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Canadians/Out of USA buyers question regarding import duties/chargies

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I was just wondering if anyone knows how to figure whether or not your order is going to have customs charges and how you can find out how much it is so that you're not surprised?

 

I ask because on ebay, ordering items such as many of the shoes I look at say shipping to Canada is 32.95 or something high like that...the shipping is via USPS if that matters at all...and it says right underneath that "additional international charges may or may not apply"....How can I find out if they will, and more importantly how much it will be if it is...? You'd think with a shipping of 32.95 that the customs and etc would be included in that shipping cost...so I'd like to find out...

 

I went on Florsheim's website (I'm not buying from them but they wrote out a shipping policy to Canada that made me think of this topic) and it says this...

 

 

CANADIAN ORDERS

Canadian shipments will have a $40.00 USD Shipping charge (includes duty, tax and freight) for the first pair and $20.00 USD each additional pair (includes duty, tax, and freight). Canadian shipments may take 7 to 14 days for delivery and will ship via a carrier of our choice. 

** Additional $75.00 will be charged to orders shipping to certain remote locations. 
Remote charges will be indicated during the checkout process.

 

It was from this that now I'm not sure if ebay's 32.95 also includes customs or if I still may have to pay something more that I'm not aware I'll be paying or how much it will be (I think I said the same thing 3 times in this thread but I'm typing as I think):

post #2 of 12

There is no way to know for certain.  I have had shoes come in with nothing - zip - zero - nada added in terms of duties and taxes.  I've also been raked over to the tune of 20% of declared value.  It's hit and miss with customs. 

post #3 of 12

Customs charges vary widely.  The seller has no control over what and how they may be applied, hence their discolsure.  First you have to calculate the provincial and federal sales tax.  Add to that brokerage fees by the customs broker (in house for most).  If there is an industry manufacturing that category of goods in Canada (and this could be three people in a warehouse in Montreal), you may have to pay duty.  Duty can be all over the price range, depending on the goods; however you can get this information from Customs.  You can probably phone Customs and get a idea over the phone what the applicable duty is on an item before you order.

 

All of these will ordinarily be charged if you ship via UPS or most other couriers.  In addition, they (couriers, but especially UPS) seriously gouge you on the brokerage fees.  I have seen items at the post office with a $5 brokerage fee and a similar item has a fee of $60 at UPS.  Whenever possible, ship via USPS from the United States or Royal Mail from Great Britain.  Canada Post is very good and their brokerage fees are very reasonable.  For items under $400, I am charged fees from Canada Post perhaps 30% of the time, maybe less.  A lot seems to slip by and they don't seem to care. Usually the fees are provincial tax and GST with a small brokerage fee. 

 

Some couriers are associated with Purolater in Canada.  Purolater is owned by Canada Post, but it raises the chances that you'll pay fees.  Avoid UPS whenever possible.  Unfortunately, this is difficult, because a lot of businesses ship only with UPS.  If you can find the same item elsewhere and ship via USPS, do it, and it's worth looking around to find that service.

 

It's not legal or moral to ask someone to list the declared value less than the price.  However, a surprising number of people, even businesses are kind enough to list a pair of $400 shoes at $75.  It's truly a selfless act because they cannot benefit from the action.  Perhaps we all want others to get a break from government tax.  It certainly deserves something in return. 

 

I hope this helps.

 

Lucifigus

 

  Quote:

Originally Posted by mixedmajik View Post

Hi,

 

I was just wondering if anyone knows how to figure whether or not your order is going to have customs charges and how you can find out how much it is so that you're not surprised?

 

post #4 of 12
Orders shipped via USPS usually are charged a flat $8.00 fee if the value is above $20, as Canada Post has a working agreement with them (this information may be outdated, doublecheck with the google) If shipping by UPS/Fedex, you are in for a world of pain: the charges can be excessive and arbitrary, and depend on your Canadian address. Also, if the item you're receiving was made in USA/Mexico, you may be able to avoid duty due to provisions of the NAFTA treaty. So, just hire a lawyer and you're all set nod[1].gif

edit: see the following about USPS: http://reviews.ebay.ca/Shipping-to-Canada-via-the-United-States-Postal-Service?ugid=10000000000084869
post #5 of 12
My experience with larger vendors like LL Bean and Amazon is they calculate the full duty and sales tax and show you in the total amount due as you purchase. For very small vendors who use USPS they usually only charge the cost of the item and their shipping charge which is often flat rate. Canada Customs will charge you duty and taxes based on what the vendor puts on the package. Higher value items identified as such will almost definitely get dinged for both the full sales tax and the duty (duty for shoes is 18 percent). If the item is made in the US it should be duty free but you will still pay sales tax. For smaller value items or those marked as such you may not pay anything.

