How to get a tax refund from Amazon (Aramex Shop & Ship Users)

Posted by Mark

If you order stuff from Amazon and ship it to your Aramex Shop & Ship mailbox, you are probably aware that Amazon taxes you. Well as a customer based outside the US you aren’t supposed to pay tax and so Amazon allows you to get a tax refund. All you need to do is prove the package was shipped to a freight forwarder (Aramex in this case) and that the final destination was outside the US. Sounds complicated but it isn’t. This is all you need to do to get a tax refund.

1) Once your package arrives to Kuwait request an airway bill from Aramex
2) Then, email the airway bill (as a PDF) to tax-exempt@amazon.com with your Amazon order number
3) That’s it. In under 24 hours Amazon will reply back confirming that they’ve received your documents and that you will get a tax refund to your original payment method within the next 2-3 business days

How cool is that? And how much do you love me right now?


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Sneak Peek: Decathlon Sports Shop

Posted by Mark

I passed by Marina Mall tonight since I had read they were opening tonight. But when I got there I noticed the shutters were still down but the lights were on inside and I spotted some employees. So I made a few phone calls and managed to get a tour around the store and take some pictures.

First off, the place is HUGE. I was expecting it to be big but not this big. It’s like a giant supermarket filled with sporting goods. The store is located in Marina Mall where Virgin and a bunch of other smaller shops used to be right across from Cinnabon and The Athletes Foot.

Decathlon is a French brand and most of their stores have 18 different sections but the one in Kuwait will be missing two, climbing and hunting. The other 16 sections in the store are the following (taken from their website):

– Camping
– Running
– Cycling
– Fitness, Dance, Martial Arts
– Swimming
– Surf Sports
– Boating
– Diving
– Teamsports
– Racket Sports
– Horse Riding
– Walking
– Golf
– Roller, Skate, Scooter
– Fishing
– Target Sports

I really loved the place and can’t wait to go back once they open which will hopefully be tomorrow night (Tuesday). They were supposed to open up tonight but due to a technically difficulty they’re now aiming to open by noon tomorrow. If anyone is looking for a watch with a heart rate monitor I spotted an affordable one there for KD12.5.


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Avenues in Numbers

Posted by Mark

Avenues Phase I and II combined have around 400 stores in total. When Avenues Phase III is completed before the end of the year it will double the total stores to around 800. So Phase III is going to be another Avenues stuck to the current Avenues which will make it pretty huge.

In comparison, Dubai Mall has over 1,200 stores.

Photo Source


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DHL’s Borderlinx now delivers

Posted by Mark

Borderlinx is a service in which they provide you with a US and UK forwarding mailbox so you could shop online. It’s similar to Aramex’s Shop and Ship except Borderlinx works with DHL. One of the major complaints about Borderlinx was the fact you had to pick up the packages yourself but now that’s no longer the case since they’ve just started delivering. Plus, while Shop and Ship keep increasing the prices, Borderlinx recently announced a price cut and some of their shipments are now %30 cheaper. If you don’t have a Borderlinx account you can sign up for one from [Here]

Hopefully Aramex will react by reducing their prices or improving their shipping speed.


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DHL isn’t charging 5% customs

Posted by Mark

Two weeks ago I posted a letter from Aramex Shop and Ship saying that due to customs regulations they will be charging 5% customs fee on all shipments not including a KD1 handling charge and a KD1 government stamp. From what I understood this was going to apply to all shipping companies but today I received a package via DHL Borderlinx and to my surprise there was no charge. According to the DHL employee they’re not charging 5% customs on shipments. But does that make DHL cheaper? I’m not sure.

The problem (the only problem actually) with DHL’s Borderlinx is they charge based on volumetric weight. What this means is if a small box weighs 1KG and a large box weighs 1KG, the large box is going to be more expensive than the small box even though they’re the same weight. In my case my package weighed around 2KG but the volumetric weight was around 5.35KG. If I had shipped it with Aramex they would have charged me for the 2KG but with DHL I had to pay more than double the actual weight. On the other hand unlike Aramex, with DHL you don’t pay the 8% New York State tax and you also don’t pay the 5% Kuwait customs tax so which comes out a better deal?

