down side to the latter is that I don't speak German and I don't want to go without a sofa for months while I figure out where the shops are, learn German / learn how to avoid getting ripped off etc. If we buy it here now, we'll probably only be using it for a month before shipping - does this affect import taxes?

I am discovering that moving countries is a great way to really concentrate the mind on how much 'stuff' you really need. Alas, with a baby a certain amount of 'stuff' is unavoidable.

Any thoughts on this appreciated......

Red
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Old 02.05.2011, 22:25
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

Buy in Britain.

It cost me the same to move all my furniture from England as it would have done just to replace my settee.
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Old 02.05.2011, 22:49
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

I'm glad you've asked this question as I'm trying to decide on the same topic. I'm moving to Switzerland in the summer and have a relocation budget from my employers. I was about to buy a new sofa, sideboard and bedroom furniture but held back when the relocation discussions started. Should I buy it here and have it shipped? Pro is that it's cheaper and the company is paying for the shipping anyway. Cons are (1) you get taxed on items less than 6 months old and (2) if something goes wrong, you can't just get it taken back as you bought it in the UK.

I know they have IKEA although I don't really shop there over here anyway. I've checked like for like prices and IKEA in Switzerland is much more expensive than the UK.
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Old 02.05.2011, 23:19
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

So, how much are the extra taxes? I guess the question boils down to: is the cost of the item in the uk + taxes + additional moving costs less than, equal to or greater than the cost in Zurich?

Dougal's breakfast - any idea? From my point of view even if it's equal, I'd rather buy here as I could do without the stress once we get there.
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Old 03.05.2011, 10:15
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

Buy everything you need in the UK - the current exchange rate makes purchases in CH seem astronomical and the choice in the UK is far greater than over here.

Import duty is 8% of the purchase price.

Our house looked like another branch of DFS before we left.
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Old 03.05.2011, 17:04
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

Thanks Ethelreda,

8% isn't too bad and there is a lot to be said for buying things somewhere where I speak the language and indeed for having something to sit on other than the floor when we get there. Will have to go shopping now (what a shame - better get the husband a drink before he hides my credit card...)
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Old 03.05.2011, 17:16
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

As previously stated, buy everything you can in the UK. The extra shipping costs will be nowhere near the savings you make compared to buying in Switzerland.

With regards import duties, when importing your personal possessions during a move to CH, you are supposed to pay import duties on everything less than 6 months old. However, as long as you do the usual paperwork (correct form plus list of all items with approximate values) and as long as you aren't moving stuff with the price tags on or still in their purchase boxes, I have no idea how they would ever know it was less than 6 months old. In fact, it is quite likely as long as the paperwork is in order that the customs won't even want to look at the actual stuff.

So if you want my advice, don't mention anything about the newish stuff you have, just list it together with everything else, and you should not have to pay any customs duties.

Good luck with the move - I did the same from Cambridge a couple of years ago!
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Old 03.05.2011, 17:52
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

And the company shipping your stuff should do all the paperwork. Definitely but as much as you can in the Uk, especially if you know where you will be living and that it will all fit and meet your needs. Also do a big clothes shop as well. It's not only the prices here but quality and choice. It really focuses the mind when doing a shopping trip back to the UK.

We brought everything with us, mainly because a lot was relatively new anyway but I knew it would fit and go in the apartment we were moving too.

Good luck with the move.
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Old 03.05.2011, 17:58
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

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So, how much are the extra taxes? I guess the question boils down to: is the cost of the item in the uk + taxes + additional moving costs less than, equal to or greater than the cost in Zurich?

Dougal's breakfast - any idea? From my point of view even if it's equal, I'd rather buy here as I could do without the stress once we get there.

If you buy the items new and have them delivered directly to the shipper's warehouse you should be able to claimm the VAT back when you ship them and then only pay the Swiss duty, i.e. you get a 12% discount on the retail price in the UK (-20% VAT + 8% Swiss Import Duty). Speak to your shipping company about this as they should be able to handle all of the paperwork for you.

I recently moved here and ended up buying sofas in Holland as I could not find anything that was reasonably priced as well as reasonably shaped/adequate build.
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Old 03.05.2011, 18:04
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

Thanks everyone,

sadly we don't know where we're going to yet as we have temporary (furnished) ETH accommodation for a few months. Just seemed easier - since they offered - than having to travel over and find somewhere permanent whilst visiting. I'm just going to buy generic stuff, nothing too huge.

