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Thread: Good news for cross-border shoppers...

  1. #1
    Mastermind Lynn49's Avatar
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    Duty-free exemption limits increase starting June 1st, meaning cross border shopping could see a notable upswing.

    A new BMO Capital Markets special report on the change to duty-free limits on cross border shopping has been released.

    According to BMO deputy chief economist Douglas Porter, “Canadians will flock to Maine, Michigan and Minnesota en masse, as well as the border states of New York, Washington and New Hampshire” in numbers not seen in years, thanks to the increase to the duty-free limits.

    Travellers visiting south of the border for more than 24 hours will now be allowed to bring home $200 worth of merchandise duty-free, up from $50. Stays longer than 48 hours will now allow $800, whereas the previous limit was $400 for stays of a week and $750 for anything longer.

    This has the potential to harm Canadian retailers in an big way, as the problem of higher prices in Canadian stores has long been an issue.

    The report notes that “Our latest random sampling of a basket of goods finds that Canadian retail prices are roughly 14 per cent above U.S. levels, before taxes and adjusted for the exchange rate.”

    This price difference has long given shopping across the border a big appeal, but has become even more prominent during the past four years when the slow economy has made every penny count to consumers.

    Canadian consumers have taken issue with what is perceived to be unfair pricing for years, particularly since American retail chains started opening up here and charging more for the same products.

    Retailers say they have very little control over pricing, as they face higher tariffs for finished goods and are charged more by suppliers.

    The Retail Council of Canada has recently stepped in as manufacturers like Roots, Barrymore Furniture and Canada Goose have asked for help, fearing what these latest changes could mean for their stores.

    A ‘buy Canadian campaign’ is said to be in the works, encouraging locals to shop at home. The council is also looking into introducing a bill that will offer financial incentives to people shopping in Canada, and to Canadian retailers. (I'd like to see how THAT'S supposed to work!!!)


    This thread is currently associated with: Shoppers Drug Mart, Roots
    Last edited by Lynn49; Tue, May 29th, 2012 at 10:09 AM.
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    I have been cross border shopping for 15 years and I have paid duty exactly TWICE. And I've never been under those previous limits. Both times was less than 24 hours and well over several hundred dollars. Most people have had the same experience here.

    Maybe the limits are just more reflective of what was actually happening between consumer spending and actual time to process available to the border agents. Most people here cross over, and we still have a nice healthy economy. Lots of local shopping, which we all also partake in

    The one thing I can say is that since I've been couponing, it's not quite as worthwhile to get groceries (unless I have coupons over there)...a lot of their grocery prices have risen to what I would pay here. However, gas, clothes, shoes, toiletries...crazy big differences.

    OTC medicine is particularly disturbing...generic Naproxin iwas $3 for 60 tabs (try that with Aleve) and 2000 generic ibuprofrin was $8.

    The toll prices are cheap. And there's no wasted gas, it literally takes 4 minutes to get there.
    Last edited by iceblueraven; Tue, May 29th, 2012 at 11:28 AM.
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    Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are one of the main reasons I have trust issues.

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    There is a real patriotic mentality in the States (Buy American!) which doesn't exist here in Canada, not at the national level anyway. I think as Canadians, we think we are being duped by retailers for paying more than we should for things (at least more than in the States). This especially holds true for big ticket items like cars....some of the cars are made in this country and it still costs more!

    For years, book sellers charged us a lot more due to the exchange, but when we got closer to par, they sure didn't reprice to reflect that change! The American market is huge, and the laws of demand and supply are at play, but as Canadians, we should feel that we are getting value, or we will look for it elsewhere...it's just human nature.

    Consumers are smart, they know where the deals are...if you live close to the border, I don't see a problem with shopping in the States. I think you DO have to think about the overall cost when you factor in the exchange, gas and other charges. And also whether you are getting the same quality of goods as you would at home (sometimes that is not the case).

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceblueraven View Post
    I have been cross border shopping for 15 years and I have paid duty exactly TWICE. And I've never been under those previous limits. Both times was less than 24 hours and well over several hundred dollars. Most people have had the same experience here.

    Maybe the limits are just more reflective of what was actually happening between consumer spending and actual time to process available to the border agents. Most people here cross over, and we still have a nice healthy economy. Lots of local shopping, which we all also partake in

    The one thing I can say is that since I've been couponing, it's not quite as worthwhile to get groceries (unless I have coupons over there)...a lot of their grocery prices have risen to what I would pay here. However, gas, clothes, shoes, toiletries...crazy big differences.

    OTC medicine is particularly disturbing...generic Naproxin iwas $3 for 60 tabs (try that with Aleve) and 2000 generic ibuprofrin was $8.

