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Pentax XW - why so expensive in Europe?

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#1 chvlat

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 03:54 PM

Hi all, 

On another topic some gentleman kindly suggested I look towards the Pentax XW 3.5mm eyepiece for my planetary needs

Being based out of Athens (GR, not GA!) I first tried to look for them on EU-based websites to avoid the customs charges and hassle. They come out at a price of EUR ~370-400 or a bit more than 420-480USD at the going fx rate, for example:

https://www.astrosho...yepiece/p,12339

Looking for the same EPs on some US sites I get quite different prices, for example:

https://www.amazon.c...entax xw&sr=8-3

https://www.adorama.com/px35xw.html

Now these come at ~USD270, much much lower than the European prices! I understand the American quote might not include the 8-10% sales tax (vs 16-24% VAT in Europe...) but here we’re talking about an at least 50% premium for those in the EU, even when accounting for the US Sales Tax!

 

How can this be possible when we’re talking about a Japan-made (I presume) product? Last time I checked EU duties on telescope optics are ~4%, even zero US-JPN duties wouldn’t explain the huge price disparity I am seeing

PS and to avoid any misunderstanding: I am in no way affiliated to any of the above merchant stores or any of their competitors - I posted them only as example cases that were easy to find. Mods feel free to remove the links if deemed necessary


Edited by chvlat, 10 June 2021 - 04:17 PM.


#2 starcam

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 04:13 PM

I think right now there is a sale going on.


Edited by starcam, 10 June 2021 - 04:14 PM.


#3 Shinzawai

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 04:58 PM

Similar price discrepancy for TeleVue.

EUR/USD usually has MSRP set at 1:1, why? Who knows, in part to cover for some market volatility maybe but it's convenient to make a bit more on the conversion I guess.

Then add the following; if there's indeed a 5% import tax {difference}, add ~20% VAT vs no sales tax, maybe also more expensive shipping/logistics and or import fees and you can easily see the price inflate.

Not saying you should like it, or that it's "right", but you're the customer, at least you still have that power to either buy it at a premium or go for a (better priced, and likely equally good) alternative.
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#4 Starman1

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 05:24 PM

Hi all, 

On another topic some gentleman kindly suggested I look towards the Pentax XW 3.5mm eyepiece for my planetary needs

Being based out of Athens (GR, not GA!) I first tried to look for them on EU-based websites to avoid the customs charges and hassle. They come out at a price of EUR ~370-400 or a bit more than 420-480USD at the going fx rate, for example:

https://www.astrosho...yepiece/p,12339

Looking for the same EPs on some US sites I get quite different prices, for example:

https://www.amazon.c...entax xw&sr=8-3

https://www.adorama.com/px35xw.html

Now these come at ~USD270, much much lower than the European prices! I understand the American quote might not include the 8-10% sales tax (vs 16-24% VAT in Europe...) but here we’re talking about an at least 50% premium for those in the EU, even when accounting for the US Sales Tax!

 

How can this be possible when we’re talking about a Japan-made (I presume) product? Last time I checked EU duties on telescope optics are ~4%, even zero US-JPN duties wouldn’t explain the huge price disparity I am seeing

PS and to avoid any misunderstanding: I am in no way affiliated to any of the above merchant stores or any of their competitors - I posted them only as example cases that were easy to find. Mods feel free to remove the links if deemed necessary

European prices are quoted WITH tax, so subtract the VAT to make a fairer comparison.

Also, be aware these ship from Cebu in the Philippines, literally half way around the world from you.  They enter the US in Los Angeles, which, although far, is a lot closer.

And finally, be aware that European dealers make a higher margin than US dealers do because they pay their staffs higher wages.

Plus, they are currently on sale 10% off in the US.

But if the price is that much lower here, why not buy from a US source?  Even with shipping it would be less than €370 and you would pay no US tax.

But you would have to figure in import tariff, brokerage charge, and VAT to get the product in.  With shipping, it might be a wash.


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#5 AaronF

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 05:30 PM

Yes it's annoying, isn't it?

Especially for those of us who live in southern and eastern European countries, where salaries are a lot lower than the north.

 

Can I recommend to you the Takahashi TOE 3.3mm instead?

It's a very good eyepiece and its price in Euros is comparable to the US Dollar.

It has a narrower FoV than the Pentax XW, but if you have a tracking mount that's not an issue.


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#6 AaronF

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 05:39 PM

Being based out of Athens (GR, not GA!) I first tried to look for them on EU-based websites to avoid the customs charges and hassle. They come out at a price of EUR ~370-400 or a bit more than 420-480USD at the going fx rate, for example:

https://www.astrosho...yepiece/p,12339

Also, Astroshop are generally quite expensive. You can get better prices from other stores, for example: https://www.valkanik...pentax-smc-xw35 (€335, though not in stock unfortunately)


Edited by AaronF, 10 June 2021 - 05:40 PM.

