Perhaps Canadian readers will be interested in my recent experience.
I ordered some stuff from Woodsmith costing $42.90US and they were about to
charge me $21.49US for handling and shipping via UPS. I felt this was
excessive (50% of the value of the order) so I asked them to ship it USPS
instead. They agreed and said the charge would be $16.25US. I found this
still to be expensive but I agreed to the price.
I received the package today with a charge of $12.94CAN. This is $3.70
Federal Sales Tax plus $4.24 Provincial Sales Tax plus --- wait for it ---
$5.00 service charge!!
So now I have paid $16.25US plus $12.94CAN via the postal service versus
$21.49US for UPS. I don't know if there would have been additional charges
by UPS (taxes etc). Perhaps someone can enlighten me on that point.
Even without tax considerations, it cost me $16.25US plus $5.00CAN instead
of $21.49US. Not much of a saving considering the current exchange rates
and a big loss if UPS does not collect tax.
Just to satisfy your curiosity :)
I bought the CDROM versions of their shopnotes (three CDROMs for $29.95) and
while I was at it I bought the hardware kit for their box joint jig at
$12.95. I already checked at my local woodworking store in Montreal
(Langevin & Forest, a veritable Aladdin's cave of fine tools and exotic
woods) who hold most of the shopnotes for sale but no CDROMs. I suppose I
could have bought the hardware from Lee Valley (I just blew $200.00 there
last weekend) but it seemed convenient to get it all compatible in one kit.
Live & learn,
Being that close to the border, if you do enough mail order shopping in the
US, consider a mailbox on the American side from which to pick up your
purchases (most can handle larger packages for you). Takes me an hour once a
week and saves a ton of hassle and money.
AFAIK, UPS would have screwed you several times over the $5.00 that
CanadaPost charged you for clearing customs. The GST/PST would have been
charged in any case, and the initial costs charged by the seller have no
bearing on what happens after it leaves their door. The only exception to
having the seller pay/charge more for UPS or any courier is, I think, UPS if
they ship it expedited or express. In those cases, someone pays more up
front, but the brokerage fees are included.
Check out here
) for details on what UPS charges for brokerage. According to that chart,
you probably would have been paying $19.00 for brokerage. On top of those
fees, you'd be paying the GST/PST/any other customs charges for importing
FWIW, if a US seller won't ship it USPS, I won't buy it. It takes a little
longer, and you still have to pay the tax, but at least UPS or the courier
company won't make a ridiculous profit for having the package stamped at the
border. I guess, to be fair, I don't know what's involved with being the
customs broker. And the UPS fees do tail off when you get to the more
expensive side of things, making it less painful. But for the $50 to $500
items I might be ordering, they're a bit ridiculous when USPS/CanadaPost can
do it for $5.00.
That is an excellent tip. I consider myself a pretty savvy x-border
shopper, but to have things shipped USPS has never occurred to me.
I have paid upwards CAN$ 100.00 for UPS to clear stuff through customs
for me..mostly things under US$1000.00. I changed to a proper broker who
charges me CAN$50 per transaction to $5000.00... still expensive on a
US100.00 item. USPS seems very reasonable.
To have stuff shipped to my "Mailboxes Etc." mailbox is PITA with all
the delays at the border these days. When I go to socialize in the US as
well as a pick-up, then it is okay...but I seldom know this ahead of
Thank you, Jack!
You bet there would have been. Not only the taxes, but UPS's own
special charge for customs brokerage (which is what the $5 charge was
I refuse to have ANYTHING shipped from the US in Canada by UPS.
"The thing about saying the wrong words is that A, I don't notice it, and B,
sometimes orange water gibbon bucket and plastic." -- Mr. Burrows
IIRC, UPS 'brokerage fee' (the equivalent to that Canada Post $5 service
charge) *starts* at $35.
shipped by UPS you would have been out the US$21.49, plus the CAN$3.70,
plus the CAN$4.24 *PLUS* (at least) CAN$35.
I send mail cross border constantly (mostly small packages) and Canada
Post/USPS always gets it there eventually. The only glitch I've found
is that when comething is shipped to Canada, the USPS tracking system
still thinks that it is at the origin, until it actually gets to the
destination. It doesn't seem to know that it is sitting in customs at
the border until after it hands off to Canada Post.
Other than that, it works for me.
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