When Canadian residents make online purchases from U.S. based companies the shipping can become quite a hassle. While no one likes to pay shipping charges from the U.S. to Canada there are times when it needs to be done. The problem is that certain products residents of Canada need to purchase can only be purchased from the U.S. Even items that can be purchased in Canada are often cheaper if they are purchased in the U.S. instead. This causes Canadians to sometimes purchase items from the U.S. even if they would rather not.
This summary of shipping costs should give Canadians a good idea of what they are getting into when they order an item from a U.S. retailer. Also included are a few suggestions for Canadian customers, courtesy of Kirk Scuba Gear.
The first thing Canadian residents should do is check for sites that offer either international shipping or shipping within the U.S. and Canada. The most irritating thing that can happen to an online Canadian shopper is that they may spend time picking out the items they wish to purchase from an online store, getting their shopping cart ready, clicking on check out and finding out that the retailer does not ship purchases to addresses in Canada.
The best online retailers clearly state their shipping policies in a place where customers can see them before beginning the checkout process. These policies are usually found in the help, shipping policies or customer service sections of a website. The shipping charges for all items are determined by the weight of the item, its size, the distance it must be shipped, how fast the customer wants it shipped and the number of items they are purchasing. Customers should carefully read the shipping details before finalizing their purchase. Canadian customers have to factor in the cost of the exchange rate as it applies to both the cost of the merchandise and its shipping charges. Those purchasing items with a credit card may have to pay an additional charge for the conversion of the currency used in the transaction.
Customers must be sure to carefully check the method that is being used to ship the items to them. In general, Fed Ex and UPS offer faster delivery times than the USPS when the Canadian Customs number is used.
In addition to offering faster delivery times both UPS and FedEx are cheaper methods of having items shipped than the USPS. Customers are often caught off guard by the fees that custom broker services charge. These services are used by both the postal service and courier companies. The services are used to process packages in Canada and get them through customs and past the Canadian border. The fees incurred through this process must be paid by the customer.
Almost any item that can be imported into Canada is subjected to the Goods and Tax Services (GTS) that both FedEx and UPS use. Customs duties are applied and then the GTS on the purchase is calculated. When items are shipped via USPS they are subjected to the sales tax of the province the product is shipped to.
How To Avoid Shipping Costs
Shoppers who live in a Canadian town that borders the U.S. have certain options. If you choose to, you can get a mailbox in one of the nearby American cities and have your items shipped to that mailbox. Once you retrieve the items you will have to take them across the Canadian border. You may be subjected to extra fees when taking the items into Canada.
Taking an extended U.S. vacation is another way to avoid shipping costs. Simply have the items shipped to you at your U.S. residence. If you stay in the U.S. for an extended amount of time when you return to Canada you can claim a specified amount. Having your Kirks Scuba Gear items shipped to you in the U.S. may be free depending on the items you purchased.
If you have a relative living in the U.S. you can always have them receive the items you purchased.
All you have to do is a visit a UPS store in the U.S. and you can create an address where you have all your purchases shipped. Once you have created the address, simply spend the day in places near the UPS store and you will be able to return home with your purchased items. You may encounter fees at the border if your items cost a certain amount of money.
Before having any items shipped make sure to check the websites for the USPS as well as UPS and FedEx. This will give you a good idea of how much it will cost to have your items shipped. Online businesses sometimes charge more for shipping than they should, so do your homework before purchasing anything.
Companies such as Bono and MyUS.com ship items to a central distribution center before they ship them to Canadian customers. This process usually incurs some steep fees, so read the fine print before having your items shipped this way. Doing research before making any purchases will help you avoid unpleasant surprises later on.
The smart thing for Canadian customers to do when ordering products from U.S. stores is to have them shipped using USPS. Though it may take a little longer to get your items this way and may involve paying more than you would have otherwise it is still the best option in order to avoid having to pay extra fees.