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Misleading "Canadian" online retailers that stiff you with surprise taxes/customs/brokerage fees

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Misleading "Canadian" online retailers that stiff you with surprise taxes/customs/brokerage fees

There has been a lot of RFD discussion about these kinds of online retailers lately: Canadian-looking websites with .ca domains and pricing and shipping fees in Canadian dollars. What they hide from you is that they aren't Canadian at all, they are foreign websites and/or source items from outside Canada, surprising you with taxes, duties, and customs brokerage fees when your order is delivered.

One big red flag to watch out for is if the website does not charge you GST/HST/PST on your order. That is a strong indication that it is a foreign website and you will be in for a surprise at delivery time.

I thought it would be a good idea to start a list of these companies so we can be wary of them.
When you find one, please post the details in the thread add it to the thread summary. Thanks.
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[OP]
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Cafepress.ca: No indication that it is a non-Canadian site, unless you click Shipping Details and read this:

International Taxes And Customs Fees

CafePress produces and ships many of our products from within the United States. You may be subject to import duties and taxes, which are levied once the package reaches your country. You must bear additional charges for customs clearance; we have no control over these charges and cannot predict what they may be.

They also don't charge sales taxes.
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Probikekit.ca: UK-based website that ships from the UK and doesn't tell you that unless you read the fine print under "Import Tax & Duty": As we ship from the UK, if your delivery address is outside of the UK, you may have to pay import duties and taxes, which are levied once the shipment reaches your country. All international shipments may be subject to cross-border inspections by customs authorities while customs policies vary widely from country to country. You must meet any additional charges for customs clearance and we recommend that you contact your local customs office for further information.

Address listed on the bottom of the page is in Delaware (a tax haven state.) Again, no GST/HST/PST is charged.
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Kiraly wrote: Probikekit.ca: UK-based website that ships from the UK and doesn't tell you that unless you read the fine print under "Import Tax & Duty": As we ship from the UK, if your delivery address is outside of the UK, you may have to pay import duties and taxes, which are levied once the shipment reaches your country. All international shipments may be subject to cross-border inspections by customs authorities while customs policies vary widely from country to country. You must meet any additional charges for customs clearance and we recommend that you contact your local customs office for further information.

Address listed on the bottom of the page is in Delaware (a tax haven state.) Again, no GST/HST/PST is charged.
The main page literally says :
2021 © The Hut.com Limited, a company registered in England and Wales (company number 05016010) whose registered address is Voyager House, Chicago Avenue, Manchester Airport, M90 3DQ)
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Isn't it kind of a given if there is no Canadian tax added at checkout? or big bold text that says "all import charges and taxes included".
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I'm so used to checking out any new website I'm ordering from thoroughly I don't run into any issues.

It is misleading though to register a .ca domain when you aren't selling from within Canada.
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I think any company that has a .ca domain and not in Canada is trying to pass itself off as a Canadian company and is shady as hell.

I would avoid all such companies.
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I'm more annoyed with websites that force you to create an account before you can even get a shipping estimate.

I'm not sure the intent is to deceive - I would think .ca just gets more hits from Canadian google searches.
"When someone is burning a book, they are showing utter contempt for all of the thinking that produced its ideas, all of the labor that went into its words and sentences, and all of the trouble that befell the author . . .” ― Lemony Snicket
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shikotee wrote: I'm more annoyed with websites that force you to create an account before you can even get a shipping estimate.

I'm not sure the intent is to deceive - I would think .ca just gets more hits from Canadian google searches.
Use a throwaway email to register and test. If decide to proceed then use actual email, if desired.

The website will end up with lots of fake email accounts but they can also purge those accounts that has no activity beyond the registration.
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shikotee wrote: I'm more annoyed with websites that force you to create an account before you can even get a shipping estimate.

I'm not sure the intent is to deceive - I would think .ca just gets more hits from Canadian google searches.
Have you seen zulily.com? They make you register and make an account before they even show you what they are selling.
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kr0zet wrote: The main page [probikekit.ca] literally says : 2021 © The Hut.com Limited, a company registered in England and Wales (company number 05016010) whose registered address is Voyager House, Chicago Avenue, Manchester Airport, M90 3DQ)
That doesn't mean anything. Amazon.ca's corporate offices are in the USA. But Amazon.ca is a fully domestic Canadian retailer with all taxes and fees paid at checkout, nothing surprising you at delivery time.
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jjesskaka wrote: Isn't it kind of a given if there is no Canadian tax added at checkout? or big bold text that says "all import charges and taxes included".
No. eBay.ca is an example. No taxes on many things that are sold by Canadian outfits that are too small ( <$30k/year of sales) to need to collect or remit sales taxes.
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Kiraly wrote: That doesn't mean anything. Amazon.ca's corporate offices are in the USA. But Amazon.ca is a fully domestic Canadian retailer with all taxes and fees paid at checkout, nothing surprising you at delivery time.
To be fair - you'd have to be fairly ignorant of bike part/supply pricing in Canada in order to believe Probikekit was in Canada. Not sure what things are like presently (it has been a few years since I've ordered bike parts from UK), but the savings used to be substantial, and there was a decent chance you might not have to pay duties when shipped by Canada Post.

