Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How to export items from the UK to Andorra

Andorra is outside the EU. The UK is currently inside the EU!

That means if you get something delivered to Andorra from the UK you don't have to pay the 20% UK VAT.

You will have to pay just 4.5% IGI in Andorra.

The simplest method I have found is to order the item and have it directly transported to Andorra.

Someone like the NA Grup (You see their trucks regularly around La Vella town) are good to the transportation.

http://nagrup.com/ Thomas there speaks English.

That way the selling company in the UK can simply not charge you any VAT on your Invoice as they have a delivery address outside the EU.

The delivery can get expensive, so you might consider doing it yourself.

In which case: The key phrase you are looking for the UK retailer is "VAT retail export scheme".

You won't be able to get anything by mail order, eBay or any other internet retailers doing it; you will have to pick up whatever you buying in person.

If they are member of this scheme you need to request the EU-Export under it.

They will give you an invoice that needs to be stamped by customs on the French or Spanish side.

You will then be able to use an agent (Credit Andorra Bank for example) to refund the VAT to you. They will make a hefty charge, so this really only works for higher value items.

Don't forget to stop on the Andorran side of the border and own up, and pay the 4.5% charge.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What do to if your phone is stolen in Andorra

Andorra is a very safe place.  You are likely to get it back.

However, you might not.  I was skiing up a Pal (Vallnord) and was using my phone - a lovely shiny Lumia 950 with Dual SIM - about £600 retail - and must have mislaid in the toilets.   Looking back I think I left it on the sinks.

Anyway I got to the car, realised my error - but by the time I got back; it was gone.

I went to the office to report the loss, they have a log book there.  I then drove home.  When I returned I asked my wife to ring the phone - it was ringing, but no-one was picking up.

I'd setup find my phone; so went to the website and this is what I saw.


The phone was now at the town-end of the cable car!   I was hopeful that someone had picked it up and was returning it to the office at that end... But then why were they not picking up the phone?


A while later it was further down the road - so that's it.  Someone (probably a spanish youth) has decided the phone is now his.

It had a PIN code on it, but you can turn it off by pressing the buttons - so that's where it went off; near the Credit Andorra bank on the main street in La Massana.

In recent years I normally buy 2nd hand phones;  and very rarely lose my primary phone.  But this one hurts bad.  Not only was it new, and expensive, but it was also a special treat to myself:

During my 20s and 30s I had an endowment policy that was originally used as mortgage payback vehicle - I'd got a new mortgage and started an ISA to pay that back - leaving the endowment policy disconnected; but I'd continue to pay it.  It was about 20 quid a month.   Now during my 20s, a score was a lot of money - easily a good night out - but I saved this money - it had been a sacrifice.   So when it ended at age 45 and payed out around 20K, it is a welcome boost for me at this time as I try to setup my online business, but I also thought I'd treat myself to a new phone.

Here is a little rant video I made when walking into town to report the loss to the police.  More of an aide-memoire to myself not to buy a new phone again, than anything else.



So the sod who nicked it has no concept of what that phone means to me, or the cost over the years.

The Andorran blocking

In Andorra it is simple enough to block the mobile.  You must get a "denunciar" from the Police - like a Police report.

Turn up during working hours to the main police station in Escaldes, walk in and report the loss to one of the clerks.  They will give you a stamped form that you take down to the STA office and they will cancel the SIM; and the phone will not be able to connect to the Andorran network.

Spanish blocking

But I suspect most likely that it was someone from Spain (it was crawling with tourists that weekend)  - I have a Spanish phone number with the Yoigo operator, as we disappear off to Spain often for weekends and longer breaks.

They have an email address (spanish language only); so I sent off the copy of my Andorra denunciar to them, and crossed by fingers.

All told it took about 2 months all told;  but yippee!  I got an email from Yoigo telling me they'd blocked it and all other operators in Spain (they are all in the same scheme) had been requested to blocked it too.

"Hola, ya hemos solicitado al resto de operadores el bloqueo del terminal con IMEI 351851072216410 e IMEI 351851072216402."

So this 2 month period is long enough for my light-fingered friend to have got used to his new toy - maybe got all the music download he likes, all the settings just right - and woke up today to find it's dropped off the network - and is now as useful as a brick.  I hope so anyway!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Do they drive on the left in Andorra?


Normally you have to drive on the right in Andorra. Duh.

But us old Brits, well, we are bit quirky, so we drive on the left.

If you want to feel like you're back in Blighty there is a 80m strip of road you can get your fix of left hand driving.

Unfortunately the fix will be to just look at the cars driving as not anyone can drive here; you will need a pass for one of the blocks of flats on there, haha, as it is residents only.

It's near the big ferriteria/freezer store, and Parc Central. At the end of that road is the bus station (soon to be closed).

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Been a good run!

So I started using Stack Overflow as a user back in 2013 – I’d lurked before, but never contributed.

