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MMD > Archives > October 2002 > 2002.10.25 > 02Prev  Next

Shipping Parcels to Canada
By Terry Smythe

Lee Munsick says:

> Canadian PayPal recipients a much higher fee.  They also hit
> them with an extremely unfavorable monetary exchange rate.

I live in Canada and am a frequent eBay purchaser.  Many US vendors do
not know about our devastating 65% exchange rate, plus a shark attack
by Canada Customs on top of that.

It gets worse when the US vendor chooses the send the parcel though by
UPS.  Unknown to the vendor, UPS adds a mandatory $30 customs brokerage
fee, regardless if the item is duty free, and/or regardless if the item
is below the threshold of interest by Canada Customs.

I recently tried to buy a hard-to-find part off eBay from a vendor who
absolutely insisted upon using UPS.  The part was priced at only $4.95
(US), well below the $12 (US) threshold of interest.  But by UPS, the
item would have ended up costing me approximately $45 Canadian.  In
this case, the vendor cancelled the transaction because he would not
use USPS.

If sent by USPS, such an item will pass through Canada Customs without
a murmur, right to my door, with the only additional cost being the
USPS postage.

Yes, I can have the vendor declare "customer clearance", but that
requires that I drive across town to the main UPS depot, pick up the
paperwork, drive to Canada Customs downtown, fight with traffic and
parking, clear it, then drive back to the UPS depot to retrieve the

UPS is not kind to Canadian customers with parcels from the US,
particularly those of low value.

I cannot comment on PayPal from the Canadian perspective, as I am
fundamentally opposed to releasing my credit card number.  I prefer
to pay by means of a prepaid US dollar world bank money order, drawn
in US dollars against a major US bank, and sent through the mail.

Even that carries with it a hazard that a US bank teller will only see
"ROYAL BANK OF CANADA" two times on the bank money order, in very large
letters, and fail to see "US dollars" and "New York, NY" in ever so
tiny 4-point characters, once only, buried within an elegant Victorian
filigree border.  In so doing, the teller mistakenly charges the US
vendor a stiff "on-collection" fee for a foreign check, not realizing
it is a prepaid bank money order.

Cross-border transactions are becoming ever more difficult.
So much for "Free Trade".   :-(


Terry Smythe
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

(Message sent Fri 25 Oct 2002, 14:30:31 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Canada, Parcels, Shipping

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