Problems with shipping to Canada

I checked the Forums but this topic doesn't seem to have been addressed before so potential shippers to Canada take heed. In June I shipped an item to Canada by FEDEX where the buyer had agreed to pay shipping and be responsible for paying the import duties. However FEDEX has been unable to collect the fees from the buyer and have informed me that as shipper I am ultimately responsible for payment. Luckily the amount I'm out of pocket is not large ($120) but I just wanted Agoner's to be aware of this possible pitfall especially if shipping high-value items
I just had the same thing happen to me. Fed Ex wants $35 for a $120 sale. They told me the same thing, they were unable to collect from the buyer, and now the shipper is liable for import duties.

I say, no more shipping to Canada.

On every FedEx international waybill there is a box to be checked as to who is responsible for duties and taxes. It is on the right side of the form. Next time make sure you check "recipient" and you shouldn't have to pay.
Yup... this happened to my friend who ebays alot..
USPS or nothing for Canadians.

It has been easier for me to ship internationally than to Canada.

Make Sure you leave Negative Feedback stating having to pay his customs import taxes.
I had the same thing happen (I can tell we both received the same form letter). In my case I sent an email to the buyer (this happened 4 months after the sale) reminding him he agreed to pay these fees. Fortunately for me, he had already paid them (ie 3 days before he received my email), and I never heard again from FEDEX.

My policy now is the same as Cytocycle's - USPS or nothing.
Yes, I filed a dispute with Audiogon and they suspended the members account and encouraged me to leave negative feedback, which I have. I was a bit annoyed at FEDEX for not making this clear when I shipped although I do understand and sympathize with their policy. In any case I've now learnt my lesson, if I can't find a buyer in the US then no sale!
I completed a deal with a nice guy in Canada a few months ago, but I won't ship to Canada again despite the positive experience. The shipping hassle was too much.

Originally, the plan was for me to send the package FEDEX Ground from Los Angeles to Quebec. Lucky for me, FEDEX seemed incapable or more so, unwilling to acommodate me.

I went to a major FEDEX hub near my house and they said I needed to open a separate FEDEX Ground account since my regular FEDEX account wouldn't get the job done. Apparently, these are two separate and distinct arms which don't like deaking with each other. This depot also told me that the person in charge of Ground shipments wasn't there and they couldn't handle it immediately.

I went home and tried to find contact info on the FEDEX website, but I'll be damned if they want anyone to contact them. It's hard as hell to find contact info on the FEDEX website. Almost as bad as Ebay.

When I finally found a number and got someone on the phone, they recommended two places where I could ship FEDEX Ground. At one place it was required that all forms already be printed out before arriving there since they were a business oriented depot. So no dice. The second place the lady on the line recommended to me was the very place I had just returned from! After I told her they weren't readily set up to handle FEDEX Ground shipments there was a long silent pause on her end of the line, followed by, "really?"

The lady said she could prepare the forms for me and FAX them to me, but I don't own a FAX machine. Then she offered to FAX them to the place I had just been, but that would do no good since the lady at the FEDEX depot told me the person handling Ground shipments wasn't there and they didn't know when she would be in.

When I contacted the buyer in Canada he researched his e-mail and found that when encountering difficulty with sales from the US he always resorted to USPS. Only thing is, USPS doesn't offer ground service from LA to Quebec. Only air or by SHIP! And no tracking info was available for purchase for SHIP. Only via air! I had a choice between $28 for ocean service or almost $100 for air, and since the guy had already sent payment via PayPal, I decided to risk sending him the box by pirate ship. USPS told me shipment would take 4-6 weeks.

When I contacted the seller, he wasn't surprised at all, and not unsatisfied with the 4-6 week expectation. He said shipments from the US typically took 3-4 weeks. So I waved goodbye as my package went off to Quebec via Louis & Clark barge and hoped for the best.

