150% customs duty, is that possible?

Hello again my dear reader,

this is another general-interest post, instead of one with personal experiences. From a personal stand-point, all is well and we have now purchased a scooter for Jitka also. She’s very excited about it, it’s a cute pink 50cc bike. More on this in later posts.

We’ve been looking for a TV recently. Normally, in Europe and the US/Canada, one goes to a couple of large stores, checks out a couple of websites, does a modicum of market research and selects a model to buy. Then, you look for a cheap price on it, either using a price search website or just by comparing the prices on the high street and you’re done. You load it in the car (or ask a friend to do so) and you have a TV in no time.

In Bermuda, things are much more complicated. The authorities here charge 150% in duty for importing a television. So, if you like a TV at, say, Amazon, and decide to have it shipped, you need to make the following calculation: price = original price * 2.5. In other words, if the TV costs $1,000, you end up paying $2,500. At these prices, it’s no surprise that there is a roaring trade in second-hand televisions. But, the quality is truly rubbish. On emoo you can find CRT-style TVs (i.e. the old fat tail TVs) at sizes around 30-inch for hundreds of dollars. For the same price, these days, you can buy a nice LCD/Plasma TV brand new in most stores in Europe and North America.

But, this is not the only problem. Since you need a driver’s licence to drive a carĀ  in Bermuda (and the UK or EU licence doesn’t suffice), it means you have to find a friend who has a car that is big enough to fit your TV. And, you can’t just hire one for the day… If you use a mover with a truck, you run the risk of begin overcharged or end up with a bunch of cowboys in an open truck again. So, we’re a little stuck for now. The cable is getting connected on Monday and we would like to have something in the house by then but it’s going to be difficult or very expensive. We will see…

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