Buying from Canada a hassle for you too?

I have had 3 nightmare transactions from Canada.
This ,I hope is not a reflection on Canadian Agon members,however, issues exist like never before.
I had a CD PLAYER held up at customs for 1 month by the FDA claiming it contained consumable goods.
I know the US does not want our senior citizens getting discounts on prescription drugs they need,therefore,everything must be getting delayed.

I can ship/get shipments from/to China,Russia and the Middle East easier and faster than Canada.

I guess it shows where our security priority is.

It's okay to mess with us just don't mess with those Pharmaceutical companies.

There is one common thing that does seem to occur with shipments fronm Canada.

And that is, they definately take their time shipping things to us.

I think most US Agon members try to ship the item as soon as they are paid or maybe a day or 2 later.

Canadian members like to take a week or so and then ship the item in a different manner than arranged.

These have been my experiences anyway.

I need to hear other stories,as I soon may not deal with Canada if this is the new norm
I've personally had several very successful Canadian transactions over the past couple of years,(speakers,transports,cables, etc.) The best way I've found to make it work for both parties involved is to ship 2nd day air! it arrives as contracted for, and rolls through customs without a hitch. Otherwise problems will occur as you have noted. So the moral to the story is...spend a little more, save a lot of hassle!
hope this helps?
There was an earlier thread that suggested using postal system and, I think, UPS by air.

Fedex is, if I remember, a nightmare.

Also, another suggestion especially when buying from a dealer. Write "replacement parts installed under warranty' on the box.

We take longer than normal to ship? Talk about a stereotype mentality! I've acutally shipped stuff to the US when payment was also "in the air". Let me advise there are good and bad A-gon members on both sides of the border when it comes to shipping, etc.

I'm not saying that its a perfect transborder shipment process but if the shipper does up the paperwork correctly you'll have no problems. Now if you all agree to use a courier service there may be brokerage fees, etc. involved but if you think these guys do everything for free you are pretty naive. Canada Post to USPS is a better method for lower cost when dealing with small items less than $1K although once the shipment crosses the border the tracking info dies. DHL, Bax Global and a few others do a good job on bigger items although all of them have dropped the ball (or the cd player...) at one time or another.

If you've had 3 nightmare transactions why wouldn't you have stopped after the first? Maybe you might try a second one with fingers crossed but after that went sour why try a third and then moan about it after the fact? You are not the only one who feels this way and hopefully you and those like you don't respond to ads based up here. Don't waste your and our time.

My advice to you is shop at home. Statistically you are better off as while our population ratio may only be 10:1 (10 Americans to 1 Canuck) just canvass the ads here and you'll see that there are probably 20 or more to 1 in terms of for sale ads within the US. And with the recent surge in the Canuch buck its more expensive to buy from up here now anyways...
I ship next day, I don't know about everyone else.

On both sides of the border, shipping UPS and Fedex ground is easier than the Post Office, if your buyer wants to pay a large brokerage fee. If not, then it is the Post Office with it's variable quality service and useless tracking.

Also, if you pay by money order, consider that it takes an international money order drawn on a Canadian bank 10 days to settle. If not drawn on a Canadian bank, 30 days. Postal money orders for more than negligble amounts can take dseveral visits to cash, as they are dependent on the post office having enough cash on hand to cover the money order. With all the counterfeit US Postal Money orders floating around, I would never ship without cashing first.

Ridiculous comments I must say! How do you respond?
Well ......facts are the facts here. I agree,why go out on limb on more than one occassion? I also sense that our weak dollar does bring out a bit of anger from our friends up North. Today things have gotten much more difficult at all borders .........
I have had a couple of very successful transactions with our Canadian friends and look forward to many more in the future.

Actually, I have had no bad experiences buying from Canada, but I have had a couple problems shipping to Canada. The problem is with Fed Ex Ground, which is seperate for the Fed Ex Air. The problem I had was Canadians not paying the import tax, which Fed Ex Ground would then force me to pay. There is no duty/import taxes with gear coming into the USA, only when going into Canada. So buying has not been an issue. UPS, Fed Ex Air, and USPS do not release the package to the buyer until duties/taxes are collected. Fed Ex Ground will deliver w/o collecting, therein lies the problem. If the buyer chooses to ignore the bill from Fed Ex Ground, Fed Ex Ground will just pass the bill on back to the shipper. Needless to say it can be quite a pain to receive this bill 3 months after you've shipped the item. Live and learn.

