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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in canada and I'm considering buying some gear on some online store. Since Canadian online store are pretty rare, I have to go through U.S. I was wondering if some of you have experience or information regarding this scenario ; more specificaly, will I pay custom taxes or any extra taxes, what kind of suprises should I expect, is shipping relable if I'm ordering a 90 pounds 300 watts bass amp?

Thanks for your advices.
Cheers.
Mat
 

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I never used a US online retailer, but I did get some things shipped from the US to Canada (I was in QC as well). One thing I do know is that if you ship through UPS, they will slap on the clearing charge (or whatever it was called). Basically they will want you to pay for the fact that they cleared the customs for you. The only way to get around it, once the item has shipped is to inform UPS that you will go down to the customs and clear the item yourself, which only really works if the item is shipped by air.

You will pay customs and all applicable taxes as well, but with UPS the extra charge will probably amount to more than the customs/taxes, so you will effectively have to pay the taxes/customs twice.

Bottom line: prepare yourself for customs and taxes and avoid UPS. I beliefe USPS is the best choice pricewise, and FedEx are better about it as well. Unfortunately many online retailers insist on shipping abroad through UPS.
 

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For cheap purchases USPS is fine, but not for expensive. The charge for insurance is over $10/$1000. Ship a VWH to Canada and the shipping alone will be $50-$60, and since it's just shipped as regular mail, usually takes 2 weeks and more, and WITHOUT tracking. UPS may charge brokerage but delivery time is under 7 days and tracking works every step of the way. A claim through USPS is extremely tough to settle since there are 2 countries mail services blaming each other. UPS is only themselves. USPS, poor choice for Canada, good choice for overseas.
 

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Good points Rich, fair enough. UPS might be the safer choice, however you do have to prepare to pay significantly more than you'd expect to (the actual shipping cost + however many % of tax/duty + brokerage fee). Either way, in the case of most online retailers you wouldn't have much choice anyway, so you should be prepared for this.
 

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I've had over 100 guitars shipped to me via USPS from the US and never had a problem. They won't insure for more than $1000 though so you have to weigh your options there. UPS and Fedex only charge the brokerage fee's if it's shipped ground, if it is shipped Express the brokerage is included in the price of shipping, however, this does jack the shipping charges. UPS or Fedex ground from the US to Canada CAN actually take as much as 18 days. Their claim of 7 days is 7 business days not counting whatever time it takes in customs, when they are really late they just blame customs. So, if you are concerned about time and such, Fedex express is the best way to go. You will pay GST, PST, and HST (if your province has them all) when it enters, so whatever the total amount of tax you normally pay is, you'll have to pay that based on the declared value of the shipment.
For what it's worth, USPS has never lost or damaged an item on me, Fedex and UPS ground have both damaged items and refused to pay the claim. Fedex and UPS express are both good although I think Fedex is tops.
Jeremy

PS. UPS brokerage fee is I believe 6% of the value with a minimum of $35. So on a $1000 item you'll pay $60 more for the brokerage. In BC here, we have 7% GST, and 7% PST so in total 20% if shipped UPS, an extra $200 hurts :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
wow ... thanks for the info. So I guess I should seriousely consider buying on a Canadian web site (or go physicaly to the store) before going U.S. And also thank you "koss" for the link. Do you know any other Canadian online store, so I can compare prices?

Cheers.
 

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another thing you may also want to consider is there's probably no warranty if you buy from the US.

I'll take this opportunity to plug a smaller shop called Songbird music. I used to go there when I was in Ottawa. I think they've grown a bit and opened up another shop outside Toronto too. They used to get some cool used gear. Prices, well....Ottawa...Canada...but the guys were cool so that made it better
 

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I've been to Songbird music in Toronto (I think), nice shop with some cool stuff, especially for used instruments. Probably not that great if you want to buy a specific piece of gear new, but I'd recommend it, and it was still cheaper than stores in Montreal.
 

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There's also http://lamusic.ca/
i've never dealt with them though. but they seem to be a big canadian online retailer.

axemusic, guitarworks, and long & mcquade i've dealt with only locally. they're all good.

as far as i know, L&M doesn't have online buying, but you can call them and see if they will ship to you.
 
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