Originally Posted by MstrKey
There is no duty on items you buy from the US. You DO have to pay your HST(which you have to pay in canada anyway). That being said, if you ship anything by courier, they usually charge you a brokerage fee....sometimes up to 20%. That's where the rip off part happens. To avoid this, select USPS shipping. Avoid UPS or Fedex and you should be fine.
Let me clarify this some a bit.
Duty is about 5-8$ max from using USPS and Canada Post, they have a maximum when shipping between each other, just about everything is a duty, its the shipping and handling that is charged when switching at the boarder. (hence when you stay a period of time in the states theres a claim amount you can have based how long you stayed in the states for that you dont have to pay duty or tax on)
As for shipping with like Fedex or UPS, they charge you a brokerage up to what ever % they feel like, i have had a leather jacket come in with a 130% "brokerage" their reasoning is "we paid your taxes for you and now your paying us back, at a premium." To avoid this, you call up UPS /Fedex or who ever they shipped with, get the tracking number, have the numbers ready and your credit card ready when you call the customs at the port of entry where it should be arriving, Then you can pay the taxes before courier and they CANNOT by law charge you a brokerage fee. Duty? yes, brokerage No.
It's good to know this, in case you do have a overseas shipment coming to you and fedex/ups always manages to snag it, or you find out later it was shipped UPS/Fedex and you dont want to send it back for them to ship it right. It took me a while to figure this out and how to avoid it. Theres a huge explanation on google with a step by step too.
"There is no duty on items you buy from the US"
This is not true, let me clarify it a bit more too, Duty is only Exempt when you exported it and imported it back, like warranty, or if the item was MADE in Canada first, then shipped to the states and sold in the states and shipped to Canada. Then duty is free. Or like i said above, when you spend time down in the states and your importing it into Canada.
If you live down near a boarder, like a lot of people do, theres shipping addresses and companies who's entire business is Canadians coming across the boarder and picking up their parcels, at a fee depending on the size and how long. Typically i ship to a family friends if im not in a hurry to have it, I'll go down once a month or 2 months, visit, shop, and come back with my goodies in hand no hassle.
I get a lot of my gear from the states, and have probably saved a few thousand dollars doing so, there being a very slim item selection, and typically 6 months behind what the states gets. I still prefer the states over ordering in Canada due to the prices/time they get it. Some items i have bought in Canada like speed feeds. But when a new ninja tank is 200-240$ it's really hard to justify that extra 90$ over 20$ in shipping.