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Old 18-01-2013, 18:32   #61
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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One more vote for never using UPS to cross the border. Also, things that come USPS almost never seem to have the HST added. No idea why.

I've only tried once to bring something accross myself ($850 worth of alternator kit) and ended up having to pay the HST at the border. Not only did I pay Washington State sales tax plus the HST, I actually paid HST on the amount of the sales tax! Add to that the driving time, time waiting in line at the border each way, gas, etc. and it would have been much cheaper coming from Binnacle.com.

Many people don't have to pay HST at the border, though, even when they declare they've picked something up. It seems pretty random.
Should have just bolted the alt. kit to your motor. They probably wouldn't have known the difference.
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Old 18-01-2013, 19:26   #62
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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One more vote for never using UPS to cross the border. Also, things that come USPS almost never seem to have the HST added. No idea why.

...

Many people don't have to pay HST at the border, though, even when they declare they've picked something up. It seems pretty random.
The CBSA states clearly: "Most imported goods are also subject to the Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST) or, in certain provinces and territories, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)."

The reason you might not pay tax on imported items is that you've been out of the country for a certain time. For less than 24 hrs there is no exemption. For between 24 and 48 hrs there is a $200 exemption. For more that 2 days there is an $800 exemption. If you're gone more than a week you can also ship in stuff.

As far as I can tell (and in my experience) you cannot avoid paying Canadian tax beyond these exemptions, no matter how the product is shipped. What you can do, by picking the thing up yourself and bringing it across the border, is avoid paying exorbitant "brokerage fees" charged by private courier companies. UPS seems to charge the most. USPS seems to charge the least.

If you bring the item across yourself you obviously pay no one a brokerage fee. Of course, if you don't live close to the border, the added cost and time probably makes it cheaper to pay the brokerage fee.
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Old 18-01-2013, 21:11   #63
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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NAFTA should have eliminated all barriers to cross-border trade but fell far short. Europe has done a much better job at this.
Fell way short. I had to ship some equipment (100 different pieces) up to Canada for work and we had to fill out so many forms and get a customs broker along with our corporate info that it would have been quicker and cheaper for me to drive to the other side of the border 4 hours away, find a shipping company and put a stamp on it... we are talking harmonized tariff codes, country of origin, prices, and what parts were going to come back into the US

But had I needed to ship the same stuff 100 miles South into Montana, it would have taken 5 minutes to print out the FedEx label and get it on the way.

It's one thing if you are going to bring in a semi-truck full of gadgets to sell, it is another one when you are bringing tools and custom parts.
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Old 18-01-2013, 21:35   #64
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

I do not really understand all these fees on importing from the US. I buy many items from the US and do not to have all these problems. Some are shipped free from the US and if there are brokerage fees it is on large items like a new sail. the brokerage fee was $65.00. I buy from e-bay and pay no fees. I recently bought a mast mate and payed no fees. What am I doing wrong?
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Old 18-01-2013, 23:00   #65
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

Have to agree, the brokerage fees are too much of a gamble when using a courier service. Never had a problem with USPS but corporate America seem to be doing their best to kill them off and most shippers now specify UPS etc..
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Old 18-01-2013, 23:24   #66
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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The CBSA states clearly: "Most imported goods are also subject to the Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST) or, in certain provinces and territories, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)."

The reason you might not pay tax on imported items is that you've been out of the country for a certain time. For less than 24 hrs there is no exemption. For between 24 and 48 hrs there is a $200 exemption. For more that 2 days there is an $800 exemption. If you're gone more than a week you can also ship in stuff.

As far as I can tell (and in my experience) you cannot avoid paying Canadian tax beyond these exemptions, no matter how the product is shipped. What you can do, by picking the thing up yourself and bringing it across the border, is avoid paying exorbitant "brokerage fees" charged by private courier companies. UPS seems to charge the most. USPS seems to charge the least.

