Shopping Discussion

Picking up item as US Postal Office?

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  • May 20th, 2011 8:46 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Dec 23, 2007
36 posts
1 upvote
Ottawa

Picking up item as US Postal Office?

Hi everyone,

I just had a quick question regarding shipping. I was wondering if it was possible to have a company (amazon.com) ship an item to a US postal office for general delivery and then drive across the border to pick it up? I live within an hour of a border crossing, and this seems like it would make more sense to me rather then having it shipped across for a lot of money.

The item is a Sony STRDH520, and I can find it for $189 in the US with free shipping from amazon compared to $279 here. I would of course declare it at the border so I am guessing this means I would still have to pay HST on it. (I live in Ontario).

1 option is to drive across, spend the day shopping or doing whatever and then pick it up on the way back. Another option is to spend a weekend in Maine or something with the wife and pick it up at that point because I believe if I am there for 48 hours then there will be no duty.

What do you think the duty will be like if I go for 1 day and pick it up? I honestly have searched for like 45 minutes but can't find the info on duty for an item like this.

To summarize: 1) Will amazon.com accept a post office as a shipping address?
2) Is it a viable option to cross the border to do this. Would duty fees in Option 1 be high enough to make no duty an attractive option?


Thanks for the help.
9 replies
Newbie
Mar 3, 2010
49 posts
22 upvotes
Burnaby
There are many RFD'ers that are doing this. They use mail forwarding services that are located just across the border (I'm from the west so you will have to find these yourself). They are not post office boxes (which is a key because most businesses will not ship to PO boxes). Basically you use the address of the mail forwarding place as the shipping address. Amazon is fairly liberal with regards to shipping to these places. I have ordered lots of stuff from amazon with no problems whatsoever. As for duty, it would be similar any other purchase that you would make if you went shopping down there. You may or may not be sent in to pay duty or taxes depending on the value and the mood of the officer. As for the length of stay down there, on occasion I have just gone down to pick it up and come back right away and was not sent in.. Usually I go down, fill up with gas, stay there for dinner and then come back. I have brought upwards of $300.00 without having to pay anything. BTW I declare everything and always answer their questions truthfully.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 22, 2009
2652 posts
725 upvotes
Lethbridge
No you cannot just send it to "General Delivery" via the post office.

You will have to use a border pickup/forwarding place that will charge you a small handling fee (out West at Montana Shipping Co. it's like $4-6 per package generally, worst thus far being the $32 touch for a set of rims/tires for me).

Just remember to add up all your "fees" + time to see if it's worth it. For me it's $20 in gas + my time, so it's only feesable on large purchases unless I'm already going down for golf or other supplies to pick stuff up.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 23, 2009
5153 posts
679 upvotes
South of Ottawa
There are a few locations in Ogdensburg that will hold a package for pick-up. UPS and a few corporate business centres. I use the Corporate Centre. They charge $5 per package to hold it for you.

http://www.corp-center.com/

The amount of duty will depend on where it's manufactured. If it's made in North America, there is no duty. But you'll still have to pay HST at the border.

While you're there, fill up with gas. Prices are around $4 a gallon right now. There's a Walmart, grocery stores and Lowes for cheap shopping as well.
Deal Addict
Sep 23, 2005
1528 posts
182 upvotes
Burnaby
Slipery wrote:
May 20th, 2011 1:20 pm
To summarize: 1) Will amazon.com accept a post office as a shipping address?
2) Is it a viable option to cross the border to do this. Would duty fees in Option 1 be high enough to make no duty an attractive option?
Thanks for the help.
If you want to go to the USA for a drive, go to the USA for a drive. But in terms of doing so to save $80 on a piece of home entertainment gear it is unlikely to make economic sense, regardless of how long you go down for.

Assuming you are driving a newer car that originally listed at say $25K or more, and have to pay for insurance, gas, and upkeep yourself, your true cost of using that vehicle on the highway is probably 35 to 45 cents a kilometre when everything, including mileage depreciation, is factored in. The closest US border point is around 200km round-trip from Ottawa so right there you're looking at $70, $90 or more in true costs just for the drive. And then of course there'll be a fee for using the drop-ship place. Plus meals and the added costs of the other things you'll likely buy while down there that you wouldn't have bought if you'd stayed home.

