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Buying LV in France or Italy? Which one is best? Tax/europe trip questions :O


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Jun 2, 2012, 5:06pm   #1
Julieluv's Avatar
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Hello everyone,
So I'll be leaving for France and Italy this Friday (so excited!) for one month and I plan to buy a Neverfull MM and a Speedy B over there. I am not really into new LVs (I prefer the vintage look) but since I'm going there, I couldn't miss that opportunity to get those at a better price than in Canada/US. Besides those would count as souvenirs right?! lol


Anyway, my questions are:
1. Would you recommend that I buy them in France or Italy? Price-wise, it seems like France is slightly lower than Italy (based on the LV website) but tax-wise, would it be easier to get them in Italy or France? I read recently that for example, Greece has some tax exemptions for purchases over 250 euros (thanks to the BOBAErose). Is there anything similar for France and Italy?

2. Also, anyone who purchased LVs from Europe and brought them back, what did you do with the boxes? I want to keep them but since I'll be doing around 6 cities across those two countries, I am not sure I want to bring them around with me, so I'm thinking of sending them by mail back home to me :s

3. Would a Neverfull MM and a Speedy B fit in a carry-on standard-size suitcase? I plan to travel light since we'll be moving around a lot. I just don't want to damage the bags...

4. I'll be going over the tax exemption of $800. Would I have to pay $$ for the additional amount only? (Ex: If an item costs $1200 and I have a max of $800, would I pay $$ on $400 only?)

5. I plan to get my bags stamped at the stores. Any idea how much time it takes in France or Italy? Can I get the bags back on the same day?

Any help would be SUPER appreciated.

Thank you everyone! <3
Jun 3, 2012, 1:12pm   #2
ddgladiva's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Julieluv
Hello everyone,
So I'll be leaving for France and Italy this Friday (so excited!) for one month and I plan to buy a Neverfull MM and a Speedy B over there. I am not really into new LVs (I prefer the vintage look) but since I'm going there, I couldn't miss that opportunity to get those at a better price than in Canada/US. Besides those would count as souvenirs right?! lol


Anyway, my questions are:
1. Would you recommend that I buy them in France or Italy? Price-wise, it seems like France is slightly lower than Italy (based on the LV website) but tax-wise, would it be easier to get them in Italy or France? I read recently that for example, Greece has some tax exemptions for purchases over 250 euros (thanks to the BOBAErose). Is there anything similar for France and Italy?

2. Also, anyone who purchased LVs from Europe and brought them back, what did you do with the boxes? I want to keep them but since I'll be doing around 6 cities across those two countries, I am not sure I want to bring them around with me, so I'm thinking of sending them by mail back home to me :s

3. Would a Neverfull MM and a Speedy B fit in a carry-on standard-size suitcase? I plan to travel light since we'll be moving around a lot. I just don't want to damage the bags...

4. I'll be going over the tax exemption of $800. Would I have to pay $$ for the additional amount only? (Ex: If an item costs $1200 and I have a max of $800, would I pay $$ on $400 only?)

5. I plan to get my bags stamped at the stores. Any idea how much time it takes in France or Italy? Can I get the bags back on the same day?

Any help would be SUPER appreciated.

Thank you everyone! <3
Good questions. I'm going to Italy, France & Spain at the end of July and have a bag and small leather goods that I intend to purchase. The price is cheapest in France among the 3 countries. However the VAT in my 3 countries does differ. Spain is 18%, France 19.6%(will increase to 21.2% in Oct) & Italy 21% so I have to factor in that as well. Greece does has a VAT of 23%-I think there's just no minimum purchase amount required ? You are basically eligible to receive a VAT refund in all countries in the European Union. Make sure you have your passport and inquire about it at the time of purchase and keep up with the paper work they give you.

I'm also curious about the boxes. Of couse Speedies and Neverfulls are given to you in their flattened states inside the boxes anyway so they would be easy to transport in your luggage without the box. Just bring a piece of luggage with exra space to accommodate your future goodies. I love their boxes as well and we know the LV bags & boxes are ginormous so in your case lugging them around several cities would probably be a bit of a pain. In my case I hope I can bring the box or boxes back without having to pay extra baggage fees. A bit concerned about it getting stolen since the boxes & bags clearly have LV on it(I've had bad experiences with this in the past unfortunately). I usually take a bigger suitcase or another duffle bag so I can put the actual merchandise in the duffle it an carry it on with me, then have the empty boxes transported through checked baggage.

