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  1. #1
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    customs duties and shipping a frame

    Hi
    I got a question - I will be receiving a frame that I bought. Im not sure which service he will use to ship, but I would like to avoid paying alot of customs fees. Any suggestions? Ship as gift? Its coming from NY.
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    This time of year, marking as a gift would raise little suspicion. I don't recommend falsifying customs paperwork, just giving my opinion.

    Also given the time of year, and the amount of packages going through customs, chances are relatively good that it would come through without any charges even if marked at it's actual value. If they do it it, the usual outcome is GST plus $8 if it's through the mail. Avoid UPS ground, they'll take a LOT. Chances are very low that you'll get charged duty based on country of origin, which is supposed to be 0 for bike parts anyways, but I have heard of it happening on the very rare occasion.

    You could also ship it to a UPS store, or a place like U.S. Address and drive across the border to pick it up.

  3. #3
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    I had my wheelset shipped via USPS / Canada Post (which according to the CBSA website should have had something like a 13% duty charge) and inspite of it being held in Customs for a week, I was not charged any duty even though it was properly labelled in both content and price. I was only charged tax and a $8 handling fee.

    However, being that I'm not concerned about every last penny I have, I prefer UPS "worldwide" services. It costs a fair bit more, but whenever I use it, I never even get charged the tax, let alone duties/brokerage fees AND it gets here WAY faster than any other method (except possibly as nick stated - getting it shipped to a US mailbox and going to get it yourself).

    Unfortunately as far as shipments that have to be cleared by the CBSA goes, the reality is your experience will really based solely on what kind of day the CBSA agent is having when he gets your shipment.
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  4. #4
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    Ask him to use USPS or as XLNC said, a UPS service that IS NOT UPS ground. UPS ground is subject to their ridiculous brokerage fees. Their faster worldwide service is not.

    All packages are subject to taxes regardless of what carrier you use. If you don't get charged taxes, it is because:
    a) a fluke
    b) valued at less than 20 dollars
    c) marked as gift or low value on paperwork

    Stuff from China or UK gets over looked (a fluke) for taxes far more than USA.

    USPS would be my first choice. I just had a guy from MTBR sell me a fork, shipped it with low value from NY state. Took 5 business days, and no tax, duty, or brokerage.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nspace View Post

    USPS would be my first choice. I just had a guy from MTBR sell me a fork, shipped it with low value from NY state. Took 5 business days, and no tax, duty, or brokerage.
    If you dont mind me asking, how much did the guy put down as value for the fork (versus actual value)? Im just not sure if putting the value at something like 50 bucks for a bike frame would result in customs getting suspicious?
    Last edited by pizon; 12-06-2012 at 10:48 AM.

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    $20. Anything over is subject to taxes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nspace View Post
    $20. Anything over is subject to taxes.
    I must have edited while you were answering. Do you think the customs would be suspicious if a bike frame was valued at 20?

  8. #8
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    As noted above, random luck is a big factor as far as I can see... I bought four frames on Ebay over the past few years, three got through unscathed one got tagged. On the basis of those odds, was happy to pay in full. The odd seller will understate the selling price which can be a big help. But the truth is, with our tarsands-dollar running 60% higher than it was in the bad old days when the tarsands weren't economically viable, having to pay 13% tax and/or 13% duty is not a big deal.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pizon View Post
    I must have edited while you were answering. Do you think the customs would be suspicious if a bike frame was valued at 20?
    Yes. I think customs agents are well-versed in the old "gift" or low declared value routines. Whether they have the time or inclination on that particular day to pull it aside and throw the book at you in assessing all possible charges because you've insulted their intelligence is another matter altogether.

    They are left to their own discretion in terms applying their own value assessment instead of what has been declared by the sender. Especially in the absence of a non-commercial receipt/invoice. If they do not trust the declared amount, they just hit a web search and learn if there's a large discrepancy between the declared value, and the cost of the item they find on the internet. If that discrepancy is not to their liking, they'll probably nail you to the full extent possible. I've seen it done just as described above.

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    ok, so the guy plans on using usps. I think shipping it as gift, used bike parts, slightly undervalued would be a reasonable solution?

  11. #11
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    Bike parts do not have duty. Complete bikes are 13%.
    It's luck of the draw if you get nailed for taxes and the $8 Canada Post fee.

    Make sure it is clearly marked bike parts and ship US Postal Service. It's a little better than 50-50 that you will get it no charges.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pizon View Post
    ok, so the guy plans on using usps. I think shipping it as gift, used bike parts, slightly undervalued would be a reasonable solution?
    Except it would be an easily detectable lie. It's not that much extra money. Is the risk worth it? /mom-voice

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerdgirl View Post
    Except it would be an easily detectable lie. It's not that much extra money. Is the risk worth it? /mom-voice
    I think the obvious solution here is to create a fake web site, hit the SEO optimization, and then an army of minions over the next few days to pump its search ranking to the top of the list on all the major search engines for the frame being shipped, so that if the customs agents go to do a value/price search on the internet it will show as being $19 and subsequently let it go without any taxes or duties. It (almost) worked great for this guy, up to the point where his ridiculous scheme was uncovered and he lost millions of dollars in salary during his suspension;

    How Melky Cabrera's fake website scam failed to prevent his drug suspension - National Technology | Examiner.com

  14. #14
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    please be careful not to use UPS express or red service

    Quote Originally Posted by nspace View Post
    Ask him to use USPS or as XLNC said, a UPS service that IS NOT UPS ground. UPS ground is subject to their ridiculous brokerage fees. Their faster worldwide service is not.