Glad I have an excuse for another shopping trip for clothes too! Actually, this is all working out quite well as it is forcing me to throw away loads of clothes that no longer fit me (may as well face the fact that my post pregnancy figure is going to stay the way it is - 15 months on...)

We're moving from near Cambridge too GenevaSculler - small world!
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Old 03.05.2011, 18:09
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

Arrgh BUY BUY BUY....I am actually just about to leave Switzerland movers in my house as we speak my wife left with two kids a couple of days ago and has been shopping ever since she left....the UK in fact shops anywhere other than Switz have

- more choice
- more character
- much much cheaper
- fun staff
AND you can barter


Oh the list goes on....there are certain rules to commerce in Switzerland and competition is not one of them so go crazy in UK and make sure, as above poster said, fill in the paperwork properly and remove the price tags customs will not bother when you and your family are about to become a fully paid up member of the swiss tax paying commune.

Red, enjoy your life in Switzerland it is great for most things but shopping isn't one of them
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Old 03.05.2011, 23:37
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

I'm going shopping now too. Thanks to all for posting this and the answers, it's really helped me too. I'm going to speak to my relocation agent about whether I can get goods shipped directly if I'm able to secure an apartment before I leave. I'm moving from Berkshire to Schaffhausen.

There's lots of Sales on in the UK right now on furniture so perfect timing.
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Old 04.05.2011, 13:36
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

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I'm going shopping now too. Thanks to all for posting this and the answers, it's really helped me too. I'm going to speak to my relocation agent about whether I can get goods shipped directly if I'm able to secure an apartment before I leave.
Ermmm - why? Why would you want to pay huge delivery costs, import duty & have the hassle of arranging for someone to open up an empty flat, when you can have it delivered to home in the UK & the Shippers will take responsibility for any damage incurred en route. (And all your goods & chattels will arrive the same day)

As stated previously - if you have to pay the extra over for a bigger container (ie over and above the cost of what is alllowed in your relocation allowance) it is WORTH IT & will more than cover the shipping costs of additional goods shipped from outside CH. Just make sure you fill it brim full.
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Old 04.05.2011, 13:59
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

check out www.ricardo.ch before you send spend all thet money on shipping. If your flat at the ETH is furnished then you have time to browse and bet! Thats what we did when we came over and got some awesome furniture and do not regret for secind sending a container. In terms of clothes..buy buy buy!!
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Old 04.05.2011, 14:51
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

buy in UK - or pop into Interio ( swiss equivalent to Habitat) or for shabby chic stuff go to troc (they are huge warehouses with second hand stuff - sometimes you can find some great antique stuff)
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Old 04.05.2011, 23:48
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

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check out www.ricardo.ch before you send spend all thet money on shipping. If your flat at the ETH is furnished then you have time to browse and bet! Thats what we did when we came over and got some awesome furniture and do not regret for secind sending a container. In terms of clothes..buy buy buy!!
Is that the Swiss version of ebay? Looks exactly the same.
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Old 05.05.2011, 06:46
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

Is Ikea Switzerland more expensive than Ikea worldwide?
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Old 05.05.2011, 11:08
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

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Is Ikea Switzerland more expensive than Ikea worldwide?
Ikea Switzerland is more expensive than Ikea Worldwide. But for Switzerland the prices are very reasonable.
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Old 05.05.2011, 11:15
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

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Ikea Switzerland is more expensive than Ikea Worldwide. But for Switzerland the prices are very reasonable.
Like much more expensive? (As in double or more the price of the same stuff)
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Old 05.05.2011, 12:02
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Re: buying stuff before or after move?

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Thanks Ethelreda,

8% isn't too bad and there is a lot to be said for buying things somewhere where I speak the language and indeed for having something to sit on other than the floor when we get there. Will have to go shopping now (what a shame - better get the husband a drink before he hides my credit card...)
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If you buy the items new and have them delivered directly to the shipper's warehouse you should be able to claimm the VAT back when you ship them and then only pay the Swiss duty, i.e. you get a 12% discount on the retail price in the UK (-20% VAT + 8% Swiss Import Duty). Speak to your shipping company about this as they should be able to handle all of the paperwork for you.

I recently moved here and ended up buying sofas in Holland as I could not find anything that was reasonably priced as well as reasonably shaped/adequate build.
I would not buy before you get here but I would preshop for what you want/need in the UK, easier if they have an online shop as well, just check their shipping rates. As stated above, if you order from Switzerland you effectively get another 12% discount, the goods are already prepacked for transportation and probably (?) insured. There is also an import duty per kg but it doesn't amount to much but I am not sure of the rate on furniture.
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