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I just received a call from a guy in Canada looking to buy three or four widgets that I sell. He said that my prices were some of the lowest on the internet. These widgets also come with a $50 rebate coupon.
I told him that I would have to check to see if the product can be shipped outside the US, because many of the products I sell cannot. He got really snippy about this, saying that no other retailer he'd called had brought that up. I said that the other retailers may not be aware of the potential criminal penalties and fines.
Turns out it's legal to export these, though. However, the $50 rebate offer is only good in the US. The guy wanted to work out some kind of deal with me, where he'll pay so many dollars for the items, and I would then cash in the rebate coupons myself. I told him that, if I were caught in that kind of fraud, I would be cut off as a retailer for that manufacturer, and I could possibly face some sort of criminal penalties.
Maybe I should have told him that I'd give him the special price if he'd smuggle some cocaine over the border. I'd pay him a good price, too. ;)
[edited by: MLHmptn at 3:45 am (utc) on May 1, 2009]
I always assumed it was due to having a history of problems needing to buy from the US and the resulting shipping problems, import fees etc.
There is something weird about Canadian customers. They always call rather then email, and they tend to say inappropriate things or have an attitude which is hard to describe.
Strange. As a Canadian, I have found that most Canadian and American customers have been polite and reasonable. There has been bad apples however, and I had more problems with American ones rather than the Canadian ones. But maybe this is just because Americans outnumber Canadians 9 to 1.
We do NOT mark customs forms "gift".
We do NOT lie about the customs value.
Good, you are doing the right thing. As a Canadian it cheeses me off that people want all the benefits of living in Canada yet do not want to pay the taxes that support the country.
Also, by "cheating" with the Customs forms you are undermining the Canadian retailers that are playing by the rules and paying the taxes and expensive import duties.
Sorry to hear that some Canadians are giving you American folks a hard time, keep in mind they are the minority and that most of us are courteous and kind.
I have never noticed any difference between Canadian and US customers, but I do get people from all over asking me to mark the customs form "gift," which I don't. OTOH, I always mark a minimal amount for the value; that's mostly out of laziness on my part, though--I just don't want to look up the order amount. I have had customers from the UK rank me out when I put the regular value or when customs there opened the package and they had to pay duty, which was a LOT, like a third of the cost or something. A few customers there have actually demanded that I put that they would have to pay duty and how much etc., on the cart. Right.
We've always flatly refused to put anything on a customs form other than the truth.
We show customers in Canada & Europe pricing in their native currency as well as what their duty, customs and shipping charges will be. A third party handles the currency exchange and logistics for us.
We ship the orders to a warehouse in New Jersey, and they take care of getting it to its final destination.
The brokerage firms are required to collect duties and sales tax on orders imported into canada, over the exemption limit. The exemption limit has not been raised since the dark ages and stands at $20.
So if a Canadian orders from the States an item worth $25 dollars, they end up paying an extra $20 in brokerage to collect $1 or $2 in provincial taxes (duty is ususally $0).
The American limit is $200, which also makes it worthwhile to do split shipments to customers in the USA (keeping the cost of the products in each particular parcel below $200, and sending them out two days apart), to avoid any duty charges. [This is kind of a grey area with customs, but it does not happen to often, so we are confortable with it]
As an Canadian etailer, I love this arrangement as it allows me to comepete in the US market, and helps reduce American competition (actually, it mostly eliminates it) in the Canadian Market.
However I wonder, why the NAFTA powers that be in the USA, has not pushed Canada to revised the exemption limit to a reasonable value like a $100 or $200 dollars. I'm not complaining however.