The collapse of the traffic on B&B UK meant that I’d finally taken the plunge and learnt .net.  This was a blessing in disguise, now 3 year later we are producing (together with MVC) the best website/applications I’ve ever made.
 
Anyway.. So I was playing around with some Java libs and this happened.




Well.. actually it didn’t.    I noticed within a few days that I must have been mistaken and it didn’t make any difference to the amount of memory.

The thing is.. with SO you need some reputation to “highlight” questions – get them answered sooner.  You can’t pay or bribe or offer favours.  Nothing but reputation.  So I was getting a few pluses..  And my family needed me.  So I just left it.   Clock, Clock – Even though’ the answer is wrong.  I keep getting more reputation!!

Which means I can ask questions (and giveaway reputation) which means they sure-as-hell get answered.

Stackoverflow is a very well made site:

  •  - It (and this little bit of naughtiness) has been one of the reasons I’ve been able to get my new site (http://redplanet.travel) off the ground
  •  -I’ve also incorporate the banging “reputation” system into Red Planet Travel to encourage contributions.


So there it was.   I going to have to deleted it now…   Let’s see what it does to my reputation?!

Hmm.. I deleted it.  I’m supposed to loose my reputation.. but nothing appears to have happened.

Maybe it go later.

Thanks anyway for all the fish!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Playing fast and loose with Sterling

Frustrating times here.

"If you believe you're a citizen of the world, you're a citizen of nowhere. You don't understand what the very word "citizenship" means."

-         Theresa May Conference Party Speech 2016

Well I tell you Mrs May.  I am a "Citizen of the World" and I am affronted by your narrow minded, xenophobic views.

My mother was born in Finland to a family that had emigrated there from Sweden.  My Father was born in India to an Irishman and his French Indian wife.  I grew up in London but was able to freely move to nearby my wife's family in Spain when my children were born, and have had the privilege of moving to Andorra and enjoy all its advantages.

We've not stopped either – I look at the World with unlimited vision.  If my business or my desires take me – we will move to wherever we are made to feel welcome and can contribute.

Where I can tell you I won't be going, or considering setting up subsidiary countries, is the UK – or whatever will be left of it when you finish.

My main income remains GBP Sterling due to my business that I set up there in 2001.

You and your party's anti-business and anti-immigration views and rhetoric is having a real effect on me and my businesses now.  Maybe you will liberalise and educate the English in needed skills to make England a place where I will be able to find workers with the skills I require – bi- and tri-lingual IT engineers who show initiative and work at globally competitive rates in 10 years' time?

But right now – I need to pay for these kind of people the world over – and they don't accept ££s.

By wreaking the currency you are putting my investment program in jeopardy. 

Look at the sterling's decline in the past year.


These rates were already discounted due to the impending referendum prior to June – and now look!  If we take from the high in November my capital investment reserves have dropped by roughly 30%.  This is killing me.   Stop now!

I've still got 20/25 years of work at least ahead of me.  I also have a good memory.  Do you think I should invest more or less in the UK in these coming years Mrs May?  I leave the answer up to you.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

FW: The State of My Inbox

OK, this is a pretty bad day.  Normally I have a couple of pages but sometimes it comes like a tornado.  Today it seems themusiczoo.com has been targeted. It is not a brand I’m familiar with in Europe, but maybe better known in the US.

 

The Receipt(numbers).zips will contain a virus payload that will encrypt my documents and then the hackers will expect an anonymous randsomware payment by bitcoin to unlock it all.

 

As you can see I run a @catchall address on my old karlomeara.com and bendecko.com domains – companyname@bendecko.com etc.   Most of these aliases have been scraped from websites e.g. the paypal one – that one, for example, on an old site where I offered some products for sale:  It is used in the Url sent to PayPal.

 

Others, like the LinkedIn alias, were not.  I was aware of a leak from LinkedIn years before it was in the news – because I could see Spam like this addressed to the my LinkedIn alias – which was only ever used to login to Linked in’s website.  They had to be source of the leak.

 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pizza and Coke and Programmers

My post today is about programmers and pizza and Coke.

I just realized why programmers are  always eating pizza and drinking copious amounts of Coke-a-Cola.

It's not that we like pizza or Coke particularly. Although they are both very pleasant things.

Possibly not so good for the middle-aged waistline as for the young lad that I used to be, and living the married life my routine is dictated by children and wife.

I noticed that the morning session is by far the best for productivity. Come lunch-time living in Iberia we normally have a siesta. This is in part due to the large amount of carbs in the lunch time meal.

Quite often, when deadlines that time I have tried to work through this period.  Quite often with disastrous results - either I write terrible code,  or don't write anything at all.

So the family's been away for the last couple of weeks,  and I have to get used to living like a teenager again.

Now finally I see the benefit of the pizza and coke diet.  If I am constantly topping up on pizza and Coke I can work continuously through the day.

I better just watch that belly-line!

[This post was dictated out to the Chrome browser using https://speechpad.pw/ - best transcription I've found so far]