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Thread: Attn. Canadian Quilters - Buying fabric from the US

  1. #1
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    Attn. Canadian Quilters - Buying fabric from the US

    Not too long ago someone here asked about paying duties when buying
    fabric from the US. I said I've never paid. I now stand corrected.
    Today I got a bill for $28 (GST & PST) for some fabrics that cost
    a grand total of USD 144.98. Just so you are aware.

  2. #2
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    Ouch, that had to hurt.

  3. #3
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I realize that Canadian quilters pay much higher per yard than us who live in the states. OUCH, that is almost a 20% tax. So sorry.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  4. #4
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    When I lived in Canada I found that duty on online purchases was hit or miss. I never could figure out why some things went through and others didn't. I didn't buy as much online then as I do now, but I sometimes had purchases mailed to my son in California and picked them up when visiting. Both shipping and taxes were lower.

  5. #5
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    As dunster said, duty is totally hit or miss. Mostly, I never get him for anything I order from the US. In fact, I received a fabric order last week with no duty owing.

    However, my husband's order of my Christmas present from ENGLAND, got nailed for $50 of duty/taxes. It's really hit and miss.

  6. #6
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyPeezy View Post
    Not too long ago someone here asked about paying duties when buying
    fabric from the US. I said I've never paid. I now stand corrected.
    Today I got a bill for $28 (GST & PST) for some fabrics that cost
    a grand total of USD 144.98. Just so you are aware.
    While this is painful to pay, it isn't actually duty - its taxes on the sale- provincial and federal. Duty is over/above that, if it's charged.
    Last edited by GEMRM; 12-10-2015 at 06:20 PM. Reason: correct explanation

  7. #7
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    Yes, I agree hit and miss......I usually pick up my order at a US po box. When I cross the border it is hit and miss if I pay taxes or not. Last time I had around $100.00 US. The customs officer took the US total and changed it into Canadian currency which was about .25 on the dollar then added the GST (5%) and the PST (7%) to the total Canadian $. That was what I paid. I don't shop stateside a lot anymore because of the low Canadian dollar. Just as well, because I have a lot of UFO's to finish. lol The border cities are really feeling the loss of the Canadian shoppers.

  8. #8
    Super Member ranger's Avatar
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    Yes..agree...it's totally hit or miss.
    ranger
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  9. #9
    Super Member MaryKatherine's Avatar
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    Every time I buy from the US I go to the very last page of the order and check the total with all the charges. Then I divide it by my purchase to see the actually cost per yard. Only then do I decide to purchase. I have to really really want something to pay over $10 yd. in "US $. Some companies seem to absorb some of the shipping and other don't.
    I does seem hit or miss.
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  10. #10
    Super Member fivepaws's Avatar
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    Perhaps you need to find someone in the states who would be willing to purchase yardage for you and then send it to you. Would that help or would you still have to pay duty?
    All my grand-children have paws.

  11. #11
    Super Member Gail B's Avatar
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    I have never paid duty or Canadian taxes on fabric orders. Just lucky I guess.

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    It might have to do with the amount of the purchase. I ordered batting once and when i had to pay tax, was told by the delivery person that if the order was over $100.00, then it gets charged.

  13. #13
    Super Member Sandra-P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivepaws View Post
    Perhaps you need to find someone in the states who would be willing to purchase yardage for you and then send it to you. Would that help or would you still have to pay duty?
    Well unfortunately that didn't make any difference when I sent a box of fabric and quilting goodies to my friend Kate in Scotland. Hubby insured it for $200 and I found out that they charged Kate a VAT of about 12%. They based it on 200 euros, not American dollars. Yikes.
    Sandra

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    they may still have to pay duty charges. I had a shipping business for 28 years. Only in the last 10 years did this become an issue. I would tell my customers to value the parcel as low as they felt comfortable so the duty (if charged) would be lower. One man sent his granddaughter a tablet for christmas valued at $300. We were notified that there was a $74 duty owed. We requested that it be returned - they required the duty paid whether it continued to be delivered OR if we had it returned! Customs forms clearly stated a christmas gift for a child! You just have to value low and cross your fingers. Obviously this only works for personal shipments, buying from a company doesn't give you any flexibility.

  15. #15
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I usually limit my purchases to below $100 but this was a fat quarter bundle.
    In hindsight I should have asked the shop owner if they could split that order.
    Oh well. Live and learn.

  16. #16
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    And another thing to consider is the shipping method. If it comes via the postal system (USPS to CPS) then there isn't a surcharge by the carrier - if it comes via UPS/FEDEX etc, they charge a brokerage fee to move it, in addition to any customs fees.

  17. #17
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Actually, CP charges a $8 fee for brokerage. Chances are that's part of what the original poster paid.

  18. #18
    Senior Member NatalieF's Avatar
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    I've gotten nailed for brokerage fees before (I think it was FedEx). It wasn't fabric, but it doesn't matter. They charged a brokerage fee equal to the value of the item, so I wound up paying twice the original price I intended to pay. Needless to say, I always check to see if it will ship USPS. I don't have that issue with them.

  19. #19
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchaicArcane View Post
    Actually, CP charges a $8 fee for brokerage. Chances are that's part of what the original poster paid.
    I haven't ever been charged that, maybe I was just lucky?

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    I have learned that Connecting Threads collects tax and takes care of duties, so I do not have to worry about paying extra on their packages. I also get free shipping from Connecting Threads, the only US company that has offered free shipping to Canada.

    I think Craftsy does too as I have not had to pay tax or duty on packages from them either.

    I am expecting a fairly pricy package from MassDrop after Christmas I am waiting to see what I may have to pay them.
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  21. #21
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GEMRM View Post
    I haven't ever been charged that, maybe I was just lucky?
    DH corrected me, it's $10. If they charged you even just GST or HST, there should be a brokerage fee. Where I find it confusing is that it's often calculated on the US value though, so effectively the brokerage fee ends up hiding unless you look the whole bill over. I have to because most of my US purchases are business related and reconciling is difficult if I leave brokerage out.

  22. #22
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    Mine was actually broken down: $9.33 GST + $9.33 PST + $9.95 handling cost.
    Total: $28.61.

  23. #23
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyPeezy View Post
    Mine was actually broken down: $9.33 GST + $9.33 PST + $9.95 handling cost.
    Total: $28.61.

    Handling cost = Brokerage.
    They cleared it through customs for you.

  24. #24
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Another reason to be glad I live in the U.S.A. I don't get charged any of that.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member aeble's Avatar
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    I avoid shipping by UPS from the states like the plague. If they don't ship USPS, I don't need it that badly. Expect for Fabric.com. I'm not sure why, but I've never had brokerage fees on shipments from them and they are using UPS.

    My sister sent my daughter's Christmas gift from Vegas one year. I told her to not send it via UPS and she ignored me because the concierge at her hotel said it would be fine. Well, when the brokerage bill showed up at over $100, I made sure I sent her a copy. We spilt on the fee, and she promised to start trusting me over strangers. When she went the next year, she saw the same guy working and made sure he now knows too (in a nice way). He actually upgraded their rooms for the week and threw in free breakfast to apologize for his error.
    "If you have built castles in the air, your work will not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." --Henry David Thoreau

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