Once you learn to avoid Fed Ex Ground when shipping to Canada, the problems dissappear. Either UPS, Fed Ex Air, or USPS works fine, though I'd recommend USPS. Even USPS has told me that it is tougher to ship to Canada then anywhere else in the world. This has only been since 9/11. Customs, paperwork, etc. I guess it's better to be safe than sorry though.

I ship the same day I receive payment, my feedback here and on eBay is flawless. Your generalization is flawed at best, and reading between the lines it seems the U.S. customs agents are causing you grief, not Canadians. You're certainly entitled to restrict where you buy your gear but you'll be missing out on some cool gear from some nice people.

As for the currency thing, for the first time in thirty years the Canuck dollar is stonger than the U.S., making buying a treat for us and selling means a few percent difference at this point, not enough to worry about.

In closing you have every right to gripe about Canadian hockey winning hands down over the other nations, but not buying & selling with your cousins from the north.
I live in British Columbia and ship to the US often and have not had complaints from any buyers at all.I live close to the border and small items such as tone arms I hand carry over the border and ship from Washington state.I find your comments about Canadians to be offensive.The only unhappy audiogon transaction so far for me was with an American but I know way too many fine Yanks to tar you all with the same paintbrush.Use the feedback system and leave negative comments if you are unhappy it will help us all.
I purchased goods from Canada twice. There was no issue with the seller but always got hit by UPS on the processing fee. The first time it was a $400 cable and UPS sent me a bill of $22 one month later. I thought it was custom duty so I paid it. The 2nd time was July/2007 and the bill stated no import duty but there was a $24 paper preparation fee and a $24 FDA fee for a total of about $48. Do you all get that kind of bill or was it UPS gouging on consumers?
As a canadian i made my best transactions with our American brothers and look forward to do more.
cheers. pat.
I've had several successful experiences purchasing from Canadian members - both here and on eBay. Postal charges are higher for LP shipments (or so it seems to me), and the Canadian postal system is a bit slow - at least to Texas - but these are small nits and in no way the fault of Canadian sellers.
Guys, If you ship across the boarder next time, please note on the courier waybill under the column "DUTIES"

"bill customs duties to"

You will have 2 choices:

A. Sender
B. Receiver

Pls check RECEIVER and you will not be responsible for the duties. Let the buyer deal with it. If he does not pay, they will not release the goods. It's just that simple. If you choose to skip/ignore the "DUTIES" part, I guess the duties will come back to you.

If doing cross boarder shopping, please make sure your SELLER knows what he is doing. There are documents he has to fill up in order for the shipment to go thru customs smoothly. If you're missing docs, the shipment will be delayed forever.
Ah yes: USA = good; Canada = bad.

Maybe you attract bad deals.
I have been a member since 2001. Being Canadian myself, my feedbak is amost 100% US transactions, all with great A-gon members. Never an Issue. Same with transactions on, mostly with canadians.

You have all of something like 26 month's of experience and you dare put up such an accusing and arrogant statement in your title line. Most of the times, ''nightmare'' transactions, as you call them, are the result of inexperience and just not doing your homework. And for those bad transactions, we only have your version of it - not that you did anything wrong, but the way you are going about this suggest that you have been frustrated in some way, which probably has nothing to do with canadians. This is not a banana republic here. Just like everywhere else, get your info and procedures straight before bashing on a certain group of people.

And to set the record straight - if the buyer (make that a canadian buyer) sends you an international postal money order IN US FUNDS via FedEx next day delivery, it basically means that you are getting cash the next day. No 10 day wait because the order is PREPAID meaning if you loose the slip, you lost the cash (no big deal since you still have the equipment) but a big deal for the buyer who will probably get his money back in 3-4 months or so. All of the risk is on the shoulders of the buyer, as his bank account has already been debited, while your amp (or whatever it is you are selling) waits patiently in it's box (or in your audio rack) in your living room. I have done this myself a number of times - pay with an international order, NEVER an issue.

Last time I checked, Audiogon was still a friendly group of people with a passion for music and toys, open to both US and Canada, and more.

I also feel that many canadians contributed to discussion forums and the like in a constructive manner.

I hope your remarks do not discourage other fellow canucks from enjoying this Audiogon experience, as this is a most enjoyable and exceptionnal site.

Fortunately, you seem to be pretty much the only one in accordance with yourself on this. Someone suggested you shop locally, maybe not a bad idea.

Thanks for the warning Darealjaydee. A real class act.
Ya well it takes time to hitch up the dog team and pack up provisions enough to get to a post office. After all our egloo's are far from large population centre's like you have down there.
Please what a silly comment!!

