Jul 22 2009
Shopping at US online, Pick up at the border: a great cost saving practice.
Thanks to the resource and commodity material boom, Canadian dollar has been on a par value with US dollar for a year now. Many economists predict Canadian dollar will maintain its value for quite a few more years to come. However, Canadians are still suffering from retailers price gauging, paying 10~20% more on most common merchandise. Cross-border shopping is a popular pastime to Canadians who seek better value in dollar.
Apart from price disparities, there are other things which still rip you off in shipping, brokerage fee and even in payment. If you’re laden with those hidden charges, you’re bargain-hurting no more.
One hardly known practice to the Canadian bargain hunters is to purchase goods online and pick up across border. The idea is to purchase online or on eBay and ship to a UPS store or local mail shop near the border. Because about three-quarters of Canada’s population live within 150 km of the United States border, this works really well.
The border UPS store owners are used to this practice. They normally charge around $5 per delivery. They like you to do a prompt pickup but delaying a week or so is acceptable, in which case do call to inform the owner.
When you cross the border, you can let the border guards know that you are going shopping. Don’t forget your passport these days. Before returning, you want to open the package and make sure that all the parts are there and there is nothing extra. At the Canadian border, you declare the goods with value shown and pay the GST/PST and duty if the goods are not made in US/Mexico. Duty for Japanese electronics is normally 6%.
Shopping this way, people reported saving at least 40% buying a boat or a set of 4 winter tires.