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#7 JimOfOakCreek

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 05:53 PM

My suggestion is to order your Pentax XW from a USA vendor that ships internationally. Your problem is that the Euro Vat tax might nullify the savings.

 

At any rate, here are two top notch discount vendors that are 100% reliable: 

 

https://www.eyepiece..._p/18101035.htm

 

 

https://www.bhphotov...yes&sts=hist-ma

 

Astronomics is another top notch vendor but they appear to be sold out:

 

https://www.astronom...e-eyepiece.html


Edited by JimOfOakCreek, 10 June 2021 - 06:03 PM.


#8 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 06:29 PM

Or Amazon, Japan, 28,127 yen, -10% sales tax. . . comes to $232 US. Add shipping of course. . . 

 

https://www.amazon.c...P95CPV27C1VTNVV



#9 Bobo666

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 11:42 PM

Please don't use B&H, as they are *my* exclusive dealer for Pentax lol.gif



#10 sixela

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 04:06 AM

 

But if the price is that much lower here, why not buy from a US source?  Even with shipping it would be less than €370 and you would pay no US tax.

But you would have to figure in import tariff, brokerage charge, and VAT to get the product in.  With shipping, it might be a wash.

What I've found is that UPS World Saver is extremely efficient in getting stuff through customs without hassle and exorbitant extra charges. So is DHL (but it's usually more expensive). Amazon international shipping alos works well, BTW, but I'd personally rather not go through Amazon for purchases like this.

 

If the vendor you're thinking off only uses USPS (I've got a secondary in transit from Antares Optics) it's a real pain and can take months.  Because USPS just hands it over to the local post carrier to deal with customs later (whereas UPS and DHL already do the customs declarations while the eyepiece is in transit).

 

This is only going to get worse -- local EU post carriers are going to be charging tons of money for handling customs declarations in future for any shop not using the EU one stop shopping facilities to charge VAT and import tariffs when purchasing and channel the money to the EU. Expect €15-€32 extra for someone to press a few buttons to submit documents to customs and calculate due import tariffs and VAT.

 

Amazon and AliExpress are going to get this right (and obviously if a shop uses UPS or DHL, they are already going throguh a similar procedure vicariously), but a lot of smaller vendors in the US are unaccustomed to do this kind of thing, so if they insist on shipping with USPS it's going to be a nightmare (and an expensive one with lots of surprises for the end customer).

 

It's meant to be painful, because the EU really wants to cut down on stealth packages that sneak in without any VAT being paid and doesn't want a flood of administration foisted upon local post carriers (who tend to just cop out when there is just too much of this kind of traffic). From July onwards, VAT is due on all commercial goods, even if they are worth €1, and the end customer is going to pay it, even if it costs him €15-32 extra to pay that 0.2€ VAT if the shop the customer bought from doggedly refuses to use the EU OSS process.


Edited by sixela, 11 June 2021 - 04:48 AM.

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#11 sixela

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 04:49 AM

For Japan, Amazon JP is pretty reliable, I'll have to say. All my Pentax and Nikon is indeed going through it if it's possible, simply because Amazon International shipping is so well organized (you pay your taxes when you buy); they basically do all that's needed for the shop.


Edited by sixela, 11 June 2021 - 04:52 AM.

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#12 25585

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 05:52 AM

For Japan, Amazon JP is pretty reliable, I'll have to say. All my Pentax and Nikon is indeed going through it if it's possible, simply because Amazon International shipping is so well organized (you pay your taxes when you buy); they basically do all that's needed for the shop.

Agreed. I have bought Nikon eyepieces fom Am. Jap. and even with all the domestic taxes etc, rate of exchange has saved me enough money to make the more complicated shipping worthwhile.   


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#13 sanbai

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 09:00 AM

I'm in the US but next year at some point in time I'll be back in Europe. There's a reason I was buying so much in the last two years upon resuming the hobby. If one day somebody ~inquires~ about my eyepiece case (mostly used TVs), I'll compare what I paid vs prices of new ware in Europe.

 

For what I've seen, Chinese made ware does not show a large difference in price.

 

BTW, comparing the absolute price figure in USD vs EUR should be OK this year. The VAT (~20%) and the current exchange (~1.22 USD/EUR) get compensate. Thus, one should "expect" a 100$ piece to cost 100 EUR. Of course, other stuff isn't accounted. Don made a good list of things to take account for. Also, there are large differences in the EU vs the US in the way money flows (taxes, personal expenses, salaries...); it's difficult to compare apples to apples in the large scheme of things.



