Shipping from US to Canada

Hi everyone,

I've never bought anything over the net before, but would like to know how the US-CAN shipping works. Let's say I buy a headphone amp for 200 USD used ... will they charge me tax on this (even though it's used)? If I ship with UPS, which is the cheapest, can I tell the seller to fix the value at say, 50 USD (and hence, pay less tax), but still have UPS insure it for 200 USD? I figure this is not too outrageous since the purchase could be something with zero market value, but worth a lot for the individual.

Thank You.
For used components under $1000.00cdn use USPS (us post)
you will pay nominal fees (usps don't insure for over 675.00us)....For components over $1000.00cdn
Use anybody except UPS They are the most expensive and often they damage the merchandise.. I've just receive a used Linn LP12 the table have serious damage and they charged me $331.50cdn for taxes and brokage fees...And i'm still waiting (more than a week now) for somebody to come and see the damage. I have told the seller not to ship UPS.
He did it :-(
You can not have an insured value that is greater than the declared value.
You can have a declared value that is greater than the insured value.

Customs people aren't stupid. Lets see, it's insured for $200 and declared for $50. Hmm...
You are asking for serious problems.
U.S. & Canadian customs got wise to that game around 1991.

BTW, if you falsify your customs declarations, U.S. or Canadian customs has absolutely NO problem
with seizing your items and destroying them (and good luck fighting them on that).
Also, keep in mind, we have found that many of these customs personal have the attitude of an angry postal employee, and they are happy to flex their one ounce of power against you, if you give them the chance.

"UPS, which is the cheapest,"
That statement is simply incorrect and very vague.
Fed EX, DHL, AirBorne, UPS etc, all have about the same rates for
the same services between the U.S & Canada.
We have found UPS to be the least cooperative if you happen to have any customs problems.
USPS is probably the best for smaller items, but they have insured limits that seem to vary for no explainable reason. Also, if you have to file a claim you will really be in for a nightmare
(and USPS is infamous for losing items, where as UPS is infamous for breaking them).
We rarely use USPS, and have not shipped anything with UPS since 1998.

Yes, on used non Canadian made items from the U.S. to Canada you will pay tax on them.

Copyright @ 2001 HelloSimplyMusic
I can speak from some experience receiving goods from the US to Canada so here are my comments in bullet form:

- taxes and duties will be charged on items coming into Canada based on their country of manufacture.

- if made in the USA then you will have to pay taxes only

- if made say in the UK you are subject to duties as well as taxes based on whatever the value of item is and where it fits into Canada Customs and Revenue's rules/regulations that pertain to products from the UK

- apparently there are no duties (but taxes) on new cd players coming into Canada from the US that are made in Japan ( I was not charged any taxes, only brokerage on my Sony SACD player from Oade Bros in Georgia using UPS). Not sure if this also applies to European manufacturers???

- taxes will be based on value in $US converted into Cdn $$

- in my experience taxes seem to be charged with no certain rules (I'm sure there are but they are never consistant)

- if you are receiving from USPS to Canada Post, Canada Post will collect all duties/taxes and charge you $5 Cdn for collecting your money on behalf of the Gov't.

- insure for replacement value or at least the amount you are out of pocket and yes make sure the declared and insured value are the same

- be sure to document that the item is "made in the USA" and is "used". A used item of lesser value may not receive any taxes - I stress "may not" as I have not paid taxes on $125 interconnects but paid taxes on a used $25 cd.

- USPS has been successful for me in the past with items that aren't too large (say 20lbs or less) and are valued at less than $250 US. Also had good success selling from Canada to the US also using Canada Post/USPS.

- UPS charges brokerage fees which typically cost around $50 Cdn for importation if you use their service. Apparently Fed Ex includes these fees in their rates which are no doubt more expensive - UPS is probably about the same when you factor in the shipping cost + brokerage.

- in my experience UPS in Canada will not ensure used audio gear unless you have Mailboxes Etc. pack it for you and purchase insurance through them. That way they soak you twice - once for insurance and the other for the packaging

- there is no COD cross-border, only within our respective countries

- you can always try and get money back from the Gov't but its a hassle and pretty well a lost cause unless you have everything documented. Ex I bought new cables from the US valued at $150 (but no currency detailed) for which I was not charged taxes but Customs opened the package to confirm the contents. They were faulty and were returned back to the US for repair. Upon their return to Canada I was charged taxes this time so who knows why they do what they do. Take Brian's comment to heart - don't screw around with Customs as you can lose your item without discussion and the "checking" has been heightened since 09/11.
Depends on what you are shipping. I have asked sellers to ship by USPS with good results, the cheapest and I have never lost anything with them. Don't use UPS, they are very expensive and they charge very high custom brokage fee.
simple.Use only USPS.Have bought over 200 items in last 4 years never a proble.Used UPS once big problem.
Hello everyone,

Thanks for the exellent response! I really apprieciate the information. I guess I should have been more specific in my question. What I plan to buy is a used power cord for 30 USD. According to the USPS online calculator, it's around 15 USD shipped to Toronto (Economy parcel 4-6 weeks!). Finding that 15 USD shipping is just too outrageous for such an item, I went to the UPS website. I calculated a 3lbs. item of 50x50x30 cm /w 100 USD insurance to be only 8.81 USD shipped to TO.

I'm now somewhat confused about the UPS "brokerage fee" that I read. Do they apply this to everything? ie. a 30 USD item? All I can say is this is very confusing and that I find the Canada Post website/calculator to be a lot better.

Thanks again for reading.

btw. the link to the USPS calculator results:
Yes UPS being the criminals that they are will ding you about 30.00 Canadain to clear the package.They dont tell you this.Its called the UPS stick it in your ear charge.
The Package can be sent as a small packet.Shipping will be much less.than 15.00 about 6/7 US.USPS is your best choice.
UPS is horrible. Shipped a Palm V over to Canada a few years back got charged $100 for brokerage fees... The declared value was CAN$400.
Do you know how much Baxglobal charges in the brokage fees? Are they included in the shipping fees?
I used BAX and you can go and be your own broker for them or other shipping companies ....they allow this..well worth it on $$$ items..It took all of 2 mins...stamp this and that ..cut them a check..and goods in hand run home and play with new toy !!
I'm in Canada and have purchased a number of power cords from US sellers. Have them send it to you via U.S. postal service (will cost about $5 or $6 surface and will probably reach you just as fast as air which is more expensive) and tell them to declare a value of about $8 and you won't have to pay anything. Forget about the insurance; pretty hard to damage a powercord!

Would you have any information if UPS would charge a brokerage fee for shipping from US to Canada for a Canadian made item. You only mentioned that they wouldn't charge brokerage fees for a US made item.

Jason - it does not matter where the product is manufactured. A cross border transaction using UPS brings about their requirement for brokerage paperwork and the subsequent cost.
Does anyone have any experiences with the USPS website? I got a quote for a 7 pound item (keyboard box size) delivered to Canada for 19 USD by air parcel (< 1 week). That same item can be delivered by ground (4-6 weeks) for 17 USD?! Are there something wrong here?


From my personal experience you can try sflworldwide because cost wise is low. You can make a quote from them and compare the prices with other shipping company.  Always sflworldwide is cheap and best service