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Low risk Group Buys

clansley

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Previous group-buy hosts please help!

Most members seem to live in the US but increasingly companies are refusing to ship to the US. One solution offered in thread "http://laserpointerforums.com/f55/pgl-iii-c-589-80mw-feeler-92917.html" is to have it shipped outside the US and then have somebody resend it to the US.

I guess this isn't too different from what happens to current non-US members of US group buys - but the risk may be higher as the second leg of the journey will be mostly international.

How do we ensure such a process is risk free for the person doing the forwarding?

Risks as I see them (please tell if you know of others):
  1. Packaging/Postal costs
  2. Import duty/tax (first + second leg)
  3. Loss/Customs (second leg) [I presume original company covers 1st leg]
  4. DOA (first + second leg)
  5. Falling out with members
  6. Legal - is it legal to send a laser to the US?

Nobody taking part in the group buy esp. one for something expensive will be happy not getting a perfect item. Nobody hosting a group buy or aiding one will want to be out of pocket or disliked afterwards.

How do we reduce risk? One idea I had was to get everybody to overpay and any mishaps come out of this fund - once everybody is happy the remaining fund is split and returned. If there isn't enough in the fund then it's split between those with the issues. How much over would be needed depends on how much risk the group is willing to take.
 
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NightExplorer96

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Good idea to have started this thread and ensuring everyone is comfortable before making their purchase :)

According to the FDA, any laser above 5mW of output power(Class IIIb+) is deemed illegal in the USA. If you get caught trying to import said devices, it will be confiscated and you may get a letter in the mail.

-Alex
 
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Shakenawake

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the risk of siezure is there, that can not be blamed on the middle man doing relay, all participants must acknowledge this. DOA is a tricky one. subbing
 

USAbro

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Good idea to have started this thread and ensuring everyone is comfortable before making their purchase :)

According to the FDA, any laser above 5mW of output power(Class IIIb+) is deemed illegal in the USA. If you get caught trying to import said devices, it will be confiscated and you may get a letter in the mail.

-Alex
I thought the company just needed a variance?
 

NightExplorer96

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I thought the company just needed a variance?

I'm not exactly sure on that one. Remember, CNI's Class IIIb & Class IV lasers have a 5 point safety feature I believe but they are still not allowed to import them into the US.

You need a good reason and proof of why you need such a device for it to be legal IIRC.

-Alex
 

USAbro

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I'm not exactly sure on that one. Remember, CNI's Class IIIb & Class IV lasers have a 5 point safety feature I believe but they are still not allowed to import them into the US.

You need a good reason and proof of why you need such a device for it to be legal IIRC.

-Alex
So I'm just wondering, then is buying them from laserbtb and sflasers illegal cause I don't want to break the law?
 

NightExplorer96

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So I'm just wondering, then is buying them from laserbtb and sflasers illegal cause I don't want to break the law?

Well if you want to get technical....yes since the legal limit is <5mW. But if you are careful as I'm sure you are, and don't do things which could get you in trouble, the chance of getting caught is almost none so you shouldn't worry too much about it.

What's funny enough, and I shared this story earlier is I bought a 500mW 532nm laser from JetLasers and didn't see it for months(eventually got another one). Anyway, after it got to me when I wasn't expecting it it had US Customs and Border tape over it and the laser was still there lol. Maybe someone just looked inside and closed it back up real quick just to say they opened it? I'll never know but I know I took a risk every time I tried to import one of those.

USABro, my advice is relax and enjoy your lasers :)

-Alex
 

USAbro

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Well if you want to get technical....yes since the legal limit is <5mW. But if you are careful as I'm sure you are, and don't do things which could get you in trouble, the chance of getting caught is almost none so you shouldn't worry too much about it.

What's funny enough, and I shared this story earlier is I bought a 500mW 532nm laser from JetLasers and didn't see it for months(eventually got another one). Anyway, after it got to me when I wasn't expecting it it had US Customs and Border tape over it and the laser was still there lol. Maybe someone just looked inside and closed it back up real quick just to say they opened it? I'll never know but I know I took a risk every time I tried to import one of those.

USABro, my advice is relax and enjoy your lasers :)

-Alex
Cool. I just wanted to make sure I can't get in trouble. But I'm careful so all should be fine. :D
 

olympus mons

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Great idea making this thread Clansley thank you. This is a lot of weight on the receiver/shipper and I appreciate anyone even considering it.

Here are some ideas I have.
We contact DJNY the man behind the success of the last PGL GB and see if he wishes to get a laser and/or possibly help us in anyway. His knowledge and past relations with CNI would be a very valuable asset on there own. If he would be willing to help us out even better. From my understanding he isnt active these days but I'm going to send him a PM in hopes he has email alerts. If that doesn't work I can ask a mod to contact him.

Second idea is to limit the number or buyers. This has a few pro's and one con. I thought of this idea when considering handling this GB order and funds. 10 buyers at >$600 when you include shipping and ins is a lot of money and I have to think about some personal finance things on my end. I am self employed and need to ask my acct about the potential problems with a random 6000 dollar deposit and transfer. I have to make sure this is okay with the IRS and I wont be taxed on this money as income. I'm sure its fine but something I need to consider as a self employed person my taxes are F'n brutal. About 44% when combined with fica, SS. and State.

