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As the saying goes, if you are a wholesaler, you ask for the “China Price”; if you are a consumer, you ask for the “US Price”. It’s well known that US is the shoppers’ heaven, where the best deals in the world can be found. People talk about the free ports, such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai, offer good deals. But the fact is that Singaporeans come to US to buy Levi’s jeans and people of Dubai come to US to buy iPod.

There are many US factory outlets and shopping malls close to the border.  We shall cover the subject in our articles on factory outlets and car shopping.


Read more on the subject in the following pages.

12 responses so far. Leave a comment

12 Responses to “Shopping”

  1. SilkeNo Gravataron 22 Jan 2009 at 7:36 am

    thank you for that tip! I ll try it


  2. shoppingon 23 Jan 2009 at 1:30 pm


    Your topic Shopping in US | Better Value in Dollar was very interesting when I was browsing on Friday. I was searching for shopping and came across this topic. What do other people think? Great stuff….

  3. Cameron MacIntoshNo Gravataron 10 Jan 2010 at 6:29 pm

    I’m looking to go cross border to buy a used guitar off of craigslist. What kind of fees would I be charged if I the price was over the value I’m allowed to take home for the time I’ve been gone? I’m just unsure because it’s used and therefore not being purchased in a store, therefore he won’t be collecting tax…


    SMNo Gravatar Reply:

    Canada Customs is only concerned about the total paid. Just make sure to get a receipt. Hey — as I remember… there is no duty on stringed instruments made of wood. This includes the case(1 soft/1 hard) if you bring the whole thing across as one ‘unit’, one group. Also, if the guitar needs new strings… buy them, and put them on because whatever is ‘part’ of the instrument is considered part of the exemption.


  4. jimiNo Gravataron 26 Jan 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I interested in buying a new receiver for my home theatre from state, the product made in Japan.
    Do you know if I have to pay a custom duty on it.
    Thank you


  5. regNo Gravataron 24 Sep 2010 at 9:11 am

    I am looking at purschasing a vucuum in the US for $400, what would the duties and taxes amount to when returning to Canada after 24 hrs but less than 48 hrs


  6. JudieNo Gravataron 03 Dec 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I am hoping to buy a big screen HD television set to take back to Alberta but cannot find what the duty might be before I make the purchase. I have been in the States for three months.


  7. LynnNo Gravataron 06 Dec 2010 at 11:47 am

    Hi-I’m wondering what the duty would be for an i-pod touch around $225 purchased in the states and brought across to canada


  8. davidNo Gravataron 27 Apr 2011 at 5:34 pm

    We (wife and I) have been cross-border shoppers since 1982; the years of a weak canadian dollar have never stopped us. It is difficult to understand comments like “now the dollar is at par, it’s worth shopping in the US”. Wake up Canadians, the savings where there when we had a 60c dollar and they’re there now.

    We currently live (retired) in southern Alberta and regularly shop in Montana and Washington and we don’t get hung up on exemption amounts. We recently visited Spokane Valley for a couple of days (we needed a break from the wintery weather) and came back over the border with $1380 worth of goods which we’d had delivered by Amazon.com to the Montana Shipping Outlet in Eureka, MT. At the border, we answered the normal questions and then showed the list of items (about 50) to the agent at the border. He took one look and said “have a nice trip back to Calgary” I guess it would have been too much paper work.

    Purchasing on-line from Amazon.com and having the items sent to a pick-up point in the US gets free shipping (most of the time). Shopping in Montana (0% Sales Tax) and Washington (Tax-free to Canadains that don’t have a PST like AB, BC, ON, and all of the other HST provinces – just show your drivers licence) gets more savings.

    On the last trip we purchsed a Blanco Silgranite Sink (made in Canada). Home depot.ca price $684; Amazon.com $312. We picked up a Panasonic M/W oven (made in Japan) best price here was $399; Amazon.com $178! As it was we didn’t have to pay anything at the border; however a few $ in GST etc would still have been quite acceptable.

    Three years ago we went down to Kalispell for the day, just to pick-up a water softener. It was $1199 here and $439 at HD in Kalispell. It was made in the US and attracted $22 in GST at the border.

    We don’t spend on hotels unless we need the break why add $200 a day to your bill; it only reduces your saving. We spend hours on-line finding the best prices and organising deliveries. Likewise we find the best places to fill up with gas and review grocery store flyers (butter at $2/lb at Fred Meyer is better than $5.50 at Sobeys!).

    On very rare occasions the pricing in Canada and the US is about the same – as it should be. We can all winge and complain as we hear the retailers telling us that it costs more to distribute goods here and then blame the duties and all of that rubbish. The bottom line is if more folks took the time to shop elsewhere than prices would start to fall.

    I often email IKEA and Pier 1 to complain about their pricing which is about 60% more in Canada than it is in the US. They do send me back rambling letters about how difficult it is to change the pricing! I’d have thought with this computerised age it would have been pretty straightforward. Well let them struggle; we won’t buy there.

    Finally, we appreciate that this all takes time and it’s difficult when you’re working.


  9. qwertyNo Gravataron 04 Jul 2011 at 2:42 pm

    have fun with getting arrested, lol


    JohnRNo Gravatar Reply:

    They aren’t doing anything wrong – they properly declare all goods coming back.

    The notion that prices should be the same though – you can fault. It does cost more to transport goods in Canada, then the US. The US has a bigger market then Canada. Its the scale of economics.


  10. HoybeeNo Gravataron 13 Apr 2012 at 11:38 am

    I am thinking of buying a bicycle for $1500 in the US.
    What kind of fees will I have to pay to bring it back into Canada on an airplane?


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