If you bring the item across yourself you obviously pay no one a brokerage fee. Of course, if you don't live close to the border, the added cost and time probably makes it cheaper to pay the brokerage fee.
That's what the rules say, but that doesn't seem to be what happens. Many, many things, especially USPS don't get charged HST when they come up. On the same day I spent $100 on HST at the border, my boss also went across to pick up motorcycle parts from a post office box, declared them, and was waved through. There seems to be a lot of random "discretion" at the border (neither of us was over for more than half a day, no duty free amount).
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Old 18-01-2013, 23:41   #67
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

I live within a 5 hour drive of the smallest town in coastal Alaska. (have to wait until breakup) So if I had something shipped up to said post office and then sort of did a runner over the border. ( Border post closes up at 5.30pm) Do you have general Delivery in the US.

Since everything I buy now is leaving Canada in 5 months I do not feel that I am ripping anyone off.

As to paying duty. It does seem to be a little hit and miss. Small amounts they do not bother with. Sometimes with larger ones. But only USPS. the other buggers are a law unto themselves.
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Old 18-01-2013, 23:52   #68
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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There seems to be a lot of random "discretion" at the border (neither of us was over for more than half a day, no duty free amount).
Yes, there is a wide range of discretion at the border ... also, there are good periods of time and "do feel lucky" periods of time to cross the border.
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Old 19-01-2013, 07:51   #69
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

Get this! I ordered a waaaaaay oversized item from Ontario. Canada Post wouldn't touch it because of its size so it was shipped via Purolator. I get a call from the courier to tell me that my parcel is in and that I can come in and pick it up. I said I expected it delivered to my door (slip). They said, no we can't deliver it to you because you get Canada Post delivery. I said Canada Post won't deliver it because its too large. They said but it's their territory so we can't deliver it. I said you would deliver it to my house if I lived in a city. They said yes. I said Canada Post also delivers to cities. Then they said well we don't deliver outside city limits.
So then I had to drive 40 minutes to pick up a parcel that was supposed to be delivered to my door.
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Old 19-01-2013, 08:13   #70
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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Yes, there is a wide range of discretion at the border ... also, there are good periods of time and "do feel lucky" periods of time to cross the border.
Lucky indeed. Like with all law enforcement, there does seem to be some discretion. If the amounts are small, or if I'm close to the exemption limit, then I've certainly had some guards waive me through. But this has never happened on significant purchases that I'm importing myself at the border. By significant, I mean over $100. Perhaps where I cross most often is tougher than others? I kinda doubt it...

With regard to stuff mailed to you via postal service, again the law clearly states the item must be declared, and the value must be identified:
Postal Program -- Importing by Mail -- How the process works

As with all goods coming into Canada, a proper declaration must be made on any items being imported by mail to enable border services officers (BSOs) to correctly assess the incoming goods.
...
The amount of duty or taxes you may owe on an item depends upon the following:
  • the itemís value in Canadian dollars;
  • whether or not the item is a gift; and
  • any exemptions specified in related legislation.

The CBSA goes on to explain that you may have to pay duty and tax on an item mailed to you from the US. If the declared value is over $20, or $60 if it is a gift, you have to pay tax and duties (if applicable). The only way you don't is if the package's value is under those amounts, or you simply don't declare the value, and hope CBSA doesn't inspect it. I guess this latter option is how many of us get things through -- esspecially if it is a private sale being shipped by mail.
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Old 19-01-2013, 08:30   #71
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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Get this! I ordered a waaaaaay oversized item from Ontario. Canada Post wouldn't touch it because of its size so it was shipped via Purolator. I get a call from the courier to tell me that my parcel is in and that I can come in and pick it up. I said I expected it delivered to my door (slip). They said, no we can't deliver it to you because you get Canada Post delivery. I said Canada Post won't deliver it because its too large. They said but it's their territory so we can't deliver it. I said you would deliver it to my house if I lived in a city. They said yes. I said Canada Post also delivers to cities. Then they said well we don't deliver outside city limits.
So then I had to drive 40 minutes to pick up a parcel that was supposed to be delivered to my door.
I hate Purolator. They refuse to deliver to my street address here in Thunder Bay. I'm a bit out of the city, but still within official boundaries. Every other courier company delivers here (Fedex, CanPar, DHL, etc.) but not Purolator. The reason they give: "It's not economical for us to deliver to you." WHAT?!? That's the service shippers buy when using a courier; shipment to the address. Drives me nuts!

