Buying big ticket items from abroad, and how to get them home for cheap

There are many reasons why you might want to make a big purchase overseas and need to arrange safe and reliable transportation to get the item home.

It could be that a luxury indulgence or a potentially lucrative investment catches your eye while you are on holiday, or you could be deliberately searching for a unique item such as a classic car that you can only find abroad.

Whatever the reason, it is important to adopt a cautious approach when buying expensive items in a foreign country and to make sure your possessions and finances are protected.

Read on to find out more about some of the popular reasons for making big purchases overseas and some of the finer points of the process.

Special buys and bargains

One of the main motivations for buying a significant item abroad is to get hold of something that is rare or unavailable at home.

A good example is cars. People with a passion for classic American automobiles or Japanese sports cars, for instance, may not be able to find that next big investment in the UK.

Auto Trader points out that purchasing a vehicle abroad and importing it can also offer good value for money and help buyers beat waiting lists at home.

The possibility of bagging bargains is another attractive aspect of buying expensive items overseas. In a Christmas shopping guide published in November last year, the Post Office revealed that designer clothing labels are up to 61 per cent cheaper in American cities than in the UK.

Britons shopping in the US can also find savings of up to a third on potentially expensive products such as toys, electrical goods and fashion accessories, according to the research.

Staying safe

It is essential to be cautious and ensure the proper protections and assurances are in place when making any big purchase, but it is particularly important to take a careful approach when buying overseas.

Firstly, make sure you are 100 per cent certain about the product you are buying. Do some research beforehand and make sure that you have a good inspection of the item, looking for any relevant trademarks or signs of certification, before money changes hands.

It is also crucial to ensure you are dealing with a reputable seller. Don’t be sucked in to making an impulse buy if you are not entirely certain about the individual or organisation you are buying from. Try to get some guarantees from local authorities or previous customers.

Paying with a credit card and getting an itemised receipt are strongly advised, as this ensures that you have a detailed record of your purchase.

Transferring cash and arranging delivery

Once you have done your research and are happy to go ahead with the deal, it could prove beneficial to use an international transfer service to ensure you have enough cash available for the transaction.

This approach offers a number of advantages, such as exchange rates that are up to four per cent better than those available with banks, no commission charges and the support of a dedicated currency dealer.

Transactions are available to destinations all over the world, from countries in Europe to more far-flung nations like Japan, the US and South Africa.

Another logistical concern to bear in mind is the possibility of having your purchase delivered home, which will be necessary if it is too large, heavy or fragile to transport yourself.

The website Independent Traveler points out that you will need to choose between having the merchant arrange shipping – which may not be an option with smaller sellers – or sending it personally.

You will want to take precautions to guarantee the safety of your goods, such as taking out dedicated insurance. If you are overseeing delivery yourself, ensure the item is securely packed and that the box is properly labelled with details of the contents.

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