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Do Canadians pay customs/duty fees when ordering from US?

Do Canadians pay customs/duty fees when ordering from US?

Old 04-04-2012, 04:40 AM
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Default Do Canadians pay customs/duty fees when ordering from US?

Have contemplated ordering fabric from the US but am concerned about their disclaimer at the bottom of website that says we are responsible for all customs and duty fees. Can anyone please tell me which companies are the best to order from and what if any additional costs there are when orders are shipped to Canada? Many thanks in advance.
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:47 AM
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I have ordered a gazillion times from the US. All kinds of items, fabric, thread, patterns, quilt tops, etc. I have never paid any duty/custom fees. And I've purchased from individual people, either privately or off ebay/etsy.
I've ordered form Connecting Threads, The Quilting Hen, Fat Quarter Shop, & various other on-line shops & have been totally happy. I often order when there is a shipping deal for international. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, look out!!!!!
I understand that the shops need to add that disclaimer, just in case, because it can happen.
I hope this helps.
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:51 AM
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Whew, many thanks Maureen! I'm thrilled to hear that. I recently ordered some Moda fabrics on Ebay and am sitting here holding my breath waiting for it to arrive. I thought for sure I would get a call from the customs office somewhere asking my to come and pick it up! lol
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:30 AM
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The biggest thing that I can tell you is that sometimes it depends on the declared value of the goods being sent to Canada. I purchased something a while back and the person put a $200 value on it and I got hit for $45 for duty on it. Sometimes they stop you and sometimes they don't but I always found if it is a personal purchase (EBay, etc) it is best to ask them to keep the declared value under $20.
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:08 AM
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We ship a lot of packages to Canada every week so are very familiar with the process.

It depends on the amount of the purchase. You can be responsible for GST, Brokerage Fees, and Duties if your country chooses to impose them.

As an exporter, I am required to state the actual value you paid for the goods on the customs form, or face fines if I'm caught cheating on it, so what I do is to declare the actual value of your purchase, minus any discounts you are given, i.e. the actual amount you paid after any discount.

Asking an exporter to lie about the declared value on the customs form, or asking them to declare the goods as a gift is asking them to break the law and face possible consequences. No exporter with any brains will do either, IMO.

You can however affect the amount you have to pay by making sure your exporter (the person who sends you the goods) uses the postal service (USPS) to ship rather than UPS or another shipper. UPS especially seems always to charge brokerage fees on cross-border shipments, while USPS/Canada Post seem to mostly skip those except on very large orders, and even then they are minimal. UPS also seems to take a lot longer to clear customs.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:29 AM
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I order lots of things from the US. The only time I have had to pay duty was when my order was over $100. Now if my order is big and needs to fit in a box, I ask the shop to use 2 flat envelops to ship and this way I don't pay any duty.

I also check to see what shipping methods the shop uses. I only buy from shops using USPS/Canada Post.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:29 PM
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I've dabbled ... so far, no surprises!
Am lapping up all this info, so that it continues as such.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:05 PM
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This nifty calculator should help you.

Also, it's my understanding that if we under-declare the customs value on an insured item shipped to CA, that's the limit of what we can claim if the package goes missing or is damaged even if we pay the insurance on the full value. I could be wrong on that, but I wouldn't want to test it.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:03 PM
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I usually ask to have the package shipped USPS. It takes a little longer, but in the long run it is less expensive. The Canadian post office acts as the broker and sometimes things come thru with no charges and sometimes there is a $8.00 handling charge and then the taxes--HST, provincial, etc. This is in addition to the shipping fees that are charged by the shipper which are usually way more to Canada than domestic US rates.
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