Item cost: $187 (KD51)
Actual Weight: 2.2KG
Volumetric Weight: 5.35KG

Aramex Shop and Ship
8% NY tax: $15 (KD4.1)
Shipping cost to Kuwait: KD13.75
Kuwait customs: KD6*
Approx time from US to Kuwait: 8 days**
Total shipping cost = KD23.85

DHL Borderlinx
No NY Tax
Shipping cost to Kuwait: $110.60 (KD30.8)
No Kuwait Customs
Time from US to Kuwait: 4 days
Total shipping cost = KD30.8

So even with the new 5% customs fee Aramex is charging and even with the NY State tax they still somehow end up cheaper than DHL. This mostly has to do with the fact that DHL charges on volumetric weight. If they charged on actual weight than they’d be considerably cheaper. On the other hand DHL is practically twice as fast as Aramex so that alone could be worth the extra cost for many people.

My conclusion
Large (not necessarily heavy) packages ship to Aramex
Small or regular sized packages ship to DHL

So basically I’m still going to be flip flopping between the two companies for now.

*Calculated using their customs calculator
**Based on a different shipment just received from Aramex


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New Lulu Hypermarket Location

Posted by Mark

Lulu are opening a new location in Dajeej Farwaniya right next to Sears. From the outside the location looks pretty huge although I’m not sure if it’s going to end up being their largest branch in Kuwait. What I like about the location though is that it’s closer to Salmiya than their Al Qurain branch which is currently my favorite. This would be their fourth location in Kuwait and according to a worker I spotted on site they should be opening right after Ramadan.


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Kuwait’s very own Costco?

Posted by Mark

Ama Traveller just posted pictures and information on a new place that opened up in Kuwait called “On Cost”. Judging by the pictures and her comments it looks very similar in style to the very popular large US retailer, Costco. Need to pass by and check it out myself but you can check out her post and pictures [Here]


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In Limra I Trust

Posted by Mark

Whenever I need anything computer related the first place I always visit is Limra Computer Center in Hawalli. It’s a small store (nothing close to being a “center”) located on the ground floor of Walla Complex. I used to be a Professional Computer fan (located one floor above) but somehow I started buying all my stuff from Limra a few years ago and since then I’ve been a regular. The place has character and the main guy (Shankar) is very knowledgable. Depending on when you pass by the place could be packed with people and you’ll have to wait outside the shop until there’s enough room for you to squeeze in. Check them out next time you’re in Hawalli looking for stuff, they’re very trustworthy. Their phone number is 22631043.


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Did Shop & Ship just get more expensive?

Posted by Mark

Over the weekend I got the following email from Aramex:

We would like to inform you of an important customs update for incoming shipments to Kuwait. As per Kuwait Customs regulations (Customs Authority 68, 2012), customs duties are calculated based on the weight, value and the customs estimated freight charges of the shipment (as per IATA published tariff).

The new customs calculation formula can be determined by using our new Customs Calculator. Please click here to access the calculator.

So after clicking on their link and downloading the excel file I plugged in the weight of the package as 1KG and the value as KD10 and it told me I would have to pay around KD4 as a customs fee. Previously any package under $100 you would only pay KD1 as a clearance charge. I have no idea if DHL have implemented this new system as well but I’ve got two packages that will be arriving sometime this week to both Aramex and DHL so I’ll post an update once I get them.


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Ralph Lauren Summer Sale

Posted by Mark

Two days back I found out Ralph Lauren had a summer sale (50% off) taking place so I passed by today and picked up a few shirts. To my surprise it turns out I now wear size “small”. Thank you Fahad for that. If you’re interested, sale is on till July 10th. The classic polo shirts are not included in the sale.

Update: Forgot to add they’re also opening up a huge flagship store in Avenues Phase III.


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