Three weeks later, I received an e-mail that the package arrived safely. I really lucked out on this deal, and if it wasn't for this nice buyer things could have been a real mess.

It's easy to get things from Canada into the US, but just plain epic going the other way. That and in order to avoid monstrous import "doodies", one can't place a declared value higher than $100 on the item or our friends north of the border will get a giant North American pine cone up the yin/yang.

No more for me.
I ship to canada 5 to 8 times a month. With USPS no problems. With Fedex no problems, but talk to your FEDEX REP first.

The purchaser pays all fees up front. The Import duties are the purchasers to take care of. - When fedex brings this through customs for the purchaser to RECIEVE the package they have to pay the import duty.

If your not specific when you ship, the purchasing party may try to say that the shipper is responsible. Because Fedex is a USA company they can only go back to you to get the money.

Just make everything up front, and ASK YOUR FEDEX REP how things work and plan accordingly.

International? Germany is a nightmare especially from USA. Seems they are looking for BAD things in the Packages. It might take a extra 3-4 weeks for customs clearance.
Hold your horses eh!....shipped watt puppies from quebec to california....hell never again.Thank God ,i too came across one of many true GON memebers and turned this nightmare into a success
Oh yeah when using USPS, you need to inform the receiving party that there is no insurance option (since once it is out of USPS hands they are not responsible) so once you send it, everything else is at their risk. There are no tracking number for USPS shipments international.

It gets lost! You can't track it
It gets Damaged! No one is responsible (so make sure to pack it for guerilla treatment)
There are tracking numbers for USPS depending on the service you use. I always request USPS Global Express,Global Priority or Insured Mail Int'l depending on size and value. Never a problem.
I've been sent alot of packages from the U.S. (I am Canadian) and have ALWAYS paid for the shipping along with the agreed upon price, without exception. I always clarify that I will pay for shiping immediately upon initial contact with the seller (except for one time when a seller/sender refunded the shipping price to me, happy that I didn't try to haggle him from his asking price, a nice surprise.)
I have bought 65lb. amps, 75lb each speakers, cables, c.d.'s, large items, bulky items, heavy items, small items, .... you get the point- I've always used DHL, ground and air, without a dent in my packages. DHL comes highly recommended from my own experiences.
So, perhaps in such situations it's "seller beware" along with "buyer beware". I think it's a good practice to insist pre-paid shipping, too many jerks in this world who are completely ignorant to common courtesy and good business practices.
After one rough experience, I would not buy anything from Canada. Shipping, customs, etc..a pain.
To stop some of the rumours and to clarify some of the things for shipping to Canada:

1) Educate yourself about shipping costs and customs charges with the shipping company:

- basic freight costs
- import taxes (in Canada: between 7% and 15 dependent on the state the item is shipped to)
- import duty (none for items made in North America following NAFTA rules)
- brokerage charges (anywhere between $20 to $200+)

2) The important and difficult charges are the brokerage charges: Usually FEDEX Ground and UPS Ground charge fairly high brokarage charges for their own highly paid lawyer (anywhere between $20 to $200+). Air shipping (FEDEX Air, UPS expedited, UPS Express) are usually free of brokerage charges.

See for example:

UPS Brokerage rates

3) Of course the distribution of all these different costs should be agreed on beforehand and usually the receiver in Canada will pay for it. Just don't sell to any zero feedback members in Canada if you are afraid of being stuck with customs charges.

All cross-border transactions would be so much easier if people on both sides would be aware of the costs and possible problems.

Certainly there is no need for an irrational fear of shipping internationally!

Good luck,

I'm Canadian and I've dealt with Americans from both buying and selling end of the deals. I've only had positive experiences with Fedex Ground and UPS Ground. Yes, brokerage fees are stupid but what can you do.

Please don't black ball me! I have perfect feedback!
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I'm Canadian, and I end up going to Seattle to pick stuff up, because CANADIAN CUSTOMS are a pack of petty rogues. In fact I'm in the US right now picking up an architectural model that I had a friend of mine build. He builds violins, guitars, manolins etc...

