*Official FAQ*: A Guide To Buying Online

January 31, 2008 @ 22:05:49
*Disclaimer: By no means am I an expert in this field. I find myself repeating a lot of what is said here and upon request I decided to make a thread for Canadians so they know the types of charges they will have to pay when buying online. As well, tips and ways of avoiding most of these fees.

Before I begin, it’s important to understand the types of fee you will have to pay and what they all mean. For more information, you can look at the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA):

http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/pub/rc4051-eng.html

Duties: This is what you will have to pay most of the time. It is the fee that our government charges to preserve our domestic economy. That means any product that the origin manufacturer is outside of North America, you will have to pay duties. It is typically 20% of the declared value. This fee is a fixed percentage and the CBSA has an entire index for every type of good imported into the country. So basically they just look in the index, find out what type of good it is and slap a flat rate % on the value.

Brokerage fee: This is the fee that couriers such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL will charge for declaring customs on your behalf. Basically this is their personal service charge for signing papers that takes 5 minutes of their time and the money to front for you. If you live close to the border which is Fort Erie in my case, then you can call the courier and tell them you will declare customs yourself. This must be done prior to your package entering our borders.

Taxes: I’m sure we all know what this is by now. You will have to pay taxes if the declared value is more than $20. If it is declared as a gift, it is more than $60. So to avoid paying taxes, the package must be less than $60 CAD and marked as gift. If it is over $60 and they believe that it is a gift, you will only be taxed the difference.

Couriers:

USPS: The best shipping option for Canadians. They charge a flat rate of $5.00 for every parcel that requires the payment of taxes. So that means if it is a gift valued less than $60 CAD you won’t have to pay a single thing! From all my experiences, I have not lost a single package which seems to be one of the reasons why online retailers will not use them. They claim it’s unreliable and they have lost packages from experience. I have never had to pay duties for products made outside of NAFTA.

The most economical method of shipping is First Class International. It typically takes 15 business days to arrive at your local post office. The most popular is Priority Mail which takes around 12 business days. Depends if you really want to save every penny or want it to arrive at a decent rate.

FedEx: In terms of cost, they are practically the same as DHL. They charge a processing/brokerage fee of $7.00 per package. You’ll also have to pay duties and taxes on top. From experience, I’ve had to pay around 30% on the declared value of the package.

My closest pick up location is on Nugget, near Scarborough Town Center. I find it inconvenient since I’m never home when they deliver. FedEx will deliver before 2pm. After that, they do pick ups.

UPS: In terms of fees, UPS is the highest out of all the couriers. I used to think they were terrible and avoided all orders that used them. However, after doing more research I find a method that would make them very ideal. When you use UPS Standard (Ground), expect to pay a ton. Their fees can be found here:

http://www.ups.com/content/ca/en/shipping/cost/zones/customs_clearance.html?srch_pos=3&srch_phr=brokerage+canada

If you use UPS Expedited, you pay more up front of the shipping cost. However, you will save more all together assuming your order is at least $200 declared. You won’t have to pay brokerage fee of $40.30 + advancement fee 2.7% or $5.85 min whichever is higher + $4.25 C.O.D. fee. You only have to pay duties and taxes.
DHL: They charge a $7.00 flat rate fee for processing your package past customs. This is the courier that Karmaloop uses. I’m not very fond of DHL, despite the same fees they charge as FedEx. My local DHL facility while it’s closer than FedEx, it looked very ghetto. No signs, a small room with a kiosk. The person working there had to go to the back to get me change for $2.42. It took her 10 minutes. What kind of business has no float or cash worth $2.42? This was the beginning of the day too.

Their pickup facility was at 14th and Warden which is really close if you live in Markham or Richmond Hill.

Summary: Buy from retailers that will use USPS and are willing to mark down the value for you. Second option would be to use UPS Expedited, recommended for orders over $200. The last option would be FedEx/DHL, this is personal preference and will depend on how close the pick up facility is to your house.