Sorry, don't know about the stamping. Have a great trip !
Jun 3, 2012, 1:14pm   #3
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Hi I had the same questions when I went there. I bought my Speedy B 30 at the Champs Elysees store. It's 602€ and 720€ with the VAT. They give you the tax return envelope that you have to have stamped at customs at the airport before you leave the EU from whichever country it is. LV uses a system called Pablo and if you happen to be in the right terminal, you can go to a Pablo machine and scan the form and its a faster way to get your return. Otherwise get it stamped and drop it in the mailbox before you leave and you will get like most of the VAT back. The companies they have do this charge their fees on it. You can't avoid it.

As far as US customs, I only declared the LV and my boyfriend declared everything else. So at the exchange rate, the value of 602€ is 750$. He claimed all the other souvenirs and Chanel stuff so I didn't pay any duty. I don't know if you can do the same with someone you are travelling with? Otherwise it is said that there is a flat 10% tax rate on the first $1000 after your 800$ limit and anything over that is the applicable rate. So I would assume anything above 800.

You can get the VAT back in France if you spend more than 175€ in any one store. Don't know about any other country however I would buy what I want in the country that it's made. That would be the cheapest. The dollar is at its weakest at $1.24 to the euro so have fun! Wish my vacation wasn't over LOL.
Jun 3, 2012, 1:16pm   #4
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Oh and as far as box, they did not give me a box at the Champs Elysees store. They just put it in the dustbag in the LV bag and it fit fine in my carryon. When claiming your tax refund at customs, don't wear your bags. They have to be UNUSED. Put it in your carry on in case they want to see it. Same with US customs.
Jun 3, 2012, 8:54pm   #5
Julieluv's Avatar
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Originally Posted by ddgladiva
Good questions. I'm going to Italy, France & Spain at the end of July and have a bag and small leather goods that I intend to purchase. The price is cheapest in France among the 3 countries. However the VAT in my 3 countries does differ. Spain is 18%, France 19.6%(will increase to 21.2% in Oct) & Italy 21% so I have to factor in that as well. Greece does has a VAT of 23%-I think there's just no minimum purchase amount required ? You are basically eligible to receive a VAT refund in all countries in the European Union. Make sure you have your passport and inquire about it at the time of purchase and keep up with the paper work they give you.

I'm also curious about the boxes. Of couse Speedies and Neverfulls are given to you in their flattened states inside the boxes anyway so they would be easy to transport in your luggage without the box. Just bring a piece of luggage with exra space to accommodate your future goodies. I love their boxes as well and we know the LV bags & boxes are ginormous so in your case lugging them around several cities would probably be a bit of a pain. In my case I hope I can bring the box or boxes back without having to pay extra baggage fees. A bit concerned about it getting stolen since the boxes & bags clearly have LV on it(I've had bad experiences with this in the past unfortunately). I usually take a bigger suitcase or another duffle bag so I can put the actual merchandise in the duffle it an carry it on with me, then have the empty boxes transported through checked baggage.

Sorry, don't know about the stamping. Have a great trip !
Thanks for having shared your precious knowledge with me re: taxes, I appreciate it!
I'll have to re-do some Maths while taking into consideration the tax rates but yeah I had a feeling that it might be cheaper in France. Thanks for having confirmed that for me! I actually had my calculations done wrong since I thought the tax in France was only 12%!!! OMG, I'm so excited for the even bigger savings

GL with the boxes on your side and yeah, I definitely agree with you that the LV might attract some unwanted attention and risk getting your boxes stolen. Even if they are empty, it's a pain to lose them. I think on my side, I'll really just ship them to me by mail or something.

Have a great trip you too and thanks again!
Jun 3, 2012, 9:00pm   #6
Julieluv's Avatar
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Originally Posted by LadyEnoki
Hi I had the same questions when I went there. I bought my Speedy B 30 at the Champs Elysees store. It's 602€ and 720€ with the VAT. They give you the tax return envelope that you have to have stamped at customs at the airport before you leave the EU from whichever country it is. LV uses a system called Pablo and if you happen to be in the right terminal, you can go to a Pablo machine and scan the form and its a faster way to get your return. Otherwise get it stamped and drop it in the mailbox before you leave and you will get like most of the VAT back. The companies they have do this charge their fees on it. You can't avoid it.

As far as US customs, I only declared the LV and my boyfriend declared everything else. So at the exchange rate, the value of 602€ is 750$. He claimed all the other souvenirs and Chanel stuff so I didn't pay any duty. I don't know if you can do the same with someone you are travelling with? Otherwise it is said that there is a flat 10% tax rate on the first $1000 after your 800$ limit and anything over that is the applicable rate. So I would assume anything above 800.

You can get the VAT back in France if you spend more than 175€ in any one store. Don't know about any other country however I would buy what I want in the country that it's made. That would be the cheapest. The dollar is at its weakest at $1.24 to the euro so have fun! Wish my vacation wasn't over LOL.
I am going to be travelling with my hub, so I can definitely ask him to declare some of my stuff, great idea! I am interested in the Speedy B 35 or 30 (Not sure yet) but thanks to you and ddgladiva, I now know that I will be paying less than that I planned to! That's always great news! YAY! . My mistake was also that I thought that the tax limit was actually on the price post-VAT (720€ and not 602€).

Thanks for your precious help again and I am sure you had a great time in France!!!
Jun 3, 2012, 9:02pm   #7
Julieluv's Avatar
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Originally Posted by LadyEnoki
Oh and as far as box, they did not give me a box at the Champs Elysees store. They just put it in the dustbag in the LV bag and it fit fine in my carryon. When claiming your tax refund at customs, don't wear your bags. They have to be UNUSED. Put it in your carry on in case they want to see it. Same with US customs.
Wahh, I guess they know that their boxes are too big to travel with. I'll try asking them for boxes though since I'd like to keep them too :O Hope they won't refuse XD

As for wearing the bags, yeah I'll have to keep my hands off them until I get back home #torture lol
Jun 4, 2012, 1:58am   #8
LadyEnoki's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Julieluv
Wahh, I guess they know that their boxes are too big to travel with. I'll try asking them for boxes though since I'd like to keep them too :O Hope they won't refuse XD

As for wearing the bags, yeah I'll have to keep my hands off them until I get back home #torture lol

There was no way I had space for the box anyway didnt even think about it till later anyway lol.

Sorry let me clarify what I meant by "unused"...aka pack it back before you leave lol. I bought it the first day I arrived and wore it the whole vacation lol. I just folded it back (feels painful to do that eeek!) and put it in the dust bag.
Jun 4, 2012, 2:04am   #9
LadyEnoki's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Julieluv
I am going to be travelling with my hub, so I can definitely ask him to declare some of my stuff, great idea! I am interested in the Speedy B 35 or 30 (Not sure yet) but thanks to you and ddgladiva, I now know that I will be paying less than that I planned to! That's always great news! YAY! . My mistake was also that I thought that the tax limit was actually on the price post-VAT (720€ and not 602€).

Thanks for your precious help again and I am sure you had a great time in France!!!

No problem :) This was my first bag and first time doing anything of the sort (customs worries etc) so I am glad I can help. Yes the great thing about Europe is that all prices of everything (food clothing drinks etc) have the VAT included. Nothing is 14,99 or something weird. You get whole numbers. Just remember in France you can claim VAT refund if you spend more than 175€ in any single store. Thats why they advertise the Galeries Lafayette (huge mall with awesome free panoramic view of Paris from the roof terrace) to tourists that they count it as one store. Also you can get 10% off if you go to the info desk and show your passport. They give you a card that you show to the store. However this does not apply to stores with a red dot. I'd say that was most of the stuff in there though :/ lol oh well. Get there or any luxury boutique EARLY or there is a ton of Asian people coming and making lines or its impossible to find a SA.
Jun 4, 2012, 2:06am   #10
s
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maybe you can get your boxes when you get back in the country?
I'm from australia and my sister's friend asked for the box a few months after she purchased the bag.