#14 j.gardavsky

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 02:06 PM

The Pentax XW eyepieces don't come to Europe from the Philipines,

but it looks like they come from the Ricoh/Pentax logistic center in the U.K.

(Philipines are the logistic center for the U.S.)

 

Check the price development through the idealo.de ,

https://www.idealo.d...lar-pentax.html

 

or even better to buy the eyepiece from far away from Germany,

https://www.firstlig...ax-xw-35mm.html

like in the U.K. and France.

 

When ordering by phone from a vendor having the eyepiece on stock, you can get even a better price, just my experience.

 

Best,

JG


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#15 chvlat

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Posted 11 June 2021 - 02:10 PM

Thank you all for your replies 

 

Yes indeed buying directly from US or Japan does make sense but the import situation here in Greece is quite complicated and expensive for everything that comes out of the EU. On top of the usual (EU-wide-ish) customs duties of 4% and 24% VAT (applies to shipping fees too!), the local representatives of Courier services (FedEx/TNT, DHL, UPS etc) are well known to charge high prices first (getting something from Japan to Germany is usually ~20% cheaper than getting it to Greece) and then add additional charges for customs clearance that usually begin at 150+ EUR per shipment and go up with the parcel value! So it makes sense only for large-size orders or even better if you are a commercial merchant and have your own customs representatives etc. EMS used to be a better option but now with Covid it’s all but stopped and the snail mail will easily take 2-3 months. 
 

Long story short, it might be break-even or even (much) higher price trying to import something of value up to ~500EUR from outside the EU (that doesn’t apply to professional sellers though as customs charges and shipping get amortized over much higher value) Haven’t tried Amazon.jp though (only for books for which there is an exception on customs thought).

 

 

Yes it's annoying, isn't it?

Especially for those of us who live in southern and eastern European countries, where salaries are a lot lower than the north.

 

Can I recommend to you the Takahashi TOE 3.3mm instead?

It's a very good eyepiece and its price in Euros is comparable to the US Dollar.

It has a narrower FoV than the Pentax XW, but if you have a tracking mount that's not an issue.

I agree it is super annoying, especially considering 400EUR here is practically half the monthly entry-level salary... but at least in Southern Europe we have much clearer skies and less light pollution when compared to Central/North so I assume we are the lucky ones here :-)

 

I also thought of TOE3.3 and thanks for the vendor recommendation on the other post - will add it to my EU vendors list


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#16 morrocoy

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 05:26 AM

The best thing is to have a friend in the USA who buys for you and sends the eyepieces home as a gift so you don't pay customs fees.
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#17 RichA

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 04:33 PM

What I've found is that UPS World Saver is extremely efficient in getting stuff through customs without hassle and exorbitant extra charges. So is DHL (but it's usually more expensive). Amazon international shipping alos works well, BTW, but I'd personally rather not go through Amazon for purchases like this.

 

If the vendor you're thinking off only uses USPS (I've got a secondary in transit from Antares Optics) it's a real pain and can take months.  Because USPS just hands it over to the local post carrier to deal with customs later (whereas UPS and DHL already do the customs declarations while the eyepiece is in transit).

 

This is only going to get worse -- local EU post carriers are going to be charging tons of money for handling customs declarations in future for any shop not using the EU one stop shopping facilities to charge VAT and import tariffs when purchasing and channel the money to the EU. Expect €15-€32 extra for someone to press a few buttons to submit documents to customs and calculate due import tariffs and VAT.

 

Amazon and AliExpress are going to get this right (and obviously if a shop uses UPS or DHL, they are already going throguh a similar procedure vicariously), but a lot of smaller vendors in the US are unaccustomed to do this kind of thing, so if they insist on shipping with USPS it's going to be a nightmare (and an expensive one with lots of surprises for the end customer).

 

It's meant to be painful, because the EU really wants to cut down on stealth packages that sneak in without any VAT being paid and doesn't want a flood of administration foisted upon local post carriers (who tend to just cop out when there is just too much of this kind of traffic). From July onwards, VAT is due on all commercial goods, even if they are worth €1, and the end customer is going to pay it, even if it costs him €15-32 extra to pay that 0.2€ VAT if the shop the customer bought from doggedly refuses to use the EU OSS process.

There are better couriers. I use one from Canada who works via Belgium Post.  1/2  the price of UPS/FEDEX and it usually takes a week to get to Europe and the destination.  Other countries are worse mostly owing to customs processing.



#18 sixela

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 04:12 AM

Sure there are better couriers, but usually it’s the shop picking them. And Bpost is not fine as a last mile carrier, at least in my neck of the woods, even when they don’t do customs processing (for which they charge exorbitant prices).

Edited by sixela, 13 June 2021 - 04:12 AM.



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