Just in case it isn’t obvious, the post is aimed at those who are residing outside US and hoping to order the hugely subsidized gadgets like Nexus devices from Google Play Store in US or UK, and get it delivered to their door steps. I recently ordered a Nexus 4 and have been consistently bombarded with tweets asking how I did that. This post documents the same.

For the sake of simplicity, I restrict the procedure to buying a Nexus device from US. But in reality, the same applies to buying anything from US/UK. There are two parts involved in here.

  • One, ordering the Nexus (or any other) device.
  • Two, getting it shipped to India (or other countries).

Online shopping

Ordering a Nexus device

For obvious reasons, Google allows access to US Play Store only to those accessing their website from within US. And for not-so-obvious reasons, they restrict the payment options to credit cards with US address only. Yes, there is no option to buy using Paypal or International credit cards.

  • So I used a premium US VPN service (though the free VPN services like Hotspot Shield or even TOR should work fine) to circumvent the restriction of US only IP address.
  • Initially I tried adding the credit card of my cousin (who resides in US). But Google kept throwing weird technical errors. Then, I was told that I can actually use my own international credit card (I used a Mastercard from Citibank). For this, I had to change my home address and billing address to an US address (more on this later).

The order went through without a hitch and I got the confirmation within seconds.

Note: Most online retailers in US (like Amazon) accept International credit cards. For those who don’t do, you can check out services like USUnlocked.com who provide you with a local credit card with local billing address. This is much safer than giving fake (US) billing address. Also note that, most e-retailers don’t accept international debit cards. So you’re required to have a Visa/Mastercard/AmEx credit card.

Getting the device to your country

This is another big headache for many. Most people wait to see if any of their friends and relatives is returning from US, and get the device hand-couriered. Well and good if you can manage to find someone for this, if not, you can take the help of a freight forwarding service like ShopandShip.

shopandship-banner

ShopandShip is a part of Aramex, a popular couriering service in India, Middle East and other countries across the world. They specialize in forwarding the products ordered from US, UK & China. You get a personal shipping address for each of these countries, which you’d need to choose while ordering your Nexus device. In fact, I chose this address as my home & billing address inside Google Wallet. Once they receive it, they ship the products to your home address, and the best part is that they take care of getting the products cleared by customs.

As for the charges, it costs a one-time fee of $45 to open a ShopandShip account (or you can use the code ‘IND76348372‘ (Edit: new code is ‘IND52735173‘) to get $35 off on that), and shipping charges are very nominal too. They charge $10 for the first half a kilo and $8 for every half kg thereon. Quite a steal, isn’t it? (Just for the reference, I found out that FedEx charges $99 for the same). Coming to the customs, it’d depend on the country you are importing to and the category of the product you are getting. In India, Mobile phones have a nominal fee of 2.06% (budget 2013 increased this to 7%), while tablets incur 16.85% duties.

In my case I estimate that getting a Nexus 4 (16GB) would cost me $414 -> i.e $349 + $36 taxes (NY) + $10 shipping + $8.2 duties (India). Nexus 7 (32GB with 3G) would have costed $299 + $30 taxes (NY) + $18 shipping + $55 duties = $402.

courier

ShopandShip operates in all these countries. If your country is not listed in there, you should look for an alternate service like comGateway or Borderlinx. If you don’t mind paying a premium, you would also like to checkout DHL, FedEx or USPS who operates almost every country in the world. Also, we are seeing a huge surge in e-Commerce sites which specialize in importing the gadgets and selling at premium. In India, eBay global easy buy is one such reliable service. There are others which aren’t that popular like firangibhai.com, maniacstore.com, shopyourworld.com etc. We haven’t used their services to recommend them, so be cautious if you decide to try their services.

And yes, the procedure remains same if you want to order anything else from say, Amazon US or Amazon UK or any online retailer from US/UK/China.

To summarize, you need to consider the cost of shipping, custom duties incurred and the USD conversion rate before deciding to order a gadget from US. If there’s a great deal (like Nexus 4), you now know how to get your hands on them right away.

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Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp

 
 
  • Sachin

    Thanks for the article :) much needed.

  • surajkala

    wow.. thanks for all the tips & tricks!!

  • Mahesh Makvana

    Does VCC (Virtual Credit Card) work for this kind of financial transaction?

  • Kiran Jonnalagadda

    Waiting for part 2 on how you changed your billing address.

