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Author Topic: A cautionary tale...  (Read 375 times)

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Offline emjaybee

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A cautionary tale...
« on: June 07, 2018, 01:26:26 AM »

A Cautionary Tale

[Alt. title: Beware Irishmen (I think) and their fancy wares!]

I've always kept a weather eye on EBay. That's not to say I buy a lot of stuff, but it can be a useful gauge of values, what's on offer, and a timewaster. I keep a regular eye on certain stuff, bits for my tractor, N gauge stuff etc. Generally speaking I have some sort of bid floating around most weeks, more often than not it's a low bid on the off chance I get lucky, very occasionally I do. For example, I've successfully built up a fleet of seven Jubilees for around 55 each (new tooling stuff, that is).

A few weeks ago @dannyboy (the swine! {just kiddin'}) mentioned about VRC Hobbies in the U.S. having some good deals on twin packs of locos. I had a look. Having spent a fair few weeks on various holidays in the U.S. I kinda like their diesels. Very nice they looked to, I had another look a couple of weeks later when his arrived and he posted pics on the forum.

Then I noticed something...

...some of the individual loco's were on EBay as auction items, and holding some quite low bids, $12, $14, $16. I idly looked at shipping to the U.K. and the fact that HMRC would slap 20% VAT on anything. Might be worth a cheeky low bid, y'know, just in case.

Four cheeky bids were duly placed...

...and I mean cheeky, we're looking at bids of 26.50 for a brand new loco here, the same ones that Hattons bang out for 69.99! Never gonna happen.

Thinking about it, I should probably have done a bit of looking at completed bids to see if that gave any clues, but then I wasn't really being that serious.

Any-hoo, fast forward a few days and there's a rash of e-mails in my inbox, ah yes, the usual 'Sorry you didn't win this time'..., no.


"You have won the following item" etc., 26.22...

...followed by "24.65" and "23.99" and "23.99". Ah, umm, oo-er. It's possible I may not have thought this through thoroughly. So that kinda blew their 'cheapish' international shipping and a bit of VAT theory out of the window.

I trundled off to the Post Office depot this morning to pick up a parcel and pay 27.65 in tax (including 8 handling charge for the P.O. - didn't think of that one!)

The culmination of my tinkering on EBay is I have spent a whisker under 160 and got four Northern Burlington locos. Not quite what I'd been aiming for.

I've got to say they look great. They run so smoothly, and quietly, it's hard to believe the price they were letting them go for.

So, yes, bargains are still about on Ebay, but I probably need to engage my brain a little more before committing!

Disappointed? Not really, they look great, and it's given me a great idea for a multi country layout. Same track and basic scenery, but with removeable/interchangeable buildings, stations, factories, tunnel portals etc. One minute U.K., next minute U.S.A.

Ever onward.

Sometimes you bite the dog...

...sometimes the dog bites you!


I can explain it to you...

...but I can't understand it for you.

Offline dannyboy

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Re: A cautionary tale...
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2018, 02:01:36 AM »
You got 4 for 160 and I got 2 for 90. The twin pack I bought brings my 'Burlington Northern' stable to 10, so I have to stop!!  ;). Because I have quite a bit of American rolling stock now, (and a few Japanese), I too was toying with the idea of 'swappable' buildings to fit the mood of the day, but I think I should get on with completing the layout first.  :).

I've got to say they look great. They run so smoothly, and quietly,

I wholeheartedly agree with your comments - beautiful engines and quiet running, even the second hand ones I have bought and, as you have found out, bargains are to be had.  I do not want to start a war here, but I really rate Kato, (and Atlas), loco's. :beers:
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.
If a friend seems distant, catch up with him.

Offline Malc

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Re: A cautionary tale...
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2018, 01:28:48 PM »
I too have a few Burlington Northern locos, mainly because I like the livery. They do run exceptionally well.
I'm not sure if life is passing me by, or trying to run me over.

Offline Webbo

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Re: A cautionary tale...
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2018, 12:16:14 AM »
I'm glad to see Malc, David, and emjaybee all yielding to temptation. The one Arnold loco I've seen struck me as to how well it ran and how fine a model it was. Pity for me that BN is outside my modelling range though I've just succumbed to the purchase of a ScaleTrains BNSF ET44 in orange and black.

Like you three, I'm operating equipment from two continents though in my case it is the British rolling stock which is the minority and Canadian Pacific which is the majority.


Offline ten0G

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Re: A cautionary tale...
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2018, 09:58:37 AM »
shipping to the U.K. and the fact that HMRC would slap 20% VAT on anything

Does anyone know if there is a threshold below which imported items are exempt from Duty, VAT, etc., and whether it includes the shipping charge or not please? 


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