Amazon has a vast array of inventory both from Amazon Retail and from third party merchants. From time to time however, there are still products which simply aren’t available in the UK for sale and whilst they maybe available on Amazon.com from third party merchants those merchants may not wish to ship to the UK.
Amazon have a solution for this with their Global Store where Amazon purchases the product locally and then resells the product to the consumer as ‘Amazon Export Sales, LLC’. This is an interesting proposition for retailers as it increases sales without the merchant having to worry about the complexities of selling overseas. UK sellers may from time to time see Amazon purchase their products and if this happens to you you’ll now know what’s happening.
“In this programme, Amazon may list your products outside Amazon.co.uk on our European websites. When we get a sale from a customer on these websites, Amazon will purchase your product at your local offer price and sell it to this customer. There are no additional fees for the pilot programme, and you will be paid like any other domestic sales transaction. Moreover, Amazon will manage all cross-border VAT requirements – you will only have your existing VAT obligations in UK, not in the foreign countries”.
The only change to your selling experience will be related to invoicing but you don’t even have to raise an invoice. Amazon will self bill themselves and at the end of every month will email you the self billed VAT invoices that they generate on your behalf. Your only liability is to ensure that your billing details are bang up to date and of course to file your VAT and other tax returns as normal to include Amazon’s self billed invoice.
The buying process through Amazon Global Store
The Amazon Global Store on Amazon.co.uk shows products available through Amazon.com and sold by Amazon Export Sales where you can discover selection available from and sold by Amazon US without having to leave Amazon.co.uk.
When you purchase an Amazon Global Store product, you purchase it from Amazon US, which sells and ships the product directly to you. Amazon Global Store shows you the complete amount you’ll pay for orders from Amazon US, including shipping fees and estimated import taxes and duties.
Tax and duties
For consumers, if the Actual Import Tax and Fees are less than the Estimated Import Tax and Fees, you’ll automatically be refunded the difference. If the Actual Import Tax and Fees are more than the Estimated Import Tax and Fees, you will not be charged any additional amounts.
Amazon Global Store Carrier- Aramax
Amazon are using Aramax to ship items from the US to the UK. Aramax are an international express, mail delivery and logistics services company based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates which is worth noting for a couple of reasons.
From my recent experience it would appear that products don’t ship from the US directly to the UK, but first visit the Aramax hub in Dubai. Tracking shows that Amazon purchased my product from a retailer who shipped it to Amazon in Kentucky. From their it went to the international hub in Chicago and was flown to Dubai. From Dubai it flew to London, cleared customs and was delivered to me two days later with the final mile delivery performed by Yodel A brief layover in Dubai does obviously add a couple of additional days into the carriage time so if you’re in a particular hurry for an item it may be worth paying for expedited shipping.
Don’t buy products restricted in Dubai UAE!
The second thing to note is what whilst a product may be perfectly acceptable in the US and the UK, when it enters Dubai it may be confiscated and destroyed. I found one post online where carriage was refused for a sex toy after it had left the US and was never delivered to the end consumer. Amazon’s terms and conditions say that “you are responsible for lawfully importing the product into the UK and act as the declarant for customs purposes into the UK. The risk of loss and title for Amazon Global Store Products that you purchase pass to you upon our delivery to the carrier”. If you’re purchasing from the Global Store you should also consider if the items are legal to import into Dubai!
Amazon Global Store Delivery Rates to the UK
- 7-11 business days.
- Standard delivery costs £2.99 per delivery and £2.99 per additional KG
- 2-6 business days.
- Expedited is offered at an additional cost of £16.49 per delivery and £4.99 per additional KG
Overall experience of buying from the Amazon Global Store
Not paying for expedited shipping was perhaps a mistake, not that I needed the item sooner but simply from my own impatience at waiting from the two weeks from the purchase date (3rd January) for the item to arrive.
Other than the slow delivery time the entire purchase was effortless and trouble free. It’s hard to pick a difference between this purchase and any other purchase one might make on Amazon. The only real difference is that because you’re purchasing from the US you won’t have a warranty on many products in the UK (nor with Amazon) and in the event of a failure may have to return the product to the manufacturer in the US for warranty repair (if covered at all).
Customer service and returns should you need them are processed by Amazon UK. For incorrect, defective, or damaged items, you’ll be refunded for original delivery costs, as well as any Import Fees Deposits for the returned items. Amazon Global Store covers the cost of international return shipping.