How To: Cross-Border Shop
With the Canadian dollar reaching par now is the perfect time for to show you how to defeat protection mechanisms preventing Canadians from shopping online from the States. There is no such thing as a 'US Deal Only'. With a little bit of work not only will you save a metric crap ton of money but you'll get to laugh at the suckers paying Canadian retail.
How To: Cross Border Shop Like A Champ
Step 1: Find a US Holding House
This step is key. If you cannot find a holding house in the States you can try a friend. When looking for a holding house you'll want to see if they can provide you will the following services.
- An American postal address. You DO NOT want a P.O. Box address. Many retailers have stopped accepting P.O. boxes as valid shipping destinations.
- Forwarding services. Unless you are close to the American/Canadian border they'll need to offer a service to forward your packages to your Canadian address.
- Able to sign for packages. If the holding house is not staffed or they refuse to sign for packages they may be turned away or not delivered.
I personally use Package Express.
Step 2: Update your Paypal/eBay Information
Both services allow for the addition of secondary addresses. The most important address is the one you add to PayPal. You can get PayPal to send out a verification letter to your American address.
If you wanted too you could open a brand new eBay/Paypal account for your America address. You'll be able to bid on all auctions locked out to Canadians.
*Edit: It has been said in the thread that the option to add a second residence within a different country has been removed from PayPal. If this is the case I'd recommend opening up a new PayPal account and use the second PayPal account just for US based transactions.
Step 3: Add a secondary address to your Credit Card
Some online retailers will check the address listed on your credit card during their verification process. If you call up your credit card (the number is on the back of your card) they'll be able to add your America address to the allowed list.
Congratulations! You can now shop at the majority of US online retailers. I've personally saved $1000's in shipping alone. There is nothing better than being able to select 'Free Shipping' during the check out process. Issues with UPS? Stick it to them now.
Bonus Step: Get an American Credit Card
As a last resort some retailers will ONLY process American issued credit cards. This can be defeated too by using your American address. I've yet to do this step but it is next up. When I was visiting Target the offered me a credit card right at the check out. When I told the clerk I was Canadian she said it did not matter. Something to look into anyways.
Protip: Pay no taxes
Staying legal this ONLY applies to those people driving across the border to get their packages. ALWAYS drive across, do not use the walk across feature. The Canadian Border guards are human and when they are bored/unmotivated or in a rush they tend to wave a fair amount of declared goods. My record is $300 tax free. This is hit and miss but is always a pleasant surprise when they wave you through.
I've seen this word thrown around on RFD and I think people do not fully understand what it means. You will only be charged duty on certain packages. I'd encourage you to take a peak at. I've yet to be charged duty on anything I've brought across myself.
*Edit: Shout out to blomsted for pulling up the duties information.
bolmsted wrote: ↑Apr 9th, 2010 11:58 pmFeel free to put this link into post #1 for people to see...
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/trade-commer ... u-eng.html
Click on the first PDF link for chapter by chapter break down of the different things that are charged or NOT charged duty.
Click on the second PDF link for a massive (approx 1700 pages) complete document of all the tariffs and save for quick reference.
Print off the relevant sections and take it with you for documentation purposes when you cross the border. I plan to later this year.
There are a number of big ticket items that you can save customs on such as cameras, projectors, etc
Also, any item that's made in Canada, US, or Mexico with labeling on it saying so will be considered duty free as well regardless of the above PDFs. The PDFs are handy for items that are made in other countries but still qualify as duty free or minimal duty.