Ticked off Canadian.
The problem with shipping to canada is that the import duties are tied to the insurance value. If you lower the insurance value to make the transaction affordable vis a vis the import duties the american seller leaves themselves exposed.
I'm a Canuck. I don't think it's the weak dollar that provokes anger. Instead I think the weak dollar provokes acquisitiveness in many Canadians these days. But if I had felt myself to be tarred with the OP's brush (Canadians are slow, casual, self-centred shippers), I would be a little miffed. Fortunately my feedback bears witness to a different attitude on my part.

As Mang53 says, cheap shipping gets you extra fees and border delays. FedEx and UPS give you tracking for your dollar but they claw it back in fees. To repeat: anything shipped by ground transport with FedEx or UPS will generate a processing fee. If it is not made in a NAFTA country it may generate duty. One more thing: border fees will be billed automatically to the SELLER in many cases, even if the "bill the receiver" box is checked! Please get this straight with your buyer and make the necessary arrangements before you close your deal.

2nd day air is the way to go if you must have tracking. If not, both postal services can do a great job, especially if you pack like a maniac. And if you live anywhere close to the border, consider taking the item through customs yourself and shipping from the country of destination, like Brianhutch.

Every country has its own import/export twirks. Zenieth, thanks for talking about friends up north. In return, I might mention our much-admired neighbours south of the border.
The Canadians seem sensitive to an antecdotal story of minor import. I think they will agree that government rules can get in the way and slow things down internally and working across borders.

Granted Americans can be self centered spoiled asses at times but we are pretty nice generally.
I,ve shippied to and from Canada for years with no problems.

When selling in Canada you could get stuck with import duty if the buyer does not pay it.
Well said Tobias.
In a vaguely related issue, in August of 2007 I sent payment to a supplier via first class mail from western New York to Montreal, Quebec.

It took 16 business days from departure to arrival.

Good thing it wasn't sent bulk or 4th class.
Audiofeil you state that ''In a vaguely related issue, in August of 2007 I sent payment to a supplier via first class mail from western New York to Montreal, Quebec.
It took 16 business days from departure to arrival.''

Next time, for payment, try FedEx next day delivery. If it does not get there in MAX 48 hours, let me know.

To them, shipping a letter to Canada or Japan is just business as usual.

I had the same problem you had once, but it was my fault as part of the zip code was entered incorrectly by me.

These things happen rarely, but when it does, it can be for a number of reasons, destination Canada not being one of them if both the shipper and carrier do things right.
Canada seems to have a love hate thing going on with us. The hate thing is manifested toward letters and packages crossing their border. 8^)
I have been fortunate in having many transactions( buying and selling) with some very pleasant people in Canada. So far, no problems or issues. I have always used USPS air with packages weighing less than 30 lbs. I have heard that either way, shipping via ground can be problematic.
I've had countless shipments into Canada (Porter Ports), all were sent USPS.

Post Office paperwork for Canada is just a post card sized tag if the value is not high.

There have been a few occasions when the Canadian buyer had to wait for longer than he or I expected. I think the longest was perhaps two weeks. These delays may be due to super heightened security, same as USA in airports, when they tear the hell out of our luggage searching for too much shampoo :^).

When these security issues occur I think all larger parcels are delayed until security and customs can thoroughly inspect.

In the end every transaction with Canada was successful and everyone happy, other than occasional delay. For members who want prompt payment, PayPal allows Canadians to send funds in US currency and it appears in your account in (literally) a few minutes.

Sure there's a 3% fee, but unless the item is $800.00 or more, the cost of an overnight FedEx envelope and fee for money order exceeds the PayPal fee.
>>Next time, for payment, try FedEx next day delivery. If it does not get there in MAX 48 hours, let me know.<<

Thanks but I have this misguided view that government employees should have the ability to read, sort, and process so long as I continue to pay their salary and benefits.

I guess I'm just your consummate eternal optimist.
I live in Canada and let me tell my story
I sold a pair of tube mono amps to a guy in Ohio
They were packed in 2 boxes with a lot of styrofoam
First box arrive at the buyer house without any problems
Second box arrive five days later sealed but with only the styrofoam inside
I know it's happen very often in Europe's countries
And the girl at Canada post told me it's not the first time
The problem is that they don't make those amp anymore
and the insurance will only pay for the lost one

So you had an FDA inspector who couldn't tell a CD player from Viagra and that's the fault of the drug companies? Perhaps you should consider that again.

