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How best to purchase a Mac for a German friend visiting the US?
January 1, 2008 2:41 PM   Subscribe

How best to purchase a Mac for a German friend visiting the US?

I have a friend visiting from Germany who is considering buying an iMac here & taking it back with her. If I buy it for her with my educational discount, will she have problems registering it in her name? Will she be able to get AppleCare support in Germany on a machine purchased in the US?
posted by felix betachat to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
 
I don't know about the applecare - I would suspect their warranty covers you worldwide - but your friend might run into problems at customs when she arrives in Germany. If she gets checked in customs she will most likely have to pay both VAT and customs on the computer.

Not trying to rain on her parade or anything. The savings are just a lot smaller when you factor in VAT and such.
posted by nielsellerkaos at 3:22 PM on January 1, 2008


This doesn't address your issue specifically, but the previous MacBook I owned was purchased through my wife's educational discount (employee of a university) in the US. We had Apple Care on it and took it to Australia, where it had a screen repaired without issue.

I don't think the laptop or the Apple Care are tied to the educational discount after the fact. The warranty was perfectly valid in Australia, and I can only assume it would be in Germany, but you'd have to check. A quick call to Apple will clear that up, and there may be some info on the website or in the Apple support forums.

Also, you don't have to purchase Apple Care until just before the original warranty expires. Probably want the edu discount on that, but just giving you a heads-up.
posted by qwip at 3:22 PM on January 1, 2008


Oh, and per nielsellerkaos, you might be able to avoid VAT issues (not that I'm advocating working around any applicable laws, as such), by purchasing a laptop and carrying it unboxed.
posted by qwip at 3:25 PM on January 1, 2008


Of course, with a laptop they'll be stuck with the non-German keyboard, which could be annoying.
posted by maledictory at 7:37 PM on January 1, 2008


The keyboard will be a major annoyance to her if she has to write anything publishable in German. When writing informally you can replace ä ö and ü with ae, oe and ue, which is only slightly annoying.

If she buys it and carries it back with her as a normal carry-on laptop, who's gonna know she has to pay VAT? If she's self-employed and wants to deduct is from her taxes it might become a problem though.
posted by creasy boy at 11:36 PM on January 1, 2008


If I buy it for her with my educational discount, will she have problems registering it in her name?

no, why shouldn't she? it could be a gift.

Will she be able to get AppleCare support in Germany on a machine purchased in the US?

the regular guarantee, yes, it works worldwide. for Applecare she should call Apple's German toll free number and ask them.

as others have pointed out, an iMac is no laptop, it's not like people take it with themselves when traveling. she might very well get busted by customs in Germany and shemight have to pay up to 20% (in euros) for VAT and custom duties. I understand the dollar is so far down the toilet that Europeans are tempted to buy everything there, but a desktop computer (even the 20-inches) is not a good idea. If I were her I'd get a Macbook, throw away the box, and take it back with me as my own personal effect. of course living without a German keyb oard isn't the end of the world, not in the time of 68 euro cents for 1 dollar.
posted by matteo at 4:10 AM on January 2, 2008


I mean, even without factoring in the teacher discount, a black Macbook costs 1,449 euros on Apple.de, and it's 1,499 dollars (ie, 1,020 euros) on Apple.com. She'd save 429 euros, ie 630 dollars. Even without your discount. That's almost the cost of the plane ticket.
posted by matteo at 4:18 AM on January 2, 2008


Bought my wife's last PowerBook in the US on a friend's Apple employee discount, exported it to Norway, registered it and the AppleCare in our name and never had an issue.

N-thing the suggestions to buy a MacBook(Pro) for portability and ease of shipment/concealment.
posted by arcticseal at 5:06 AM on January 2, 2008


Do iMacs have an external power supply? Remember that while the US uses 110 Volt , 230 Volt are used in Germany, so she will have to buy a different power supply or even a converter/transformator if the iMacs is built-in. I think MacBooks can handle different voltages, as laptops are made for traveling, but I'm not sure iMacs can.
posted by amf at 5:36 AM on January 2, 2008


The keyboard will be a major annoyance to her if she has to write anything publishable in German.

Not if she can touch-type.
posted by oaf at 8:45 AM on January 11, 2008


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