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Old October 12th, 2006, 05:29 AM   #1
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NAFTA? International fees rant...

I'm very angry right now about the fees charged and the way my package was handled when being sent from the U.S. to Canada. I had no idea that there was any significant tax sending things across the border. Beware that there is a 25% tax levied going across the border to a country we have a NAFreeTA trade agreement in place.

I sold my Letus adapter to a user on this board for $200 and they charged him $50 duty. I have never sent a package to Canada before, but I had never heard of a significant tax going between our countries. Call me naive, but I don't see how businesses can run between our borders with a 25% tax in place. I filled out all necessary paperwork as I was told but nobody said this would happen.

I apologize if I make inflammatory statements as I am furious right now that I am made to look like an idiot by customs people that destroy my property and charge me a huge fee to do it. I'll be dammnd if I let my customer pay the $50, so yes it is me who they charged. Feel free to delete this post, but I thought people should know about this. Considering that people from many countries visit this board and may transact business, it might be handy for whoever deletes this to post the tax rates between our countries. How in the world can business from different countries work? As I see it, a 25% tax in each direction would cost 75% of the value of the merchandise if something was bought, returned for repair, then sent back to the buyer. Do the U.S. and Canada hate each other more than most other countries? Does the European free trade agreement reduce the tax on sales between your countries?
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Old October 12th, 2006, 06:25 AM   #2
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Between US and Europe there is also a high tax, and in the UK too, I think.
It's indeed stupid to have such taxes.
If one would buy a RED camera in Europe, you don't have to pay 17.500 dollars, but almost 21.000 dollars. That's like 3500 dollars more, you could probably buy some recording media and cages for that.

So, although we can't do much about it, I understand your anger.

PS: why do yo say 'destroy your property'?
Was the adapter damaged?
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Old October 12th, 2006, 07:24 AM   #3
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The adapter was damaged. The final report is yet to come in, but the ground glass came loose and rattled around inside. I'm guessing this scratched the heck out of the achromat. Even though I may get a refund on the cost due to the package being insured, I'll never see that $50 tax again. I also doubt I'll ever get an insurance reimbursement as that is really just a fantasy.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 08:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault
I have never sent a package to Canada before, but I had never heard of a significant tax going between our countries.
I can understand your frustration, but seems like it is the responsibility of the seller to do some homework and research this before selling something across an international border. Hopefully your post will make others aware of this.

Here at the Opera Company we frequently rent our scenery and costumes to Canadian companies (we have a set going to Winnipeg in a month or so, and another one that came back from Banff recently). I don't really "get" NAFTA either, it certainly doesn't make anything easier. But like everything else in business, you learn as you go.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #5
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It will depend in part on how you ship. There's generally not a customs duty as such, at least not that I've ever paid, but there is a 6% federal Goods & Services tax and any provincial sales taxes that are supposed to be collected on retail sales. Here in Ontario that amounts to 6% GST+8% PST. Sending your item by USPS and that is generally all that might be collected. Even so, it's only rarely that I've been asked to pay it - only on items from a retail merchant, never from a private individual. BUT, if you ship FEDEX or UPS they often tack on outrageous "customs brokerage" fees on top of sales taxes, Lord only knows why other than they CAN, that are just totally out of line.
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Last edited by Steve House; October 12th, 2006 at 11:25 AM.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 10:09 AM   #6
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I agree, in terms of minimizing brokerage fees, in my experience the following are the way to go when shipping from US to Can (From best to worst)

1) USPS
2) DHL
3) FedEX
4) UPS
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Old October 12th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #7
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Personally I won't send anything to Canada via USPS anymore. We have had too many instances where it's taken weeks to get a simple letter there, if it arrives at all. I suppose you might use USPS express mail (if they can even deliver outside the US) though.

IIRC, when you fill out an international Fedex airbill you have some options regarding customs/brokerage. I think you can choose to either let Fedex handle them or provide your own broker. Not completely sure there however. We generally only send documents to Canada via Fedex. Our large shipments of scenery are handled by a trucking company with the Canadian recipient responsible for making brokerage arrangements.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #8
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yah it sux big time.... taking thing across the us/canada border... but there are ways :D
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Old October 12th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #9
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Package companies ...

Duty prep fees by the big 3 couriers are likely the source of your added expense and not an extra tax, levy or duty.

Check the waybill and invoice itemization for the whole story. Items arriving here by way of the "post" carry much lower fees.

The NAFTA declaration form is an indication of North American content that allows for duty free shipment of the goods but provincial and federal sales taxes are still in effect ... just as though your buyer were shopping locally.

The handling fees are more than most expect and the fifty bucks likely includes the GST. (Our federal consumption tax on all goods).
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Old October 12th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #10
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You typically have to pay PST and GST (PST varies from province to province). For Ontario, this totals 15%.

On top of that, you have to pay brokerage fees. For something that is shipped USPS, it will be $5 for non-express and $8 for express/priority (arrives via Canada Post). DHL, Fedex, and UPS all charge outrageous brokerage fees on their slowest shipping options. Boyd seems to have a different experience... this may be because another party is handling the brokerage fees for them, and not the shipping company.

2- Canadian Customs may hold back particular items for inspection or something like that. They may open your package.
Packages may be held back in customs for a few weeks, and this will delay your package.

