How to get a computer in Mexico without paying through the nose?
October 19, 2006 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Is anyone flying from the US to Mexico in the coming week? Would you like to bring me a computer? (Or: Does anyone have any ideas for getting a fair price on a Mac in Mexico City?)

I moved to Mexico City last Friday (the 13th), and the day's ominous reputation held true, it's payload just came a little late. On Sunday, my apartment was broken into and the thieves made off with all our cash and electronics, including two computers. My girlfriend and I need a computer to do our work here. Que lastima!

I've been astounded to see that prices for computers here in Mexico are about $400 more than similar machines in the States. FWIW, the model I'm looking at is the Apple Macbook 2.0 Ghz. Sure, the price includes an exorbitant VAT, but even so, the machine's base price is at least $200 more than the US price.

Since I suffered a big financial loss in the robbery--no insurance, alas, although I'll be getting SafeWare insurance now, thanks to a MeFi post about it--I don't want to lose even more money on buying a new computer.

So.... Is anyone coming to Mexico and would like to bring a Macbook for me? Shipping one here is out of the question, it seems, since it will be assessed a 20% customs tariff. Tourists, though, can bring in one computer without fee.

Is this a crazy idea? Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? Any tips, tricks, (or ways to catch a thief) appreciated!
posted by jacob to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Sure, jacob. Paypal me the money and I'll meet you at the airport coffee shop Monday morning.

Seriously, I'm not sure how you can ensure that you will not be scammed or ensure your prospective buyer that you are not running a scam. I know it's MeFi, and we all trust each other, but unless you've got a friend who's coming for a visit, I wouldn't recommend this.

Are you or your girlfriend students? Apple has a nice student discount program...
posted by Rock Steady at 10:49 AM on October 19, 2006

I thought it was Tuesday the 13th that was unlucky in Mexico. Anyway, in most countries I have experience with, you are allowed to bring a laptop for your personal use only, not to sell (or even to "give away"). Customs officers might look askance at a brand-new Macbook.
posted by grouse at 11:42 AM on October 19, 2006

One way to catch a crook is to post on Ask Metafilter offering to send a stranger money to buy you a laptop. But it won't be the same crook that stole yours.
posted by mendel at 1:20 PM on October 19, 2006

You could always find a cheap ticket to a major metropolis and buy a laptop at the Apple store and then fly back...A RT ticket would be less than $400, I'm guessing.

Also, did you buy your laptop/computers with your credit card, and was it recently? Visa and MasterCard offer theft protection under certain circumstances. It never hurts to call your credit card company to find out if you can get some money out of this misfortune.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:49 PM on October 19, 2006

I buy my Macs here. They are more expensive than in the US, but cheaper than other stores.

You should browse around Mercado Libre, to see if the thief sells your laptop. You could also find a good deal there.

posted by clearlydemon at 2:25 PM on October 19, 2006

maybe you can buy a refurbished apple computer from here. They offer pretty good deals and they come with the standard warranty.

Or since it's in the US store, you could have someone you know buy one for you, and ship it to you with adequate insurance. Not sure how that works internationally though.
posted by milarepa at 4:12 PM on October 19, 2006

I'm sure you're a super nice guy who finds himself in exactly the situation you describe, however, when I worked tech support for a computer company the guys in billing told stories of the huge list of people/countries they aren't to sell computers to over the phone for national security reasons. If someone agrees to this and you happen to be someone who shouldn't be getting said computer they could be in just a bit of trouble. Again, I'm sure this isn't the case, but you're putting a lot of faith in someone who is willing to break the law (bring the laptop in to sell) and hoping they won't break the one about stealing your money. You're also asking them to potentially break more laws than you've disclosed.

I think the roundtrip idea sounds like a fine one. You'll get a little vacation out of all this.
posted by nadawi at 4:37 PM on October 19, 2006

Thanks for all the advice, folks. Yes, I suppose it is a dumb idea to court crisis (again) by asking a total stranger to bring in a laptop to DF. I'll likely just purchase a computer here (using the site clearlydemon suggests)8212;I need to get back to work soon.

Thanks, too, Deathalicious: I called Visa, and it looks like I'll be able to receive $500 compensation from them because I had just purchased the computer.
posted by jacob at 8:57 AM on October 20, 2006

Can't you just buy it on ebay and get it shipped?
posted by tomw at 10:41 AM on October 20, 2006

« Older How to display a system modal dialog on Symbian or...   |   Bird is the word. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.