How To Buy Canadian and Avoid High Shipping/Taxes/Customs Fees?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by electracoyote, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. For reference, I'm in Colorado, Metro Denver.

    I recently purchased a gently used Vox Phantom clone (the five-sided offset body style they sell at Phantomworks).

    This is actually my second Phantomworks bass; I also have a gently used Teardrop. I love both of these basses and they really scratch my, and my audience's, aesthetic itch. They are also bonafide players with great tone.

    The Teardrop came in a Phantomworks "teardrop" case. The whole package, great vintage vibe.

    The Phantom came sans case. It just so happens to fit perfectly in the case that came with the Teardrop. It would be very satisfying to have both Voxers in matching or very similar cases. Alas, Phantomworks no longer offers bass cases for sale separately. And I can't even get them to reply and tell me where they obtain their cases. And they are pricey.

    As it turns out, the Profile music accessory company in Canada, the land of amazing instrument case work, makes a case that is almost identical in shape and dimensions to what I have and need. It is available from several Canadian retailers in a couple of provinces. Converting CAD to USD puts them at around $65.00! Wow, it's almost impossible to buy a nice hardshell in the USA for that, and this is a unique shape as well.

    But when I factor in tax, shipping, and customs, the final price goes up about 3 times as high. I can't justify that, and I'd just as soon let a USA retailer charge me, and probably for less. I don't mind a final price tag in the $100-$120 USD range.

    Any tricks or tips on a workaround? Otherwise I am in the used Reverb/CL/Music-Go-Round/eBay weeds indefinitely, hoping something appropriate magically pops up. And the new teardrop cases available to me in the USA are both very expensive and not as good a fit for this bass.

    Thanks in advance for reading and thoughtful helpful replies.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2019
  2. The case in question:

    PROFILE PRS300-TB Teardrop Bass Guitar Case

    Profile Teardrop bass guitar case :: Bass Cases :: Cases & Gigbags :: Canada’s Music Store - Canadian Source for Instruments Online - All You Need Music

    All You Need Music has the lower price, but Fleet does price matching. Anyone near Morristown, New York just across the St. Lawrence River from Ottawa or Brockville Ontario ever drive or ferry over there on occasion? Or vice-versa? ;)

    Yeah, I have an idea in my head and I'm desperate for a solution. Again.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Other than moving to Canada, nothing legal. Like paying income tax on cash gigs, taxes should be paid. Sorry.
    TolerancEJ and electracoyote like this.
  4. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Did you get a shipping/brokerage fee quote from a commercial courier? If so, they charge exhorbitant rates for brokerage fees.

    Use Canada Post/USPS for cross border shipping so as not to get hosed on those brokerage fees. Sales tax and duty should not be 3x as much. Might cut into your currency exchange advantage a bit but not by hundreds of dollars.
    electracoyote likes this.
  5. Life's a bitch sometimes.

    I used to read these kinds of threads with only a passing interest, but it seems to be a thorn in a lot of sides, and I was just curious if any clever creative type ever endeavored a way to at least reduce the pain in the wallet. I know there are a lot of shipping tricks here domestically.
    TolerancEJ and buldog5151bass like this.
  6. Thanks, I'll check into that.
  7. So, after paying $85.00 CAD for the case and $70.00 CAD for UPS shipping from Ottawa, Canada to Highlands Ranch (Denver), Colorado, for a grand total of $155.00 CAD = $118.60 USD, there were no other fees, customs, tariffs et. al. End of story. I would have paid that if I drove 10 minutes to my local Guitar Center.

    So, based on this experience, I don't get all the Canada/USA shipping angst. Perhaps if the package weighed more? But I still don't think it would have been cost prohibitive.

    Anyway, for you Canadians in the Ottawa area, or if you're just south across the St. Lawrence or anywhere in that area, Tim at Fleet Prosound & Lighting was incredibly polite and helpful (even for a Canadian), perhaps because I am not an ugly American and returned the sentiment.

    Highly recommended. Fleet Pro Sound: Canada's Best Independent A/V and Music Store
    murphy and buldog5151bass like this.
  8. Glad it worked out for you. The exorbitant shipping also happens to Canadians wishing to buy from the US.

    Vancouver is not too far from the US border of Washington state. There are companies just across the border that will receive packages for us. Then we cross the border and pick them up. Usually there's a small fee $2.50-$3.00. Nothing too significant.

    It's good for a few reasons: 1) When you buy something in US, you are entitled to domestic shipping costs, and even qualifies for those offers of Free Shipping in CONUS. 2) There will always be someone to sign for a package, as opposed to some delivery companies simply leaving a box on the doorstep, ringing the doorbell and leaving. 3) Packages mailed may be held in customs for inspection for any length of time. They are not responsible to keep the instrument temperature or climate controlled.
    electracoyote likes this.
  9. Good points, except that $70.00 CAD to ship UPS from Ottawa to Denver is not exorbitant at all ($53.61 USD).

    I guess, for me, shipping Canada to USA was far less than I thought, actually about like shipping the same distance within the CONUS. Your point about climate is well-taken.
    TolerancEJ likes this.
  10. A little bit like successfully walking through a minefield, and not seeing what the big deal is.
    electracoyote likes this.