Tips for Buying Overseas Online

Shopping from the USA

I don’t know about you – but I still haven’t mastered the art of buying on-line.  It doesn’t matter how the goods are described and look on the internet – I am always disappointed when the parcel arrives from overseas.  However, I do know for many of you shopping on-line is a great and essential shopping experience – so here are a few tips that you might not be aware of :

Don’t just assume that you won’t be charged GST, duty or an extra courier fee or ‘import entry transaction fee’ when buying overseas.  I bought some pairs of pink Converse shoes from an Australian on-line store recently and the order came to around $452 NZ dollars.  I was kindly advised by their Customer Services Department that I would get charged extra taxes given the total cost of my goods, so they suggested that I place two separate orders, to ensure I was under the threshold.

Check the Custom’s Service website so that you can work out in advance, what you are likely to be charged.  Better still – click on’t forget to include any freight costs, as that also incurs duty.

Of course if you buy something and you don’t like it and/or it isn’t what you thought it would be – unfortunately you can’t get any of the tax or duty back that you may have paid. Best scenario is to on-gift it or sell it on Trade Me.  It may fit someone else just perfectly.

Some over-seas websites of course have currency converters, so you can see how much it will cost in NZ dollars.  However they don’t supply all the duty and GST information, so you need to check as it can differ depending on which country you are buying from.

Note to self : don’t forget how important it is to support local industry.  Perhaps spare a thought for the person that may have made your goods from overseas hoping they got paid a decent wage.  Lastly – quality over quantity I say.


About stylebyyellowtulip (244 Articles)
I fell into the art of style quite by accident. There was no defining moment when I decided that I knew what I wanted to do. I want people to feel good about themselves. Many don’t know where to shop and/or how to wear fashion. It has never been solely about cost, but of finding quality at a reasonable price and being able to wear - to suit your own figure, style and fashion. Join me as we explore – What is Style? Yellow Tulip

10 Comments on Tips for Buying Overseas Online

  1. DW in Brisbane // August 26, 2015 at 2:21 am // Reply

    So far I have only dipped my toe in the online book market – both print and kindle. And mainly for books that I cannot get here in Australia. Although, I must admit the exhorbitant price of books also puts me off buying locally. Even with current postage, it’s loads cheaper to buy online. I haven’t purchased clothes or shoes online as I’m put off by getting the sizing right & the hassle of return or exchange. And there’s enough variety here to reasonably satisfy me, so I’m doing my bit for the local retailers. From 2017 the australian government is going to start charging gst and possibly collection charges (effectively forcing you to go to a depot to collect your parcel in person and pay them for your efforts in picking it up!) that will cost more than the actual item, so even my book purchases may yet go by the wayside…!

    • I can’t see me not still enjoying the experience of going into the store and trying things on. Funnily enough I have purchased furniture from Trade Me and all purchases have been fantastic. As you say, depending on where you live – you may have enough variety that you don’t need to shop elsewhere. I don’t think the latest idea from the Aussie government sounds logically or practically. Hopefully you’ll be ok with your book purchases. I got a kindle for my birthday actually so one of these days need to start using it ….. love reading.

      • DW in Brisbane // August 27, 2015 at 8:54 pm //

        While I still love the feel of a real book, I also love the instantaneous arrival of a book to my kindle after I’ve purchased it! And so much easier for travel – no more lugging 2 or 3 books on holiday – simply load up the kindle and it fits neatly into my handbag! Only downside to them I’ve found is they’re not so practical at the beach! All that sand…

  2. Living in the states, it’s so easy to order auction items line – but not as easy to return, if you have bought from E-bay etc. You have to pay the return fee, and that can mean it makes more sense to keep the item, and as you say, give it to charity and just write it off as a life lesson, Books are super cheap here though, so it is very tempting to fill a bookcase, virtual or otherwise. Stores like Anthropology and Nordstrom etc. will order on line for you while you are in the store and have the goods delivered at no charge. This is great if they don’t have the size you want in that location, and they are amazing about returning anything to the brick & mortar store, no questions asked. It’s so tempting to have everything delivered and not have to go out & shop in the real world!

  3. Oh – but I do go out of my way to buy NZ authors!

  4. Interesting info Yellow Tulip….

  5. The pros and cons of on-line shopping …

  6. I only buy online back in my country and from a brand that I know very, very well. But more and more I prefer to buy in store, and local. Very good reminders, especially for us here in NZ.

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