(I can't resist making a plug for him - he does impeccable work - he is an as yet undiscovered mastercraftsmen of stringed instruments - his company is called 'Brave Old World' guitars. tel# 509-493-0230. He deserves this credit! (and he's a terrible self promoter)

If I were to have it shipped directly to Canada it would have cost me up to 500$ in taxes and duty.

On the rare occasion that I do use Fedex, I use air, not ground. Brokerage fees are included with air so it ends up costing about the same.
Hi,I am canadian,and I bought so many things from US through USPS,UPS,every time I received the parcel I have to pay custom tax and management fee before you take the parcel.I don,t think the delievery guy will let you take the parcel without payment.One thing I don,t undestand when the shipper from United Stated pay the cost to Fedex or UPS to ship to Canada,the receiver of Canada has to pay the fee to Fedex or UPS again.From my experience,the USPS is better than UPS and Fedex.
I have shipped to Canada several times in the past without any problems at all. I was under the impression that if the Canadian buyer refuses to pay the duty taxes he could not take possesion of the shipment. Canadians here on Audiogon are friends as well as some of our best members. Can't let one or two isolated incidents destroy that!
I am Canadian and I had many items bought in the USA and shipped by Fedex, and never had any problems, I did pay duties and taxes as I should. Here is my story, one day I get a item delivered to me at home which I bought in the USA delivered by fedex. They want me to pay them a broker fee for clearing the package, I had ask the seller to put on the package that I would clear my own customs, and he did. I questioned the issue with fedex and they told me that I couldn't clear my own package. They told me that they had an agreement with the Canadian goverment that they would clear all packages coming into Canada. I replied I don't think so, let me look into it. Let me just say that the price of clearing items going to Canada is very expensive, and I found out that fedex had lied to me, and did let me clear my own items. I think the item cost $35.00 and the clearing cost for customs was as much. Also many poeple don't know how to use the free trade agreement between USA and Canada. If the item is made in the USA the trade agreement may apply, which means no duty just provincial taxes apply. For the Canadians who are not paying there share on these transaction shame on them, they should be reported to the gon and suspended. Seller should not have to pay any duties no clearence fees or taxes, why should they. I now reside in the UK and I have to pay all the same here, clearence fees, vat 17.5% taxes and duties and I do.
I just bought an amp from someone in Canada and everything was smooth, 3 day shipping, through customs via FEDEX, no problems. Dealing with the exchange rate was a small hassle.
All you friendly, acommodating Canadians are making it tough for me to freeze out of future sales. Not only do you guys have great audio manufacturers north of the border, you're true audiophiles too!
Hey, look at my feedback. I have bought my stuffs from the State in the past few years with no problem at all. There can be really smooth transactions.

As a responsible adult, I think all Canadian buyers should know they have to pay the duty, taxes, brokerage fee etc, NOT by the USA sellers. You can use your own intelligent or knowledge to lower what you have to pay, BUT you have to pay for your part.

Shame on those that don't have these common senses and you better buy from your local junk yards.

I do encourage the USA sellers to deal with Canadian buyers with high feedback rating.

Happy trading!
Dean (Gunbei), nice that all of us nice, friendly "Canadians" were able to convince you to keep shipping things north of the border. I would be a true loss to Canadian Hifi if the access to the US market would be closed due to couple of bad experiences. Pre-living in Canada I have always shipped things cross borders if people were interested. One can have bad experiences on either side of the border, and of course many more good ones on both sides as well.
One can have bad experiences on either side of the border, and of course many more good ones on both sides as well.

Restock, while this is true, what protection does one have from a Canadian not paying their import duties?
Yes, it seems that other more expensive shipping options would rectify this situation. Is the answer to charge Canadians more for shipping, and not allow them the cheapest form of shipment (Fed Ex Ground)?

