Shopping Discussion

Cross border shopping: false declaration..Am I flagged?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 14th, 2011 7:47 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 20, 2009
19 posts
3 upvotes

Cross border shopping: false declaration..Am I flagged?

Hi. So I picked up some parcels from my US postal address recently, which I had ordered like a month ago. When I was passing by the border office, I under declared the value of the items I was bringing in. The officers searched through all parts my car (which is actually my dad's car I was borrowing..this comes into play later), and obviously found that the value of my goods were higher by $300.

They told me to take a seat in the customs office and after waiting for half an hour, came back and told me that because I lied and falsely declared the value of the items, my goods were going to be seized. The officer also said that they might or might not seize the vehicle as well. (mind you the total value of all my goods was around $550). Of course this was when I was deeply regretting my actions and wished I could turn back the hands of time.

Another half an hour later, the officer with another officer comes and they tell me that the parts were seized so I can get them back by paying the penalty fee + tax of around $150 (which I don't mind really for a life lesson I guess), and even tells me that they decided not to seize the vehicle since it was my first time for the federal offense. I was very relieved.

BUT THEN they continued onwards to tell me that I will be "flagged" (can't recall the exact term they used) in their system and that every time I cross the border, either by car, plane, or even highway toll (?), I will literally be searched on a "microscope" level. To add the cherry on top, they also told me that because I was using my dad's vehicle, my dad will also be subject for the "microscopic" searches..

The main questions are:
1. Am I in a really really bad situation ? What are the consequences of being in their system ? I really love travelling and often do shop across the borders..

2. Also, they told me that I will be in their system FOREVER. Is there anyway to remove it at a future date ? I don't mind it for now but say 10 years later ? (I mean even credit ratings can go up and down right..)

3. If I dispute by writing a letter, would my dad at least be free of this incident ? I really don't see how my dad should be involved in all this as I was only borrowing his vehicle and he in no way promoted me to under declare or anything (in fact, he always tells me to get my **** straight and is a very good dad & honest person)

Should I be worried ? Can my dad be exempted ? (is it my dad or my dad's vehicle that's flagged in the system ?)

I appreciate your help. Thank you in advance. Lesson learned. (although it was half intentional & half unintentional..)



P.S. I know there is a thread for ask me anything about cross border shopping but I felt my post was going to be really long so thought I would create a new thread.
51 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 18, 2005
19923 posts
4506 upvotes
Burlington-Hamilton
Wow, I will never lend my vehicle to someone traveling across the border.

You won't be able to get a Nexus pass any time soon.
What if there were no hypothetical questions?
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2008
1738 posts
171 upvotes
Toronto
I think it is fair what they did to you except flagging you forever but it is the US so I am not surprise. I do think it is extremely unfair that your dad was also penalized. All in all I just feel you got unlucky with this incident. I hope they were just bluffing and won't actually tear your car/baggage what not apart every time you cross the boarder.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 1, 2007
2007 posts
215 upvotes
costumenationale wrote: I appreciate your help. Thank you in advance. Lesson learned. (although it was half intentional & half unintentional..)

Lol no it was 100% intentional you just got caught. You will never be able to go into the us without being treated like a terrorist because of your stunt hahaha
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 26, 2007
1226 posts
129 upvotes
Barrie/Toronto
I thought it was for 6 years, trying to find confirmation now....
UPDATE: found it!!! CBSA website
"The CBSA keeps records of warnings for up to two years."

-looks like you can dispute it too!
I found this post helpful as well: RFD cross border thread

Sorry none of the other answers had anything to do with your questions.... I think people just like to see their own posts? ;)

Some questions for you though: were you over there for like, 1 hour? Did you take the stuff out of the packages or remove tags? Did you have a story as to WHY you were there (and why such a short amount of time)?

I have a friend in Buffalo that is always on standby, if someone calls & asks if I was there having lunch/dinner with him he says YES & tells them the place we always go! Even if I know I'll be okay, I mail the packaging, receipts/tags & anything else to a mailing address in Canada, costs about $1.
My Ebay items for sale: HERE! :)
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Feb 25, 2004
5655 posts
149 upvotes
New Westminster
costumenationale wrote: The main questions are:
1. Am I in a really really bad situation ? What are the consequences of being in their system ? I really love travelling and often do shop across the borders..
As they indicated, you should expect diversion to secondary and an extensive search each and every time you cross the border (either by car or air). Since the US has access to this data; expect it in both directions.
2. Also, they told me that I will be in their system FOREVER. Is there anyway to remove it at a future date ? I don't mind it for now but say 10 years later ? (I mean even credit ratings can go up and down right..)
I've heard 7-10 years.
3. If I dispute by writing a letter, would my dad at least be free of this incident ? I really don't see how my dad should be involved in all this as I was only borrowing his vehicle and he in no way promoted me to under declare or anything (in fact, he always tells me to get my **** straight and is a very good dad & honest person)
Your dad is involved because it was his car. You can always right the letter but good luck.
Should I be worried ? Can my dad be exempted ? (is it my dad or my dad's vehicle that's flagged in the system ?)
You are in the system, your Dad's car is in the system and your Dad is probably in the system. Make sure you tell him so he doesn't get any surprises when he shows up at the border.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Dec 3, 2004
10943 posts
422 upvotes
Markham/Mississauga
Wow, this thread should be stickied for anyone considering cheating the system.

