Why not buying Naim Audio in England

A dearly departed friend of mine bought a Sony laptop computer. He travelled from the UK to Australia a few months later where, one of the keyboard buttons came off.
He took the laptop to Sony’s Sydney base where he was told the warranty only covered him in the UK and they would have to charge him something like $300 to look at it, plus any parts.
Furious that what he’d bought as a “travel computer”, made by a huge company such as Sony, he declined their “offer” and went to a local independent shop and asked if they could do anything to help him.
The chap re-fitted the fallen off key and charged him $10.00 for doing it…

A local Naim dealer has invested in their stock, offers a service and in most cases, is subject to fluctuations in exchange rates.
If the £ to Euro exchange were to suddenly change to 1.6 £ to one Euro, or the Euro to to gain hugely against the £, the dealer could potentially be seeing swings of value, prices all over the place.
Setting his prices slightly higher may protect him to some extent and avoid constantly having to adjust their pricing. Plus it may mean he avoids having items in stock worth less than he paid for them…
The dealer will also support the people who bought equipment from them.

Dealers not being able to install or support from afar is a red herring; you rarely get that support outside the UK anyway.

Extended warranty is another red herring since you don’t get that outside the UK either.

Tax is another since export sales would be VAT exempt so local taxes & duties pretty much keep things on an even par.

Warranty could be extendable and could be europe or worldwide. That Naim choose not to implement it that way leaves one to wonder why. A cynic might consider a lack of confidence in the product or the distributor network or simply a de prioritisation of customer satisfaction vs other business aspects. It could of course be something altogether more customer oriented but an example doesn’t immediately spring to mind.

Many companies protect their distributors by not allowing cross border sales when there is already distributor in the receiving county but there is generally an expectation or even an obligation on that distributor to provide a level of service commensurate with the image of the brand. I don’t know if that was ever mandated by Naim but it certainly used to be delivered, pre-Vervent.


16% in Germany at the moment.

There are other factors too. I buy my Naim gear from the UK as there is no Naim presence in Japan. But I also have a really long relationship with the dealer going back nearly 30 years.

Someone recently asked if they could contact my dealer for the same sort of thing but my dealer turned them away. And the reasons were pretty easy to understand. They didn’t know the chap from adam, and the risk to the dealer is large and benefit no greater than selling locally. If the cust has an issue, they have a terrible time offering dealer support remotely like that. They know I’m understanding and have realistic expectations. They have no such assurance about an unknown buyer. If they have an issue, will the customer be reasonable? Will they demand the dealer or Naim accept the shipping costs for a return? Will they go online and make a fuss for the world to read if they don’t get their way? Ultimately, they were not comfortable selling a product they knew they had zero chance of providing the level of after care they think a customer deserves.

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I am in the same situation as @feeling_zen. I have been using the same dealer in the UK since 1994. Pre-Internet etc etc. I don’t think without that solid relationship they they would be willing to take other customers overseas on for the same reasons mentioned. You are up in Hokkaido. @feelingzen, correct?

I am indeed. After spending 15 years in Tokyo, I am back in Hokkaido since last Sep.

Since 01.01.2021 it is 19% again.

Either way it’s better than the 25% we have in Sweden :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

If someone buys from a British retailer not set up to refund VAT on purchases by people abroad - which will apply to many smaller high street retail businesses, likely including many hifi dealerships, I am not sure that the UK VAT will be cancelled, or certainly not automatically, simply because they are not geared towards doing it. If the carrier then, correctly for an EU country, applies the VAT for the country Of delivery, the cost buyer will end up paying two VAT charges - plus any import duty.


I think you generally see it more often with smaller brands that used to operate locally, and over time expanded their reach by making deals with independent regionally operating distributors. As opposed to brands that have a global focus and see the world more as a single market.

For instance i think it’s really weird that Naim products are cheaper in Germany/Austria than they are in The Netherlands. It’s a result of different distributors making different arrangements with Naim, but there is no good reason why this difference should exist in the first place. NL and DE practically operate as a single market in many other areas, and most of The Netherlands is geographically closer to Germany than Austria is.

To a (potential) customer this is quite frustrating, especially when you are in the most expensive region and dealers from other regions refuse to ship to yours.

I have a Nova and a complex digital/integrated device like that usually cannot be serviced anyway, if something goes wrong with the unit the best approach for all parties would be to just replace the device and ship the faulty one back to Naim. So the only thing the distributor needs to have is a small warehouse with a number of spare units, and ship them out them when necessary.


If an item is shipped directly, VAT is not applicable so no need to administer a refund.

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My understanding of purchasing hifi from the UK to EU is that there will be customs charges as well as the VAT issue.

Even worse for private sales as VAT will be included.

Being in Dublin I’ve bought a lot both new and second hand from the UK. I see all this stopping with the extra charges.


You should be able to get the VAT refunded even if you’ve already paid it in the shop. But no idea how much effort and hassle that is in practice. Might only be possible in person.

A possible scenario is the Naim second hand price goes down now due to less demand since I also know lots was sold to i.e Sweden prior to Brexit. The auction sites will for sure have less customers bidding now.

And covid needs to be over. Everybody is now sitting at home checking prices online, this increases online prices. Once the world is normal again, the balance will be back.

That seems weird. I’m sure that was not the case pre-EU, and I assume is not the case for items sold within the UK.

I’ve never paid VAT on anything I bought from a dealer in the UK. The dealer took care of all that for me.

Of course there are customs charges at the point of entry to the destination country but that is largely expected.

It has no effect in the UK but now in Ireland (not NI) buying from the UK, products must have a customs declaration and VAT will be charged as appropriate for the item, new or second hand.


The dealer should not have charged VAT at all. The VAT charge comes in your country (if you have VAT).

New goods (substantially made in the UK) will have no tariffs applied and no VAT applied. The Irish rate of VAT 23% will be charged by our postal service and there will be a customs charge (5% I think but it’s hard to get details currently).

As far as I understand it if I were to get Focal speakers through the UK a tariff would be charged as (I presume) they are made in France.

Here’s a Q&A from the Irish Times

But hang on a second, I thought the Christmas Eve Deal meant Britain had tariff-free access to the Single Market. This doesn’t sound like tariff-free access to me.
Yeah, Pricewatch thought the same thing. So we got on to the Revenue people again. As ever, they were able to break it down for us in a way that made sense. The Withdrawal Agreement does indeed ensure tariff-free trade between the EU and the UK but – and this is the important bit – only when the origin of the goods is actually the UK.

What does that mean?
Revenue says “no tariffs will apply if goods entering the EU from the UK are proven to be of UK origin and a request for preferential treatment has been included on the customs declaration. Similarly no tariffs will apply if goods being exported to the UK from the EU are proven to be of EU origin.”

I am guessing that the fancy telly I want to buy on amazon didn’t actually originate in the UK?
It seems unlikely to be honest. Similarly not many of the clothes or trainers you might see selling on popular UK-based websites were made in England, Scotland or Wales. If, however, you are in the market for a hand-knitted jumper from Cornwall made with wool from Cornish sheep then you should be all set.


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I wonder what value is added to a second hand item.