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The Samsung LED HDTV I Brought to Argentina

February 10th, 2010 | Categoría: Entertainment, Technology, Travel

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Samsung 6000 LED

It’s an incredibly beautiful TV.

It’s HD, ultra slim, big but not obnoxious, and it’s LED, meaning its bright and doesn’t use much electricity. As far as TVs go, it’s about as eco-friendly as you can get.

I’ve wanted it since the moment I first saw it. But when I left Argentina a few months ago to spend time with my family in Colorado, these TVs didn’t even exist in Argentina. Nobody sold them here. And even if they did, I knew it would cost a lot more than it would in Colorado. As is the case with almost all electronic items here, things are way overpriced.

So while in Colorado, I went to Best Buy and bought myself one. It was On Sale for US $989, taxes included – an incredible deal. But how on earth would I get this thing back to Argentina?

Intellectually, I had always known that it was possible to bring such things on the plane as shipped baggage. But I had never tried something so bold – or perhaps so stupid – as to bring down a gigantic HDTV. So, what the heck, I figured. I called American Airlines and asked if I could bring the TV with me to Argentina. “As long as it weighs less than 70lbs and isn’t more than 115 inches (height x width x length),” they said. The box fit!

But it was fragile, very fragile, with practically no protective padding or reinforced styrofoam. So I got another box, grabbed the TV, still inside its original box, and stuffed it into the other box, lining it wall-to-wall with styrofoam. It was still under 50lbs and it totaled just 93 inches. Bingo! I was ready to go.

I got to the check-in counter at American, where they charged me an extra US $150 to ship the box as “an oversized bag.” I feared it would be destroyed during the flight or by the baggage handlers. But it arrived perfectly, without a scratch. The box didn’t even look like it had been shipped at all. Plus, the TV works perfectly here in Argentina with the local digital cable service.

At EZE airport, I got pulled aside by customs officials, who charged me the typical 50% import fee. The policy is simple. They charge 50% of the value of your item after US $300. Since the TV cost US $989, they charged me 50% of US $689, or US $345. I paid the tax with my Visa card. There was no haggling, no request for a bribe. Just a simple, quick transaction. The whole thing took less than five minutes.

All told, then, it cost me US $1,484 to bring the TV down to Buenos Aires. The TV now sells here for 9,999 Argentine pesos, or US $2,603. So even after all the hassle of shipping it, I still saved US $1,119.

That’s a decent chunk of cash, enough to buy another R/T ticket up to the States.

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33 Comments

alfC says:

why did they charged you an extra for “an oversized bag” if it was within the size limits?

taosNo Gravatar says:

For American Airlines, anything that is over 62 inches (height x width x length) is considered oversize. If the box had weighed more than 50lbs, they would have charged me another US $50. I’m not sure of the rules at other airlines.

ptolemyNo Gravatar says:

The only people who lose here are the Argentines. They need to wake up to the insane import taxes their country imposes upon them,.. keeping them in ignorance and poverty.

QuickrouteNo Gravatar says:

That’s a bargain – interestingly the Fravega link you included lists it as “Origen: ARGENTINA”

taosNo Gravatar says:

True. It’s frustrating to think that these TVs are assembled (they’re not actually “made”) here but still cost so much. The government just raised taxes on a wide range of technology imports, including TVs, arguing that this would lead more companies to “make” such products here, and would help lower their prices. But it seems unreasonable to pay so much for a product that’s not even imported. Clearly, the polices in place don’t help grow the domestic market, which is much smaller here than in many other developing countries of similar populations.

samNo Gravatar says:

Wonder how long it will last. Is it Chinese? If so, I would bet less than two years.

taosNo Gravatar says:

Samsung is a Korean company, and it’s now the biggest electronics manufacturer in the world. It’s interesting that you have such a low opinion of Chinese manufacturing. The quality of output at Chinese factories depends entirely on the companies that run them. China turns out some incredibly high quality products, including the iPhones, Macbook Pros and iPods designed by Apple. Samsungs TVs are exceptionally high rated by Consumer Reports, and these LEDs, in theory, at least, are supposed to last much longer than standard televisions. We’ll see.

GaryNo Gravatar says:

That great I now live here in the US and if you are going to get a Flat screen. The LED/LCD TV can travel in any position but Plasma has to stay upright. I have two Plasma TV they are great. If you are going to take one along with you back to Argentina you should consider this problem. Good buy.

RalphNo Gravatar says:

Thanks for the post! I needed inspiration like this for the next time I come back to Argentina! My wife and I are thinking of relocation to Argentina (her family is all here) but without my electronics I would be lost and I could not justify paying the inflated prices they have here. Even with the insane tax, with the kind of deals you can get in the US, you would still come out on top.

How about the Argentine 220 voltage vs the 110 North American voltage did that present a problem for instalation and operation of your new TV ?
THANKS FOR YOUR KIND REPLY jfgilleo

taosNo Gravatar says:

Good question. The TV required a power converter/transformer, which I already had. So all I did was plug it in. It worked smoothly. I also have a Playstation 3 plugged into the same transformer, and it works great too. The Play station plays not just video games but also regular DVDs and Blu Ray movies, which look amazing on the TV.

John GilleoNo Gravatar says:

Greetings Taos,
Much thanks for your input in reference to your upvoltage transformer, I will search for one in BA. In the process of looking for a multi service provider for TV, Telephone and DSL connections in my Palermo Botanico area. I will comment further on the electonics tax in Argentina, it only prevents jobs from being created in the sub assembly manufacturing sector. Parts in to Argentina from abroad, and finished goods out of an Argentine factory. This Win, Win situation exists in Mexico.
Cheers, John

EdNo Gravatar says:

How big was the TV? and do you know if the allowance is larger or smaller for a US citizen bringing it in?

taosNo Gravatar says:

I got the 40″ version. The size allowance is the same, regardless of nationality. Technically, I believe only residents have to pay the import tax, but I’m not sure what they’d do in customs if a “tourist” came through with a giant TV box.

