About a month ago, I bought a laptop from Amazon US for the first time. I've bought supplements from Amazon US before, but it was the first time I actually bought a laptop.
Obviously, buying a laptop is different from buying supplements, mainly because of the import duties and SIRIM permit required for electronics such as laptops.
I felt a bit unsure at first, but decided to give it a shot and go through the entire process. Who knows? If the process goes smoothly, I'll be able to buy more items from Amazon.com (US) that are not available in Malaysia.
Thankfully for me, the process did go smoothly, and I received my laptop about 2.5 weeks from my order date.
If you've been wanting to buy a laptop from Amazon US but aren't sure what to expect, I hope you'll find this post useful in your buying process.
What is SIRIM Permit? Why Do You Need to Apply for It?
SIRIM is the body which oversees all electronics being imported into Malaysia.
Whenever you buy or import any kind of electronics which meet SIRIM's restrictions (devices with WiFi, or GPS capabilities, for example) from outside Malaysia, you need to apply for a SIRIM permit for it to clear customs and for you to legally use it in Malaysia.
Without a SIRIM permit, your device won't be allowed entry.
About My Order: Huawei Matebook D 14" from Amazon.com
I bought a Huawei Matebook D 14" from Amazon.com (US). The model is available in Malaysia also, but the specs were far off from what I wanted (more about this in another post), so I decided to buy it from Amazon instead.
Unlike my supplement order from Amazon.com, in which I used a forwarder (BuyandShip) to get my item, this time I shipped the laptop directly from Amazon to my doorstep.
I did this using the Amazon Global Shipping program which does just that.
The reason for this is that I wanted to make sure that I can return the item easily. Most forwarders don't help with returns. With Amazon Global Shipping, returns are covered. So I'll be able to ship it back.
Additionally, Amazon also helps with the paying for Custom duties so you don't have to deal with this yourself. For this, they charge an extra 5% on top of the order total.
Below are the payment details for my order:
There's a $24.34 payment for shipping. There were two options available: Expedited (~10days) and Priority (~5days). I picked Expedited.
The 'Import Fees Deposit' is a 5% charge on top of the entire order total (plus shipping) which the shipping carrier will use to pay your custom import duties. This fee was $31.67 for this order.
I paid using a mix of Gift cards and credit card, but you can use just a Credit Card. Now that you've got an idea about my order, let's get to the timeline of my order where I'll detail the process from ordering to customs clearance to receiving the laptop.
Order Timeline: From Amazon.com to Customs to My Office
Dec 21st 2018: Making the Order on Amazon.com
I made an order for a Huawei Matebook D on the 21st of December. Obviously, ordering a laptop from the US four days before Christmas day was probably not the best decision, but that's a discussion for another day 🙂
I paid a sticker price of US$609 for the laptop, along with $24+ for shipping and 5% of the total fee for custom duties.
The price now is slightly different, but here's a link to the specific order I made if you need a reference:
A few days later, I receive an e-mail saying that my laptop has been shipped. Since Christmas holiday was just around the corner, I expected some delays in shipping.
Dec 31: Receive Customs Info from Aramex
On 31st December, about 10 days after making my order, I receive this email from Aramex. My laptop has arrived in KL and will be able to clear customs as soon as I can get my SIRIM permit:
I replied the email as instructed on the same day.
The next day was 1st January (Public Holiday) so I didn't expect any reply until 2nd January 2019.
Jan 2nd: Receive Instructions from SIRIM
On Jan 2nd, I receive a reply from SIRIM requesting for my laptop model number.
A few hours after sending them the model number, I get an email back from them providing full instructions on what to do next, including payment.
I was sent a form to fill up along with a sample of how it should be done. I was also asked for a document with my laptop model's technical specifications.
SIRIM's bank account details was also provided and a RM100 fee was required.
I filled up everything, emailed them back, along with the receipt for the RM100 SIRIM permit fee.
Upon receiving the email, I got a confirmation reply back saying that I will be able to receive the approved permit within 24 hours.
Jan 3rd: Receive eCoMM emails and SIRIM Permit
The next day, I receive 2 emails from eCoMM informing me that they've received my application and another e-mail requesting me to send the samples:
I've read on Lowyat that I don't need to respond to these e-mails, but to be extra sure, I replied by saying I wouldn't be able to send them samples.
SIRIM informed me that for personal use I didn't need to submit a sample if I'm not importing for selling locally:
Getting this reply gave me assurance that everything was going smoothly.
Moments later, I received the approved permit around 6pm and forwarded the permit to the Aramex email earlier.
A day later, Aramex confirmed with me that they have received the permit and will clear customs. Great!
Jan 5th: All cleared from Customs
On checking customs, the item is cleared from customs and will be moving forward with shipping.
Jan 8th: Received my laptop!
A few days later, I finally received my Huawei Matebook D! It's a sleek looking, touch-screen laptop.
This is an extra laptop for my office and I don't use it personally, but this laptop has been amazing. For the price I paid, this laptop definitely delivers!
If you want to know more about the Huawei Matebook D I bought, I'll be doing a separate review on it. So stay tuned!
Buying from Amazon.com using Global Shipping makes the entire import process a lot easier. They take care of the custom duties for you. All you need to do is wait for the e-mail from your shipping company, send them the required forms, documents and payments and you're done!
Have you applied for a SIRIM permit for your laptop from Amazon US before? Share your experience with me below!