Shopping Discussion

How To: Cross-Border Shop

Newbie
Jan 11, 2010
56 posts
14 upvotes

How To: Cross-Border Shop

Hey all,

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. :twisted:

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.
packageexpress.com

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. :confused: 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.

Duty
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.
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/menu-eng.html

*Edit: Shout out to blomsted for pulling up the duties information.
bolmsted wrote:
Apr 9th, 2010 11:58 pm
Feel 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.
192 replies
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 11, 2010
56 posts
14 upvotes
Case Study

I'm in the steps of building a new PC. I found a new case I want.

Antec Mini P180
http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=NA==

Being lazy I checked out my local computer shop NCIX.
$99.99 Canadian, Out of stock

Going to my usual fallback I checkout newegg Canada.
$66.99 Canadian, In stock
But wait, $33.83 shipping!

Lets try newegg America.
$66.99 American, In stock, $15 MIR
FREE shipping!

Savings after the MIR and conversion is going to be about 46%.

Just one example of many.....
Deal Addict
Feb 3, 2004
1062 posts
1 upvote
Thanks for typing all of this up, it would be valuable to start a list of Holding/Forwarding houses - my biggest problem is finding one nearby.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 24, 2005
2018 posts
2635 upvotes
Good info OP! I use BorderMail here in Champlain, NY and it's only a 1 hour drive from the greater Montreal area, that includes time to cross the border.

I agree with the others though, this needs to be moved to the Shopping Discussion forum.
Nothing to see here folks...
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 17, 2004
2592 posts
94 upvotes
Ottawa
Adding an American Address to your Credit card, will not always help. Some stores such as Walmart.com will simply not accept a credit card issued to a foreign bank (i.e. non-american)

However in most cases there are alternatives either by paying with Paypal or Gift Cards (which would have to be purchased before hand)
Pepsi WEH Winner - 4 for 4
80's Toy Collector.. have old GI Joes / Transformers you're interested in selling? Msg me!
Deal Fanatic
Jan 13, 2005
7758 posts
151 upvotes
I love having a grandmother that lives in the states.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 7, 2004
2876 posts
37 upvotes
But, MIR won't work without US address...?

no taxes, but there are always duties and takes forever to get here. Warranty is a problem, can't easily RMA anything etc. etc. How do you avoid these barriers?

where is NAFTA?

forwarding rates are too expensive!
http://www.packageexpress.com/Forms/ShippingRates.pdf
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Member
User avatar
Jan 29, 2003
379 posts
Abbotsford
meltedDeals wrote:
Apr 6th, 2010 7:01 pm
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. :confused: Something to look into anyways.
I have transferred my american express card to my US address. I don't think they have the same US/CAN divide like visa/mc do, so I don't think I'll run into issues with it being Canadian issued. At least I haven't had any problems like that in a while and I used to occasionally have problems with my transferred visa.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 9, 2002
2083 posts
188 upvotes
Burlington
elmokiddo wrote:
Apr 6th, 2010 7:06 pm
Thanks for typing all of this up, it would be valuable to start a list of Holding/Forwarding houses - my biggest problem is finding one nearby.
Try CBI (www.cbiusa.com). They're about 2 minutes from the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. Great guys, and reasonably priced too.
Free Nortel tips and tricks blog, as well as second opinion on a move to VoIP (for my RFD friends). PM for details.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Mar 3, 2009
873 posts
28 upvotes
Thanks for the info OP! I would mainly use this for getting clothes or games :cheesygri
Boom Boom Pow!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 10, 2006
1169 posts
169 upvotes
Montreal
meltedDeals wrote:
Apr 6th, 2010 7:16 pm
I'd disagree about moving this thread. It is very similar to the Importing a car from the States thread but no biggy. ;) Just trying to save some people coin.
Agreed.. I would have never saw this post if it was posted in another section.
Good post...
Deal Addict
Oct 12, 2005
1697 posts
185 upvotes
GTA
Very useful. I didn't know I could add an alternate shipping address to my cards. Just added them and now I'll shop US online!!!

But do you enter the US address as the billing address and shipping address or do you still have to enter your Canadian address as the billing address? If you have to enter Canadian address, most US sites don't allow this. Can anyone verify?
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