Buying things online...and selling things online

Hello everyone,

Currently I am living in Buenos Aires.

Here it is not so easy to buy stuff on Amazon and get it delivered to your door. The tax you have to pay to the Argentine authorities is that high, that it's not economical anymore to buy it cheaply online.Also the delivery of the goods is dodgy. Parcels don't always arrive.

If you want to sell things on eBay, and receive dollars in your PayPal account, it's a problem to transfer that money to an Argentinian bankaccount.

I was just wondering how these transactions work out in Uruguay.

Can you buy for example a smartphone on Amazon and get it delivered? I understand the Uruguayan prices for smartphones are pretty high, so do the authorities protect the market by charging an import duty?

Please let me know about your experiences.

Thanks for your tips and advise :/

It is expensive here too.  If you have a Uruguayan cedula you can order items online and not pay tax on five shipments a year as long as the item and shipping together is under $200 US but most electronics plus a list of other items  are not included in this. If your parcel is kept by Customs you can expect the final bill to be about double what you paid from what others have told me.

I do not bother as to me,  it is more trouble and expense than it is worth.

Thanks very much ...
Yeah I am not surprised. It's what I was already thinking, however ...

Selling - say t-shirts - on eBay and sending them by post and receiving the money in a PayPal account is not restricted?

I mean: can you just send most things out of the country, or is there another list with products that you have to pay some export duty for? Or maybe you need a permit for certain goods?

Like I already mentioned earlier, receiving money in a PayPal account and then transfering that money to a bankaccount in Argentina, is limited to I think $400 per month and also it's a lot of paperwork.

How is that in Uruguay? Are there restrictions to move money as well? Or maybe it depends on the amounts?

Again, many thanks for your's much appreciated.  :cheers:

I don't know anything about selling here but most people use Mercadolibre    and payments are usually cash or bank transfers or at Abitab.

There are no bank restrictions here but banks do require very specific paperwork for transfers from other countries.

This is info I read about sending packages.

(After having letters with tape on them refused by the post office, the question arose as to the rules for mailing letters and packages.  The answer was provided by a helpful participant:





Another option is to use Casillamia      or Paraguay Box The latter is a new service here.

I do know someone who sends items out after selling on eBay but I believe he has the money deposited in an account overseas.

Thanks a lot Janway, for such detailed information.

It sounds very good and logical...

Also it means that I can start my e-commerce without too much trouble when I'm located in Uruguay.
In Buenos Aires it really would not be realistic at all.

Mercadolibre is eBay by the way. It's the same company with different names for different markets.

In Argentina you also have Mercadolibre, but there there simply are too many headaches. It does not work out everywhere the same.

Therefore I am seriously considering making a move to Uruguay, now that I know what you just told me.
I've seen some great properties in Canelones and Rocha and Buenos Aires is just a stonethrow away.

All the best,

Everyone says cost of living is at least 30% more here though.You will find everywhere a ghost town except for Jan and Feb. compared to BA.  I hope you have already spent time here in the off season!

Yes you have to be prepaired to live a quiet live, entertaining yourself. Working hard on your business is an excellent remedy. I think. But you have to come to terms with solitude first, to make it work. Well I think I can deal with that.

And when I need a dose of bright lights, buzz and shiny objects, I just hop over to Buenos Aires for a couple of days!

I do enjoy that city very much.

But as with anything, there is a downside as well. In my case for example, setting up this e-commerce business is just not possible, because of all the red tape and financial restrictions, that can change overnight by the way.

Argentina is like a playing field where when you hit the ball, you notice that somebody has moved the goalposts. That's the real problem.

You cannot make a plan for the future. What do investors need?

As a foreigner I can see that loud and clear. But Argentinians, no matter how sweet and nice they are, have a very narrow vision. That's because they are all very much in love with hearing their own voice, instead of listening. Political speeches go on for hours!  It's ridiculous... And they have a very short attention span, hopping from one thing to another like a butterfly without any clear direction. So they are up for the next cold shower, the rude awakening that is needed to get some clarity into their heads.

But they are sweet and adorable people and I love their culture. They are very poetic and that makes a nice change with the hard, cold, materialistic world that I come from.

So I see both positive and negative sides at the same time.

For me, I simply have to make a choice. And I think paying 30% more for your living expenses is a small price to pay for some stability.

I am sure that you understand...

Fontanaz  :idontagree:

You are allowed to bring in duty-free USD200 of goods (with some exceptions), provided they arrive by express mail or courier, and you have a cédula (permanent, not provisional, as I understand it).

The USD200 includes all transportation charges. You can do this five times a year. Otherwise the duty is 60%. You know, to protect local industry ... wouldn't want to threaten the local manufacturers of smart phones ... or anything else, as if anything is manufactured in Uruguay.

I'm just testing it for the first time, but there a are a dozen services that give you an address in Miami, courier it down, clear through customs, and deliver to your door. So for example, a Kindle Paperwhite, $130 and free shipping to Miami, $25 for Gripper (, and you're good.

A more expensive smart phone, though, ain't gonna happen.

Thanks for the advise...
& all the best

Hi There,

To my knowledge, you can buy from anywhere and get it delivered to your doors step, as long as the cost doesn't exceed US$200 (including postage) and weighs no more than 2 kg.
I've done it once before and wasn't even asked for my id.

If you receive it by ordinary mail, you will be summoned to the office on Artigas in Montevideo and given the opportunity to pay 60% duty, or refuse the package, in which case it's returned.

I am an Uruguayan who make a living from selling antiques and collectibles on Ebay and send them all over the world.
There are no restriction to send stuff in the post (apart from the obvious dangerous and prohibited things).

The only thing you have to be aware of is that is not possible to transfer the Paypal cash directly to an Uruguayan bank account. You will have to use a bank account in your home country and its OK to cash that money in any ATM in Uruguay is US dollars (or UY pesos) and there are no restrictions in amounts.

Also take into account that Uruguayan Post prices are ridiculous. Probably the most expensive in the world so you just CAN not sell cheap stuff because nobody will be interested in paying the high post costs. Only you can see products with high margin which allows you to earn even if you have to loose on the shipping if you know what I mean
All the best

Well Mikael,

That is a very big difference with Argentina.

I have heard of artists who had lots of trouble to even get their own frehsly painted works of art out of the country!

If you're selling on eBay and want to turn that into a real business, you simply can't afford to deal with bureaucrats every time when you have to send something out of the country. That does not work, but that is what happens in Argentina...

All the best and thanks for your information!

Hi Mikael,
Can you give me the name of your ebay store please. I wanted an item on mercado libre Uruguay, you maybe able to help or at least point me in the direction of a personal shopper if you know of any to send to Australia.