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

  1. #26
    Senior Member Aully's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    We always ship internationally through the Post Office, because there are no additional brokerage fees assessed. UPS and FedEx, as others mentioned, do charge those fees, which can be quite hefty! If the customer does not pay the fees, they bounce back to the shipper... and I found that out the hard way once! So it's ONLY USPS, the Post Office, for international orders, from now on.

    That said... there is no package tracking available for those economical USPS flat-rate envelopes, either. And while *most* of them do get delivered just fine, occasionally one goes missing. It is a big world out there! So if you're buying internally, it's important to check to see if the merchant is providing you with insurance. It is important to note that USPS does not offer any insurance on the flat-rate envelopes, so merchants have to buy it from a third party, such as Shipsurance.

    In case you're wondering, we insure all of our international packages through either Shipsurance or USPS, because we don't like unpleasant surprises any better than our customers do!
    You have such lovely fabrics. Is it possible for you to mark the package as gift when shipping to Canada?
    Thanks! :)

  2. #27
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aully
    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    We always ship internationally through the Post Office, because there are no additional brokerage fees assessed. UPS and FedEx, as others mentioned, do charge those fees, which can be quite hefty! If the customer does not pay the fees, they bounce back to the shipper... and I found that out the hard way once! So it's ONLY USPS, the Post Office, for international orders, from now on.

    That said... there is no package tracking available for those economical USPS flat-rate envelopes, either. And while *most* of them do get delivered just fine, occasionally one goes missing. It is a big world out there! So if you're buying internally, it's important to check to see if the merchant is providing you with insurance. It is important to note that USPS does not offer any insurance on the flat-rate envelopes, so merchants have to buy it from a third party, such as Shipsurance.

    In case you're wondering, we insure all of our international packages through either Shipsurance or USPS, because we don't like unpleasant surprises any better than our customers do!
    You have such lovely fabrics. Is it possible for you to mark the package as gift when shipping to Canada?
    Thanks! :)
    I should let FF answer this herself, though I will comment, as being the originator of this thread, I wouldn't want anyone to jeopardize their business to ship materials to me.

    Taking the risk and calling a business transaction a "gift" would be just that ... risky! I would suspect if someone wants to stay in business they wouldn't want that risk taken.

    As I said, JIMHO!!

  3. #28
    Senior Member Aully's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    Quote Originally Posted by Aully
    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    We always ship internationally through the Post Office, because there are no additional brokerage fees assessed. UPS and FedEx, as others mentioned, do charge those fees, which can be quite hefty! If the customer does not pay the fees, they bounce back to the shipper... and I found that out the hard way once! So it's ONLY USPS, the Post Office, for international orders, from now on.

    That said... there is no package tracking available for those economical USPS flat-rate envelopes, either. And while *most* of them do get delivered just fine, occasionally one goes missing. It is a big world out there! So if you're buying internally, it's important to check to see if the merchant is providing you with insurance. It is important to note that USPS does not offer any insurance on the flat-rate envelopes, so merchants have to buy it from a third party, such as Shipsurance.

    In case you're wondering, we insure all of our international packages through either Shipsurance or USPS, because we don't like unpleasant surprises any better than our customers do!
    You have such lovely fabrics. Is it possible for you to mark the package as gift when shipping to Canada?
    Thanks! :)
    I should let FF answer this herself, though I will comment, as being the originator of this thread, I wouldn't want anyone to jeopardize their business to ship materials to me.

    Taking the risk and calling a business transaction a "gift" would be just that ... risky! I would suspect if someone wants to stay in business they wouldn't want that risk taken.

    As I said, JIMHO!!
    You are right. Thanks!

  4. #29
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    It's a smart thing not to drive packages into Canada if you're the vendor, without doing a full declaration. The border guards get REALLY picky about that. When I worked for our family business, and would go down to the states to visit my mom's mom, they would ALWAYS ask me if I was bringing anything over. I never did, but I know that during the mail strike a few months ago, some small business owners just had to chance it. Similarly, marking as a gift when it's not - they check the return address to see if it sounds "businessy."

