Look out for Customs & Brokerage Fees
American prices may seem attractive, especially because of the strong Canadian dollar. What many Canadians do not realize is that there are enormous custom's and brokerage fees in addition to Canadian taxes that are added on when the item arrives at the doorstep, which are not part of the shipping costs. There are many cases where customers of American websites are billed by the delivery agency up to 50% of the item's selling price upon delivery! You need not take our word for it, we've found a great article on About.com that outlines Canadian custom's fees without bias.
You may have to pay duty, the goods and services tax (GST) or harmonized sales tax (HST), and provincial sales tax (PST) on items mailed to you. This depends on:
If the item is worth more than $20 CAN, you must pay the applicable duty, the GST or HST, and any PST on the item's full value (see D8-2-2 for details).
Duty and taxes
Payable on most items imported into Canada, the amount of duty and tax you owe -- if any -- will be shown on Form E-14, Customs Postal Import Form, which will be attached to your mail item. Click Here for more information.
When items are imported by mail, Canada Post charges the recipient either a $5 handling fee for collecting and remitting any duty and taxes that are owed to the government, or an $8 handling fee if the item was sent by priority post. If a mail item is duty free and tax exempt, then neither fee is charged.
Buying from a Canadian registered online dealer can save you a lot of time, money and headaches overall, even if the initial sticker price is slightly higher. In Canada, the consumer electronics business is much different than in America due to distribution chains, human population and economic factors. In the same way that the price of a new car is always cheaper in the USA, most electronics and other items tend to follow this trend.
To wrap up, we've demonstrated that there are risks in buying American overall, even if it seems that the price is fantastic at first. Yet the most important point yet to be made is as follows: to help drive prices down in Canada, simply buy Canadian!