    All packages are subject to taxes regardless of what carrier you use. If you don't get charged taxes, it is because:
    a) a fluke
    b) valued at less than 20 dollars
    c) marked as gift or low value on paperwork

    Stuff from China or UK gets over looked (a fluke) for taxes far more than USA.

    USPS would be my first choice. I just had a guy from MTBR sell me a fork, shipped it with low value from NY state. Took 5 business days, and no tax, duty, or brokerage.
    or you will be killed with the charges. At least call UPS if you are thinking about it to get a quote. BTW what is the value of the frame, if it is like $1500 one thing, if it is $300 really a totally different circumstance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ol-crank View Post
    or you will be killed with the charges. At least call UPS if you are thinking about it to get a quote. BTW what is the value of the frame, if it is like $1500 one thing, if it is $300 really a totally different circumstance.
    im paying 1400. Im thinking of putting value at 1000, shipping as bike parks, as merchendise

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    Taxes are taxes, you gotta expect to pay them whether you buy up here or down there. The pricing differences between Canada and other countries can be huge. I suggest that you try to accept that as good enough, with the bonus that sometimes you get lucky and they let something slide. (The Christmas season is usually pretty lucky for this) You can cheat, lie, and try get around them, but you can get caught. It's not fun. I got "caught" for not declaring something that was put in my car for a co-worker when I went to the Niagara Falls NY location of a my friends work. All I went to pick up was some bike parts for myself from US Address, and some parts for his Porsche. The guy at the loading dock tossed in a BMW fuel pump for someone else who worked with him. For whatever reason, maybe because the super old Porsche parts seemed too low of value they searched my car, found the BMW fuel pump I had NO IDEA was there, and I'm under the magnifying glass for 7 years.

    I declare everything when I cross the border since then, and have a few 'tricks' that work well. Spend the night in a hotel with the wife/GF, they let you get away with a lot more having been there a day, and it makes for a good time out. When they ask "what's the value of goods received" break it down person by person in the car. They don't want to write up 3 pieces of paper because you spent $100 on bike parts, your wife bought $120 of clothes, and your son bought $80 in toys. They wave you on. If you simply say $300, chances are MUCH higher that you have to pay. We made the border agent blush and wave us on just to avoid the embarassment one time when the wife held up her lacy corset, or whatever it was at the time.

  17. #17
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by pizon View Post
    im paying 1400. Im thinking of putting value at 1000, shipping as bike parks, as merchendise
    so the diff in case they charge you is $52? Come on, on a $1400 frame in which you can save huge $ purchasing down south and you're going to quibble on that amount.

    Face it and it will make your life so much better: TAX is a fact of life for us Canadians and almost everyone else in the world. It goes to pay for your healthcare and such. As much as we feel govt is bloated and what not, this money goes towards services.

    I purchase goods be it for my business or personal use and declare it all. Sometimes you pay sometimes you don't. Even if you are over for the time frame sometimes they will let you pass. I was down in Buffalo 2 weeks ago with my wife on a day off with her friend and between the 3 of us we spent $600 for a 6hr stay. WOW $78, I'm all ready to pay and he let's us pass. It's the luck of the draw and whatever other formula CB decides to implement. And it's the same with CanPost. IF they catch you fibbing, expect to be on their blacklist and checked all the time

    I've ordered tons from US and UK. All different outcomes. On occasion I'll get the slip on the door but most times they are in my mailbox, not even the $8 brokerage amount.

    Enjoy the frame

    BTW NO DUTY on bike parts, only complete bikes. and as stated already NEVER use UPS GROUND. brokerage will kill you, if you have to use UPS, then expedited will be fine.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by hmto View Post
    BTW NO DUTY on bike parts, only complete bikes
    Duty also on fully built wheels AFAIK.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Duty also on fully built wheels AFAIK.
    Only ever paid GST/HST on assembled wheels coming from the US or UK, never any duty.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Only ever paid GST/HST on assembled wheels coming from the US or UK, never any duty.
    I wasn't saying what will likely be assessed, only what is in the letter of the tariffs which is assembled bikes (includes shop ready factory assembly) and assembled wheels - unless it's been changed since last time I looked. I agree that 99.9% of the time it's likely a customs agent will probably just think of wheels as "bike parts" at zero duty.

  21. #21
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    well getting it shipped as used bike parts we'll see what happens.

  22. #22
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    With a value of $1000 DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE UPS!!! You'll pay ridiculous amounts of brokerage fees. It could be in the neighborhood for $3-400. Ups bases their brokerage fee on their valuation of the item! I once bought a $125 part and paid $80 in brokerage fees! + taxes.

  23. #23
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    it's always a crap shoot. This spring I brought in a

    CX frame, fork, seatpost and handlebar from China, prepaid shipping and it was dropped off without duty or taxes, nothing. UPS though has a bad rep for charging a lot for brokerage fees and Canada Post has never charged me fees, only taxes. The only thing that is for sure is if you spend 48 hours in USA you have $800 exemption and if you had it shipped into Buffalo, went over for 48 hours, you could bring back the first $800 without duty or taxes. The shipper could make out your invoice for a lower value.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickboers View Post
    You could also ship it to a UPS store, or a place like U.S. Address and drive across the border to pick it up.
    Has anyone tried this -- usaddressinc.com?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon123 View Post
    Has anyone tried this -- usaddressinc.com?
    Many times. Bike parts, frames, tankless water heaters.....

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