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Recently Apple launched iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. If we talk about the pricing, there’s more than Rs.30,000 difference in the pricing of iPhone X. In India, it’s starting at Rs.89,000 and in USA, a one can get the same for $999 (Rs.65000) only.

Buying an iPhone is some business. What makes the decision even more difficult is, “where should I buy it from”.  More importantly, should one import it? Or not?

A lot Apple users prefer buying an iPhone from outside India, thanks to the inexpensive prices as well as the lower tax rates and import duties in countries like the USA and the UAE. But, the question that arises is, is it really worth it to buy it from outside India?

Well, it can be a difficult decision to make. What with all the buzz about the next iPhone, here’s some pointers to help you out.

Warranty

The primary issue with buying not only iPhones, but any electronics gadget for that matter outside of India is the warranty. To put it simply, you will not be able to claim warranty for any Apple products purchased outside of India. This is applicable to iPhones brought from any of Apple’s official resellers as well as Apple stores, both online and offline. Apple, sadly, does not offer international warranty on iPhones.

What this means is that, in case there are any issues with your iPhone, that can be claimed under the warranty, they will not be resolved by Apple India. Instead, you will have to ship your phone back to the country from which it was purchased , and get it repaired there. Because of this, you might up paying heavily on custom duty.

Shipping and Customs

Customs is what is like the deal maker or breaker when buying phones outside India. Given the current taxation system, customs is a major issue while importing something to the country. In fact it is because of the taxation issues that an iPhone becomes so expensive. So, there are two ways you can import an iPhone.

Shipping via a courier

One way to import an iPhone would be to ship it via a courier facility like DHL or FedEx. In such a case, you will have to bear the cost of shipping your iPhone, besides the base cost of the phone. The shipping charges and the custom duty depend on several factors like the phone’s cost, if it is sold officially in India, as well as the phone’s cost in INR converted from foreign currency on the purchase date. Also, other factors like the freight weight, and insurance come into the picture.

Carrying it along

Carrying an iPhone along with you has more hassles as compared to shipping it. While bringing an iPhone to India, it is preferable to present it as a phone that you are currently using, that is, as your primary phone. Try avoid carrying it in its original packaging, (that is boxed, or brand new) as the customs are very strict about levying a custom duty on iPhones. So much so, that travellers have been warned about getting iPhones to India. If you do get the phone in its packaging, be ready to pay the excessive customs duty on your iPhone.

After sales support

The best part about getting an Apple product is the after sales support and services that Apple has to offer. However, if you buy an iPhone outside of India, this point is void. This is because, Apple service centres in India, won’t be able to repair your phone as Apple does not offer warranty to products in other countries. If you have any repairs, Apple services will not accept the product at all, even if payent is offered for the repairs. You will have to ship it back to the country you purchased it from, get it repaired and have it shipped back to you. This is a nuisance. However, Apple service stores in India will help you out with any software issues that you face.

iPhone from USA, Dubai or India?

There is a steep difference in the prices of iPhones brought from USA and Dubai as compared to India. iPhones from Dubai are up to 15,000 cheaper as compared to those brought from India. However, there is no warranty for iPhones brought from Dubai. Besides, facetime is disabled for iPhones in Dubai.

Coming to USA, the quoted prices are much cheaper, however these prices are exclusive of all taxes. The prices quoted in India are inclusive of all taxes. Still, the iPhones brought from the US are much cheaper than those brought from India. But, do make sure to buy factory unlocked iPhones, otherwise there may be an issue with carriers in India.

Considering the fact that iPhone prices have been slashed following the implementation of the GST, it is not a bad idea to buy an iPhone from India.

The bottom line is, calculate the total costs of buying and shipping, including the taxes and customs duty that you will have to pay on importing an iPhone to the official prices in India. Also, you have to take into consideration that you will not be able to resolve any hardware defects or claim warranty on imported iPhones.

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Amanjot Kaur
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Amanjot Kaur is a 2nd year ECE undergraduate at NSIT, Delhi. An avid writer and a voracious reader, you will often find her nose deep in a book, lounging amid the silent recesses of nature. When she isn't buried in a book, you'll definitely find her glued to a computer screen.

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