  5. #30
    Super Member KGoodhand's Avatar
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    One thing I have learned is that if the item was made in North America there are no duties but you may have to pay our taxes (ontario) when you pick them up. Also the big thing they watch for is the value of the items being went. I picked up one item from an exchange here and was dinged with a $40 charge but it had a declared value of $200. I agree if you can break down the shipment in to smaller amounts, depending on what it is you are buying, I would. I am in Southern Ontario so I don't purchase a lot on line, most of my experiences have been through the board.

  6. #31
    Senior Member Sewlmatesister's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as duty on fabric...but you may pay tax (sometimes). NEVER have anything sent through UPS or FEDEX or they will charge HUGE brokerage fees!!!!!
    Have done it for years. Very seldom pay tax!

  7. #32
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    Okay. I just dug through my tarriff schedule, and my isn't THAT fun reading. And my earlier statement, and in fact, my earlier understanding of the tariff was, well, wrong. Apparently as long as the country is in the most favoured nation category, you're pretty well good. You just have to pay tax on the purchase, provided it's labelled properly and all (there are a TON of different categorizations, though, so I'd be very leery of just labelling a package with "fabric.") You do, however, have to pay your provincial tax. Yay HST.

    That being said: If you import a completed quilt, even from a most favoured nation or a country with which we have a trade agreement, and it's not under your personal exemption amount, you're stuck with 12-14% import tariff. Awesome.

  8. #33
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aully
    You have such lovely fabrics. Is it possible for you to mark the package as gift when shipping to Canada?
    Thanks! :)
    We really can't. We're required by law to mark the packages as merchandise when that's truly what is in them.

    And since all the international packages look pretty much alike, it would look kind of odd if one was marked "gift" while the others were not.

    It would look odder still if they were ALL marked "gift"!

    :shock:

    That would be a SURE way to invite trouble!

  9. #34
    Member deanna.r's Avatar
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    I order fabrics from US companies all the time. I usually wait for sales (for example Hancock's of Paducah always has fabrics in a sale section, and has a current free shipping offer: note, they price by the 1/2 yard)

    Back To School Free Shipping

    Type BK2SCL in the promotional code box during checkout.
    Offer expires August 30, 2011.


    United States minimum: $30.00
    International minimum: $100.00
    Limit 2 battings per order; all oversized items excluded from this offer
    Orders places before the receipt of this email are not valid for this offer.
    Please call 1-800-845-8723 or Email Us if you need assistance.

    If you are paying for shipping, you have to figure out if the added shipping charges and any potential duties are still less than you would pay for the same fabric in Canada.

    Many companies ship free to US addresses. If you have friends who spend part of the year at a second home in the US, they may be kind enough to have things shipped to them and bring them to you. Many of these "snow birds" do not buy enough for your fabric to make a difference in their declarations.

    Find out where the fabric is made by phoning the company. That way you can know if it will be duty free.

    As others have said, you are more often "dinged" on boxes than you are on USPS flat rate envelopes.

    Get on the email newsletter and promotions lists of companies like Hancock's of Paducah

  10. #35
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    There were 24 Fatquarters per bundle. So basically 30yds of fabric for the sale price plus the $68.00 taxes when it was delivered. That was the only place I could get the colour graduation I needed for the bargello I was making(next project). I don't order often from online stores, as I try to support my LQS, but, the closest one is 45minutes away and the prices are very high. I have ordered other things and there was no TAX surprise on delivery, so, I am not sure of the reasoning on how they figure this out. There has been alot of interesting information on this topic, and I will continue to watch this thead.

  11. #36
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilterella
    There were 24 Fatquarters per bundle. So basically 30yds of fabric for the sale price plus the $68.00 taxes when it was delivered. That was the only place I could get the colour graduation I needed for the bargello I was making(next project). I don't order often from online stores, as I try to support my LQS, but, the closest one is 45minutes away and the prices are very high. I have ordered other things and there was no TAX surprise on delivery, so, I am not sure of the reasoning on how they figure this out. There has been alot of interesting information on this topic, and I will continue to watch this thead.
    Just wondering, is there a way to protest the tax if you don't agree with how it was assessed?

