Springbok wrote:I recently wanted to buy a Playbook Travel rapid charger. $79.95 at FS, so bought through Amazon.com for $15.88 plus $8.95 "Standard Shipping" from a vendor called SF Planet. I mistakenly assumed it would be by mail because quoted delivery was about 2 weeks. Then I found it would be by DHL Global Mail.
From what I have read, added costs for brokerage, fees, tax through DHL GM could be about same as if shipment was by Fedex or other couriers even although final delivery will likely be by Canada Post. In this case because of low value, probably OK, but this sort of thing can bite you when ordering from USA.
In this case, because the item value is under CA$20 there would have been no duty, no brokerage, not even GST/PST/HST. Your total cost would have been $15.88 plus $8.95 shipping.
Regardless, any US vendor who wants to do business with Canadians can make an arrangement with Canada Customs and their shipper of choice to charge and collect duties and taxes at point of sale. So if the charger had cost, say $25.88 plus $8.95 shipping the vendor's website would have simply charged HST on the total of $34.83 There would have been no surprises at the door and no brokerage fees or other opportunities for the shipper to gouge you. Incidentally lots of online stores I deal with with already do this including Dell, Newegg and TigerDirect who have online stores in Canada but ship a lot of stuff from their US warehouses and LL Bean(*) whose online store and warehouses are all in the US. In my experience this works remarkably well. Vendors who want to attract Canadians have the means to make the experience pleasant and economical. Even Lenovo, whose Canadian online store is operated out of the US does this with the PCs they manufacture in China. I pay the price plus HST. A week or so later a box arrives at my door shipped from China. No surprises or extra charges.
Even Amazon.com does this for stuff they ship to Canada. They've been doing it for years with books long before they started doing it for other merchandise. It used to be cheaper to buy books from Amazon.com than from Amazon.ca because the books were cheaper and (for under $20 books) the slightly higher shipping costs were more than offset by the lack of PST. So again, if Zappos wanted to facilitate business with Canadians, they could ask their owners for advice.
I suspect that Zappos gave up on us because their policy in the US is to pay shipping in both directions in case the shoe doesn't fit. That's probably prohibitively expensive because of the cost and complexity of shipping returns back to the US. But shoes and clothing in general are harder to sell remotely because size, colour and style matter so much. That's not the same with general merchandise, especially name brand stuff that you can examine personally in a Canadian bricks and mortar store, then order the identical model number from a US online store for a much lower price as you did with the Playbook Travel rapid charger.
(*) LL Bean goes one step further. I can order stuff, have it shipped to a US address and pick it up the next time I'm in the US. I bring the stuff back to Canada and declare it under my personal exemption. Suppose it's a gift but doesn't quite fit the recipient. No problem. I send it back to LL Bean's Canadian returns processor (in Montreal IIRC) who sends it back to Maine. My option is then to have LL Bean ship me a different size/colour at no extra cost or refund the entire cost.
Sedulously eschew obfuscatory hyperverbosity and prolixity.