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Pick up at US border

Posted By BoB On April 17, 2008 @ 8:20 pm In | 41 Comments

Another cheap way for mail order is to ship the goods to US-Canadian border and pick them up yourself.  There are two obvious advantages.

  • Shipping cost is lower or often times free within US mainland.
  • You don’t have to pay the outrageous brokerage fees.

To do this, you need to find a parcel service shop near the border.  A UPS shop or any local mail shop will do.  They normally charge around $5 per delivery.

For instance, if you live in Ottawa, Brockville or Prescott, you can use “Roethel’s Parcel Service” in Ogdensburg a town in US just off the bridge between New York and Ontario on Highway 416/16, less than 1 hr drive from Ottawa. Your mail-order should be addressed to,

Your Name
CO: Roethel’s Parcel Service
1801 Ford Street
Ogdensburg, NY 13669
Phone: 1-315-393-4770
Hours: 9am-4:30pm

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, a very nice lady.

When you cross the border, let the border guards know that you are going shopping (do bring your passport these days). Open your package before you return and make sure all the parts are there and nothing extra. Declare the goods with value shown at the Canadian border 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 and a set of 4 winter tires.

If you live in other areas, you can use Google to search for UPS stores in the desired cities.  Most UPS stores are friendly and reliable.  For example, for UPS store in the Niagara Falls NY is:

UPS Store
1623 Military Rd
Niagara Falls, NY 14304
Phone: (716) 298-4461
Opening hours: 09:00 AM – 07:00 PM, closed on Sunday.

The store was rated “Very friendly and helpful” by other users.

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