I would guess they have .ca because the demand is significant. They obviously could do more to bring to attention that they are not in Canada, but why would anyone try to scare away potential customers? The info is there for anyone who practices basic due diligence.
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Kiraly wrote: That doesn't mean anything. Amazon.ca's corporate offices are in the USA. But Amazon.ca is a fully domestic Canadian retailer with all taxes and fees paid at checkout, nothing surprising you at delivery time.
What are you talking about? Amazon Corp has its headquarters in the USA. Amazon Canada's headquarters are 40 King St W 47th floor, Toronto, ON M5H 4A9, Canada. Many US retailers that have a Canadian presence maintain corporate offices in Canada. What on earth that has to do with a bike parts company clearly stating they are a UK company on their MAIN PAGE?
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Kiraly wrote: No. eBay.ca is an example. No taxes on many things that are sold by Canadian outfits that are too small ( <$30k/year of sales) to need to collect or remit sales taxes.
Ebay.ca is a selling platform where anyone can sell, new and used, you don't need to actually own a store. Even if you order from eBay.ca, there are sellers not located on Canada, there's still a chance you will get hit with tax.

For a standalone online store, if they don't charge you CAD % of tax, then you need to double check if it's included.
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kr0zet wrote: What are you talking about? Amazon Corp has its headquarters in the USA. Amazon Canada's headquarters are 40 King St W 47th floor, Toronto, ON M5H 4A9, Canada. Many US retailers that have a Canadian presence maintain corporate offices in Canada. What on earth that has to do with a bike parts company clearly stating they are a UK company on their MAIN PAGE?
The point is that probikeit.ca, which looks like a domestic Canadian site with its .ca domain, $9.99 shipping fee applied at checkout, and all pricing in Canadian dollars, doesn't tell you that they will be sourcing items from outside Canada without using a customs broker, and stiffing you with additional customs and brokerage fees, at any point along the shopping chain. A buyer needs to navigate away from the shopping process and read the fine print that is buried elsewhere on the site to get that info.

It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect that a foreign outfit like this that has gone to all the trouble of making a tailor-made site for Canadians like this, would be doing enough business in Canada that it would be using a customs broker to bring stuff in, so no surprise additional charges to the consumer that weren't collected at checkout.

If you think I am doing a disservice to Canadian consumers here on RFD by pointing this out, and that people are better off discovering this well-hidden fact on their own (or not), I don't really understand why.
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Kiraly wrote: The point is that probikeit.ca, which looks like a domestic Canadian site with its .ca domain, $9.99 shipping fee applied at checkout, and all pricing in Canadian dollars, doesn't tell you that they will be sourcing items from outside Canada without using a customs broker, and stiffing you with additional customs and brokerage fees, at any point along the shopping chain. A buyer needs to navigate away from the shopping process and read the fine print that is buried elsewhere on the site to get that info.

It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect that a foreign outfit like this that has gone to all the trouble of making a tailor-made site for Canadians like this, would be doing enough business in Canada that it would be using a customs broker to bring stuff in, so no surprise additional charges to the consumer that weren't collected at checkout.

If you think I am doing a disservice to Canadian consumers here on RFD by pointing this out, and that people are better off discovering this well-hidden fact on their own (or not), I don't really understand why.
They are definitely being sneaky.
From their main page:

PROBIKEKIT CANADA
Welcome to ProBikeKit Canada: the home of online road cycling. Here at ProBikeKit, you will find a huge collection of cycling gear, from clothing and components to accessories, nutrition and technology.

With products from a number of large brands including Castelli, Santini and Campagnolo to name a few, you are sure to get quality in whatever you buy.

We cater for all levels of cyclist, from those of you who are at the top of your game looking for the finest of components and professionally engineered tires and wheels, to the casual commuter looking for bike accessories to have a more comfortable ride.

We understand that you want affordable prices - this is why we have made cycling necessities of professional standard available to you at the best prices.
They could, very easily, mention here that they are UK based. They don't.
Clicking other links makes it clear, but they definitely make it seem like you are placing an order with a Canada based warehouse.
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Kiraly wrote: The point is that probikeit.ca, which looks like a domestic Canadian site with its .ca domain, $9.99 shipping fee applied at checkout, and all pricing in Canadian dollars, doesn't tell you that they will be sourcing items from outside Canada without using a customs broker, and stiffing you with additional customs and brokerage fees, at any point along the shopping chain. A buyer needs to navigate away from the shopping process and read the fine print that is buried elsewhere on the site to get that info.

It wouldn't be unreasonable to expect that a foreign outfit like this that has gone to all the trouble of making a tailor-made site for Canadians like this, would be doing enough business in Canada that it would be using a customs broker to bring stuff in, so no surprise additional charges to the consumer that weren't collected at checkout.

If you think I am doing a disservice to Canadian consumers here on RFD by pointing this out, and that people are better off discovering this well-hidden fact on their own (or not), I don't really understand why.
Don't know why you're getting defensive here, you pointed to a UK company that has a CA domain saying that they were being sneaky. I pointed out that the home page of said company clearly states that they are located in the UK. You come back pointing ag Amazon.ca being based in the USA and I corrected you that Amazon.ca had offices in Canada.

Whether you are providing a service is irrelevant if the facts are not correct. I agree that your first post had merit and was helpful but then you started pointing fingers at individual websites. You do realize that this is a permanent record and if a company you mislabel can say that you are costing them business through your libel misrepresentations?
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shikotee wrote: They are definitely being sneaky.
From their main page:




They could, very easily, mention here that they are UK based. They don't.
Clicking other links makes it clear, but they definitely make it seem like you are placing an order with a Canada based warehouse.
I got no horse in this race but come on, its right at the bottom of their home page...

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