Generally though, http://www.scan.co.uk,
http://www.dabs.com are normally very good across the range of
components on price. You also do not see special offers on these
engines, like you do with pricewatch companies.
As for UK prices for computer components, I looked at http://www.dabs.com, which
is a large UK reseller which can build in bulk and get massive discounts
on items. They generally have good prices for the UK and offer free UK
3day shipping. Most other companies will charge between £5-£8 for next
day shipping. I contacted Accubyte a few months ago and was quoted $30
for shipping one processor to the UK. This has probably changed, but it’s
the only figure I have to hand.
Also for personal imports (i.e., internet shopping) computer components are
only subject to added VAT tax when being imported into the UK. There is
no import duty for such items, however, other items like clothes get
hammered with something like 12% import duty on top of VAT.
I might be
wrong, but I think VAT is charged on not just the item cost, but the
total cost of the item, shipping and import duty all added together.
There might be a different import duty tariff for retailers that could
add to the cost of importing. If there is, I do not understand it. I
always thought import duty was there to protect the countries own
industry, however, with computers certainly, we have no processor
industry. I guess it could be still there so Government still gets the
Athlon 1.2Ghz (SocketA), 200FSB
Item cost: £210.00+VAT
Shipping cost: Free UK 3days shipping
Total cost: £246.75 incVAT
Athlon 1.2Ghz (SocketA), 200FSB
Item cost: $271 (£180, £1=$1.5 as of 2001.01.06)
Shipping cost: $30 (£19.96, £1=$1.5 as of 2001.01.06) 3-5 day shipping
VAT: (£180 + £19.96) x 17.5% = £34.99
Total cost: £180 + £19.96 + £34.99 = £234.95 incVAT
Saving of : £246.75 – £234.95 = £11.80
Certainly things have improved. About 18 months ago, the difference
was around £20-£30. Although UK shipping needs to be considered for
companies that do not offer free shipping. Ok, £12, not exactly much and
I’m sure most people in the UK will spend that extra £12 so if something
does go wrong with it, it’s easier to get an RMA and costs less if
anything goes wrong. But £12 saving on just one component, considering
how many components you need to buy relates to a bit of a saving overall
on a whole system.
Looking at crucial.com there is a difference in their US and UK prices
and Crucial sell directly to the UK now as well as the US
128MB PC133, Cas 2
US Web price: $86.39 (£57.46)
UK Web price: £60.29 ($90.64)
Now, £3 is an acceptable difference for shipping to the UK considering
Crucial is a US based company. So if Crucial can do it, why not other
companies? Is there some kind of inter-company shipping that doesn’t carry
the same import duty into the UK? I don’t know.
But now I’m thinking, as an individual, I can buy one item over in the US
cheaper than a large UK reseller sells in the UK. I have not only paid a
manufacturers margin, US distributors margin, US resellers margin, but
also shipping from the US and VAT on all of that, and I’m still cheaper!
Surely a UK reseller like dabs.com can buy in bulk and get a discount,
surely they can ship in bulk and get a discount for shipping.
Considering this is an internet company, you can imagine how much extra
high street shops and smaller companies have to charge with extra
overheads. So who’s hiking the price up? Is it the distributors who sell
to the UK resellers or the resellers themselves? Or is there a retail
import duty and thus it’s the UK Government?
Its a shame it’s not as easy to get a resellers status like it is in the
US. I’d just love to buy direct from a distributor like
computer2000.co.uk which is the UK operations for TechData. Wish a net
site would do a guide to buying from UK distributors, like Firing Squad
As for higher prices, yes the UK has much higher prices across the board
on items, not just computers. Clothes, CDs, cars, fuel, cosmetics,
electrical goods etc. In the retail industry Britain is called Treasure
Island, because companies can make larger profits than other countries
for one reason or another, plus the fact our stiff upper lip British
attitude means not enough people complain in numbers about it for the
Government to force the issue.
Some info about why this is can be found here.
Certainly many cosmetics and clothes
manufactures put pressure on companies to not sell below a recommended
price, saying that it will cause the item to loose it’s ‘image’ of
expense, (read price fixing). Many internet retailers in the UK import
products from other European countries and are able to sell at a lower
price than official UK prices. Car manufactures have even put pressure
on european dealers not to sell to UK customers, since they are cheaper
than their UK counterparts, even though that’s against EU (European Union) law. Maybe if
the UK market was made more competitive, without manufacturers price
fixing things, maybe prices would come down a bit.
Certainly, OcUK and theoverclockingstore have been known to lower prices
purely because the other has the same item for sale and that has
happened back and forth in a price war a few times. In fact, such is the
competitiveness that OcUK do not allow any mention of competitors on their
message board now to limit any more price wars. Fair enough, but the
board was billed (still is to a degree) as a place to share experiences
and help each other, as if it’s purely for the benefit of their
But now, just as long as you only recommend OcUK to everyone
else, even if there is a better retailer. Kind of lost it’s pure
information sharing ideal for a business tool, to keep people coming
back to their site. Which again is fair enough, as long as it’s openly
described as such.
On the other hand, theoverclockingstore take a
different view and don’t mind people mentioning other retailers (within
reason, if it isn’t just spam, but adds something to the forum) and are
quite happy to try and get in products that others sell at a lower price
if they can. Certainly a much better view for competition and consumers
alike and the overclocking community as a whole. But I can understand as
a business, you want to protect your profits, I just do not like it when
that agenda is hidden behind a consumer caring face. Maybe it’s because
when OcUK first started, they were in it just for the fun and help, but
now money is the rising issue. In some ways the board over at
ninjamicros.com is better and more unbiased.
Some additional links: