Madison Ave or Paris

  1. 2 questions actually:

    1 - I live in NYC and will be visiting Paris this weekend. Does it matter price-wise which location I buy a bag in? I thought buying one in Paris would be a nice experience but will pass on the experience if it is more money to buy one since the euro is so strong to the dollar.

    2- I know they are 2 different bags but I either want a lower end Birkin or a Kelly bag. Will I be able to walk into either NYC or Paris Hermes stores and buy one? I hear the Birkin has a waiting list but was not sure on the Kelly.

    Thank you hope to have one soon!
  2. pricewise.....I would buy the bag there....and you have 2 choies

    -if you get the bag shipped....the VAT is immediately removed but you pay about $100 in shipping and about 6-10% in USA customs fees

    -if you buy the bag there you pay the VAT...but can get a VAT refund. you just have to wait.....but if I were to do it again...

    I would have just bough the bag....and not used it but then at the customs window in Europe...get the forms stamped then ditched the box and hid the dustbag and when I got back to the USA ...pretended I already have it.

    and I would not mail the VAT refund forms in Paris...come back to the states, copy them...then mail them at the post office.....and call them about 2 weeks after to make sure they got it.
  3. Ok so if I understand you correctly it is:

    Buy the bag in Paris and pay the VAT
    Bring the un-worn bag in the box to CDG airport and have them stamp the form saying I purchased it in France and paid the VAT
    Then discard the box in the airport before I get to the USA
    Enter the US wearing the bag as an item I have always had

    Only question is, isn't the form they stamp in France the actual form that I need to hand in to the customs agent in the US saying I either declared or did not declare items or am I confusing that with the customs form you get on the plane ride back to the US?

    Any chance of there being a Birkin wating for me in Paris:s...after I read a few threads it looks like it is harder to get then I thought.
  4. I'm pretty sure that buying the bag in Paris would still be less expensive than buying in the States. When I was there in April, there was an excellent selection of Kellys and I was shown one Birkin the particular day I was there. If you know what color/leather/size Kelly you want, you can let the SA know and they can check their inventory for you so don't go by what's on the floor in Paris.

    Either way, the chances of finding a Kelly on the floor are much better than a Birkin in either location. Having said that, if you are in NY and can frequent the stores and develop a relationship with an SA there, they can call you if a Birkin shows up in the specs you want. Sometimes, if you're lucky, there are Birkins on the floor as well, so you just never know.
  5. you should be able to find a Kelly...if you really want a birkin go in a few times....well alot and be in the store alot to get one.

    the form has several copies...they customs agent will keep one...and you should get 2 to mail in and one to keep. I mailed from the states bc the customs agent said they have heard of problems just dropping the form in the box at the airport.
  6. Def. buy it in Paris. I picked up my last Birkin in Europe, and before leaving the EU had the form stamped by the European customs agent (note to forms only had 1 page). Then I actually declared everything on the US form, but they were more interested in what kind of instant soups I had with me (like cup-a-soup packets) than the fact that I was bringing in $15K worth of goods (including my mother's Bolide and the KP I purchased for her). They didn't charge me anything in the US so I got really lucky! It's always better to be honest, I think.
  7. Thank you what % of discount would you say you get? Are we talking 5%, 10% ?
  8. I wouldn't say it's a discount, as it is more of a function of the Euro vs. the dollar. On my purchases, when you add in the fact that I didn't pay a US customs fee nor US sales tax, I ended up spending 15-20% less. Note this includes the VAT refund..
  9. I've been buying H bags in Paris for years. They are ALWAYS less expensive than in the U.S., by about 25-30%. If you buy it and send in the VAT form, you will still save $, unless you declare full amount and customs charges you full amount. i HAVE ALSO LEFT ORDERS IN pARIS AND, EVEN AFTER SHIPPING AND CUSTOMS WHICH ARE CHARGED ON THE SHIPPED ITEM, THE SAVINGS ARE THERE. i HAVE ONLY SEEN 1 bIRKIN ON THE SHELVES AT pARIS, THOUGH i HAVE SEEN WOMEN FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD WEEPING (LITERALLY) IN THE pARIS STORE WHEN TOLD THERE WERE NO bIRKINS ON HAND.
  10. It's very risky not to complete the customs forms accurately. If caught, you will not only have immediate problems, but you future travels will be affected.
  11. Yep....never mess around with this. When I came into the country with all the bags and the approx $15K declared on the form, and they sent me to the agricultural line to check out the soups, they said "ok, you're ok, you may go"...and I said "but what about all of this (showing them the form)?" and they said: "Just GO", and never charged anything. I think they are more likely to be lenient with the fees if you are honest. Conversely, if you are NOT honest, there will be serious consequences!
  12. Bigapple - I visit H Madison Ave about twice a week and most times I see at least one Kelly on display. The only Birkins I have seen on display are the pricey exotic skin bags.

  13. I totally agree with this. They barely glance at the form and I have been waved through every time (as I am holding my breath), but you just don't want to get caught trying anything. I tend to wear a very nondescript outfit and not carry anything fancy so as to avoid drawing attention to myself.
  14. Bigapple, you will certainly have better luck in Paris to find a Birkin, and if you do find it, it will be significantly less expensive than buying it here in the US when you take advantage of the VAT refund...even with the exchange rate, it will work out to your advantage.

    The main thing is that you have to be at the right place at the right time. I find that in France, the Hermes SAs are more amenable to selling you a Birkin if they're available. They will at least bring it to you from the back and show it to you, even if you don't have a prior relationship with the boutique. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to test this at the Paris boutique but I had better luck with this in other H boutiques outside of Paris.

    I went on vacation in France just 3 weeks ago, and was lucky enough to be able to obtain a Birkin. I asked at 3 different stores-- Lyon, Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence. Lyon had none. Marseille had one--I got to take a look at it, but decided it wasn't for me. Aix en Provence had 2, and I ended up taking one of them. Each time I was shown a Birkin, the SAs were very professional-- they explained the benefits of the leather, the color, and explained the special scent of the leather (in fact, one of the SAs told me that you can actually smell the type of wood used to tan the leather!). I didn't experience any of the attitude that we are so unfortunately accustomed to here in the US.

    The price was 5150 EUR (After exchange, $7200+, which includes the 3% foreign currency conversion fee from my credit card), which is already less expensive than how much it would cost in the US. In addition, I am now waiting for my VAT refund to kick in, which I should be seeing in a few weeks (515 EUR, or about $710). The Grand Total= About $6490. The same Birkin in the US would cost at least $7500, plus 8.375% NY tax ($628) = $8128 or so. I saved about $1600.

    I haven't tried purchasing a Birkin at Madison Avenue, but the customer service I've experienced there was lacking. Personally, I'd save the money to buy in Paris.
  15. oh one is the only credit card that does not charge the foreign transaction fees.

    while they are the crapital one all hassle card...I saved a bundle using it....AMEX charges 2.5% I think and the rest 3-4%

    so keep that in mind for foreign travels!