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Bass Import Fees For International Shipping

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gabezylo, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. gabezylo


    Mar 16, 2010
    Hello All,

    Recently I have beens saving up to buy a new bass guitar from a luthier in the United States. I live in Canada, and he said international shipping would not be a problem. I also have an address in the United States where I could pick up the bass, but shipping to Canada is slightly more convenient.

    However, I am worried about import fees when the bass crosses the border and it comes to my address. Will the Canadian government take in taxes/import charges/the like? If so, in your experiences with buying basses how much can I expect?

  2. Chances are you will be charged GST on the declared value of the bass. If it is made in the USA, that'll be all there is. If it was manufactured outside of North America, there could be other duties to cover.

    Even if you had it shipped to the USA address, you technically would have to declare it at the border when crossing back over, and again there you'd be paying the GST.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Ensure you have the bass shipped USPS, couriers will add a bunch of added charges. I am going to guess this bass isn't cheap. For perspective, I recently paid almost $300 CDN in duties on a bass that was shipped as $2400 US. That does not include any shipping or insurance costs. If you ship a bass listed as $2500 or more it will go through a different customs process. Sheldon informed me that is where the cut-off was for Dingwall getting their stuff to NAMM this year.

    Blindrabbit is right, you would technically need to declare it coming over the border. Here is what I would do though, take a beater bass down, leave it down there and bring up the new bass. You left with a bass, came with a bass, none the wiser. ;) Mind you, that is considered illegal.

    I hope that helps.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  4. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Hammersmith Music
    Yeah, it's typically the GST on the invoiced or insured value (they'll look at whichever is higher). If you can get them to give you an invoice with a lower declared value, you can save on the GST, but that's technically illegal also, just as it is to cross the border without declaring it.

    I've used CBI in Niagara Falls on several occasions and have paid every single time, and was even asked to log into my PayPal or show the credit card transaction as proof of value - not just the printed documents I may have had with me.

    If you're willing to eat the added shipping cost it's well worth it to come to your door. The only thing is that if it's sent by Ground service, you will pay the 13% plus a clearance processing fee, usually around $20. Use the courier's service for this (Fedex, UPS, etc) and DO NOT think that going to a 3rd party broker will save you money. It actually costs more.

    Also FWIW - Fedex is a whole lot easier in terms of getting goods across the border - their customs department is more efficient and less prone to having things getting help up.
  5. +1 to a lot of the above. IMO, do NOT use anything other than USPS/Canada Post to have the bass shipped up here. The brokerage and other courier charges are insane. Once I paid nearly $50 in fees to UPS for a used USA made $100 pedal that was shipped from Minnesota. FedEx is the far better choice (than UPS) if you have to use a courier, but honestly I've had nothing but great experiences with the national mail carriers.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Just take note that while Fedex might make it appear as though your item comes without charges they mail you a bill after you have received the item.

    They also charge a lender's fee of $10. On larger items this is quite fair but on small items you end up paying $10 for them to spot you $3. The only reason it isn't loan sharking is because it is a flat fee. I would imagine a major portion of their home shipments have less than $10 in fees with a $10 fee tacked on top.

    USPS/Canada Post is more upfront but has been a lower total cost in my experience.
  7. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Agreed. FedEX's billing policies are borderline fraud.
  8. gabezylo


    Mar 16, 2010
    Thanks guys, appreciate all the responses! I'll figure out what to do, maybe even keep the bass there.

    The wide world of logistics and shipping...

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