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Subject: P500 for Spanish customers - Is it worth it? rss

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Pedro García
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Dear GMT Games,

First of all, excuse me. This is not meant as a criticism of any kind of your P500 policy, which I find fine. The issue I want to put into the table is well known in the Spanish gaming blogs & forums, amd I don't know if you are aware of that. Also I would like to have some input from other EU gamers, which could / should have similar problems, as the customs laws are or should be the same for all of us - anither thing is how they are enforced.

For a start, a brief explanation of the Customs law currently being applied in Spain. When you receive a parcel from a company outside the EU, you have 3 different possibilities (quantities are approximate):

- Under 20€ / 25$ declared value, shipping costs included, the parcel goes through Customs without being taxed
- Between that and 150€ / 190$, you can be taxed with the VAT (18%) of that value, plus customs fees
- Over that quantity you get extra customs duties, something around 5-8% more of the declared value + shipping costs

This taxes and fees have been introduced around one year and a half ago, but in the beggining, the ratio of parcels in "GMT P500 range" (between 35 and 70€, more or less) being stopped and taxed was quite low, probably under 20% - the actual numbers are hard to come by, this is a rough estimate on my own experience and that of many fellow gamers in the forums I usually read.

In the last months, though, this has greatly increased: for "The Virgin Queen" and "1989" the ratio is probably over 80% of the shipments.

At this point, you are probably saying: well, these Spaniards are just complaining because they don't want to pay the lawfully approved taxes... well you would be probably right

But please let me give you another figure: for "1989 Dawn of Freedom", I have payed roughly 50€ to GMT, around 8€ worth of taxes, and 15€ of Customs fees to the Spanish Postal Service, which is supposed to be the cost of the Customs procedure... And this 15€ are independent from the value of the parcel, so single games pay as much as several games together. Suddenly my P500 buy is around 8€ more expensive than buying the game from one of my usual game shops, which have the game for sale around one week later than me.

With these figures, even with the 50%-off sale at the end of the year the deal is not worth it, economically speaking.

So where does this takes us, or at least me? Well, some fellow gamers have already decided not to participate in the P500 programs anymore. Myself, I will probably do it only in those really needed of preorders, but I will not in those games who are not in danger of not being published.

Again, this is not a complaint to GMT or any other company, but I would like to make it known so maybe has any idea of how could this be solved, or at least reduced... I suppose the quantity of Spaniards which participate in P500 preorders doesn't go much higher than several dozens, but there aren't that many wargamers after all, are they?

Also the input from other fellow EU gamers - how is the situation in Germany, or France, or Holland - would be welcome.
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Freddy Dekker
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Some time ago I've had a few threads in which I tried to find out more about the actuall costs of buying games in the US.

It is very annoying to be able to buy a game cheap and than - even when they have a free postage action - to have to pay too much extra to customs.

The main thing that bugged me was not being able to know what I had to pay extra, so at least I could figure out in advance if it would be worth it.
Over time fellow gamers have convinced me that it is not.

So I don't even try and buy my games from European shops.
Fingers crossed they have all I want.soblue


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Roberto Bueno
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I would do more P500 with normal circumstances indeed

Right now, just make P500 if I feel I'm going to be lucky
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Chris Geggus
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Agreed and I feel stupid yet again for being optimistic about the benefit of P500 games mailed to the U.K. and Europe.

I have today had to pay a further GBP20.10 (approx. E24) to the U.K. Customs to be allowed to receive my copy of 1989. I got caught twice last year when GMT sent me 2 games on the very same day in 2 separate parcels and I was forced to pay Customs charges and Admin charges on top for each one individually. I vowed never to fall into the trap again, but forgot that I had 1989 on my waiting list.

P500 is a good idea, but the U.K. Customs and also it appears, most European Customs, will ensure that any saving is not just reduced, but flagrantly demolished. Are our nation states really that short of income that a few bucks here and there for individuals makes that much difference?

It's back to local FLGS's or hope for trade opportunities for me.
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Freddy Dekker
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Well, not wanting to become political, but it seems to me that the major talent european politicians have is throwing billions away on projects any sane man in the street would have strong doubts about.

Guess where that money comes from.....yuk

But I think the game companies are just as annoyed over this matter as we are. Imagine the extra sales they'd make if we only had to pay for the games and postage.

I fear that is one thing that'll never change...
Unless we can get the US to join the EU
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Luis M. Prieto
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I paid 25,10 euros in customs and admin charges. For now, I shall do no more P500 preorders,
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Freddy Dekker
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Yeah it's ever so annoying.

Seems easier to get your hands on cheap drugs than on cheap games.

Which internet shops in Europe [if any] do you use?
Seems like I'll be looking for a new one.
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Derry Salewski
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It's pretty much the same situation in the US. (Hahaha. Sort of.)

P500ing something, even with the end of the year sales, doesn't save any money compared to picking the games up later in a large order shipped for free. Their games are heavy, and CA to ME is a long way!

But I decided it felt good to show some support for GMT, because they're pretty much the least douchiest company out there, and I was sick of dealing with dumb ones.

So yeah, I'm not sure why you'd think mail ordering items singly from a different country would be cheaper than buying from stores on the same continent. Are there really no OLGS in the EU? (I mean, I know there are since I've ordered from them, but that was for premium things that weren't available here, so maybe those premium prices are just normal?)
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Cracky McCracken
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What do you want GMT to do about it?

You people in Europe are taxing and spending yourselves to death. Elect politicians who will lower your taxes and cut spending.

==========
edit - Today's headline is the Tokyo stockmarket basically crashing over concerns about Greece and the Eurozone. You guys are going to tank the global economy at this rate. Nobody is going to be able to afford boardgames pretty soon... shake
 
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Ik ben een kleine boefje
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jvdv wrote:
What happened in the Netherlands is that at one point, some years ago, the Customs here decided to import tax everything over 22 euros. Before that it was somewhat hit or miss, usually miss especially if sent by USPS, and therefore very worthwhile to P500.

