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Old 25.04.2013, 17:37
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Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

Hi everybody, I live in Switzerland (B Permit 5 years) and I am thinking on getting a Mac Book Pro, but they are not cheap at all, so I am thinking on different ways I could eventually save money.

I am thinking on different alternatives and I would like to write them on this post with my thinking and doubts in case somebody has an idea or experience doing this.

I understand that I could go shop in France/Germany and when coming back in customs from the country of origin I could declare that I live in Switzerland and they could give me the VAT back?
Will this be all of it or just a part of it? How much would it be in each case?

Can I do this purchasing a Mac Book Pro or it has to be other type of article?

Then I understand that maybe the Swiss customes could charge me 8% because I would be "importing" the laptop here but I also understand that 1 personal computer doesnt needs to be declared?

If somebody can shred some light on the process and their experience about doing this would be great. Thanks in advance

Surferride
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Old 25.04.2013, 17:40
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

Look at tax free prices in De, Fr and CH and then make your decision. You WILL have to pay Swiss MWSt here.

Search the Forum please, about shopping in Germany.
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Old 25.04.2013, 17:45
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

Hi!

What do you mean with " I Will ". If I go out through customs on the Swiss side nobody controls if I go out with a MacBook Pro. Why would they tell me something when I come back (If there is any control?).

Or it is part of the benefit of getting the VAT back on the French/German side?

Thanks!

I am reading several posts but havent found anything more directly refered to Apple computers for example.
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Old 25.04.2013, 17:50
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

You WILL have to pay Swiss MWSt here because that's the law!

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Old 25.04.2013, 17:51
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

Maybe you only looked in Media Markt or Interdiscount for the prices?

Check DIGITEC and then compare with abroad.

Personally I found CH to be reasonably priced for anything electric/electronic.
I wouldn't buy a laptop abroad simply because of the aggro factor if I needed to claim on the warranty.
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Old 25.04.2013, 17:54
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

To get the VAT back in Germany, you will have to have the receipt stamped at Swiss customs, where they charge you 8% VAT.

You won't save much. Deducing fuel/train-fare and time, the balance is probably negative.
Show me a piece of electronics that can't be had cheaper here than in Germany.
About the only exception is if you want to buy a kitchen (or other furniture).
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Old 25.04.2013, 17:54
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

I don't know about prices in D or F, but CH is certainly cheaper then Italy for such items!

Tom
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Old 25.04.2013, 17:55
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

I am not just planning to buy a Laptop. I am planning to buy a MacBook Pro. Apple offers international warranty on their products so that wouldnt be an issue.

As you may know a MacBook Pro could be more than 3000 CHF so Its an important decision for my wallet.

I am trying to think on any way I could save money on this purchase. I understand for example VAT in France is 19% but I also understand I would have to pay 8% when entering Switzerland so it would be a 12% discount....
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Old 25.04.2013, 17:58
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

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I am not just planning to buy a Laptop. I am planning to buy a MacBook Pro.
Hilarious....



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Old 25.04.2013, 18:02
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

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To get the VAT back in Germany, you will have to have the receipt stamped at Swiss customs, where they charge you 8% VAT.

You won't save much. Deducing fuel/train-fare and time, the balance is probably negative.
Show me a piece of electronics that can't be had cheaper here than in Germany.
About the only exception is if you want to buy a kitchen (or other furniture).
You are right, and I am not even considering yet the difference of Euros vs CHF...

Lets do the exercise on the same model:

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (With Retina Display)
Specs:
15-inch: 2.7GHz with Retina display
Intel Core i7 quad-core 2.7 GHz
Turbo Boost up to 3.7 GHz
16GB RAM 1600 MHz
512GB flash storage 1
Intel HD Graphics 4000
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory
Built-in battery (7 hours) 2

Cost in Apple France: Euros: 2799 (Converted to CHF with Google: CHF 3449)

Cost in Apple Switzerland: CHF: 3099 (Converted to Euros with Google: Euros 2512)

Conclusion: Its cheaper to buy this in Switzerland instead of Germany or France.
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Old 25.04.2013, 18:04
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

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I am not just planning to buy a Laptop. I am planning to buy a MacBook Pro.
So, in other words, you're just buying a laptop.

