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I live up in Canada and recently I've made two orders with Reaper. Even though they were both sent usps they've been held up in customs and dinged with duty costs (that have been almost twice what I would have paid for shipping if the shipping wasn't "free"). Has anyone else from Canada had these problems or am I just that unlucky? I'd like to send an email to Reaper about this issue, but not if it was just bad luck on my part. 

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It happens, and how it happens sometimes feels like voodoo. It's on our end, out of Reaper's control. How much were the orders, and do you buy a fair amount cross-border? You might have triggered your import limit.

 

Okay, I switched to a proper keyboard to see if I can add some helpful detail.

 

First, emailing Reaper won't help because there's nothing they can do. They are required, by law, to accurately label products they ship and amounts thereof. They can get into an extreme amount of trouble if they do not. And you can as well, being the importer. This is why when I eBay I insist people label things properly so neither of us gets bit. Revenue Canada will get its money, and they will be very unhappy with people who try to prevent this.

 

Second, as near as I can figure there's an allowable limit per purchase and an allowable limit in total for a certain fiscal period. What this maths out to is still a mystery. I buy a lot from outside, and some things I expect to pay extra on I don't, and some I don't expect to I do. So the rule of thumb is anything you buy from outside, expect to pay extra. If you don't, then bonus. Whatever the rules are, they don't seem to match with reality in my experience.

 

Third, you should not have any duties. It should only be taxes, plus a handling fee. GST or HST, depending on your area. Processing fee should be $5-$10 on average. Your postal slip or receipt should have this info. You can contest the amount if you think it's unfairly calculated, but it's not easy. Is this what calculates out as the total owed for you?

 

You would have had to pay these fees/taxes in any case, so free shipping only means you don't have to pay shipping on top of it. If you order from Reaper frequently, like I do, most packages between $30-$60 should come through without any taxes. Most of mine do. But sometimes I hit a string and everything coming in gets taxes, which leads me to believe that's when I've exceeded my tax-free import limit.

 

That said, I've had back to back packages, both clearly labelled as retail purchases, and the $15 one got taxes and the $200 one didn't. So... well, that's where the voodoo part comes in.

Edited by ladystorm
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I haven't been hit with GST, handling or duty in a long time, either ordering from the states or from the UK (off ebay uk amazon uk).  I only use the USPS or Royal Mail, never UPS.  There is no rime or reason to it really.  Knock on wood.  You're lucky if you stay below their radar as far as I can tell. 

 

It might just be regional or the relative laziness/overworkedness of the postal workers in whatever region one lives in.

 

When home delivery gets phased out altogether by Canada Post who knows how things may change.

 

Hmm .. considering how cash-strapped Canada Post is, it might also be a new cashgrab.  Remains to be seen.

 

Certainly Canada Post should not charge duty, only GST and a handling fee, just as Buglips says.  What is on the invoice from the post office?

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I sympathize, but as Buglips said, there is nothing we can do one way or the other to impact customs times or fees.

 

Certain codes have lower fees, but we are required to use the correct code, and have worked with our customs agents to ensure that we are using the most accurate code for our product. This is usually the lowest-price-category code that is still valid, but sometimes we were required to choose other codes.

 

We do everything we can to make the information accessible so that the customs agents may process the package quickly, but it is ultimately beyond our control. Likewise, what fees they choose to assess or not assess are beyond our control, and as Buglips' experiences point out, they often take our declarations as guidelines, and not as instructions.

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I have never had a problem ordering from the states, and the only things I've had problems with customs was over anime. For some reason they get a bit touchy on that stuff, probably because enough of it that gets ordered is not ordered for the quality of story and animation, if you get my meaning. And some of that is for a small fringe element that borders on the illegal

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You have to remember that it isn't Canada Post that charges the GST/HST or the handling fee, but the Canada Border Services Agency (part of it used to be called customs).

 

Part of the VooDoo is based on how new or experienced the Border Services Officer (BSO) is, if there is a blitz on, if a company is being looked at for verification of it's declarations, or if you have been lucky enough to get hit by computer selecting you randomly (or the BSO is having a bad day ::o:). There are likely other parts, but I don't want to tempt fates.

 

If Reaper did play games with the classification codes and got caught, then there is a good possibility that every order from Reaper would be examined, possibly for years. I would rather that they declare the items properly.

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I don't often order stuff from the US, so unless the limit is really small I can't see that being a problem. So far the only time I've ever been charged taxes (it is taxes, sorry, I get that and duties mixed up and often think they're the same thing) is on packages sent by UPS. I don't think I've ever had a package sent USPS that was caught by customs or dinged by taxes. I've even ordered stuff from Reaper before and never had a problem with any of it. However, my last no-taxes order with Reaper was before Kickstarter 1. I thought maybe the new taxes and customs thing was because of what happened during kickstarter 1 and the whole free shipping to Canada thing, which is why I wanted to see if it was a problem for other Canadians. Now, since my last order was about $23 in taxes for an $80 order I think I'm going to stick to buying from places within Canada, like RAFM. Shipping charges, although they are getting out of hand as well, still wont be as much as border taxes.

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ShadowRaven,

 

If the shipping company was UPS, then there is a good chance that they were the ones to charge you the GST/HST and added a brokerage fee. They do this automatically, which is why a lot of us don't like using UPS.

 

It was USPS, because it was free shipping.  Revenue Canada assigns taxes to imports, which are also paid via courier services, but the difference is that post office charges you $5-$10 to do it and a courier is $20+.  

 

Now that said, and I like to beat up on couriers as much as anybody else - paying the courier brokerage fee means you don't have something sitting around in customs for 14 days.  You're paying extra for it to be more quickly processed, so if time is an issue it's a good service and how couriers are able to offer expedited delivery.

 

I think most of the bad taste comes because most of us find the first charge of that kind a surprise and it feels like a sneaky charge. 

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