Purchasing LV overseas: London/Italy

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  1. Hello All!

    I am new to PurseBlog :smile: but I am dire need of answers and I thought it would be best to come where the experts and vets can be found.

    I want to purchase a Keepall 50 for traveling purposes. Originally, I was going to buy in my home city, Boston, during the Massachusetts Tax Free weekend on the 3rd weekend in August to save about $80 in taxes. But yesterday, I heard on the news that MA will not be having a tax free weekend this year. So I said I’ll just buy whenever.

    BUT this then led me to do more research… I’m going to London and then Rome at the end of August to the beginning of September. So I continued researching to compare purchasing overseas vs purchasing in the states and it seems I’ll save a decent amount of $$$ if I purchase overseas.

    I looked at the prices on LV’s UK site and LV’s Italian site, read up on the VAT refund, duty free, and some other things but I still had a few questions (actually it’s a lot, sorry in advance) and I wanted to confirm some things as well.

    Prices (from the site):
    UK LV – £850.00 ($1,122.52)
    Italian LV – €1.010,00 ($1,113.32)

    Do the prices above already include the VAT?

    Are the prices online the same as the prices in-store? I’m most likely going to call each location I am interested in purchasing at closer to my departure date just to make sure the bag is in stock.

    What I would pay at home is $1,457 (tax included), which is about $330 - $340 more than what I would pay either in London or Rome. This is a score in itself, is it mandatory for me to apply for the VAT refund, which seems like a hassle?

    If I do opt to apply for the refund, how does the entire process work?

    If I do purchase in the UK, what is the difference between buying at the duty free shop vs at a boutique not located in the airport?

    I saw on another post someone purchased at LHR and there were two separate prices (Not EU: £645.83 and EU: £775). Ideally, I want to purchase when I land at LHR. If I purchase from the duty-free shop would I have to purchase on my way back to Boston instead?

    ·Will I save more in the end if I purchase from the duty-free location?

    ·If purchased in the UK, will I have to declare it when traveling to Italy or declare it on my way back home?

    ·Since customs only allows a duty-free exemption on $800 and the next $1,000 worth of the goods I purchase is subject to a flat rate of 3% -- does this mean I would pay 3% on the remaining $330/$340?

    Thank you for the help!!
  2. I can help you with some of your questions and hopefully other TPFers can answer the rest

    The prices are the same on the European websites and the store and include the VAT. So while you will pay that amount you can also get the VAT back. There are a couple of different ways of getting your money back. If you pay with a CC, you can have the VAT refunded to your card or you can opt to get cash back immediately, I believe you can get the currency of your choice. In Italy, I got back Euros since I was still on vacation. There was an office by the Pantheon, so I didn't have to wait until I was leaving the country, at the airport. In my experience, each European country was a little different. However, generally to get your VAT back, inform the people at the store that you'd like them to fill out the forms for you, they are very familiar with the process. You will need to bring your passport along shopping, as I believe they write passport # etc. on the form. You will then take the form to the airport, or an office (depending on which country) where the form is processed and you can either get an immediate refund or you'll get it later on the Cc statement. You get more if you wait for the CC to be processed. Remember that they may ask to see your purchases to ensure that you are really leaving the country with the items. As such, some people go to the office before they check in for their flight. I assume duty free prices would not include VAT and that would be the simplest of all.

    Good luck and happy shopping!
    spicestory and tswornum like this.
  3. Thank you!! That was very very helpful :smile:
  4. I just returned from London. I purchased my bag for £875 and received £100 back. You don't receive the entire VAT back as you have to pay processing fees. In my case it was around £50. I chose to get cash back during my trip as I've heard that some don't receive CC refunds. There are multiple places that you can receive the cash refund. They will be listed on the form with the VAT paperwork. I'd check the fx rate before leaving as the pound has steadily weakened.

    You will also need to get the customs stamp before leaving. It can be done at the airport. At Heathrow they will mail the forms for you.
  5. I personally dont see the advantage of Duty Free shopping, prices are same (inside European Union there are no duty fees) and if you cannot get your item because its sold out, you are basically screwed. But maybe I am missing something?
    We always take our time in the real boutique, then ask for the paperwork and process it at the airport when leaving the country.
    Maybe one more thing - careful about opening hours, some agencies close for the night.
    Good luck with your trip!