And, as I said, they are cheaper here than in Italy, as I bought one for my niece in Italy (her money) a few years ago.

Tom
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Old 25.04.2013, 18:08
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

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So, in other words, you're just buying a laptop.

And, as I said, they are cheaper here than in Italy, as I bought one for my niece in Italy (her money) a few years ago.

Tom
I am sorry for all PC guys (like me, until I buy a MacBook Pro). I took the decision to make the switch to Apple. I cant stand Microsoft and their cr@p any longer. And I am tired of listening to Apple fan boys saying that they are very happy with their Apple equipment.
So no, I dont consider a MacBook Pro a laptop because its too expensive to be just a "laptop". It costs the same as a CAR here in Switzerland.

I will pay double the price of one the best Ultrabooks laptops on the market, so I wont be just a laptop.

Di I made my point ?

PS: Maybe I will become an Apple fan boy too. Or I will sell it on Ricardo because I will hate it...who knows
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Old 25.04.2013, 18:20
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

Perhaps we can finally put this topic to bed
If I buy a laptop abroad, throw away the packaging, boot it up and type an email, doesn't that laptop now become a personal effect and thus VAT free? After all I'm not asked to pay VAT on my smartphone every time I come back from shopping in Germany.
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Old 25.04.2013, 18:28
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

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Perhaps we can finally put this topic to bed
If I buy a laptop abroad, throw away the packaging, boot it up and type an email, doesn't that laptop now become a personal effect and thus VAT free? After all I'm not asked to pay VAT on my smartphone every time I come back from shopping in Germany.
You pay VAT when you import it, so if you were to buy a smart phone outside of CH and you reside in CH, you would need to pay VAT when you import it, not each time you carry it across the border!

Same for laptops, or anything else.

Tom
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Old 25.04.2013, 19:05
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

And don't forget the keyboard. If you want a UK/US keyboard that will be easier in the UK. I think you can order a UK key board here but you won't be able to get it off the shelf. With a Mac desktop its easy, just buy an extra keyboard.

I bought a MBP in London and reclaimed the VAT at Gatwick. I got about half back not the full 21% as this seems to go in fees to the company that process the tax back. When I flew into Switzerland I forgot to pay the VAT of 8%

Conclusion: get it priced here with UK keyboard and budget for a 10% tax-back if you buy in the UK

If coming from Ireland you don't need to show the item to Irish Customs so you could unpack and use it and pack it as a used machine.

And once you get the apple bug.....
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Old 25.04.2013, 21:04
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

Why would you want to buy a laptop in germany or france when they cheaper in switzerland. Just because food and clothing are hugely cheaper in those countries dont assume electonics are in particular apple items are actually not.
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Old 25.04.2013, 22:07
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

>> PS: Maybe I will become an Apple fan boy too. Or I will sell it on Ricardo because I will hate it...who knows

I bought my first MBP at the end of last year, having been a Windows user since the mid-90s.

In all honesty, surferride, I wish I hadn't. I won't go into all the details, but they cost a lot and I just don't see what advantage I've got for the extra price.

Plus, I now look like I belong to a crowd that I really don't want to belong to.

About 6 weeks ago I gave serious thought to selling my MBP, but here's the reason I didn't: I bought mine from the Apple website and paid what I thought was the one and only price for that model. I was wrong.

Take a look on Amazon's UK website. Yes, I know we're not in the UK, but compare the Apple UK price to the Amazon UK price. Do the same with Amazon DE. You'll see that Amazon is 15% cheaper.

Furthermore, Apple's warranty is actually not worth much. It doesn't include parts and repair, and it lasts for a short time. On the other hand, Amazon will sell you a warranty that will optionally last 2 or 3 years and that covers everything, and when you add that on to the price of the MacBook it's still cheaper than buying just the MacBook directly from Apple.

I recommend you read this article about Apple's warranty.

The reason I decided not to sell my MBP? I'd have been happy if I thought someone would pay me 85% of the price I paid 4 or 5 months previously, but then I realised that they could pay this price to Amazon and get a brand new one. Also, mine has an English keyboard; I bought extra RAM and an SSD for the MBP and if I sold it to buy the ThinkPad that I wish I'd bought instead then I wouldn't have been able to use these. And if I sold them with it then I'd have dropped even more money on it.

