It seems that the easiest thing to do these days as online shoppers is to just find the lowest price, add it to your cart, throw it on your credit card and then wait for delivery. As Canadians we want to be smart about how we spend our money and how we support our nation's economy. We all want people to support us and our endeavours, we want other people to see the value that we are offering right here in our own communities and we want everyone to invest in our local economies. These goals are important! It seems somehow that when we start shopping online and looking to protect our own bottom line we forget that we should also be remembering our neighbors. Sometimes when we think we have gotten the best deal by shopping across the border we are forgetting a bunch of little things that may add up to make the desired purchase more expensive than if we'd just stayed within our own borders. So here are a few reasons to think twice before ordering from outside of Canada.
1 - NO FREE SHIPPING - Regardless of how much you buy, if it is being shipped from another country you will almost always have to pay shipping. Here at Central Alberta Military Outlet we offer free shipping on all orders over $200 within Canada. If your order is over $200, this alone can make up the price difference that you thought you found elsewhere .
2 - TAXES - The tax man cometh. That GST/HST has to be paid! You may not see this on your international order at checkout time, but as your order comes across the border those taxes are paid by the courier company, and then they are paid by you. When the package comes to your door it won't be released to you until you pay those taxes. Don't fool yourself, Caesar will collect his dues.
3 - BROKERAGE FEES - this is the fee that the courier company charges for doing all the paperwork required to get your package over the border.
For example, you order from USAAMERICA.SHOP (I made this up, don't try shopping there), they ship it to you with FEDeX or UPS or USPS. That courier ships it to the nearest Canadian border crossing. At this point there is paperwork to fill out, taxes and duty fees to be paid, which the courier will do for you, this is called 'Brokering' your package. As we all know, companies don't do anything for free, and brokering is no different. The fee is based on the value of the package and can cost anywhere from $2 all the way up to $75 or more if the package is valued higher. This fee can be avoided if you go and pick up the package in the states yourself, but then we start getting into travel costs etc. and that is just a rabbit hole.
4 - DUTY - aka Tariff - this is a fee charged by the Canadian Government. This fee varies depending on what the item is and where it was manufactured. Many of the products that people buy are made outside of the US and Mexico and are therefore subject to duty as they cross the border. This fee can be anywhere from 10% to 30% of the value of the order, sometimes even higher.
5 - DISBURSEMENT FEES - So, on top of the brokerage fee that you are paying for having the courier do the paperwork and pay the duty at the border, they are going to kick you with a disbursement fee. This is the fee for having the courier prepay that duty for you at the border. This fee depends on how much they prepaid, but it can often be around $15-$20 more again.
6 - CURRENCY CONVERSION - This is a fun trick played by your credit cards! When you use your credit cards on Canadian sites you are charged Canadian dollars, you pay exactly what the total says. When you use your credit cards on purchases in American dollars, such as USAAMERICA.SHOP, you are charged USD, and your credit cards charge a fee for that conversion. This fee is usually about 3.5% in addition the cost of the product, and above the conversion rates. That savings you got may not be as great as you thought it was.
7 - BORDER DELAYS - Waiting won't affect your bottom line, and may even teach us all the valuable lesson of patience, but who has time for that? Ordering outside of Canada almost always increases your wait time. Here at Central Alberta Military Outlet, all our orders are expedited, the fastest most cost effective way for you to get your product.
With all this being said, there are still more reasons to buy Canadian than just your bottom dollar. Supporting Canadian businesses is strengthening Canadians. It is strengthening the employees who are raising up their families. In supporting these families you are investing in the future of our country. We may live in a global economy, but we still live at home, in our neighborhoods with our families. Let's take care of each other.