This is the worst of what could happen, and it did happened to you OP.

Sorry about your luck but this is why you don't mess around with the either the Canadian or US border agency.

Every few months we get a thread like this with stories very similar to yours... thanks for being honest at least.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 26, 2007
1226 posts
129 upvotes
Barrie/Toronto

From the same thread: http://forums.redflagdeals.com/shipped- ... st10856058 ;)

AND, as mentioned, I ship it to a MAILING address, not to a 'on record' address and not to my name.

WINNER! lol :cheesygri



oh.... and I haven't had to do this in a longggggg time. I usually stay the full 48 hours so we can claim the $400. If I'm there for less than 24 hours I usually only bring back food/grocery type stuff from Wegmans & always declare it.... I've never had anyone bother me (yet), I don't mind paying taxes on the stuff that was crazy cheaper anyway
My Ebay items for sale: HERE! :)
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Feb 25, 2004
5655 posts
149 upvotes
New Westminster
I, too, have no issues with paying taxes on the stuff that is just crazy cheaper that what is available here in Canada.

People just need to be aware that there is no foolproof way of getting around trying to get around Customs. In the end, the law is written that you need to prove to the CBSA that you imported the items legally; even months later.

wrt mailing things. From http://www.priv.gc.ca/media/nr-c/02_05_b_010319_e.cfm:
When international mail arrives at a Canada Post Corporation (CPC) processing plant, CPC employees sort letter mail - defined as weighing less than 30 grams - from packages. Anything over 30 grams in weight, even if it is an envelope, is considered a package. The weight is estimated by these employees; mail is not actually weighed.
So all it takes is (a) for an employee to mis-estimate it and flip the letter into the packages bin and (b) "packages" going to mailing addresses receive more scrutiny for the exact reason why are you doing it.

but, in the end, each person can decide whatever approach they want to use when crossing the border; just be aware of the consequences.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 20, 2009
19 posts
3 upvotes
catwalk wrote: I thought it was for 6 years, trying to find confirmation now....
UPDATE: found it!!! CBSA website
"The CBSA keeps records of warnings for up to two years."

-looks like you can dispute it too!
I found this post helpful as well: RFD cross border thread

Sorry none of the other answers had anything to do with your questions.... I think people just like to see their own posts? ;)

Some questions for you though: were you over there for like, 1 hour? Did you take the stuff out of the packages or remove tags? Did you have a story as to WHY you were there (and why such a short amount of time)?

I have a friend in Buffalo that is always on standby, if someone calls & asks if I was there having lunch/dinner with him he says YES & tells them the place we always go! Even if I know I'll be okay, I mail the packaging, receipts/tags & anything else to a mailing address in Canada, costs about $1.
Thanks for the information. That CBSA website is difficult to navigate through.. I only hope that what I received is a warning, not something else. As I looked through the website though, a lot of points come to my mind which I wonder. For example, it was only my first violation and yet they decided to seize my goods, and it clearly states that if it is a warning I received, it is valid for 2 years and yet the officer told me that it would be in effect indefinitely.. And to answer the questions, yes I was there for only like an hour and half. I opened up the box but didn't remove any tags or any sort as it they were used and new auto parts. I told the officer that I simply went to the post box to pick up my parcels that couldn't be mailed to Canada (which is true). I'm actually may be disputing in a calm and well presented manner lol
CheapScotsman wrote: As they indicated, you should expect diversion to secondary and an extensive search each and every time you cross the border (either by car or air). Since the US has access to this data; expect it in both directions.

I've heard 7-10 years.

Your dad is involved because it was his car. You can always right the letter but good luck.

You are in the system, your Dad's car is in the system and your Dad is probably in the system. Make sure you tell him so he doesn't get any surprises when he shows up at the border.

So do you know if it's just the car that is in the system or my dad? should I ask CBSA directly ? Also do you know if this incident affects only US-Canada or would it affect whenever I leave the country, say to Germany or England ?

Thank you so much for the insight guys. Really appreciate it.
Sr. Member
Mar 25, 2011
708 posts
31 upvotes
Guelph
[QUOTE]"The CBSA keeps records of warnings for up to two years."[/QUOTE]

bull. you just have to be a either young or a minority and off you go to the office.

I don't believe in fairness when flagging people at the border. it's bull. it's pathetic. all I see are people of colour and minority.

A part of me wants to work with the force but the other half would like to be forever bitter and expose them to the media.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 9, 2003
8003 posts
1557 upvotes
Burnaby
I would go with the 2 years, which has been my experience. Similar situation, under declared by $300in 2005, got penalized 40% of the underdeclaration

I was told 5 years, but now that I think back, I was only searched at the air and land borders until 2007. I did not travel in 2008 and 2009 but I haven't been searched since then.