    • http://techpp.com Raju

      On wallet.google.com, under Payment Methods tab, I chose my credit card, clicked on Edit and chose the US address as my billing address. And yeah, the US address was added as my shipping address initially and hence showed up in the dropdown list here. Else, once can Add new address directly.

      • Kiran Jonnalagadda

        Just tried that. Google now lists the card as a valid payment option, but it still fails on checkout with a technical error.

        • http://techpp.com Raju

          Really weird. Try deleting the card completely and add it back again. Make sure both home address and billing address are US

      • http://www.imvignat.com/ Vignat Vora

        Do they verify the US billing address ? I have International Credit card , but it is difficult to have a US Billing address.

        • http://techpp.com Raju

          No, they were not doing that. But over the past week, I’ve got some reports that they have started doing that. Best thing is to give it a try and see.

          • http://www.imvignat.com/ Vignat Vora

            There is no loss at all in giving a try. Shall try that and update over here soon . :)

  • http://www.geckoandfly.com/ Ngan Tengyuen

    whenever i order online from US, am more worried about having the item swapped with a fake one.

    • Suresh Kumar

      Have you got anything from amazon ? Recently i bought from amazon shipped via Aramex , Product came safely without any damages at all.

      • http://www.geckoandfly.com/ Ngan Tengyuen

        I do shop online, mostly books from Amazon because they have hard cover. So far am lucky.

  • Rohit

    Is the nexus 4 bought from the google play store covered by International warranty?

  • Roman Shaikh

    not sure but i think apple does not ships to address which belong to corier services…

  • Rajshekar Reddy

    Where did u bought “Nexus 4″ from?? and your article was very helpful…Much Needed…

  • Rajshekar Reddy

    where can I find US shipping address in shopandshipdotcom

  • Alex Serban

    I go out of town for 4 days and Raju figures everything out. Good one friend, will try it next month

  • Guest

    Thanks this was much needed…

  • http://widefide.com Anil

    Wow! That’s awesome. You said they take care of getting the product cleared by customs. So they charged $8.2 while ordering the product or you are contacted later on?

    • http://techpp.com Raju

      Custom duties will be collected at the time of receiving package. With their app (or website dashboard) you will get to know how much duties were charged once it clears customs

  • http://widefide.com Anil

    One more question: Can I order in bulk? say 10 same products?

    • http://techpp.com Raju

      I’m not sure. Contact SNS directly

  • http://www.hencemedia.com/ Sanam Patel

    Your shop and ship promo code is not working.

    • http://techpp.com Raju

      have edited and added a new code

  • Nishikant Ajay Patil

    Hi,

    I have ordered nexus 4 which will be delivered at my friends place in Ohio. If I ask him to ship it to me through USPS, will the customs duty be same or it would change? Is there any other way to ship it to India?

    • http://techpp.com Raju

      USPS is tricky as you won’t get to track the shipment once it leaves US. Also, clearing customs will be a problem. Sometimes customs charge random amount, and sometimes they hold the package and send a notice to come and collect it manually after paying the charges

      • Nishikant Ajay Patil

        can I ship it through ShopandShip? How do I tell them to pick it up from my friend’s place and then deliver it to me?

        • http://techpp.com Raju

          They won’t pick up packages. Your friend has to courier it to them. Better contact SNS directly. They should help you better

          • Nishikant Ajay Patil

            ohk, thank you.

  • http://techpp.com Raju

    Not really. They work together. Check this – https://www.usunlocked.com/aramex.php

  • http://www.dailytut.com Robin

    Thank you so much for the new coupon mention. i missed it for the first time and i tried with the new coupon and it worked :) saved 35$ and paid only 10$ :P

    Techpp rocks :)

    Robin.

  • kiran kumar

    this article helped me a lot for getting goods from US. Thanks for it

  • http://twitter.com/vineetdhanawat Vineet Dhanawat

    Duties on Mobile Phones just increased. Got an update from SnS as well.

    • http://techpp.com Raju

      Those are excite duties. Now waiting for an update about Import duties, will surely update the post if needed.

  • https://plus.google.com/113104958218535953149 Pravin Vibhute

    Superb.

  • AJ

    Hey Man, awesome tricks, This is just what I was looking for, so now my questions is an Apple iPhone 5 16GB, How much it gonna cost me, Can you give me the breakup for cost and taxes ?
    On apple website the unlocked version is 649$. what will be the final price, I am staying in Delhi want to order it from US.

    Thanks