  12. #37
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    Dunster, you can contest the duty at a CBA office, iirc, but I'm not sure of the exact process. They have a 1-800 number, and the people are very, very helpful. If I was a US merchant who was willing to ship to Canada (and a LOT of them aren't, I'm just saying) I'd probably call and find out exactly how to label the packages for my customers.

    People in Canada tend to be surprised at the amount of duty we pay in general, and Americans are doubly so. I mean, we live in a country where gas is about $5.50 US/Gal, and milk in my area is about $5/gal. It's a real shock for my husband, that's for sure. (Granted, it's bizarre - it's cheaper for us in Toronto to eat strawberries imported from Mexico than it is for people in Texas.)

    Add to the fact that when we purchase in Canada, the duties are hidden to a certain degree - wrapped up in the sticker price, because we have so little manufacturing and so much has historically been imported. And finally, we've traditionally had a very high exchange rate in the US, and Canadians are used to paying a LOT of money for certain products. (Some non-quilting examples: Shoes at payless, the exact same shoes, are usually 20-30% higher priced between Canada and the US. Books are starting to even up in price, but many are still 20% higher at least. A bernina foot I need is $60 in Canada, and $25 in the US.) This also serves to keep the prices artificially high, even though the dollar has been floating within 5% of par for the last five years, and has been over par for most of the last 6 months.

  13. #38
    Super Member Just Me...'s Avatar
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    I can ship up to 4 pounds in a flat-rate envelope priority mail ($13.95) to a customer....usually around 4-5 yards, depending on the fabric (USPS). Once you move away from the envelopes, they are scrutinized more for duty. I have several ladies who buy on a regular basis who put in their Order Comments "Use a multiple of envelopes rather than a box". Every once in a while, they get hit with a small duty, but usually they appear to be more of a document package and aren't pulled to check....

  14. #39
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmoore
    It's a smart thing not to drive packages into Canada if you're the vendor, without doing a full declaration. The border guards get REALLY picky about that. When I worked for our family business, and would go down to the states to visit my mom's mom, they would ALWAYS ask me if I was bringing anything over. I never did, but I know that during the mail strike a few months ago, some small business owners just had to chance it. Similarly, marking as a gift when it's not - they check the return address to see if it sounds "businessy."
    Oh no ... I was NOT suggesting that it be brought across as anything but legitimate.

    Rather that some vendors are bring their shipments to the border, declare them, clear customs ... then ship it in Canada. Many are doing it as a regular side of their business, just so they know that it gets processed correctly, quickly and in the right classes/categories to keep the customs fees at a minimum and with no surprises for their customers. That way, they know once it's in the mail/courier, it'll soon be in their customers' hands.

  15. #40
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Me...
    I can ship up to 4 pounds in a flat-rate envelope priority mail ($13.95) to a customer....usually around 4-5 yards, depending on the fabric (USPS). Once you move away from the envelopes, they are scrutinized more for duty. I have several ladies who buy on a regular basis who put in their Order Comments "Use a multiple of envelopes rather than a box". Every once in a while, they get hit with a small duty, but usually they appear to be more of a document package and aren't pulled to check....
    We stuff 8 yards of fabric into those envelopes... at which point they don't look "documenty" at all! :lol:

  16. #41
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmoore
    People in Canada tend to be surprised at the amount of duty we pay in general, and Americans are doubly so. I mean, we live in a country where gas is about $5.50 US/Gal, and milk in my area is about $5/gal. It's a real shock for my husband, that's for sure. (Granted, it's bizarre - it's cheaper for us in Toronto to eat strawberries imported from Mexico than it is for people in Texas.)

    Add to the fact that when we purchase in Canada, the duties are hidden to a certain degree - wrapped up in the sticker price, because we have so little manufacturing and so much has historically been imported. And finally, we've traditionally had a very high exchange rate in the US, and Canadians are used to paying a LOT of money for certain products. (Some non-quilting examples: Shoes at payless, the exact same shoes, are usually 20-30% higher priced between Canada and the US. Books are starting to even up in price, but many are still 20% higher at least. A bernina foot I need is $60 in Canada, and $25 in the US.) This also serves to keep the prices artificially high, even though the dollar has been floating within 5% of par for the last five years, and has been over par for most of the last 6 months.
    This is interesting.... and explains why so many Canadians cross the border to shop in the outlet malls here in the US.