I just had a very good experience with a shipment coming from Canada. I guess they figured out that I work for a pharmaceutical company, and decided they better not mess with me.
Sorry that we take a week or so to get those parcels out but generally we need to charge up our cars before they will crank in minus 20 degree weather and that can take a couple of days (yes I'm rolling my eyes)
It's amazing how long it can take to get a parcel across our freindly borders. Good thing they don't slow up the natural gas too!
Yup I'm a little offended by the post. It goes both ways the good and the bad. Personally I happen to really like my American freinds and enjoy doing business with them. It's too bad that somebody up here gave you some poor service and that ruins it for those of us who work hard to satisfy a transaction. Shame on that Canadian and shame on the person who judges us all due to the actions of one.
here here
Once needed warranty work on a Classe product. They had me send it to a US address who, I assume, took it across the border. Worked out very well.
They must have known this system would work better than sending it direct.
01-18-08: Rja
Once needed warranty work on a Classe product. They had me send it to a US address who, I assume, took it across the border. Worked out very well.
They must have known this system would work better than sending it direct.

I had a similar experience with Classe also. I believe they had me ship it to upstate NY. Classe's US warehouse handles all of the paperwork, makes it very easy for service calls. Well done Classe!

Oddly enough my wife just mentioned the other night the nightmare I went through trying to return some tubes to Gold Aero (remember them) in Canada in the early 90's. I couldn't believe she remembered that!

Maybe making interaction with the customer easy is a good way to stay in business, eh?

Has anybody paid import tax for items (not made in Canada) shipped from Canada to US?
I am waiting for a new turntable (made in Germany). It was shipped from Canada last Wednesday via Canada Post ground. The whole package may not weigh more than 30 lb.
The tracking shows the item is still in Canada. After reading this thread, I've realized that I should have paid for 2nd air not only to have a quick shipping also to (possibly) pay less!!
Canada Post is the best bet if you want a shot at a duty-free transaction. The other carriers are sure to charge you any applicable duty (about 6 per cent) plus fees. Ground shipping will delay your package, though. Be prepared to practice patience.

If I can, I always use express service. It often does not cost much more and it means the gear spends less time shaking around (on a truck), as well as getting there faster.
As always, I would like to hear about any American buyer who has actually been charged anything on a shipment from Canada.

Technically, it should be happening, but I have no actual confirmed occurrence.
I will feel sorry for anybody (Goners' Included) that live In London, Canada that may want to purchase gear from the US and have It posted because there Is a possibility It may go via London UK first. The amount of Items the Royal Mail gets with Canada crossed out and the UK added Is a bad joke.
Riffer, I can bear witness to an American buyer's being charged on a shipment from Canada. The items in question were a pair of monoblock amps and the charges, which included duty, taxes and brokerage, came to about 10% of the sale amount. The carrier was FedEx Ground and the broker was FedEx Trade Networks.
Tobias, that is my working theory - That courier shipments get dinged and postal doesn't.

Also, the Fedex Ground shipment probably got hit with the big brokerage fee on top of everything -i.e. The big fee we get nailed with on US to Canada shipments using UPS Ground/Standard/Standard to Canada and Fedex Ground also applies going the other way.

Fortunately, most of what I ship is small enough for Canada Post.
Riffer, my experience is quite similar to yours. Postal shipments seem to get through with fewer fees and hassles, sometimes none at all. Ground courier shipments (I have only used FedEx) get delayed and dinged.

Courier shipments by air seem to be fastest and most fee-free of all. However they are also the most expensive.
It arrived yesterday in a local post office. I had to pick it up today, and now I got it.
Big relief. There was no extra tarrif or import tax.
It was shipped last Wednesday from Toronto to Michigan.
It was not super fast, but not super slow either.
Overall, it worked out good.
Again, the service used was Expedited USA from Canada Post.
I'm putting together my first high end system, heck I haven't had a system of any type in the last twenty five years or so. Audiogon is great!

I have a pair of Gemme Audio speakers on the way from Canada to Washington right now. They were delayed a day at the border awaiting an input from me. Not bad. I did decide not to buy a Simaudio integrated from a north of the border Audiogoner because I could not determine what the actual cost would end up to be.

As I read through this thread the thought occured to me that the knowledge base is right here for a faq to help ensure smooth transactions across our common border.

What forms to fill out. What to expect to pay duty on. What percentage duty collected. etc. I'm sure folks with more experience will think of other answers that should be included.
I've had several speaker shipments from canada, via DHL to california, only to get nailed for 7.75% taxes AFTER TWO YEARS had past the delivery date(s). Any taxes didn't even occur to me prior to making the purchase. OUCH!!!
Three of the four shipments were damaged and returned/exchanged, so it hardly seems worth the added expense and claims hassle(s).