I have learned enough from this thread that I MAY ship to Canada again, but a Canadian will have to pay more for shipping than a USA buyer. I will try USPS, which is more $$$, but I'll never ship Fed Ex Ground to Canada again.

I will never accept a lowball offer from Canada again, that's for sure.

John, why the hell would you accept a lowball offer period unless you are desperate to sell whatever it is you have?

In addition, I don't understand what kind of fool would want to use FedEx ground or UPS to get anything from the States to Canada. USPS express parcel post with tracking and insurance is much better. If the item is a heavy amp for example, use FedEx Air rather than ground. Yeah, it costs much more but the brokerage fees are all calculated into the charges AND you are guaranteed to receive it within 24 or 48 hours depending on the service you're paying for.
Well, maybe lowball offer wasn't a good term. It was a fair offer, but turned out to be a lowball offer when I got stuck with the brokerage fees. It was just a Shakti Stone. A Canadian with a modest amount of all positive feedback (I want to say around 10 + transactions with 0 - transactions) offered $120 including shipping. My ad was for $125 + shipping. So I accepted his offer, and looked for the cheapest possible shipping method, to maximize my net profit. Fed Ex Ground is the cheapest, it's not even close. Anyway, after you subtract the $35 duty fee, the $85 shipped price turned out to be a lowball offer, though it didn't seem like one originally. I wish I could remember his AudiogoN handle, I'd warn others. However, Fed Ex didn't send me the 'bill' until several months after the transaction. Unfortunately, I do so much volume, that I can't remember who it was.

Thank goodness I didn't ship something more expensive to a Canadian and get stiffed on a even higher duty tax.

Like I said, I still use Fed Ex Ground, for those buyers who want the lowest price w/ shipping included (USA ONLY NOW). I won't use this option for Canadian buyers again, they will have to pay more for the extra shipping costs. It sounds like Fed Ex Express or USPS are the way to go, both choices will double or triple the shipping rates though.

On a side note, I do get quite a chuckle out of international lowball offers. I recently sold a pair of speakers. I had someone in Belgium offer me 80% of my asking price...delivered. I told him that I'd sell for 85% if he came and picked them up. He went on about how it wouldn't be such a good deal for him if he had to fly over just to pick them up. LOL!
You have to laugh at some offers, because they're hilarious. There are plenty of lowballers in the US too, but to me the international lowballers are the funniest. Yeah, like if I'm gonna give something away I'm gonna ship it halfway around the world too. ROTFLMAO!

Not all international buyers are lowballers, most are decent folks, just like the rest at AudiogoN. I just can't imagine what goes through the international lowballers heads. Maybe I shouldn't laugh and just try it. Maybe someone in Europe will ship me a mint pair of Sonus Faber Stradivari for $10k delivered........

John, BTW, I'm Canadian, have used UPS once and had to pay the brokerage fees at the door or the guy would have left with my amp. I almost saved US$300 on shipping with FedEx Air but the guy showed up with the amps 5 minutes before the deadline. Bummer. These days, unless it's a big priced item, I request the express service with USPS. USPS is really not that expensive and, much like UPS, they will not leave the package unless payment is first made.
Keep in mind:
1) A 'certificate of origin' must be provided to take advantage of NAFTA rules (this can be provided from the equipment manufacturer, usually they'll send you one over e-mail, you can then print it- quickest and easiest method)
2)This certificate should be provided by the seller, as it must accompany the package at point of entry into the country. The exception being that the buyer may provide it, if the buyer wishes to clear customs themselves. If the latter is an option, you must clearly state so on the waybill at the time of being shipped. This will save hassles/confusions with your shipper.
3)If picking up or clearing yourself, printing off Audiogon communications between the buyer/seller is a good idea as this is the only real proof of the final selling price. Canada Customs has been this picky- a simple credit card statement has not always sufficed.
4)if you wish to generously donate more funds to our respective governments, ignore all the above and pay duty/taxes.