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It will work? Learn how to avoid problems when buying mobile abroad!


Everyone traveling abroad is entitled to a quota ($ 500 for those arriving by air or sea and $ 300 by river or land) on duty-free products. From 2010, the IRS has adopted a new rule that allows the passenger to bring a product considered good for consumption without the price of the device to enter the quota value.

However, there are some rules that we should pay close attention to. For example, a smartphone purchased overseas must be enabled and in use in order for its price not to be counted against its quota. That is, no device in the sealed box.

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Wrong statement may result in 50% fine / AndroidPIT

It is also important to note that if you go out with one device from the country and buy another during the trip, the exemption is only valid for the one that was in hands at the time of shipment abroad. The second device added to 500 dollars. The device purchased on the trip is only exempt if the passenger proves the defect of the first during the stay.

I need to be aware of the tax system

Remember that only consumer goods such as smartphones, cameras and watches can fit this rule. Tablets, notebooks and camcorders are added to the limit mentioned above.

The tax for anyone who exceeds $ 50 from 50% over the excess amount. For those who wrongly state there is a fine of over 50%.

Purchases from international websites

The fever of importing sites hit the Brazilians. Even with the dollar hitting around $ 4, in many cases it can be advantageous to buy gadgets this way. Post Office reports that imports of this type have grown by over 400% in recent years.

In order not to suffer unpleasant surprises one must be aware of the tax system. A fairly common doubt about orders up to $ 50. Purchases of this value are tax free, but only if shipped by postal service and from person to person.

That is, even if you buy a product under $ 50 on a site like Deal Extreme, for example, it will be taxed at 60% tax plus ICMS, depending on the state.

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In addition to 60% tax and ICMS, consumers need to pay postage fee to the Post Office / ANDROIDPIT

Purchases of up to $ 500 are also taxed at 60% + ICMS and in addition to pick up at the post office you have to pay a postage fee of $ 12.00. From 500 to 3,000 days, the postage of $ 150.00 plus taxes.

Note that the 60% rate does not apply only to the value of the product declared in the invoice. In addition to the value of the note, the tax is also calculated upon freight and insurance costs, if any.

Also remember that if you use the international credit card you also pay IOF.

Some issues to analyze


Smartphones purchased abroad may not work on Brazilian carrier networks. This happens, in many cases, because the device is linked to a contract with international carriers. Although it seems trivial, it is important to check before buying if the model is indeed unlocked.


Mobile phone networks around the world can use different spectrum bands to operate. The 4G from Brazil operates between 2.5 GHz and 2.69 GHz. Already in the USA the chosen frequency is 700 MHz – around here is already starting testing for use of this band that was used for analogue TV.

Therefore, before completing the purchase, I need to check the technical compatibility of the device with Brazilian networks. At this point comes the approval of Anatel. Devices that are screened by the agency are guaranteed to work on local networks. Anatel has a booklet that explains the dangers of buying a device without approval.


Some handsets sold abroad may not have the option to change the language to Portuguese. If it is a problem to use the device in English – or Mandarin – try to know beforehand before closing the deal. Otherwise, you will need to install an alternate ROM that has an option in EN.

Warranty and technical assistance

This is also a very important point and often weighs against the purchase of handsets abroad. Each company has its own policy, but in general they offer no warranty and no technical assistance for appliances from outside.

Xiaomi is one of them: Warranty and service do not apply to products that have not been purchased in Brazil, the press office of the manufacturer replied by email.

If the manufacturer of the imported product operates in the country, it must assume local legislation

Samsung also makes it very clear in its support page that in order to appeal warranty, the customer needs to present invoice issued in Brazil.

At the Complain here, there are reports of several other manufacturers who declined to assist products purchased abroad.

However, according to Igor Marchetti, lawyer and relationship assistant of Idec (Brazilian Institute of Consumer Protection), if the manufacturer of the imported product operates in the country she must assume local law:

The supplier should provide assistance even if the article needs to be shipped out of the country for repair if there is no technical work or replacement parts in Brazil.

However, the lawyer explains that even if this is provided for in the Consumer Protection Code (Articles 12 and 18), the controversial subject matter in the judiciary is that there are decisions in favor and otherwise.

Have you bought a smartphone abroad? How was your experience? Share your opinion in the comments below.

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