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Thread: Shipping Fabric ... USA to Canada ... some questions!

  1. #1
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    I'm wanting to order some fabric from a small designer/fabric company. It would be shipped from the USA to Canada, to get to me.

    While I know the price up front for the fabric and shipping, I am quite hesitant about the "unknown" when it crosses the border (ie duty/customs fees)

    While keeping it all honest and above board ... Are there any hints as to how to keep those unknown fees to a minimum? I'm thinking here that there may be a weight limit that is best to stay under? or perhaps dollar value?

    What is the max that I might get hit with re customs/duty? (per centage?)

    How long does it usually take from the USA shipping date, to pass thru customs and get delivered here in Canada?

    Is the best shipping method via Postal Service? or what should be used?

    Any other suggestions you can offer are most appreciated!
    Please? and Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    Customs is real iffy. I bought some rotary blades paid $20 shipping,got dinged at door for $6 more. I used ups. Just use regular mail. I've received items in about 10 days to 6 wks. :shock:

  3. #3
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    A box of 5 fatquater bundles took 15 days to reach me from the USA. This was late last November, but the duty was a whopping $68.00, and they sent it by postal service. I don't know what to say, if you choose FedEx or UPS, you are charged all duty and extras at the start, so no surprises, although it is alittle more costly. If you choose postal service, you get charged duty and wait longer. You don't mention where you are in Ontario, but, I find, you are going to pay, one way or the other.

  4. #4
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    As much as I am tempted, the extras amount to enough tocancel out my savings. I would not hesitate if it were something I could not get in Canada, then I would overlook the extra charges, just because I wanted it or maybe 'needed' it.

  5. #5
    Super Member quilter1's Avatar
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    I have better luck with the mail, as opposed to FedEx or UPS. Sometimes the package through the mail will just go through, no extra customs fees. Occasionally a package will get stopped and you will have to pay more fees. I received a package this week from the US in 6 days, no extra charges.

  6. #6
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    We lived in Canada for 4 years, so I understand your frustration. One shipment would come custom-free, but the next (same thing, same packaging, same carrier) would be charged. We avoided mail order from the US as much as possible. (I wasn't a quilter then so it was easier to avoid.)

  7. #7
    Senior Member quilter on the eastern edge's Avatar
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    I have ordered from the US on occasion and the orders have been relatively small - usually padded envelopes of fabrics rather than boxes. I haven't had to pay extra on any of these shipments .... so far. It usually takes 3 weeks for me to get my orders.

  8. #8
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by judylg
    As much as I am tempted, the extras amount to enough tocancel out my savings. I would not hesitate if it were something I could not get in Canada, then I would overlook the extra charges, just because I wanted it or maybe 'needed' it.
    I totally agree wth you on this ...... though it's stories like Quilterella's that scare the living daylights out of me for ordering and shipping it through to me.

    A surcharge of $68 for 5 FQs, would take the joy out of the goodies without a doubt. And I'm looking at a larger order than 5 FQs.

  9. #9
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    I get some fabric from the US mostly Fat quarters. I don't use UPS as they have automatic extra charges. I did get a large order once and got dinged by customs. I am not sure if it was the declared worth of the fabric , about $70 or the weight that set off the alarm bells! Since then I have large orders broken up into two or three this means more postage but less chance of customs seeing red flags.. I try to get the sellers to send in a large envelop not cardboard. But sometimes it seems the luck of the draw.

  10. #10
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    If you're anywhere near the border (I'm not far from Toronto), it may be worthwhile to get a US post office box. We've got one, as my husband lives & works in Austin, and this way I can bring anything I purchase back over the border myself, and show Customs the actual receipt and product, and they tell me exactly how much I need to pay - not the guestimating that the mail offices use. (The UPS Store in Lewiston will even receive one-off packages for a $10 fee, without having to have a box, you just have to contact them first.)

    UPS is by far the worst when it comes to cross border fees. Fedex is marginally better. USPS is best, but still not great (The others use a broker which "estimates." Yeah. If you buy less than $20, there shouldn't be any custom fees if that value is marked on the waybill. (DO NOT try to get companies to declare that whatever you purchased is less than $20 if it's not. They get in serious trouble, and so do you - we used to have customers try to get us to do that all the time.)

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