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Customs Duties - Lens (buy in States, sent to Canada)

G Guhan Gunaratnam , May 02, 2004; 11:24 a.m.


I would like to order a second hand lens from a store in the US. I have read that lenses do not incur duty, as they are covered by NAFTA. I only saw this posted once, and I was wondering how many people could concur with this statement: No customs or duty fees are placed on camera lenses coming from the US to Canada.

Kind Regards


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Don W , May 02, 2004; 11:48 a.m.

I have ordered most of my camera equip from the US and there is no duty on lenses, but there is on cameras. You still have to pay applicable canadian taxes, GST etc.

Mikael Karlsson , May 02, 2004; 11:48 a.m.

Why not simply ask Canadian customs? I'm sure you'd get a far more accurate answer, and better yet an answer you can actually rely on should there be any problems duty-wise in the future...

Les Gyug , May 02, 2004; 12:10 p.m.

Depends on how it is sent, but almost all carriers including Canada Post now will charge GST + PST (or HST if you live where it applies) plus a customs broker's fee. This is $5.00 for Canada Post but considerably higher for all other carriers (e.g FEDEX, UPS etc). If it is a small item, $25 (or more) in broker's fees make the difference between buying across the border or in Canada (either locally or by mail/courier).

The Macman , May 02, 2004; 12:44 p.m.

Have the store write a phoney customs declaration with a much lower price. I asked that about 10 or 15 times and it worked.

G Guhan Gunaratnam , May 02, 2004; 12:53 p.m.

Thanks for the answers guys

On a side note...does anyone know if one can exclude postings from certain members on this forum? (Like an ignore function?) Is this available to photo.net subscribers?

Kelly Flanigan , May 02, 2004; 01:22 p.m.

Most stores are not going to commit fraud by listing an item as a gift; or a lower price. This is BS; at our store we dont do this with foreign shipments. There is nothing to be gained by the store; and it carries the risk of an audit. Some shippers; like UPS tend to make extra profits with brokerage fees; that are not legally applyable. We ship all items to Canada; from the USA; by the US postal service. In the USA; all our shipments are by UPS. Canadian buyers are never happy. The USPS or UPS sites quote delivery dates; from shipments to Canada to USA. Use them with a grain of salt. The web site may list a 3 to 5 day delivery for an airmail dinky 1 lb package; but many times it really is two weeks. The Canadian customs; brokerages; and or postal system sometimes adds much delay. This means Canadian buyers often panic; and call and or email like crazy. We sent an item by airmail to Canada; the same day as an Ebay auction was completed; and was paid by Paypal within hours. We have to make a special trip to the post office; since after 9/11 the postman here cannot pickup a page over 1 Lb; even if he watches us wrap the item. Thus we tack on an extra fee for the "wait in the post office line" expense; which is not enough. Then the Canadian buyer gave us a Neutral on our Ebay feedback; saying "IS a SLOW shipper". The damn package was at the postoffice within hours of the auction close. Canadians need to realize that their postal system is screwed up; ie the bog factor. We tell/email Canadians who want fraudulent customs forms to be filled out to go else where. About 1 out of 4 Canadians email us and aske us this question; and without reading our ebay auctions; in which we state the same darn info 3 times...

Nafta rules vary by product; place of origin; etc. Dont assume the other guys knows the rules. The US postal guys here dont know beans about Nafta rules; here we contact the Canadian customs; get the status on each item we sell. This is a royal pain.

Without the proper "codes"; Customs will often just charge duties; since the seller failed to list country of origin; new/used/age; value. This requires alot of work.

Kelly Flanigan , May 02, 2004; 01:29 p.m.

You should contact CANADIAN CUSTOMS; they are the judge and jury on this matter. It may take a run-around; it took me 1 hour to get the correct person.

G Guhan Gunaratnam , May 02, 2004; 01:33 p.m.

Kelly, could you please let me know the name of your store?

I would also be hesitant to buy from a store that was willing to make fraudulent customs declarations. It just doesn't instill (sp?) a lot of faith.

John Crowe , May 02, 2004; 02:24 p.m.

Canada Customs is not difficult to get on the phone and they are very helpful. US duty is 0%, other international duty is 5%. When buying from the US I always ask for USPS service since Canada Post has a flat rate of $5.00 brokerage on most items. UPS and Fedex are HIGHLY unpredictable with respect to fees and if you do get hit their brokerage fees are astronomical! With USPS/Canada Post you will pay GST and provincial taxes on items greater than $20 Canadian. If under $20 Cdn in value they will come straight to your mail box with no additional charges, and are not held in customs. It is unfortunate that a few impatient Canadians is spoiling our name south of the border. I have enjoyed my experiences doing business with American suppliers. Good luck!

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