Anything shipped via courier companies will get charged full sales tax, duty and often a brokerage fee which can be substantial.

There are some older threads which go into more detail.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

@Roger Yeah its quite confusing

 

@Pnin That Response is sticky worthy...that USPS information is great...Its a  bit of a handful to read but basically I'm understanding that it in fact is hit or miss like roger said...but in general no customs...we just pay tax...anywhere from 5-15% of item value and possibly a handling fee also...is that accounted for in the 32.95 USPS shipping charge on ebay though for the listing? That's the only part I can't tell...I can't tell if that price is just to summarize a rough estimate of what the tax and handling would be or if that is a separate charge entirely

 

@bertie Yeah I do believe I've heard that no duty on North American items...and Pnin's answer kind of alluded to it...however they did say its possible for some high end items...its kind of hard with ebay compared to ll bean or amazon because the sellers do not know if there are customs or not...since the sellers aren't the ebay company...they're just people like you and I...also not sure if on ebay they can indicate that the item I'm buying i.e an Allen Edmonds shoe was made in the USA to prove that I don't have to pay customs...this is interesting information thus far.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Wanted to follow up in case some browser in the future stumbles upon this thread...

 

I since have bought a pair of second hand allen edmonds for around 100 dollars off ebay and the listed USPS 32.95 shipping cost was ALL I paid...no extra fees...and this was bought from Canada from a USA seller...just my follow up.

post #8 of 12
It also varies here in Europe. Some countries, such as the UK, will get hit more often than mine. I will ALWAYS pay VAT on goods sent via FedEx or UPS. They always collect. When it comes to USPS, I'll pay less than 10% of the time. This is usually on higher value items. If it's a gift, I can still pay. I paid on Christmas gifts. If it's sent as merchandise, I'll sometimes pay. I never ask a seller to mark something as a gift, but sometimes I legitimately receive gifts.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedmajik View Post

Wanted to follow up in case some browser in the future stumbles upon this thread...

 

I since have bought a pair of second hand allen edmonds for around 100 dollars off ebay and the listed USPS 32.95 shipping cost was ALL I paid...no extra fees...and this was bought from Canada from a USA seller...just my follow up.

 

 

Most parcels I receive via USPS come in clear of duties.  Couriers, on the other hand, seem to attract the full going-over every time.  I've also found that $75-100 declared value seems to loosely define the zone at or below which they just don't bother to collect duties.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post


Most parcels I receive via USPS come in clear of duties.  Couriers, on the other hand, seem to attract the full going-over every time.  I've also found that $75-100 declared value seems to loosely define the zone at or below which they just don't bother to collect duties.

Most of the couriers collect as part of their policy. It means that if you order something from the US that is sent via (FedEx, UPS, etc.) that they'll collect, and presumably turn in, duty on the amount declared, however small.
post #11 of 12
Any one cleared to broker cross border shipments is supposed to collect the correct duty and taxes. That includes the post office. It's not USPS that collects the money it's Canada Post.

Like anything else you're dealing with the person working that day when your package arrives. It's this way for the Post,for FedEX, for UPS.

There is a fairly low threshold for no duty tax ($40?)
post #12 of 12

Well, regardless of what is supposed to be done, I get dinged for duties almost always with a courier (often with lovely brokerage fees plumping up the bottom line) and hardly ever with a postal delivery (whether the package originates from the US, UK, China or wherever). 

 

For that reason alone, I will always select a postal delivery when given the choice.  It might take a little longer, but as long as it is trackable, I don't care.  And apart from cost, there's convenience.  When the postman attempts delivery on a singature-required package and there's nobody home, the package is simply left for pickup at my local postal outlet about 5 minutes from my house, and available for pickup that evening. 

 

With couriers, depending on which one is used and what the delivery parameters are, it can be an immense hassle.  On several occasions I've had to drive to the courier's central depot, inconveniently located about 40 min. away at the airport, to collect a package they couldn't deliver because no-one was home.  Not my idea of a fun Saturday morning outing.  And it can take several days for the package to bounce back to the depot to be available for pickup.

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