Online Stores: This is a list I have compiled which I found uses USPS and will mark down the value. Very often they do this automatically, but it is always nice to e-mail them ahead of time or make note of it at PayPal. You also need to understand that it has to be believable. If you’re ordering a quantity of 6 items, it’s hard to believe that it is worth $60.00 combined.

www.eastwestworldwide.com – They have a toll free number. I like the fact that I can place my order with a human being and even get discounts at times.

www.boundlessny.com

www.ftkonline.com

http://www.digitalgravel.com/

http://shop.80spurple.com/

http://www.oneanthem.com/store/pc/home.asp

http://www.turntablelab.com/ - They use UPS ground, but they pay for all the brokerage fees for you. So the price you pay is the final price.

www.karmaloop.com - DHL

*Will update as needed.
January 31, 2008 @ 22:14:16
finally made the thread...good looks...
February 01, 2008 @ 08:11:23
very well done, this answered everything i was looking for.

rep+
February 01, 2008 @ 14:06:41
propped...
February 01, 2008 @ 18:55:58
Thought I'd add this, DHL can be good if the shipper marks a low value. I've had 2 packages declared at $5.00 and not been charged by DHL and it only took 2 days from LA.
February 01, 2008 @ 19:22:11
This is a really helpful guide, thanks.
February 02, 2008 @ 01:18:33
Great FAQ.
I live in Vancouver which is reasonably close to the US Border, is there any way I can have US-based retailers ship to the border for me to pick up?

For example stussydirect.com does a 30% surcharge, or many retailers don't even ship to Canada, so if that can be it would be a lifesaver.

This post is hidden due to user account is no longer active or improper post content.

February 02, 2008 @ 10:20:23
Great FAQ.
I live in Vancouver which is reasonably close to the US Border, is there any way I can have US-based retailers ship to the border for me to pick up?

For example stussydirect.com does a 30% surcharge, or many retailers don't even ship to Canada, so if that can be it would be a lifesaver.

You'd have to ship it somewhere close to the border, like a PO Box or something. I don't believe you can ship items "to" the border or customs for pick-up. I know living in Toronto, there are places just over the NY border near Buffalo that you can have things shipped to and then pick up, or have them forwarded.

Just think of the headaches with people not picking stuff up on time, items stockpiling, having to ship items back. Problems they don't want to deal with.
February 02, 2008 @ 13:16:19
Great FAQ.
I live in Vancouver which is reasonably close to the US Border, is there any way I can have US-based retailers ship to the border for me to pick up?

For example stussydirect.com does a 30% surcharge, or many retailers don't even ship to Canada, so if that can be it would be a lifesaver.


I know for me, there is a FedEx and UPS holding facility really close to the Buffalo border. If you contact the store, you can request to have the package shipped to the holding facility since it is a confirmed address. They will be able to hold it for you for 7 days I believe. Your best bet is to call either UPS or FedEx and ask them the closest facility near your postal code that's south of the border. Their should be one within 15-20 mins driving distance from the border.

Also as Gmas suggested, you can consider opening a P.O. box. That way you don't have to make frequent trips and just stock pile items. It would save you a lot of money in the long run since most places will ship free in the US.
February 04, 2008 @ 02:34:27
very very useful thnksssssss
February 04, 2008 @ 22:47:29
Okay, I need help. I'm having something shipped by FedEx International Priority from Singapore. How much will I have to pay in duties and taxes, and broker fee? If I pick up the package will I pay less?
February 04, 2008 @ 23:16:24
Okay, I need help. I'm having something shipped by FedEx International Priority from Singapore. How much will I have to pay in duties and taxes, and broker fee? If I pick up the package will I pay less?


How much did the sender declare on the package?

You're going to pay:

$7.00
GST + PST of declare value
20% of declare value

For FedEx it's not worth declaring customs yourself, you only save $7.00. It's worth it for UPS ground though. And I'm not talking about picking up the package, I'm talking about going to the border and declaring customs to enter the package into our country.
February 05, 2008 @ 00:19:02
great info. thanked!
February 05, 2008 @ 11:06:27
sticky??
February 12, 2008 @ 16:08:51
Alright im planning on ordering something from Stussy Direct and noticed when i got to checkout 6 items at $237.00 the shipping options are

UPS Worldwide Express : $134.78
UPS Worldwide Expedited : $119.45
UPS : $129.87
UPS Standard : $29.88

I'm from Quebec so im kinda confused as to which option to take or is the best. Also was wondering whichever shipping option you recommend, could you please provide a total break down of fees and taxes if that isnt too much to ask? Thanks preciate all help!
February 12, 2008 @ 17:03:00
Alright im planning on ordering something from Stussy Direct and noticed when i got to checkout 6 items at $237.00 the shipping options are

UPS Worldwide Express : $134.78
UPS Worldwide Expedited : $119.45
UPS : $129.87
UPS Standard : $29.88

I'm from Quebec so im kinda confused as to which option to take or is the best. Also was wondering whichever shipping option you recommend, could you please provide a total break down of fees and taxes if that isnt too much to ask? Thanks preciate all help!