    Do you think that having duty built into the prices of goods in Canada has helped to protect the businesses that are manufacturing goods in Canada? We often have debates here in the US over whether tariffs should be higher than what they are.

  17. #42
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    Quote Originally Posted by ecmoore
    People in Canada tend to be surprised at the amount of duty we pay in general, and Americans are doubly so. I mean, we live in a country where gas is about $5.50 US/Gal, and milk in my area is about $5/gal. It's a real shock for my husband, that's for sure. (Granted, it's bizarre - it's cheaper for us in Toronto to eat strawberries imported from Mexico than it is for people in Texas.)

    Add to the fact that when we purchase in Canada, the duties are hidden to a certain degree - wrapped up in the sticker price, because we have so little manufacturing and so much has historically been imported. And finally, we've traditionally had a very high exchange rate in the US, and Canadians are used to paying a LOT of money for certain products. (Some non-quilting examples: Shoes at payless, the exact same shoes, are usually 20-30% higher priced between Canada and the US. Books are starting to even up in price, but many are still 20% higher at least. A bernina foot I need is $60 in Canada, and $25 in the US.) This also serves to keep the prices artificially high, even though the dollar has been floating within 5% of par for the last five years, and has been over par for most of the last 6 months.
    This is interesting.... and explains why so many Canadians cross the border to shop in the outlet malls here in the US.

    Do you think that having duty built into the prices of goods in Canada has helped to protect the businesses that are manufacturing goods in Canada? We often have debates here in the US over whether tariffs should be higher than what they are.
    And thanks to some Canadians who do a lot of cross-border/internet shopping, we feel the effects, when businesses/manufacturers close down and move their operations to the USA (and elsewhere. And then we see the prices go even higher .... And oft times the same people are be-moaning the loss of jobs and overall economic effects.

    Yes, this thread has me proposing a cross-border/internet purchase for myself, though as said before, it is not my practice. My decision to do so in this case is because I cannot get the item in any other way.

  18. #43
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    As QuiltE has written, we do feel the effects, which is hard. My perspective is a little unique - my mom's american, my dad was born in Canada but raised in the US then moved back to Canada. I'm "Straddling the border" at the moment, so to speak, preparing to move to Texas - my husband could find a job there, and I haven't had any luck here in any way such that I could support him entirely through the immigration process. When things were a bit better financially for me, I spent a lot supporting Canadian industry as much as I could, but right now things are extra tight (Moving that far is EXPENSIVE) and I've got to save where I can while keeping some sense of normalcy.

    I suppose what really fries me is that we're importing the same products. Moda fabric is ALL being imported from Korea, and yet we're paying a full 50-70% more. And it isn't as though there's a textile industry to really protect, anymore. And the LQSs in Ontario aren't any happier than we are about it- I'd rather support the fantastic ladies at my local ones, and do as much as I can, but I don't see what's being "protected" by us paying such ridiculous fees.

  19. #44
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmoore
    I suppose what really fries me is that we're importing the same products. Moda fabric is ALL being imported from Korea, and yet we're paying a full 50-70% more. And it isn't as though there's a textile industry to really protect, anymore. And the LQSs in Ontario aren't any happier than we are about it- I'd rather support the fantastic ladies at my local ones, and do as much as I can, but I don't see what's being "protected" by us paying such ridiculous fees.
    Anymore is a key word, I think. We'll never know now - because you can't roll the clock back and undo history - but I cannot help but wonder if here in the US we would still be printing & finishing fabrics if we'd had that kind of tariff on the imported cloth. Before Cranston stopped printing in Massachusetts, I had asked them for how many cents per yard the industry was lost... but was not able to get an answer. I would (still) really like to have known!

  20. #45
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    There's someone I've seen on this board who's quite knowledgeable about Griege and the production thereof - I think a huge amount of the basic industry lost north and south of the border has to do with environmental protections that exist in North America and most first world countries, but which don't in huge swaths of the world.

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