I've fought with them for years, but no one cares. Seems to be a purely local decision. Purolator national doesn't give a damn. It's especially annoying b/c UPS has now contracted their local deliver out to Purolator here in Thunder Bay. UPS used to deliver to my address; not anymore. Again, I've complained to UPS, but no one cares.
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Old 19-01-2013, 08:40   #72
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

If you pay for shipping to your home and the shipper refuses to deliver to your home, contact the vendor and demand a refund of the shipping fees before going to pick up the item.
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Old 19-01-2013, 08:56   #73
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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If you pay for shipping to your home and the shipper refuses to deliver to your home, contact the vendor and demand a refund of the shipping fees before going to pick up the item.
Tried that too. No dice anywhere. In one case the shipper is Apple. They only ship to my location via Purolator. In the other case it was a sail maker shipping via UPS. In the latter case the shipper confirmed -- CONFIRMED -- that the item would be shipped to my address by speaking directly with UPS National. It gets to my local delivery depot here in Thunder Bay and they simply refuse to deliver. And no one gives a damn...

I've complained repeatedly to Purolator (both local and national). I've demanded a refund since they refuse to provide the service that they are being paid to provide. They do nothing. I've complained to UPS now. They do nothing. Outside of taking them to small claims court to recover the shipping costs, there doesn't seem to be anything I can do. The only thing I can do is encourage everyone to use different couriers ... hence this rant.
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Old 19-01-2013, 09:11   #74
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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Tried that too. No dice anywhere. In one case the shipper is Apple. They only ship to my location via Purolator. In the other case it was a sail maker shipping via UPS. In the latter case the shipper confirmed -- CONFIRMED -- that the item would be shipped to my address by speaking directly with UPS National. It gets to my local delivery depot here in Thunder Bay and they simply refuse to deliver. And no one gives a damn...

I've complained repeatedly to Purolator (both local and national). I've demanded a refund since they refuse to provide the service that they are being paid to provide. They do nothing. I've complained to UPS now. They do nothing. Outside of taking them to small claims court to recover the shipping costs, there doesn't seem to be anything I can do. The only thing I can do is encourage everyone to use different couriers ... hence this rant.
Have you tried refusing to pick up the item? It looks from the outside like this might be a case of who blinks first.

I would have refused to pick up the item and told Apple that the shipper refused to deliver.
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Old 19-01-2013, 09:16   #75
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Re: I am sick of being Bullied by my Big Brother!

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I hate Purolator. They refuse to deliver to my street address here in Thunder Bay. I'm a bit out of the city, but still within official boundaries. Every other courier company delivers here (Fedex, CanPar, DHL, etc.) but not Purolator. The reason they give: "It's not economical for us to deliver to you." WHAT?!? That's the service shippers buy when using a courier; shipment to the address. Drives me nuts!

I've fought with them for years, but no one cares. Seems to be a purely local decision. Purolator national doesn't give a damn. It's especially annoying b/c UPS has now contracted their local deliver out to Purolator here in Thunder Bay. UPS used to deliver to my address; not anymore. Again, I've complained to UPS, but no one cares.
Mike....I used to work in the shipping business. I will tell you what this is. This is called the 'residential fee' that shipping companies impose. As the profits aren't as high as being able to run across the street to drop the next package, they impose this fee. 4 years ago when I was in the industry, this fee was a percentage of the shipment with a minimum ranging from between $15-$25 dollars. There are instances where the fees will be waived based on the volume of shipments vs volume of residential deliveries, so it appears that in the shipping model Purolator has provided, the shipping companies don't want to waive the charge...and if Purolator is offering 'free shipping' (though I can tell you that there is NO such thing and it is ALWAYS built into the cost of the product) then they are not going to ship to a home as it will inflate the price of products to businesses.

On the OP's Canadian issue....yes. While in the transportation industry it was a primary focus of management/sales to acquire international shipments because the profit margin was so much higher. Because there is no regulation on it, broker fees CAN be different and any company has the right to make as much profit as possible. Depending on the volume of product you ship, you can establish your own accts with shipping companies (a popular LTL provider in Canada is Day&Ross... and they have US partners that will honor pricing agreements) and you can negotiate charges (or lack of charges) directly with them. Then you can just ask the shipper to send it prepaid through your carrier of choice. If you only have a minimal amount of shipments though, then it will be hard to beat the shippers negotiated price...I like to call this the 'Walmart Model'.
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