Ship a laptop from US to Poland
May 3, 2013 6:54 AM   Subscribe

I have an old laptop I'd like to send to my relatives in Poland. How would I go about this? Does this even make economic sense?

I'm replacing my old, still-functioning laptop with a new one. I'd like to send the old one to my relatives in Poland, since it's a better than the old desktop they're using now.

I got a quick quote from both UPS and FedEx, and they're saying it's around $300 to ship it, which is probably more than the laptop itself is worth. Am I doing something wrong? Is there a better way to do this, or does it just not make any sense to try this at all?

If there is a good way to make it happen, what do I need to do about VAT, customs, etc? Are there any special worries with shipping a lithium ion battery?
posted by echo target to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
It cost my parents $150 to send me a small, lightweight AT&T GoPhone from the US to the UK using UPS, so $300 for a laptop to Poland doesn't surprise me. International shipping is really, really pricy. You can investigate using the US Postal Service, which is often cheaper (but harder to track), or ... you realize that it's just not worth it. And sometimes it's not.
posted by olinerd at 6:56 AM on May 3, 2013

Is there any way to locate someone flying there in the not-so-far future, and ask them to take it across for some reasonable fee? That kind of thing isn't uncommon, IME.
posted by Gyan at 7:10 AM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I entered some plausible dimensions in the USPS online calculator and it quoted about $75 for express mail (3-5 working days). Link, (might not work because of cookies etc., but seems OK).

I'd still think hard about whether it's worth it though. Import duty can be a problem and you'll want to research this. I posted a cheap old digital camera from NZ to the Netherlands once, and I think the import duty came to something around the 50% mark. No idea what it might be for US to Poland, and possibly you can get round this by putting down a very low value for the laptop when posting, but it can cause nasty surprises.
posted by pont at 7:10 AM on May 3, 2013

Best answer: The challenge isn't just the shipping, its the customs and import duties, which can be a nightmare and result in your package being impounded for undetermined period of time. You'll spend much more than its worth.

Honestly, you're much much better off selling it here for a couple of hundred bucks and sending them the money so they can buy a used one there. Otherwise they'll also have to deal with language, keyboard, etc issues.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 7:23 AM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Not worth it due to:

Cost to ship
Possibility of damage in transit
Possibility of theft in transit
Cost of customs/duties

Just sell it on Craigslist and give them the money if that makes you happy.
posted by Slinga at 7:29 AM on May 3, 2013

Seconding Slinga - send them the laptop as cash.
posted by devnull at 7:42 AM on May 3, 2013

Best answer: For what it's worth, retail rates for couriers are many times what their prices for regular customers are, and there are companies that will arbitrage that difference so you could ship it for probably about $100. I can't remember what the duty exempt maximum value for a gift (c. €200) is, but if the laptop is below that, you won't be charged any customs charges. Above it, you'll get charged on the full value, not just the value that it exceeds the threshold by.

TLDR: It may be worth it if it's below the duty threshold and you can find a shipper.
posted by ambrosen at 8:03 AM on May 3, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, folks. I won't be trying to ship it; I'll either sell it here or turn it into a media server.
posted by echo target at 7:29 AM on May 6, 2013

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