You can get stamping done anytime. So if you are scared about the service time get them done when you're back in the country.
Jun 4, 2012, 5:02pm   #11
Julieluv's Avatar
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Originally Posted by LadyEnoki
No problem :) This was my first bag and first time doing anything of the sort (customs worries etc) so I am glad I can help. Yes the great thing about Europe is that all prices of everything (food clothing drinks etc) have the VAT included. Nothing is 14,99 or something weird. You get whole numbers. Just remember in France you can claim VAT refund if you spend more than 175€ in any single store. Thats why they advertise the Galeries Lafayette (huge mall with awesome free panoramic view of Paris from the roof terrace) to tourists that they count it as one store. Also you can get 10% off if you go to the info desk and show your passport. They give you a card that you show to the store. However this does not apply to stores with a red dot. I'd say that was most of the stuff in there though :/ lol oh well. Get there or any luxury boutique EARLY or there is a ton of Asian people coming and making lines or its impossible to find a SA.
*jumps up and down* I'll definitely make sure to go to Galeries Lafayette! Thanks again for those tips!!! As for your bag being flattened again for custom purposes, OUCH! I understand how you would feel even though originally, they come flattened


Originally Posted by shan88
maybe you can get your boxes when you get back in the country?
I'm from australia and my sister's friend asked for the box a few months after she purchased the bag.

You can get stamping done anytime. So if you are scared about the service time get them done when you're back in the country.
I wish I could do the stamping back home but the store I live near to doesn`t stamp bags apparently :(

Re: boxes, that's a great idea, thank you!!!! I'll be calling my local store to see whether they would accept to give me two boxes for my two bags!!
Jun 4, 2012, 8:00pm   #12
s
Member
Go with France!

Last year within 3 weeks, I was in Italy (Venice, Pisa and Milan) then we went to France (Cannes). I cant remember the exact price but I bought my Black Epi Marco Wallet in Cannes in July and it was DEFINITELY CHEAPER THERE, because i remember my parents telling me to wait when we were in Milan cuz we had an idea that it would cheaper in France. I think it was around 5-10 euros cheaper.

Not sure about tax refunds though because im from the UK and as long as you are within the EU, i dont think you can get tax refunds.

also i got my Marco wallet heat stamped in the store there too, the one beside the beach, i cant remember the name of the street but its across the road from Hermes, Gucci and i think Bvgari. It took around 3 days. great service at the store i must say.

hope this helps
Jun 4, 2012, 8:33pm   #13
Julieluv's Avatar
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Originally Posted by sillyboy
Go with France!

Last year within 3 weeks, I was in Italy (Venice, Pisa and Milan) then we went to France (Cannes). I cant remember the exact price but I bought my Black Epi Marco Wallet in Cannes in July and it was DEFINITELY CHEAPER THERE, because i remember my parents telling me to wait when we were in Milan cuz we had an idea that it would cheaper in France. I think it was around 5-10 euros cheaper.

Not sure about tax refunds though because im from the UK and as long as you are within the EU, i dont think you can get tax refunds.

also i got my Marco wallet heat stamped in the store there too, the one beside the beach, i cant remember the name of the street but its across the road from Hermes, Gucci and i think Bvgari. It took around 3 days. great service at the store i must say.

hope this helps
Thanks so much for the tips. Woh, 3 days is a lot to get an item hotstamped! When I had my wallet stamped here, I literally took 10 mins but then again, I'm guessing the Paris stores might be busier. I'll make sure to go to the LV store ASAP so that I can get my stamping done. I'm spending only 1 week in Paris (then going to Avignon, Nice and Cannes before going to Cinque Terre, Venice and Rome)
Jun 4, 2012, 8:44pm   #14
s
Member
Originally Posted by Julieluv
Thanks so much for the tips. Woh, 3 days is a lot to get an item hotstamped! When I had my wallet stamped here, I literally took 10 mins but then again, I'm guessing the Paris stores might be busier. I'll make sure to go to the LV store ASAP so that I can get my stamping done. I'm spending only 1 week in Paris (then going to Avignon, Nice and Cannes before going to Cinque Terre, Venice and Rome)

Yeah it usually is quicker! Thats sounds like a good idea, go earlier just incase! Also that sounds like an amazing trip !! Im rather jealous Julie! hope you have a great time and happy shopping!
Jun 4, 2012, 11:45pm   #15
Julieluv's Avatar
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Originally Posted by sillyboy
Yeah it usually is quicker! Thats sounds like a good idea, go earlier just incase! Also that sounds like an amazing trip !! Im rather jealous Julie! hope you have a great time and happy shopping!
Yeah, I'll definitely get there as early as possible because I NEED the hotstamps The LV store is one of my priorities in Paris

And thanks!!!!! Your trip sounded great too! Wish I could go to Pisa and Milan too but yeah, too many places to see, too little time :(
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