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  1. #1

    Default Buying from US not always the best bet

    My 2001 West Marine catalogue arrived the other day and as I'm about to go off to the US I thought I'd check out the price of a Garmin 128 GPS. I looked up the price $299.99 about 215. I also recieved in the same week two other catalogues, both from the UK, so I thought I'd do a comparison. The first was Mailspeed Marine's 2001 catalogue. Here the Garmin 128 was 199.99. Next I checked out the new Compass catalogue, from them the Garmin 128 is 179.95. This to be honest surprised me as I thought "buy from the US and it will be cheaper. I then investigated a little further. last year I bought a little Garmin eTrex (great bit of kit for its size) from Westmarine so I compared prices again. West Marine Price - $119.99 about 85. Mailspeed Marine - 119.99 and from Compass it is 104.95. So the trick is to really shop around and have several catalogues to hand it can save 's. If any one is thinking of buying a Garmin 230 GPS don't even think about West Marine, they are about 100 more expensive than Mailspeed - $849.99 (615) compared to 499.00. As far as I can see in these cases we are not in "rip of Britain!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Buying from US not always the best bet

    I agree. I am pleased to hear of your results, because I pay tax on cost plus the freight value, I could order from UK and get the prices ex VAT. UNLESS the price you quote are already ex VAT?

    The Americans also in general (there are exceptions) act like the world stops at their shoreline particularily when it comes to guarantees and warranties.

    Can you tell me what the Email address is for Mailspeed marine and Compass ?


  3. #3

    Default Re: Buying from US not always the best bet

    Problem with Compass is they take ages to deliver anything (I've been waiting 6 weeks for an order, and have waited longer in the past), and when you phone up to find out what has happened to your order, they are less than helpfull. But yes, They're cheap.

  4. #4

    Default Recent West Marine prices have been ...

    ... rather higher than in the past. There is considerable complaining over here about that very issue. There may be some corporate profit problems in the West organization. Defender, BoatUS and Sailnet are known today to have better prices. Not to worry, Americans are not the least bit shy about spending their money where they feel they get the best value. Brand loyality is wallet sensitive and with the US economy slowing it may become more so.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Buying from US not always the best bet

    Doug, the prices are inclusive of VAT. Here are the URL's and

    Good luck!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Buying from US not always the best bet

    I had the same problem withg the shop on this site. In the end I cancelled the order. The problem with UK mail order companies is they are staffed by people who hate the job. In the state the customer always comes first. Its time UK companies relaised that! The other problem may be that that they don't hold the stock and have to oreder from the maufacturer thsi adds to the delay.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Recent West Marine prices have been ...

    We should take more leaves out your book!

  8. #8

    Default Blame is not necessarily on

    Yanks in general or West Marine but the international exchange rates from month to month.

    The Australian dollar has fallen below 50 cents US, for the first time, making it a bargain destination for Yanks, but a misery for ordering items from the US.

  9. #9

    Default Re: West Marine

    If you are in UK/Europe I don't think its worth using West Marine as a matter of routine. However most US manufactured products they sell are significantly cheaper than in UK, even allowing for carriage and import duty. For example, I've made big savings on a PUR watermaker and on solar panels. Conversely, their prices on UK sourced gear such as Lewmar and Autohelm are high. What I would say is that they are helpful and efficient, and really do have a "no quibble" returns policy if something is wrong. Dick.

  10. #10

    Default Re: West Marine

    Do they also pay the return carriage? You quoted taxes, these run at ~5% import duty and you have to add VAT - all this on top of US taxes means you really DO have to research your purchases. WRT solar panels, there is a company on the pacific coast sells Siemens panels cheaper than West. I found that Adverc had the SP75 priced at 317.20 on the web, but when I asked about shipping costs, the price went up to 349 - I told them it was cheaper to go to the US and they said by return, I could buy at the web price. I now have the panel. So........ cheaper here.


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