Since that policy change, I have stopped getting any game from the US, besides a recent exception for a second-hand game that wasn't available in Europe.


I will do the same from now, Virgin Queen has been my very last p500 preorder. I know it has noting to do with GMT though, it is a matter of politics and economics, but anyway I just cant (or want) afford it anymore. I preordered and paid for the game 10 euros more than its current price in the spanish stores. No more p500 for me.
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José San Miguel
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Cracky wrote:
What do you want GMT to do about it?


Nobody said it's GMT's fault.

I plan on support the P500 at least once a year even if it's not in my best interest.

Cracky wrote:
You guys are going to tank the global economy at this rate.


Not that Lehman Brothers (among others) had anything to do with this situation, right?
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Cracky McCracken
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Jose-san wrote:
Cracky wrote:
What do you want GMT to do about it?


Nobody said it's GMT's fault.

I plan on support the P500 at least once a year even if it's not in my best interest.

Cracky wrote:
You guys are going to tank the global economy at this rate.


Not that Lehman Brothers (among others) had anything to do with this situation, right?


Good one. Blame others for your tax situation. Very productive.
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Jens Kaufmann
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You can P500 GMT-games via Udo Grebe in Germany (the European GMT-distributor)

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Pedro García
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Tarmahaan wrote:
You can P500 GMT-games via Udo Grebe in Germany (the European GMT-distributor)



That is good to know, I will check that, thanks.

Edit: I would have to make the math, but with 16€+1,5€ per game shipping costs on top of their price seems more expensive that the local online prices.
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Roi Espino
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The issue for me its not buying bargains or having the p500 in exclusive,
correct me, but normally with the latest releases you got the game just one week before it arrives to the shops and the discount wasn't that big. It was more a question of supporting the game you want that getting it cheaper, except for the autumn sales but that is another history.

Now it will be more expensive support a p500, than waiting the game to arrive to the Spanish/European shops, I have to think carefully if I want to support one game, and I could understand to pay the VAT, but that extra charge of 15€ for customs procedures its what pisses me off more.


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Derry Salewski
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celacanto wrote:
The issue for me its not buying bargains or having the p500 in exclusive,
correct me, but normally with the latest releases you got the game just one week before it arrives to the shops and the discount wasn't that big. It was more a question of supporting the game you want that getting it cheaper, except for the autumn sales but that is another history.

Now it will be more expensive support a p500, than waiting the game to arrive to the Spanish/European shops, I have to think carefully if I want to support one game, and I could understand to pay the VAT, but that extra charge of 15€ for customs procedures its what pisses me off more.




If you genuinely plan on being a buyer of the game, even from a distributor somewhere else, you can always support the p500, but cancel your order once it gets to production, if it's a game that needs the support.
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Pedro García
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scifiantihero wrote:

If you genuinely plan on being a buyer of the game, even from a distributor somewhere else, you can always support the p500, but cancel your order once it gets to production, if it's a game that needs the support.


That is another good option to consider, thanks
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Freddy Dekker
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Tarmahaan wrote:
You can P500 GMT-games via Udo Grebe in Germany (the European GMT-distributor)




Hexasim and Agojareux also can provide you with GMT games and personally I find them more pleasant to deal with.

But you are right in that you can't p500 with them.
 
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doom 18
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You are right that they can be bought at any FLGS or OFLGS (from Spain, in my case, or abroad), but you are NOT helping push the P500 edge, and that´s what we are talking about. Maybe GMT should think about it, not that thay can really do anything, but it implies a big decrease on European orders (not only Spain, i guess by what some of you are saying)

scifiantihero wrote:
If you genuinely plan on being a buyer of the game, even from a distributor somewhere else, you can always support the p500, but cancel your order once it gets to production, if it's a game that needs the support.


That´s a good idea.
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Gustavo Vazquez
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Just to let you know, here in Brazil they rarely tax board games (they dig taxing eletronics), but when they do, they charge 60% of price + shipment.

So, a game like ANdean Abyss ($48), a shipment of something about $25...I can be taxed in $44...
 
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Mateusz Wilk
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Cracky wrote:
Jose-san wrote:
Cracky wrote:
What do you want GMT to do about it?


Nobody said it's GMT's fault.

I plan on support the P500 at least once a year even if it's not in my best interest.

Cracky wrote:
You guys are going to tank the global economy at this rate.


Not that Lehman Brothers (among others) had anything to do with this situation, right?


Good one. Blame others for your tax situation. Very productive.


Since the global (I can't stress the word enough) crisis, including the crisis in Europe was caused primarily by the generosity of American banks in giving credits to people who couldn't afford them (subprime loan, does this name ring a bell?), you may want to consider stopping trolling.
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Sadly, I think that P500 programs from most publishers are not worthwhile for international customers. Shipping and customs fees for single games (instead of bulk orders) almost always outweigh the discount provided.

On the other hand... even though you aren't saving money by preordering, you are helping to ensure that a game you want gets published and directly supporting the publisher that is making that game available.


(I know this topic was targeting Spanish customers, but wanted to commiserate. As someone who cancelled standing preorders due to increased shipping/customs fees and a decreased gaming budget, I feel your pain.)
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killy9999
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Pedrote wrote:
Also the input from other fellow EU gamers - how is the situation in Germany, or France, or Holland - would be welcome.


I just ordered my first game through P500, so I can't tell based on my own experience, but from what I heard tax is pretty random. I don't know if that changed recently. Right now I'm thinking should I cancel my order when it enters production and buy the game from a local shop or should I just take a risk and see how much will it cost me.
 
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