So My thought was if the number of buyers was limited to say 5 or so and we can still get the discount that would take a lot of pressure and weight off the receiver/shipper. It would cut down on the number of units the person is responsible for shipping, the amount of tariffs, duties, or taxes if any to be payed.
The other pro is it could potentially make this a quicker easier GB. The cons is some of our fellow community may be left out and nobody wants this. But, if its between a shipper willing or not willing to do it this may be something to consider. Again, I want this to benefit as many people as possible but it is a lot to ask of a person to be limited liable for 10 expensive lasers. Perhaps someone would be more comfortable with less units. Just a thought.

So people know, we potentially have at this time 6 buyers for 7 units. I received a pm today from member interested in possibly 2 units but understandingly wants to see how this gets formulated before he commits to the list. So FYI we are looking good on the order end of things.



edited to add- Pm to DJNY sent. I have asked his permission to post his replies here so if he agrees I can post the conversations here for everyone to absorb his experience and knowledge rather than me just relaying it.

second edit- we are approaching 10 buyers pretty quickly so the limited buyer cap is probably as moot point at this stage. If we are at 7 units I dont see a difference another 3 makes. Just my opinion of coarse it would be up to the bounce.
 
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olympus mons

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Please excuse the double post but I think this info is important enough to warrant it and I have already made 3 revisions and updates to my previous reply. I will combine them all after people have a chance to read it.
That being said I think I may have worked out a solution to the dilemma and one that will save us all some money. That is of coarse if CNI delivers to Canada.

Here is my idea. So far all but one buyer is from the States so its not optimum to have the lasers sent to the UK where they will face some of the highest duties and taxes of most major countries I have read up on. Plus then the bounce shipping is also very expensive. What would be most ideal is to have the shipment go to Canada specifically B.C. Vancouver which is only a 5 hour drive from where I live.

I have close and trustworthy friends of my wife and I that live in the city. If they, or a trusted LPF member that lives in the area would be willing to receive the package, I can drive up and bring them back here to the states. Then all but one of the relay shipping would be continental shipping rates and zero taxes. Even Clansley would save money because I could send him his as a gift and therefore it won't be subject to taxation and duty. So I am considering being the one shipping the lasers if people trust me and this idea. I would need to talk to my wife, which i doubt she will be anything but happy for us, and lay down some up front agreements.

Honestly it seems a lot less of a risk driving across a border with them opposed to dealing with customs via the post. I would rather deal with immigration than customs any day. There may be a few details Id like to work out but not now nor here.

Pro's-
-no taxes or duty as Canada I believe has free trade agreements with China. (according to one website)
- less risk of things getting lost in international shipping
- cheaper continental shipping rates for those in the US
- We would have our bounce shipper and could move forward with the GB

Con's-
-???

Can anyone see any problems with this idea please speak up.
 

Shakenawake

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sounds like a good idea to me. I'm thinking of jumping in, though only if someone would buy my spartan
 

clansley

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I love how you seem to have a different idea of distance than I do. I can't imagine anyone here saying "it's only a 5 hour drive away", I consider a 2 hour drive to be long!

Sounds like a good idea as it addresses some of the bigger risks for most of the members. It's amazing that you have done all this work and would do all of that for us; you're amazing!

We should still consider the other risks too:
* are you able to find out the weight and size of the laser box, is that box/packaging suitable for the on ward leg? Just so you can estimate shipping/repackaging costs.
* DOA, would you test them before the onward leg? Will cni pay return postage?
* [I will have to take the risk of customs as I'm now the only one this applies to!]

Thanks for your help,
Chris
 

olympus mons

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I love how you seem to have a different idea of distance than I do. I can't imagine anyone here saying "it's only a 5 hour drive away", I consider a 2 hour drive to be long!

Sounds like a good idea as it addresses some of the bigger risks for most of the members. It's amazing that you have done all this work and would do all of that for us; you're amazing!

We should still consider the other risks too:
* are you able to find out the weight and size of the laser box, is that box/packaging suitable for the on ward leg? Just so you can estimate shipping/repackaging costs.
* DOA, would you test them before the onward leg? Will cni pay return postage?
* [I will have to take the risk of customs as I'm now the only one this applies to!]

Thanks for your help,
Chris

good questions buddy I replied in the feeler thread :thanks:
 

Teslanium

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I have close and trustworthy friends of my wife and I that live in the city. If they, or a trusted LPF member that lives in the area would be willing to receive the package, I can drive up and bring them back here to the states.

Honestly it seems a lot less of a risk driving across a border with them opposed to dealing with customs via the post. I would rather deal with immigration than customs any day.

Can anyone see any problems with this idea please speak up.

First of all I would like to thank you for going through all of this. But I would like to know more about the trip to the U.S. from Canada. Wouldn't the lasers/parts have to be declared as such when crossing the border, and what if any risks are there?

Thanks,
T.
 
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