Hello there, to my visitors from the United Kingdom! In this article, I will provide you with the most solid and correct information possible for musicians who are buying from Thomann in UK from the best musical instruments company in the universe, Thomann!
Update & very good news! Thomann has expectedly taken rapid actions and already made it very easy for Thomann UK customers. Now you can actually order from Thomann while paying VAT upfront!
You will have *no extra costs or fees (please keep reading and have a look at one of my visitors experience below) and just receive your order easily without any hassles with customs processes. Visit Thomann today and place your order.
Having said that, I have updated this article and merged the old and new situation for UK Thomann customers. Please keep reading and don’t forget to check out the new situation section below.
On this website, I combine my musical instruments business experience with my customer journey knowledge and I try really hard to put out the most valuable content for my visitors.
I have received over 120000 organic visitors since I started this website and my visitors from the UK have been always in the top 4 countries along with the USA, Canada and Turkey.
For this reason, just like in my other top-performing articles for musicians in the USA, Canada and Turkey, I would also like to introduce the best MI company in the universe to my visitors in the UK as well as would like to provide you with the most detailed and accurate buying guide from Thomann after Brexit.
As many of you probably already know, Thomann is a German musical instruments store located in Germany.
What most people are now aware of is that Thomann is the 2nd largest company and the fastest-growing one in the musical instruments industry. Here’s a quick introduction for those who have never purchased anything before from Thomann company.
Thomann was founded in 1954 in Germany as a family business in a conventional physical store and has become one of the biggest musical instrument stores on the planet today!
Currently, they have over 100,000 products in stock, employ 1500 employees and serve almost 15.5 million customers worldwide from 120 different countries!
To fully understand how big Thomann is and how the company has become the fastest-growing one, just have a look at this data here (Source: MusicTrades.com).
This data from 2018 shows the annual revenues of giant musical instrument companies in the world. According to this data, Thomann had $956,414,280 in revenue in 2017 which places the company in the 2nd position just after Guitar Center (founded in 1959) which had $2,140,000,000.
So What Makes Thomann Special?
If you already have a look at the data, you will notice that Guitar Center made this revenue with 11,000 employees located in 430 stores all across the United States. What a waste of resources! But what about Thomann?
Thomann made almost half of Guitar Center‘s revenue with only 1208 employees and from only a single location!
This clearly shows how progressive and efficient Thomann has become in recent years. Their passionate approach to customers has yielded magnificent results.
Does Thomann Ship to the UK?
The short answer is always, YES! Thomann has been always able to ship products to the UK before or after Brexit. But now with some differences in the operations.
Before the UK left the European Union, buying from Thomann in the UK was just identical to in any other EU country. You would simply go to the Thomann website, preferably register an account and once you have selected your country as GB, it would tell you the exact price with added VAT amount, plus shipping fees based on the value of the items.
A couple of years ago, when the UK was considered just another EU country, you would have to pay a 10€ shipping fee for orders that cost below 199€. Orders over 199€ were eligible for free shipping. It would take 3-4 days for your items to be delivered to your address. Now things are becoming a bit blurry for UK buyers. But hopefully, we are going to clear these things up here in this article.
What Has Changed with UK Orders?
After Brexit, the UK has been considered as just another 3rd country from Thomann‘s perspective. This confused many people in the beginning as they had noticed very low prices (excluding VAT) on Thomann.
Pre-Brexit, you would add an item to your cart with included VAT amount and you would also pay for the shipping fee based on the total value of the items.
Most people in the UK are still confused and also disappointed with this new operational model. However, to be honest this has been what the rest of the world has to go through for years when buying from Thomann.
In my buying guide article for my Turkish visitors, I was talking about ordering from Thomann. Almost a decade ago, Turkish buyers would buy items from the EU but they were never able to guess what would happen to them in terms of taxes, customs fees or even the amount of bribes. 🙂 Fortunately, it’s not the case anymore and they can buy from Thomann by paying VAT and additional taxes when they receive their order!
Now, this is almost the exact situation for UK buyers, with one difference though. As you may already know, Thomann has started cooperating with the UK Mail (Owned by DHL). For UK buyers, the UK Mail will still handle the logistics as well as customs operations when your order arrives in the UK.
Thomann Shipping Fees for the UK
When you buy from the Thomann website as a UK buyer, you will have to pay an £8 shipping fee if your order value is below £149. Orders over £149 are eligible for free shipping!
You should also be careful about the weight of your orders. Items should not exceed 31 kg. But in case, you would like to order heavier items than 31kg, you don’t need to worry! Thomann will calculate possible extra shipping costs and will inform you via email.
So if you are planning to order such items, you can easily place your order without payment (choose bank transfer) and then wait for their confirmation via mail.
VAT and Handling Fees
One of the most confusing parts for most people is paying VAT. I still see some Thomann UK reviews in which people complain about paying VAT. Value Added Tax has been always paid in any situation.
Before Brexit, since the UK was considered an EU state, VAT was already included in the price you see on the Thomann webpage! So there’s nothing wrong with paying the VAT.
Good news on VAT
Now in 2022, you can place any item regardless of the price tag and just pay VAT + shipping fee (if applicable) at the checkout page!
Let’s have a look at both the old and new situations for Thomann UK customers below.
The Old Situation
Orders Below £135
Buying a Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series from Thomann in the UK
In this first example, I have chosen Thomann‘s exclusive brand, Harley Benton.
As you can see in the screenshot, I have added a beautiful yet highly affordable Tele clone, Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series.
Since it costs less than £135, Thomann adds an £8 shipping fee + VAT (That can be paid on Thomann‘s website).
Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series: £105
Shipping to Great Britain: £8
VAT (20%): £105 * 0.2 = £21
Yes, this is what you used to have to pay as the total, that’s it! No additional fee will have to be paid upon delivery.
Orders Above £135
This part is a bit tricky and also a bit like a grey area in terms of “handling fees” which are charged by UPS (the previous courier).
When your order’s total value exceeds £135, you will not pay 20% VAT on Thomann’s website, instead, this will be also collected by UPS.
According to Thomann, for orders that exceed £135, Government Charges will be collected by UPS. This consists of 20% VAT, a small amount of paperwork fee (around 2.5% to 3.5% based on customer feedback) and also a UPS service fee which is a minimum of £11.50.
This last UPS service and handling fee are the most confusing. Because there are no clear instructions as to on what basis they collect it as a minimum amount. So what is the maximum? Or do they base this on the category of the product in the customs tariff measures?
*Unfortunately, this is not really clear. In order to clarify this, I have also contacted UPS and I will be updating this article accordingly. [Update: They provided me very round answers and believe me I ended up having the same insights that I had shared here!]
However, things are not as bad as they sound! Just relax! People are still ordering from Thomann in the UK after Brexit. And base real customer experiences, the examples below will most likely be identical or very similar to what you will experience.
Let’s have another example with Harley Benton’s popular 7-string electric guitar here.
Buying a Harley Benton Amarok-7 BKBL Flame Burst from Thomann in the UK
When your order exceeds £135, you will not see any VAT added to your order when you click on the “Go to Checkout” section. As it’s over £135, it’s free shipping as well.
Harley Benton Amarok-7 BKBL Flame Burst: £425
Shipping to Great Britain: £0
VAT (20%): £105 * 0.2 = £85
UPS Handling / Brokerage Fee: £11.5
Import Fees: £425 * 0.0325 = £14
Buying a Seagull Artist Mosaic EQ from Thomann in the UK
Seagull Artist Mosaic EQ: £939
Shipping to Great Britain: £0
VAT (20%): £105 * 0.2 = £187.8
UPS Handling / Brokerage Fee: £11.5
Import Fees: £939 * 0.0325 = £30
Note that these numbers are estimated ones, the total prices may differ (more or less).
The New Situation
As I have mentioned in the beginning, the old situation is not a valid case anymore! You can place your order and pay VAT and shipping fee (if applicable) at the checkout page and wait for your parcel to be delivered by UK Mail. Let’s have another set of examples and see what we end up with on Thomann‘s checkout page.
As you can see from the screenshot above, in both situations (less or greater than £135), Thomann informs you on the right-hand side that the VAT is included and will be charged at the checkout page. You can also see this information on the screenshot below as well as on their FAQ page.
*However, there’s one thing I would like to mention here. One of my dear visitors from the UK (Thanks Steve!) contacted me and shared his experience. According to him, he ordered a Harley Benton guitar set and confirmed that he was charged the VAT at the checkout. But, he also added that UK Mail (owned by DHL) charged him 2.5% of the Customs Duty or VAT whichever is greater, but if the resulting sum is less than £11 then the fee will default to the flat fee of £11.
For this part, to be brutally honest, I have no information. Even though I have researched for hours, I couldn’t find a solid piece of information. So in order to be fully transparent with my dear visitors, here I’m adding Steve’s experience here. Please be aware that this can happen to you as well. But I believe, either way, Thomann is the best option for any musician on the planet! 🙂
I would be more than happy to include fact-based information regarding this flat fee application. So if anyone knows, please reach out! 🙂
Is It Really Worth Buying from Thomann in the UK?
As you can see from real customer experiences, I think it’s almost a hassle-free operation. As I have mentioned, there’s only one grey area that UK Mail (DHL) interprets as stated above.
*Unfortunately, I don’t have enough data to provide examples for different product categories. But I have already contacted DHL to find out if they apply any customs tariffs on specific musical instrument categories and will update this article if I hear anything. So stay tuned!
To me, this kind of logistic operation reminds me of what other buyers in third countries from Thomann‘s perspective have been going through. At the end of the day, it all comes down to being able to understand if it would be worth it for a specific case.
If you are able to buy a particular product in your local stores or online stores at reasonable price levels, you don’t need to order it from Thomann. However, Thomann offers way more opportunities than any local store!
Just to remind you, Thomann is the number 1 musical instruments company in the universe. You may say “But you have just provided some data up there, they are after Guitar Center!?“, yes but don’t miss that important point.
Thomann is still the best company in the musical instruments business with the efficiency that they have been able to prove from a single location. You will see that in the future, they will outnumber any company in the industry and I won’t be surprised. 🙂
Check out my Why Thomann is the best music store? article here
Also, do not forget to check out their incredible line of exclusive brands and direct imports that will almost always give you high-value/money purchases regardless of your location!
Last but not least, I would like to introduce you to a solid article that I have done for anyone outside the EU. I spent countless hours going through each brand that Thomann represents and came up with a huge list of brands, categories and keywords that you can find below.
With the help of this article, you can discover many brands and manufacturers in the musical instruments industry and possibly get the highest value depending on where you are ordering from.
*Although this article was first aimed at buyers in the US & Canada, I guarantee you that you will discover many hidden gems on Thomann!
Check out my Is it worth buying from Thomann article here
I hope you have enjoyed this informative article. If you ever have an experience with Thomann in the UK, I would also love to include your story here and would be really glad to hear if I were ever able to help you with your (first?) purchase from Thomann!
Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!
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