So the cheapest option is definitely number 3) Buy in Canada.
Banned
Sep 22, 2009
691 posts
310 upvotes
Toronto
Wingding wrote:
May 20th, 2011 2:45 pm
If you want to go to the USA for a drive, go to the USA for a drive. But in terms of doing so to save $80 on a piece of home entertainment gear it is unlikely to make economic sense, regardless of how long you go down for.

Assuming you are driving a newer car that originally listed at say $25K or more, and have to pay for insurance, gas, and upkeep yourself, your true cost of using that vehicle on the highway is probably 35 to 45 cents a kilometre when everything, including mileage depreciation, is factored in. The closest US border point is around 200km round-trip from Ottawa so right there you're looking at $70, $90 or more in true costs just for the drive. And then of course there'll be a fee for using the drop-ship place. Plus meals and the added costs of the other things you'll likely buy while down there that you wouldn't have bought if you'd stayed home.

So the cheapest option is definitely number 3) Buy in Canada.


Wow..you sound like the many typical sheep who live in the country. I gladly drive the 1.5 hrs to Buffalo on a monthly basis to bring back goods bought in the US. Even if I save 10%, it is more out of principal..I refuse to support retailers in this country that gangbang our wallets. Add in the HST and you have a darn compelling case to shop American. Get things sent to USA Addresses in Niagara Falls, NY, go to the outlet mall, buy a few groceries and drive home. The smile on my face stays on for the entire drive back as I count my money saved AND the fact that Crapada didn't steal any more of my hard-earned dollars.

Buy smart, Buy in the US.
Deal Addict
Sep 23, 2005
1528 posts
182 upvotes
Burnaby
theguru wrote:
May 20th, 2011 6:19 pm
Wow..you sound like the many typical sheep who live in the country. I gladly drive the 1.5 hrs to Buffalo on a monthly basis to bring back goods bought in the US. Even if I save 10%, it is more out of principal..I refuse to support retailers in this country that gangbang our wallets. Add in the HST and you have a darn compelling case to shop American. Get things sent to USA Addresses in Niagara Falls, NY, go to the outlet mall, buy a few groceries and drive home. The smile on my face stays on for the entire drive back as I count my money saved AND the fact that Crapada didn't steal any more of my hard-earned dollars.

Buy smart, Buy in the US.
:facepalm:

You're not counting your money very carefully if you seriously think you're saving anything with those cross-border trips. And as for those Canadian retailers? Well, they're my friends and neighbours, and supporting their businesses enables them to support my business.

Now as far as sheep?? You're the one wasting your time, effort, and money with the rest of the herd, traveling down to the USA in the mistaken belief you're doing something useful for yourself. Can you say, BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?

:lol:
Deal Fanatic
Apr 23, 2009
5153 posts
679 upvotes
South of Ottawa
Wingding wrote:
May 20th, 2011 7:56 pm
:facepalm:

You're not counting your money very carefully if you seriously think you're saving anything with those cross-border trips. And as for those Canadian retailers? Well, they're my friends and neighbours, and supporting their businesses enables them to support my business.

Now as far as sheep?? You're the one wasting your time, effort, and money with the rest of the herd, traveling down to the USA in the mistaken belief you're doing something useful for yourself. Can you say, BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?

:lol:

How is saving money useless?

There are some things not worth the trip, but quite a lot of other purchases that are well worth the drive, especially if combined in one trip. I'm 20 minutes from the border (exactly 30 minutes from my garage to the parking lot of the veterinarian where I take my dogs). My drive to work everyday is 5 minutes longer.
Deal Addict
Oct 9, 2003
2768 posts
370 upvotes
Vancouver
Do a search. I started a thread a while ago about mail receiving places in Ogdensburg. I recommend the UPS store, great service and they're open till 6pm mon-fri and also on Sat. No other places in that town can beat those hours.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 2, 2003
1507 posts
33 upvotes
Costs us 3 dollars US per package. We live 30 minutes from the border. Filling up with gas pays any taxes or duties. Sad how much places charge to ship to canada.

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