For starters, go back and read the first post of this thread. You're asking questions that this post was specifically made to answer.

The different UPS options will vary in how long it takes to get to you. Again, UPS is the LEAST desirable option. Even with the cheapest shipping option, my guess is you'll be well over $300 after all is said and done. Do you relly want this stuff bad? Can you not get it anywhere else? Call and ask if they can use USPS at least.
February 12, 2008 @ 20:04:18
I dont think you understood what i didnt understand. I didnt get why 2 options had Worldwide and 2 didnt, thinking that 2 were for US orders and 2 were international but making sure. Also, the stuff i put in my carriage was just to get an idea, as im waiting for the spring line to popup. I dont really care about getting it anywhere else i just wanted the info for this specific site. Thanks
February 12, 2008 @ 20:11:35
I dont think you understood what i didnt understand. I didnt get why 2 options had Worldwide and 2 didnt, thinking that 2 were for US orders and 2 were international but making sure. Also, the stuff i put in my carriage was just to get an idea, as im waiting for the spring line to popup. I dont really care about getting it anywhere else i just wanted the info for this specific site. Thanks

I wouldn't worry about the names, they're just arbitrary names UPS names different services. It's the length of time for delivery and any features like tracking and insurance that should matter. The fact that they have amounts down to the cent, and they came up after you checked out, I'd guess means they're all options for getting your stuff to you in Quebec. You probably had to put your address in or at least Quebec, Canada in first right?
February 12, 2008 @ 23:01:24
Yeah yeah address, postal code, the works. So the UPS worldwide expedited option is the best bet?
February 13, 2008 @ 00:38:20
Yeah yeah address, postal code, the works. So the UPS worldwide expedited option is the best bet?

Well not from what I'm looking at. UPS Standard seems cheapest by far to me, unless you needed it super quick or there's something I'm missing.
February 13, 2008 @ 01:23:16
Nice post man, very informative will definately rep you.

For every online order i do i guess i will tell you how they were and see if its good for us canadians...
February 13, 2008 @ 18:40:53
Alright im planning on ordering something from Stussy Direct and noticed when i got to checkout 6 items at $237.00 the shipping options are

UPS Worldwide Express : $134.78
UPS Worldwide Expedited : $119.45
UPS : $129.87
UPS Standard : $29.88

I'm from Quebec so im kinda confused as to which option to take or is the best. Also was wondering whichever shipping option you recommend, could you please provide a total break down of fees and taxes if that isnt too much to ask? Thanks preciate all help!


Ok let me help you out. Anything that is expedited you won't have to pay brokerage fees! It's going to come close, but the fees you'll pay will be over $100 easily if you use UPS Standard.

UPS Standard is ground which means you will have to pay the following fees for a $237 package:

$40.30
$4.25
$6.40

Taxes
Duties (20-25%)

In this case, you are better off using UPS Ground. You're paying roughly $50.00 from brokerage and processing fees. To not have to pay the fees in red, you will need an expedited service from UPS.

Usually when I'm making bigger orders with UPS and the shipping cost doesn't scale as much, I go for expedited. Faster shipping and you don't pay brokerage.
July 12, 2008 @ 17:41:40
Thought I should bump this.
July 12, 2008 @ 23:14:55
nice very informative! we should update this more often!
July 12, 2008 @ 23:57:52

Inactive User

Alright, this question isn't about buying online but I didn't want to make a new thread lol.

When I receive a moneyorder from someone, do I cash it in at the post office or at the bank? Also, will I be charged any fees for cashing it in?
July 29, 2008 @ 01:42:26
anyone tried ordering from flightclubny? im thinking of buying some kicks over there so? any inputs would help! blushing
July 31, 2008 @ 09:47:24
So say if you bought a pair of APCs then you'd have to pay duties AND taxes? That would come up to around 34% for taxes and duties right? That's absolutely ridiculous.
August 01, 2008 @ 14:24:31
new to the buy online game...
What does UrbanOutfitters mean when they say they will prepay all taxes and duties?

Will I only have to pay the brokerage fee?
August 04, 2008 @ 19:36:04
bump, does anyone know the answer to my above question?
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