Buying a laptop in the States

Sorry, I know this is a very old thread, but can anyone tell me why laptops are sooo much more expensive here than overseas? I've been looking at models for my daughter, and the NZ prices are routinely $300 more - and that's even after accounting for GST being added on.
So what's the deal?

geek_luteba, Jun 8, 10:40 pm

"We are being ripped off"

geek_chnman, Jun 8, 10:54 pm

Smaller country, weaker economy, lower demand, companies have less buying power. all this = higher prices.

We also have very good consumer protection laws that most countries don't have which can mean prices can get hiked up slightly somewhere along the line.

Nothing to do with being ripped off.

If you have to pay $300 more to be protected by the CGA and keep your money within NZ, I personally see no issue with that.

geek_suicidemonkey, Jun 8, 11:32 pm

Hi my husband is going to the States soon and he wants to buy a Lenovo laptop which will be about $600 cheaper if he purchases it there. Anyone done this and can say whether this is a good idea or not? Am concerned about lack of backup if any problems but $600 is quite a significant difference. Cheers

geek_andree3, Sep 21, 10:41 pm

I'd go for it. Remember there will be GST to pay when he brings it in.

geek_r.g.nixon, Sep 21, 11:01 pm

Add GST and customs charges (a $47 import fee) to that. Plus lack of any warranty and no cover under the consumer guarantees act. Usually not worth it.

geek_suicidemonkey, Sep 21, 11:18 pm

Yes, it is a gamble you take when importing anything. Odds on, it won't have any problems.

Obviously the power plug will have the wrong pins, so consider what model might be required for NZ - maybe an adapter, cable to the charger, or a new charger?

If he throws away the packaging etc I'm not sure how long he would have to 'officially' have owned if before taxes wouldn't apply.

geek_soundsgood, Sep 22, 7:26 am

There should be no problems getting it through customs with no charges.
Biggest issue is not having any warranty to fall back on (Lenovo does not have international warranty like some others), with average laptop repair cost at about $450-ish and no CGA to fall back on it sort of works out to be the same price.

Lenovo's 3yr fail rate is 21.5% (
/laptop-malfunction-rates/) so you got a 1 in 4 chance it is going to need that repair.

False economics really.

geek__drdee_, Sep 22, 9:38 am

I had a look at that website and have to totally disagree with their figures! My daughter had an ASUS which had to be repaired a gazillion times, and I've had an HP for 5 years with no glitches!

I'd go for the Lenovo. and there'd be no GST, as it will come in as personal luggage. How many people travel with laptops and how many get asked by customs "when/where/how much?"

All you'll need to change is the plug for the wall, as all chargers are multi-voltage.

P.S. My hubby worked for a big computer company beginning with I, and they supply Lenovos to their staff, with nary a problem. My S.I.L. works at a school and their whole school uses Lenovo.

geek_hazelnut2, Sep 22, 9:51 am

Lenovo makes good PC but they also make cheap rubbish - just the same as HP and Dell

geek_vtecintegra, Sep 22, 10:12 am

You can disagree but those are the figures based of off tens of thousands of units of data.

While working in the repair industry I would easily agree that ASUS are the most reliable of any brand, so you must have been very unlucky with that purchase.

Worst case scenario if your partner is computer literate enough he could source mainboards etc from ali or dx and fit them himself if has an issue, most mobo's are about $200ish US and probably the single most expensive thing to replace. I think if it did end up needing a major repair in the first couple of years it would be easier to knock it off the table.

geek__drdee_, Sep 22, 10:20 am

Do the cheaper prices for Lenovo's come from on-line stores or main street stores. If its from a main street store I would go for it - But if you are trying to hide your purchase from NZ Customs DONT carry the receipts on you. Do they have duty on laptops? If not, its just the 15% GST

geek_tigra, Sep 22, 10:53 am

Trouble is they aren't granular enough to mean anything - there is a world of difference between an X or T-series (corporate grade laptops) and a G (low end home) just like there is between an HP Elitebook and a Pavilion.

geek_vtecintegra, Sep 22, 10:53 am

Firstly that would be illegal.

Secondly you can't disagree with those figures just because your experience differs from them. Of course there will be HP laptops that don't die, and Asus laptops that do. The statistics are an average. More HP laptops have issues than Asus laptops. The risk is higher

geek_suicidemonkey, Sep 22, 11:15 am

thanks for all the replies. husband is planning on using the laptop while he is away so just trying to decide whether to buy one here before he goes or get one on the trip. he is buying a higher end lenovo model and they seem to have good reviews. cheers, all food for thought!

geek_andree3, Sep 22, 12:50 pm

If hubby is using the laptop while overseas then he wont pay any duty on it when he comes back as it will be used and can be claimed as a used personal item the same as buying a camera overseas so long as it has photos on it then you pay nothing

geek_newbie5, Sep 22, 2:49 pm

But Customs may not necessarily agree with your interpretation of the Ref 80(a) concession "Passengers?? baggage and effects falling within the following descriptions and criteria that are
not intended for any other person, or for gift, sale, or exchange:
(a) wearing apparel and other personal effects:"
and will most likely consider the laptop to be part of his baggage, and a $700 concession applies to goods purchased overseas, accompanying the passenger through the arrival process (Ref 81(i)) "Personal baggage and effects accompanying a passenger through Customs arrival processes,
being dutiable goods, but not being??
Passengers?? baggage and effects falling within the descriptions and criteria contained in
concession reference number 80 of this Part;
to the extent that the goods??
Do not exceed $700 in total value
Exceed $700 in total value, on the excess over $700
The rates of duty applicable to the goods as set out in Part I of the Tariff"

It doesn't matter if the goods are used while overseas, it is the fact that they are purchased overseas and imported into NZ.

geek_cummingsra1, Sep 6, 10:10 am

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