Of course now I declare full value, but I still have yet to be sent in to pay tax.

All my road trips are no more than a few hours, so no personal exemption
Deal Fanatic
Sep 9, 2003
8003 posts
1557 upvotes
Burnaby
To be more detailed, I was searched at every land and air border (us and Asia respectively) coming into Canada in 06 and 07, no problems going outof the country. The Americans didn't care, it was a warning for first offense
Sr. Member
User avatar
Jun 2, 2008
502 posts
56 upvotes
O1IN85 wrote: bull. you just have to be a either young or a minority and off you go to the office.

I don't believe in fairness when flagging people at the border. it's bull. it's pathetic. all I see are people of colour and minority.

A part of me wants to work with the force but the other half would like to be forever bitter and expose them to the media.



What?
Deal Addict
Nov 12, 2006
1898 posts
872 upvotes
London
da_way wrote: I think it is fair what they did to you except flagging you forever but it is the US so I am not surprise.
You don't even understand the scenario.
It's Canada, not the US, which flagged him.

However, I'm sure the same would occur if he was a US resident returning home.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 19, 2001
30809 posts
1680 upvotes
Fernando Poo
Yep, this is one mob family you don't want to mess with.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 19, 2007
3772 posts
1067 upvotes
One of my cars got flagged a couple years back and I had to pullover and let them search my car every time I crossed the border. Soon I decided not to drive that car to the States anymore and there is no more wait & search with my other vehicle ever since.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 24, 2006
6842 posts
741 upvotes
Toronto
costumenationale wrote: Hi. So I picked up some parcels from my US postal address recently, which I had ordered like a month ago. When I was passing by the border office, I under declared the value of the items I was bringing in. The officers searched through all parts my car (which is actually my dad's car I was borrowing..this comes into play later), and obviously found that the value of my goods were higher by $300.

They told me to take a seat in the customs office and after waiting for half an hour, came back and told me that because I lied and falsely declared the value of the items, my goods were going to be seized. The officer also said that they might or might not seize the vehicle as well. (mind you the total value of all my goods was around $550). Of course this was when I was deeply regretting my actions and wished I could turn back the hands of time.

Another half an hour later, the officer with another officer comes and they tell me that the parts were seized so I can get them back by paying the penalty fee + tax of around $150 (which I don't mind really for a life lesson I guess), and even tells me that they decided not to seize the vehicle since it was my first time for the federal offense. I was very relieved.

BUT THEN they continued onwards to tell me that I will be "flagged" (can't recall the exact term they used) in their system and that every time I cross the border, either by car, plane, or even highway toll (?), I will literally be searched on a "microscope" level. To add the cherry on top, they also told me that because I was using my dad's vehicle, my dad will also be subject for the "microscopic" searches..

The main questions are:
1. Am I in a really really bad situation ? What are the consequences of being in their system ? I really love travelling and often do shop across the borders..

2. Also, they told me that I will be in their system FOREVER. Is there anyway to remove it at a future date ? I don't mind it for now but say 10 years later ? (I mean even credit ratings can go up and down right..)

3. If I dispute by writing a letter, would my dad at least be free of this incident ? I really don't see how my dad should be involved in all this as I was only borrowing his vehicle and he in no way promoted me to under declare or anything (in fact, he always tells me to get my **** straight and is a very good dad & honest person)

Should I be worried ? Can my dad be exempted ? (is it my dad or my dad's vehicle that's flagged in the system ?)

I appreciate your help. Thank you in advance. Lesson learned. (although it was half intentional & half unintentional..)



P.S. I know there is a thread for ask me anything about cross border shopping but I felt my post was going to be really long so thought I would create a new thread.
OP, to answer your questions...

1 - Yes. You, the car and anyone travelling with you are now in the system for what looks like 2 years. You can confirm this was a seizure by looking at the paperwork they gave you, it will say what is seized. Back in my CBSA days it was 7 years, lucky you. ANYTIME you, that vehicle or a passenger in the vehicle at the time of seizure crossing you will be subject to more thorough searches (this includes your dad driving the vehicle over the border, and also you at an airport or marine crossing).

2 - Not sure on this one, there will probably be a record of the infraction kept in the database forever but after 2 years it may not come up automatically?? If Ebola were still around he could answer this one as he's more current than I am on this stuff.

3 - You have the right to appeal the seizure.


And yes, it it quite likely you will receive the 'microscopic' search each time.
I Declare - The official guide to your Customs exemptions and item restrictions when returning to Canada from abroad.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 24, 2006
6842 posts
741 upvotes
Toronto
O1IN85 wrote: bull. you just have to be a either young or a minority and off you go to the office.

I don't believe in fairness when flagging people at the border. it's bull. it's pathetic. all I see are people of colour and minority.

A part of me wants to work with the force but the other half would like to be forever bitter and expose them to the media.

I LOL'd when reading this.

Care to share where all your wordly experience comes from on the topic?
I Declare - The official guide to your Customs exemptions and item restrictions when returning to Canada from abroad.

Top

Thread Information

There is currently 1 user viewing this thread. (0 members and 1 guest)