3- Items valued under $20 aren't charged tax/customs. However, customs may not necessarily believe you and re-assess the item and charge you a higher amount.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 04:36 PM   #11
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This issue is threatening to cost a Canadian manufacturer a $1200 sale. I am interested in the Brevis 35mm adapter, but this experience has me worried. I wrote to Dennis Wood, the maker of the Brevis, and he replied with this:

"There are no export taxes or otherwise shipping from Canada. Shipments from here via International Expresspost take 5 days to Australia, and less to the US. If you are already in Canada, it's just 7% GST.

If service is required, it is sent repair/warranty status and no duties/taxes apply."

Perhaps it is Canada that is adding the tax and a CA-to-US package won't be slammed with fees?

Regardless, I have an odd craving to dress in Native American garb and throw tea in the harbor. I guess that might be bad for the fish, so I'll try to control myself.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 07:14 PM   #12
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Marcus, moving things across an international border is never going to be as easy as conducting business within the US. It's just a fact of business. You're bound to learn a few things the hard way during the process. I'm sure the Canadian government will be very upset over the prospect of losing a potential $1,200 sale ;-) Seriously, I'm sure there are political avenues to pursue if you really want to change the system.

Several years ago I received a royalty check from a Canadian company. I just deposited it to an ATM like any other check, and when my statement came I saw that about $80 in service charges had been deducted from that $750 check! I went to the bank to complain, and they told me something confusing about how they needed a "corresponding bank" (I think that was the term?) in Canada which could move the money across the border. So they charged me a fee and the Canadian bank also charged a fee. I protested this - the check was drawn on US Dollars so no currency exchange was required. They said that didn't make any difference.

Finally the bank agreed to remove their service charge of $40, but couldn't do anything about the $40 which the Canadian bank charged. I asked how this could be avoided in the future, and she said I needed to bring Canadian checks in person to her desk and she could arrange to do the deposit without a service charge. Well I left that bank, and asked my new bank what I should do with any Canadian checks. They said I could do whatever I wanted, they treat them just like US checks. Go figure. But caveat emptor... asks lots of questions.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 10:15 PM   #13
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"Marcus, moving things across an international border is never going to be as easy as conducting business within the US."

I agree, BUT I don't have to like it! Grrrr....

"I'm sure the Canadian government will be very upset over the prospect of losing a potential $1,200 sale ;-) "

My little dollars don't even constitute a drop in the bucket, but your following paragraphs illustrate my point. You switched business partners because of unfair fees. With so much of the economy moving online (who here has spent over $1000 online this year?), unreasonable fees are going to hurt business. My tiny slice of the economy is infinitessimal, but what happens when 300,000,000 Americans think twice about doing business online with Canada? On the flipside, what would be the impact if only one percent of us did one more transaction with Canada each year because of fair business practices? Of any two countries in the world that shouldn't be taxing each other, what better candidates than the U.S. and Canada?

I'm still pissed about what the U.S. did about the Avro Arrow. Our aviation technology would be ten years advanced if we weren't such jerks about supplying engines. Being uncooperative with your friends hurts everyone.

I consider myself fairly liberal, but I'm with the Republicans regarding high tax and how it hurts business and therefore the whole of the economy. I don't mind a little skim off the top (devil his due and all that), but 25% is robbery.


Anyway, enough rant. I got word from both Dennis Wood and a confirmation from Ben Winter that there are no fees coming into the U.S., so I think I will be getting a Brevis after all. Apparently, this is strictly a Canadian tax. There is even a provision for not paying the tax on returning products for warranty service. So...!

Should we blame the government?
Or blame society?
Or should we blame the images on TV?
No, blame Canada!
(Everyone): Blame Canada!
It seems that everything's gone wrong
Since Canada came along
(Everyone): Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
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Old October 12th, 2006, 10:46 PM   #14
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The problem is on the Canadian side
It is nightmare to deal with them and so UPS and Fedex charge you for the problems in getting things thru the system with GST and PST. I also have found that the people accessing the charges in the canadian side seem to take the attitude of charge the and then let the people argue for a refund. I had things that were bought from canada, and made in canada and were being returned to canada and they still charged the tax. It took forever to get it refunded.

RE the Banks, there are two levels of banks inthe US those that are commercial and have their own clearing ability, and those that have correspondant relationships with commerical banks. The non commercial banks, freak out when the get a check in us funds drawn on a Foreign bank

As crazy as it sounds a lot of this stuff re banks and credit cards etc was the Reason that Paypal was able to be so successful and charge what they do.

Here is another great situations

UPS and FEDEX offer GROUND to Hawaii, yet UPS does not offer ground to Alaska??? Fedex finally offered it, but what they do is just put it in the mail and send it priority mail!!! one hell of a road to Hawaii

Sharyn
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Old October 12th, 2006, 11:08 PM   #15
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"UPS and FEDEX offer GROUND to Hawaii, yet UPS does not offer ground to Alaska??? Fedex finally offered it, but what they do is just put it in the mail and send it priority mail!!! one hell of a road to Hawaii"

I worked on that road. A lot of good men were lost on that road. The problem was that they didn't think a safety net was needed and instead had us wearing life preservers, but they forgot about the sharks! THE SHARKS!!!
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