September 05, 2003

OucH Canada!

Just a quick word of warning so as to avoid sticker shock: if sending anything of value into Canada from the States, call the package "cookies" and value it at $5.00.

The Dell laptop we ordered for our son's Vancouver college experience was delivered here to the house so that I could configure XP for him and load a few things I wanted him to have before sending it on. UPS charged $33 to send it in 5-7 days, insured for the price of the computer, and everything was copesetic. Until...

Our son calls and says "do you know how much it costs to ship that computer to me?"

"Yes, thirty-three bucks" I said proudly, thinking of all the packages of cookies and winter clothes we would be sending that way over the next three years. "Not bad, huh?"

"No, dad. There was a $382 (Canadian) tariff and I have to get a bus and go to (Someplace) to pick it up".

I'm afraid I sputtered little flecks of saliva all over my computer monitor. That's about 20% of the cost of the computer, folks. Do we do the same thing to little computers coming here from the north? Something is not right here. Is this a form of punishment so as to force residents to 'buy Canadian'? (Well I guess that's what a tariff is. Eh?) So sonnyboy, you want momma's cookies, you're gonna have to find some nice little cannuckian momma to bake'em for you! Or fly home and carry them back duty-free in your suitcase... the price of an airline ticket may be cheaper than the 'fee' for importing from Goose Creek.

Posted by fred1st at September 5, 2003 05:12 AM | TrackBack

It's crazy, isn't it? Especially when you can get the exact same computer from And yes, those are protectionist tariffs.

As for cookies, there is no way I'd call myself a "nice little cannuckian momma", but there are a few of us up in Vancouver who can bake. And if Nate can hang tight for one of those Regent potlucks, he'll be over the moon. They are amazing - food from around the world and lots of it.

More pictures of Tsuga, please?

Posted by: Lisa at September 5, 2003 12:25 PM

Yep. Lisa is right. Works the other way too.
Label it a gift and put a low dollar amount on it.
Or better yet, send US currency and let him pick things up himself.
Blog on!

Posted by: Bene Diction at September 5, 2003 03:53 PM

Never, ever, ever, ever (repeat 2048 times) send anything to Canada via UPS. They rip you off with brokerage fees, charge you to charge the GST and all sorts of added costs and crap. He should refuse the package and have it sent back.

Then send it USPS insured, list it as a gift (used computer), and pay the 5 bucks plus the GST that Canada Post Corp MAY charge...they don't always charge anything.

Posted by: Jane Finch at September 5, 2003 05:05 PM

Jane's right... USPS is the best route.

I send stuff to friend who retired in Mexico and USPS to a mail service works best. If I use UPS, DHL or Fedex the customs either "loses" it or adds 40-50% tariff...depends on the official and how much cash he needs at the time.

Sorry, but that's the truth...the Mexican govt is so corrupt.

Posted by: feste at September 5, 2003 07:34 PM

Ouch, that hurts!!! I am with your other readers and only use USPS now. FOr years I used nothing but UPS, then the local drop off place moved and I could only send through Mailboxes or places like that which, of course, added some serious charges. FInally I tried the post office and never looked back. Everything goes through them now!!

Posted by: Cyn at September 5, 2003 09:17 PM

Fred - I've been thinking about this more. Because Nate is a US citizen, using a US computer, I don't think he should be paying duty on the computer - at least that's what I remember from being a customs officer!

Contact me via email and we'll chat further. $382 US is a lot of money. That's like a million Canadian dollars.

Posted by: Lisa at September 5, 2003 10:21 PM

Thanks for a great informative post. I didn't understand how these things worked but had been told once that it cost more for someone to recieve in Mexico than give. Now we know about Canada and can think twice or look it up before we send anyone a gift.

Posted by: meg at September 6, 2003 07:13 PM

A bit over one year ago, I packed up a laptop and sent it off via USPS without so much as insuring it. I mailed it from south central Kansas on Saturday (pickup time 6:00 PM) and it awaited Bogie (New Hampshire) when she got home from work on Monday. USPS ain't perfect, but it certainly beats the competition.

Posted by: Cop Car at September 6, 2003 09:10 PM

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