Having benefited hugely from the information gleaned from this forum, I thought I will return the favour to the place which has enabled me to save a tiny bundle when purchasing sanitary ware for my new place.
Like many here, I am a big fan of the high quality Hansgrohe and Duravit products from Germany and has been scouring the Net for the cheapest and most reliable source of these products. My independent research and confirmed by good experience reported in this and other forums pointed me towards www.xtwostore.com (formerly known as iceprice).
Over a few weeks in March 2016, I pored over their site and picked and chose all the stuff that I want. Knowing that this is going to be a big purchase and a heavy load, I was already mentally prepared to max out the entire order at 500kg to come under the, then, Euro 499.9 shipping charges.
To my cart, I added enough stuff to kit out 4 bathrooms including 4 Duravit toilet bowls with soft close covers, specially indented the “wondergliss” version!, sinks, faucets, bathtub (THE hansgrohe massaud!)f, holders, hoses, towel racks, clothes racks, paper holders, kitchen faucets, rain showers, hand held showers, and a whole bunch of small accessories like angle valves, toilet brushes and replacement heads etc.
Of course, being the kiasu Singaporean, I have obtained 3 independent quotes from suppliers recommended by by the building team as well as independently sourced by myself. Naturally, each was asked to fulfil the same item list from the shopping cart already in xtwostore which they did with varying level of success. As most items are identical between Germany and Singapore, it is simple enough for them to quote for it although on a few items, replacements were suggested. Do note that items with wondergliss are special indent.
Yes, I tabulated everything.
Will take some of these items for comparison. Note: I xe.com EUR to SGD then x 125% (which is my calculated FOREX loss+GST+shipping and other stuff listed in the last paragraph to give a REAL world figure for comparison). The price from local sources in SGD are BEFORE GST and a ?20-30% 'discount' because of the size of the order.
Starck 3 rimless with wondergliss + soft close: SGD $1,348 to $1,380 vs €300 (S$ 556)
Me by starck rimless / wondergliss / soft close: S$ 1,424 to S$1,459 vs €400 (S$ 760)
Geberit sigma 50 flush plate:: S$239 to S$ 461 (depends on color) vs €103-135 (max S$257)
Axor Citterio kitchen mixer semi pro: S$1062 to S$1,226 vs €324 (S$ 620)
Massaud bathtub: S$ 15,228 to $17,700 vs €15,445(S$10,351)
Hansgrohe Logis toilet roll holder: S$88 to S$97 vs €35 (S$ 66)
Druavit puravida sink 700 S$ 1076 to 1411 vs €289 (S$550)
You can appreciate there are significant savings to be gained compared to what I can get from local sources, on the order of at least 25% to more than 60% off. I reckoned that SG sources may also give discount but I know that the local price I was given was also discounted from usual store price. I have also been to showrooms at all their sales and find the savings lack lustre compared to what I can already get. An exception could be the occasional hansgrohe warehouse sale where you can pick up really good deals.
It took about a month for all the items to be consolidated and packed. Shipping takes about another month. So the order placed in March was delivered in June.
Once the good arrived on the Singapore side, I faced some minor hiccups because of my inexperience. Because the goods were delivered to the port, I have to engage someone to clear it and transport it to site. The invoice in the end listed things like:
GST 1.4K, NOA Paid on behalf 0.5k, unstuffing and handling: 1K, clearance including (GST permit, documentation, warehouse and tally, customs handling and tally: 0.6K. All in 3.5K SGD
Other notable things:
Only 1 out of the many items purchased was delivered wrongly: a toilet bowl of the same style but different size which was then air freighted to me at their own cost. They didn’t ask for the wrong toilet bowl back.
The person whom I communicated with at xtwostore happens to be a Singaporean (Darrell Yeo) who works in Germany! Thanks to him, I was kept advised of the shipping of the goods and he was most responsive to correcting the small error mentioned above.
These items are being installed as I speak. I will post further on the installation and pictures.
In the end, I probably paid half the price of what local sources would have charged at the price of a bit of elbow grease, time and anxiety on my side. I do note the substantial and unfortunate increase in shipping costs which will surely influence buying decisions. You decide if it is worth it in your case.
I have received a few mail on the question of local forwarding from the wharf side to house. This was my experience:
I didn't exactly shop around for more competitive option as there was a bit of urgency because the goods apparently incur wharf side storage charges on a per-day basis. However, the local forwarder managed to deliver without incidence and also settled my GST payment as well.. I just don't know if I could have done it more cheaply.
You may contact Bernard or Farhana at
J&B Logistics Pte Ltd
809 French rd #06-154
Kitchener complex S(200809)
I will also suggest that you begin your purchase at xtwostore by first contacting their manager (Darell Yeo) who happens to be a Singaporean: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck. As I have noted, their price for shipping appears to have gone up but the good thing is that there are more intermediate tiers so that you don't incur maximum cost which used to be levied on anything beyond 30 to 300kg.