Jump to content
  • Sign in to follow this  

    Our guide to importing from China


    PaulOBrien

    So, you want to import a device from China? I don't blame you, I've done it a fair few times myself and got some cracking deals on some great devices. There are pitfalls however and there are things you can do to smooth the whole process. Let us help you get started!

    Let's talk first about the things you need to bear in mind before you order your device. When you know these, then you can decide whether importing a device is right for you.

    VAT charges

    If you buy from a seller that is shipping from outside the EU, there is a good chance that you will pay additional charges. You can use a site such as DutyCalculator to help you work out exactly how much it's likely to cost you, but just be sure to factor this in when you're working out the price. There are (legal!) ways around these charges - many sellers now ship via or from an EU warehouse, meaning you won't be liable for these fees. This is likely your preferred option. Remember that as well as the VAT on an import, you will likely be charged administrative fees by the shipment provider too.

    vat.thumb.png.65693e8d52c70c0da4f1516e33

    Currency charges

    When you order from China, there's a good chance the sale will be made in US dollars. If you are paying with a UK card, make sure you know up front what you'll pay in fees.

    Will I get my stuff?

    There are a huge number of websites now shipping products from China and the majority of them are reputable. It's always a good idea though to do a bit of research - Google for general feedback, ask your peers... or just go for the big names. AliExpress is a very popular aggregator to use, they hold your payment in escrow until the item is received satisfactorily - a good solution.

    Shipment times

    Unless you use an express courier such as DHL, shipments from China can take an age to deliver. Sellers often offer 'free delivery', which can take as long as 30 days, sometimes even more! But hey, it's free... just bear it in mind if you are in a rush!

    Warranty / returns

    One of the biggest problems with ordering from China is with warranty / returns. On a cheap item like a phone case, it's not so much of an issue.. but if you're buying an actual PHONE, when it turns up and something doesn't work (I recently had a Mi 4i with a faulty speaker), you're going to want some recourse. With dead / faulty on arrival items are likely to have a positive outcome to seeking a solution, but even then, you will typically have to return the device to China (at your own cost), wait for them to evaluate the unit and send a replacement. This can take a long time.

    Where to buy

    We already mentioned AliExpress as a place to buy from, you should note the feedback of companies you are using to ensure they are reputable. As your money is held in escrow, the sheller has to ship and provide tracking details within a specified time and you have to confirm delivery within a specified time. Two of our favourite sellers on AliExpress for phones are Chigon and Top One (actually part of the same company). We've ordered from them multiple times and never had any problems.

    You should also check out some of the big-name independent sellers, many of who are now starting to add UK / European warehouses, again to assure customers they won't end up footing additional costs on the shipment. They include...

    ...and there are many others out there too!

    topone.thumb.png.11cb9746f13b6b3efc13a4b

    Band support, device ROMs and specifications in general

    If you are picking up a phone, make sure that it supports the bands you need for your carrier (especially the LTE bands). Check which ROM your seller is installing - it is common practice to open boxes and flash a custom ROM with English before shipment. If you would rather do this yourself (like me!), you can ask for the boxes to remain sealed or the devices to remain unflashed.

    One warning on device specifications - descriptions are often somewhat, erm, 'liberal' with the truth specs wise, particularly if you are buying a device from a company you've never heard of... so make sure you check things out fully before you buy!

    And finally...

    I know all of the above sounds daunting, but the most important thing with important devices is that you go into the transaction knowing all the facts. Prepare yourself for the worst eventualities - having a device arrive and having to go through the pain of returning it perhaps... and then if everything does go smoothly, you will be pleasantly surprised.

    Maybe start of with some low cost AliExpress purchases to get the hang of things and go from there.

    Let us know what you buy!  

    Edited by PaulOBrien

    Sign in to follow this  


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    I've purchased two phones out of China. Both had to be returned for repair. Wait time was two months for one and six months for the other to be repaired. I must be very unlucky. :-(

    I will suggest avoid being an early adopter of any phone. My first phone was ordered immediately upon release, and it turned out to have a fault with the screen that resulted in a manufacture's hardware update within a few weeks of the original release. I could have avoided a two month wait on the return of my phone if I had just waited long enough initially to see if the device was actually going to turn out to be a good one. And I'd also suggest always having a backup phone just for these possibilities.

    That said, I'm still using the second phone (ZTE V5 Max), after it finally came back after six months. Good performance for the price, and I'm happy with it now.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Social

  • Topics

  • Posts

    • @Emphatic Groan - Same here, they engaged pretty much straight away.  They asked for screenshots, so I did that and gave them a load of technical details, and they said they'd pass it to the technical team. Let's hope it goes somewhere positive  🙂   To any others experiencing the same problem, it won't hurt to add your voice by contacting Tesco mobile via their Twitter page: https://twitter.com/tescomobile
    • I too could not find a relevant contact for Tesco so tried phoning their Tech. Support (surprisingly Hudl is still listed on the products supported page).I was put through to the Hudl team but the chap there was not very helpful - he seemed to think that the old server had bee dis-continued.IAfter looking through some old forum posts I tried flashing my Hudl with a custom Rom   (    TabbieDroid v1.5 download (includes update fixes) - http://www.mediafire.com/?bnjtbcda415kuqo )  The tablet started up and displayed a message "Android optimising apps 0-39 ,but when this completed it continued with the start up screen until it stalled at the wi-fi page ,as before. It does seem that this internet connection is essential and it is poor practice by Tesco if they are have now shut it down.I know the Hudl is an old model but it was very successful in it's day and there must be quite a few still in use.I only used mine as an e-book reader but it was a useful item and a handy reserve for web browsing etc. Let us hope that Tesco  re-instate the server after your contacts.
    • Have you heard anything back from Tescos? They haven't yet responded to me.
    • I've just found this thread via google and signed-up as I have a similar experience. Tesco mobile can be messaged via their Twitter page: https://twitter.com/tescomobile My Mother's Hudl was a bit messy with too many apps and I did a factory reset for her, and hit this same brick wall.  Perhaps they coded the setup wizard to ping Tesco servers instead of something generic, which was very short-sighted if so.  Anyway same problem, can connect to WiFi but it will not complete.  I found an original support page, which seems to confirm this.  In the "Perform a factory reset" section has the following message: Please note: If you factory reset the device while the Hudl services are down, the device will stay on a loading screen until the services are back online. https://techsupport.tesco.com/retailcustomer/hudl/hudl28-inch/index.html#l=trcust&lHsim=trcust&d=hudl/hudl2%208-inch&s=LCX_Root&loc=tescoretail   So it does seem that by switching off these servers, Tesco has officially killed the Hudl 2.    There is a rooting process, but it's quite involved and not worth the time for me. 
      https://www.modaco.com/forums/topic/375250-easiest-way-to-root-hudl-2-running-latest-updatesoftware/
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.