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What You Need to Know about Buying on Amazon in the U.S. and Shipping Products to Canada

package2Buying products from overseas can be expensive — and it can save you a lot of money. While you can often find great deals through overseas companies, you will also have to pay a lot of taxes and fees to clear the item through customs. In Canada, you will be responsible for paying the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), a handling fee, and depending on the value of your item, maybe even a Goods and Service Charge (GST). These taxes and fees can start to add up fast.
If all those fees weren’t enough, when you order items from outside of Canada, you also have to pay a brokerage fee to your shipper, who charges the fee for clearing your item through customs and paying these taxes and fees on your behalf. The fees go up with the value of your item, like your taxes do, and depending on what you buy, you could easily end up paying two or three times the value of the original item by the time you’re done paying all the taxes and fees.
UPS, which is the preferred shipper of Amazon, charges some especially high brokerage fees. Since choosing another shipper is not an option, there are two ways that you can get around paying these fees: 1) You can go to the customs office yourself and clear the item, which can take up hours of your day and be a major hassle, or 2) you can choose a third-party customs broker.
There are many options for a third-party customs broker, including notable services Clear Smart, Clear It, or AACB. Once you sign up with one of these brokers, you just let UPS know that you are using their services for clearing customs and provide the contact information. The two companies take care of the rest. In the meantime, you potentially save a lot of money.
Make sure that the savings you earn from shopping at sites like Amazon and other low-cost overseas vendors isn’t eaten up by excessive fees. Choose a third-party customs broker to save yourself money on those fees, and choose lower-cost shipping options such as a longer delivery time. Every little bit you save can add up, so make sure you choose all the options you can to save money.

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