IMO, so many fanboys rave about Apple products simply because they want to be part of that set.

So my two pieces of advice would be
  1. Check Amazon's price, and if it's at all possible for you to buy from Amazon UK and have it delivered to a friend, relative, or even a colleague's friend somewhere in the UK, and then bring it over from there, do it. Don't buy directly from Apple unless you have no other option.
  2. Ask yourself why you want a MacBook. Is it because you have very good reason to believe that a software application you use will be more effective on a MacBook; or, deep down, is it really just because you want people to regard you as an Apple user?
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Old 25.04.2013, 22:38
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

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And don't forget the keyboard. If you want a UK/US keyboard that will be easier in the UK. I think you can order a UK key board here but you won't be able to get it off the shelf. With a Mac desktop its easy, just buy an extra keyboard.

I bought a MBP in London and reclaimed the VAT at Gatwick. I got about half back not the full 21% as this seems to go in fees to the company that process the tax back. When I flew into Switzerland I forgot to pay the VAT of 8%

Conclusion: get it priced here with UK keyboard and budget for a 10% tax-back if you buy in the UK

If coming from Ireland you don't need to show the item to Irish Customs so you could unpack and use it and pack it as a used machine.

And once you get the apple bug.....
i normally buy in the UK for the UK keyboard and pay the UK premium for this.

Though having examined the Swiss keyboard, it has the same physical layout and so you could just re-map the keyboard to UK and it would work OK as long as you don't mind having the wrong 'labels' on the keys...
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Old 25.04.2013, 22:59
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

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Take a look on Amazon's UK website. Yes, I know we're not in the UK, but compare the Apple UK price to the Amazon UK price. Do the same with Amazon DE. You'll see that Amazon is 15% cheaper.

You could have just bought a refurbished one from the Apple store - or waited for one of those 10% days at interdiscount. Or bought from Digitec. Or took some other deal.
If you buy the warranty from amazon - how do you exercise it?
Is there an amazon-store somewhere in Zurich where I can bring it to?

Personally, I'd buy one of the non-retina refurbished 13" MBPs (the base model with 4GB RAM and 500GB disk can be had for below 1200 CHF) and then buy 2*8GB RAM and a 250GB Samsung SSD from Digitec.
<1600 CHF and a great laptop with SSD and user-serviceable parts.
The Retina-Models are hard to service - almost everything is glued together...

Apple doesn't flood the market with 20+ new models every year. As a result, the hardware is pretty mature after a couple of iterations and performs well.

The warranty "situation" is not ideal. But basically, if you don't buy Apple care (or just the "parts and labor" warranty that they don't really advertise because they want to sell you the phone support, too), you're pretty much screwed after 90 days. I

I really don't see why being associated (imagined or not) with a certain socio-demographic group would deter somebody from using a certain product.
The product either does what it is supposed to do or it doesn't. That should be the primary reason to buy (or keep) it.

I bought an iMac because I needed something that worked without too much hassle. I didn't want to be a Windows-admin, nor did I want to jump through hoops to get WIFI or a graphics card working. Perfect hibernate/wakeup is also priceless and works best with OSX.

If I had to buy a non-Apple laptop, I'd either try to find a Thinkpad-model that hasn't been ruined by Lenovo already or buy a Lifebook from Fujitsu. The price of one of those Lifebooks is pretty much the same as the refurb MBP above - there's just no way to have a decent laptop with a price-point significantly below the BP/MBA series.

To make an Apple product "work" for you, you have to adapt your workflow to the way it's done under OSX (or IOS). If you can't do that or don't want to do it, don't bother: it's unlikely that Apple is going to change something just for you.
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Old 26.04.2013, 08:32
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Re: Buying on Apple France or Germany to bring to Switzerland

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Perhaps we can finally put this topic to bed
If I buy a laptop abroad, throw away the packaging, boot it up and type an email, doesn't that laptop now become a personal effect and thus VAT free? After all I'm not asked to pay VAT on my smartphone every time I come back from shopping in Germany.
Yes this is very true, but as the customs posts German/French, tend to be side by side with the Swiss and when the Swiss see you stop at the German/French customs the Swiss guys usualy stop you and ask you why.....

The customs officiers also speak to each other i think you'll find.
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