Shipping to Canada

Discussion in 'Classifieds Usage Discussion and Help Desk' started by Gorn Captain, Mar 9, 2014.


  1. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Queens
    All the info I can find is somewhat conflicting. What exactly is involved with shipping to Canada? Every time I sell a bass, despite specifying that I'm only shipping conus, I get requests to ship to Canada. It happens every time. As far as I can tell there are several variables.

    Different provinces have different rules?
    Box size makes a difference?
    Fees are due upon arrival in Canada? Arrival at the buyers address?
    Who's responsible for those fees?

    The only consensus I've found is the usps is the best carrier, but the mystery of the rest of it is what I don't get.
  2. bass12

    bass12 Fueled by chocolate Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Hmm - I've shipped and received a few basses across the border. I've shipped one bass within the U.S. As a shipper I didn't find there was all that much difference - besides it being more expensive to ship from Canada to the U.S. The fees that are due (on the part of the buyer) when a bass is shipped to Canada include provincial goods and services taxes, duty (if applicable) and a brokerage fee. The only costs incurred by the shipper should be the usual shipping and insurance fees. I think. ;)
  3. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Fundamentally no. The only taxes and duties are federal. There might be some slight differences in how they are administered but the point for you is a non-issue.

    Bigger costs more so pack small but well. I avoid wadded up newspaper and styrofoam peanuts. Bubble wraps seems to be the most compact way to package safely. You also need to know the rules of the different carriers. For example via UPS a Fender type bass will be over-length and via Fedex it won't.
    This can vary. UPS is notorious for charging exorbitant "brokerage" fees. When shipping a US made item via USPS/Canada Post it generally will go directly to your door with no additional costs. When a duty is levied you have to pick the item up and pay the duty at the post office. I've paid duty on a couple of new boutique pedals from England recently but I honestly can't remember the last time I paid duty or tax on anything coming from the US via USPS. The US/Canada Free Trade Agreement pretty much kills any duty.

    Always the buyer.
    The only people who seem to have a problem shipping to Canada are those who have an account with a carrier that will come to their door to pick up a package and for them shipping to Canada means going in person to the Post Office. If you were already leaving the house to ship it's not much more trouble. One declaration form that takes an extra 30 seconds. Some people have also been burned and won't ship outside the US because they feel safer. Being an American living in Canada I've seen both sides of the fence and don't buy that fear but it's a person's right not to ship anywhere he doesn't want to and I respect that.
  4. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Queens
    I appreciate the responses. So, to clarify:

    I box up the bass and take it to the post office to determine the shipping cost to the Canadian buyers address.

    The buyer agrees to pay the cost of the bass plus the full shipping cost plus insurance.

    I ship it and my part is done? The buyer receives the bass at his address, and then what? He gets a bill with the package for duties/brokerage fees and what not?
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  6. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    That's pretty much it. It'll probably just go to his house with no additional cost. If there is duty he'll get a notice and have to go to a depot to pay before he gets the bass.
  7. andrew

    andrew

    Joined:
    May 20, 2000
    Location:
    Vancouver BC/Pacific Northwest
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Regenerate Guitar Works
    Another tip is never ship a bass across the border using UPS Standard or Ground. If you have to use UPS use their cheapest form of express shipping because for standard shipping UPS charges the recipient for the border paperwork they need to do (called brokerage), which in some cases ends up being more than the increased cost of an express shipping method. UPS does not charge to do brokerage on parcels shipped express (or at least, charges far, far less, I believe roughly $8 for an express shipment, while it can be more than $50 on a standard shipment).

    I know it seems ass backwards, but you can pay less for faster shipping through UPS when you factor in border brokerage.
  8. bass12

    bass12 Fueled by chocolate Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Yes, your part is done. The buyer will have to pay taxes and duty when the bass is delivered. I think that with FedEx the brokerage fees are included in the price (?) but with UPS they aren't. I can't remember the specifics, but I do remember being shocked at how high the brokerage fees were when dealing with UPS.
  9. zontar

    zontar

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    Maybe, but not in my experience.
    You will often get charged GST and a small brokerage fee (In one case I won a pedal made in the US and shipped from the US.

    It was sent USPS and I paid a $5 brokerage fee plus GST--but all in all not a bad deal--I paid $20 for a $300 pedal.
  10. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Just the once? You must have hit a postal or customs worker having a bad day because in my experience having received literally hundreds of packages from the US that is very much out of the ordinary for a stompbox.
  11. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator

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    That is true, but the shipping company will collect the fees from shipper if buyer doesn't pay. Happened to me three times with UPS / FedEx shipments to other countries.
  12. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    What fees exactly? That's definitely something I want to to be more aware of. Ever when shipping to Canada?
  13. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Administrator

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    the brokerage fees charged by ups/fedex
  14. Loel

    Loel Blazin' Acadian Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    I've shipped and received a fair amount of goods from US,
    I'm Canadian;

    If you ship USPS/post you'll never see a brokerage fee,
    only UPS/FedEx charge brokerage fees.

    Key for American shippers use USPS/post.
  15. zontar

    zontar

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    On another forum that is mostly Canadian people there report it is inconsistent whether they get charged it--some do, some don't, some it varies.

    I guess it could depend on where it crosses the border.
  16. superHEAVYfunk

    superHEAVYfunk

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Location:
    Toronto
    ^ this. I literally paid my rent for a year buying and selling gear between the US and Canada.

    The only time I've ever paid brokerage fees or tariffs was when I bought a DJ mixer from a retail outfit in Chicago - bastards hit me with a $90 bill!
  17. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Same deal here. Post doesn't rort you for holding a package while Customs sends their demand letter. When you pay up, Customs tells Post to let it proceed.
  18. Toolmybass

    Toolmybass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Location:
    Great White North
    This is correct, but where it crosses the boarder doesn't fluctuate on the charges.

    If you ship USPS to here....Canada Post takes over at the border. It's customs that decides if you get hit with taxes and or duty.

    Around 30% of the time they nab me for taxes.
  19. zontar

    zontar

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    Like I said--a guess.
    Maybe some customs agents are more likely to charge stuff.

    But just a guess.
  20. 4to5to6

    4to5to6 Bassist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2007
    Location:
    Canada, Pacific North West USA
    Not the answer but for interested Canadians buying a lot from the US...

    I have a US shipping address at one of those Express Package places. I get an email when the package arrives and pay $3 to receive it! Driving to the border takes me 10 minutes. If there is a line up I park my car and walk across... it takes me 15 minutes to receive a package walking, round trip... no brokerage! If under about $80 I never get charged taxes. They even waved me through a couple of days ago with a $175 package. PayPal rules are changing to get the US address verified but after a couple of tries I was able to do it. If I do drive down, I save $15 on a tank of gas as an extra bonus! I guess there are certain risks involved but there always is when buying through the mail sight unseen.

    If I do have to get something shipped to Canada I will always use USPS. Do not use UPS ground as you can expect an extra $100 plus for a bass purchase and if the Canadian customer refuses to pay it it is sent to the seller! It`s better to use Fedex or pay for the higher end UPS services
    superHEAVYfunk likes this.

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