CFNo Gravatar says:

We bought our 40″ Samsung here in BA . Same as the one pictured.
Some warnings… it gets very hot.
The sound is not so great.
It just spent a week at a repair place which cost us almost $1,000 AR.
We have never had a tv need repair before this. And we have had televisions for years and years !
I hope yours lasts longer and has no problems, since you did not buy it here.

The one really stupid thing we did ( yes, there was only one) was to bring a brand new Miele vacuum cleaner .. I thought a transformer would work .. they have nothing like it here. It blew on the second use.. it died in BA.

Happy TV Watching !

taosNo Gravatar says:

That’s a drag! But they just started selling those TVs, so yours should have been under a full parts and services warranty, right? Mine came with a one-year warranty in the U.S. I don’t know if it’s valid here, but I would doubt it. Sounds like you got a real lemon. Sorry about that. You shouldn’t have to pay anything to fix that. Do you know why they charged you?

CFNo Gravatar says:

Lousy warrantee here , a year. It decided to die in 2 years. When the tv was on, it was great, but the part that controls the on/off switch died.

taosNo Gravatar says:

Mine doesn’t seem to get hot at all, though I don’t watch that much television, only movies, so it’s rarely on for more than two hours at a time.

CFNo Gravatar says:

Unfortunately , ours is on longer than that lol …

TomNo Gravatar says:

I thought that Ar TV signals are Pal 4 (or something) and US is something else (not compatible with Pal 4). Does your tv work because you are on digital cable?

LucianoNo Gravatar says:

Taos, I’m moving back to Argentina after 4 years in Boston, and I’m considering bringing exactly the same Samsung HDTV. My concern is about norm incompatibility: PAL vs. NTSC. Did you buy a converter? I’m interested to know if it’s a problem at all, and if so, how you solved it.

Thanks!

Luciano.

taosNo Gravatar says:

Hi Luciano,

DirecTV and digital cablevision are both NTSC, so if you have either you don’t need any kind of converter. I already had Cablevisión Digital, so I just plugged it in and it worked great. You also need a power converter, of course, but these are the only two things you need.

Good luck with your transition back to Argentina!
Taos

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mondayNo Gravatar says:

i wonder if it would just be cheaper to ship it fedex from US to argentina???

hi!!! thank you reading about this. help a lot ,because i am planing to go to argentina in 4 months and i would love to bring a tv 4 my mom i just i have a question for u do you show a receipt or just said how much cost to u. hopefully u can let me know before i go to my vacation. thanks

taosNo Gravatar says:

You have to bring your original receipt and show it to customs authorities.

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MarkNo Gravatar says:

Hi my family and I are moving to Buenos Aires from Nevada in less then 2 months. I would like to know if you needed a converter for the TV to work considering the format for Argentina is PAL.

Please advise me of any additional equipment you have required to make it work in BA.

Thanks in advance

MarkNo Gravatar says:

Sorry, for the premature question, I scrolled up through the comments and found my answer. Thanks for the good info.

taosNo Gravatar says:

My pleasure, Mark. Hope you have a great move down here.
Good luck with everything!

StaffordNo Gravatar says:

I know this is pretty old, but I thought I would come back to this post to say thanks and to pass along my recent story of bringing in a flat screen from the US. So first of all, thanks, Taos, because you sharing your experience answered a ton of questions and gave me the guts to try myself. If it helps anyone else who is planning to do the same, I will share my experience. On my last trip to the US, I ordered a refurbished 42-inch Vizio LED (model M420NV) from Amazon for $475 + about $20 in shipping to my home in Michigan. I was flying with AA from Traverse City, connecting in Chicago, and Miami before taking a LAN Argentina flight to BA. LAN has a generous baggage size allowance of 203 linear cm (about 80 inches). The original box was 6 inches too big, so I cut it down from the top and side. Also cut down the styrofoam padding inside – making the TV less protected of course… I checked the box as luggage without having to pay a dime to AA, who respected LAN’s policy as my ‘over-water carrier’.

Arrived to Ezeiza, box was in one piece. I was fully prepared to pay duty at customs, but was confused about whether one should pay before or after going through the xray (there was a huge line at the machines, but literally no one cued up at the bank window where you pay). I went to the front of the line to ask the customs officer, showing my US passport and explaining I was a ‘tourist’. He basically waved me through, not at all interested in me. So no duty paid there. I did tell him though that the TV was ‘usado’, which is technically true being refurbished (it also states that on the Amazon receipt).

So far so good. Came home, plugged it in, and it works beautifully. Not a dent, scratch, nada. I didn’t need an voltage adapter, because the TV has one built in (110-240).

I am still waiting for Cablevision to come and install the digital HD cablebox. Growing impatient, today I just thought I would plug the cable directly into the TV for the hell of it to see if it would work. And very suprisingly it does… I have all analog and digital channels showing perfectly. For some reason, Vizio must accept multi region cable signals, even though they don’t advertise as such. Also, I’ve connected to my computer and Cuevana shows in near-HD quality.

Thanks again, Taos! I wouldn’t have even thought about attempting this if it weren’t for your post.

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saurabhNo Gravatar says:

Hello,

I am planning to take a flatscreen tv to India. Could you tell me what samsung model and Vizio model did you guys buy which didn’t violate the size limit of 158 cms for the airline?

I would really appreciate a quick response. Also, Should I be buying a step-down transformer as in my country they have 220 V

Thanks,
saurabh

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