    The toll prices are cheap. And there's no wasted gas, it literally takes 4 minutes to get there.
    Count yourself lucky that you have managed to circumvent the system. Imo, it is not worth the risk of getting caught and being subjected to increased inspection every single time I crossed the border. Regardless of the risk, I wouldn't fail to declare anyway because it's an ethics issue as far as I'm concerned.

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    I do consider myself lucky, but it has nothing to do with the border

    We do declare everything. Hand them receipts every time. There is no circumvention of anything.
    Last edited by iceblueraven; Tue, May 29th, 2012 at 11:49 AM.
    Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are one of the main reasons I have trust issues.

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    We cross several times a year and have only ever paid twice - we declare everything , I calculate all receipts before we get to the agent and I attach a sticky with the GROCERY TOTAL and OTHER TOTAL so they know what is what when we hand over the receipts - only 2 times we did pay was when our purchases were over 700 for the OTHER stuff (clothes electronics etc) I really thing it depends who you get, what mood there in. Both times that we were charged taxes we crossed at the Peace Bridge - other bridges we get a "Welcome Home" and and were on our way.
    We go to the USA often bc they sell MUCH more gluten free foods then we do here in Canada.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceblueraven View Post
    I have been cross border shopping for 15 years and I have paid duty exactly TWICE. And I've never been under those previous limits. Both times was less than 24 hours and well over several hundred dollars.
    Quote Originally Posted by iceblueraven View Post
    We do declare everything. Hand them receipts every time. There is no circumvention of anything.
    So what you are saying is, that for over fifteen years, your customs guards have been negligent in charging duties? I find that hard to believe.

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    To be truthful, it hadn't occurred to me to ask the Canadian agents why they aren't charging me duty. When they look at the receipts, I trust that they know what to charge duty on and what not to. Sometimes it's a lot of groceries on the receipts, sometimes it's not.

    As the other poster mentioned, it is not an unusual occurrence, and I was simply sharing my experience. It would seem your experience has been different, and I can understand why that would be frustrating.
    Last edited by iceblueraven; Tue, May 29th, 2012 at 12:13 PM.
    Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are one of the main reasons I have trust issues.

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    ^Thanks for not taking my comments as an attack on you...I'm just puzzled how it all worked out. Perhaps certain border crossings scrutinize more than others...

    I haven't had any bad experiences through customs because there is always five of us and we stay for almost a month, usually. I have read on other forums about people not declaring and then they belly-ache about being searched every time they go across the border.
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    Princess of Paying Less katie333's Avatar
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    I must concur that my experiences align with iceblueraven. We cross the border about once every 6 weeks to get a variety of items in the States. I add up my receipts, clip them together and provide an accurate total to the border guard. I believe if that total is below a certain threshold (and in my experience, that threshold is not the proper limits), they let you go. For the time it takes for the paperwork and the manpower for them to collect the duty I don't think it's worth it. In addition, of friends who have had to pay duties, they have in reality actually just been charged the 13% HST. With that said, we generally do not buy a lot of clothing, and never buy big-ticket items or alcohol/cigarettes, and our total spending is usually under $200. I use coupons and flyer match ups like at home to pay at least 30-50% less than even their sale pricing (and sometimes their regular prices are better than our sales).

    Not only do I generally get very good deals, but I have a better selection of things like low-salt foods, medicines, shoes/clothing. Certain products really are bargains. I need a special kind of eye drops at are OTC and they cost $17 at SDM. With a sale and a coupon, I pay no more than $3 for them in the States.
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    We too have crossed the border at least 6 times in the past 3 years, and have never once paid duty. We stay less than 24 hours, and our total is usually less than $200. Shopping in the U.S. saves us hundreds, as clothes and shoes are MUCH cheaper!
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    Canadian Genius Abby5's Avatar
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    I always stay 48 hrs and always stay under my limit! My husband travels a lot to the states for work so we can't afford to be blacked balled

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    CaToonie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abby5 View Post
    I always stay 48 hrs and always stay under my limit! My husband travels a lot to the states for work so we can't afford to be blacked balled
    But going over your limit is perfectly OK & legal. You just have to be honest and declare everything, and be prepared to pay if they ask you to. Where people run into issues or are "black balled" is when lying on their purchases & stuff.

    We go to the States at least every other month, and are sometimes over our limit. We declare everything, and only twice did we have to pay taxes. All the agents are perfectly nice to us, event on these instances where we went inside to pay.
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    .
    Last edited by lecale; Thu, Jan 22nd, 2015 at 04:47 PM.
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    Canadian Genius Abby5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rewok View Post
    But going over your limit is perfectly OK & legal. You just have to be honest and declare everything, and be prepared to pay if they ask you to. Where people run into issues or are "black balled" is when lying on their purchases & stuff.

    We go to the States at least every other month, and are sometimes over our limit. We declare everything, and only twice did we have to pay taxes. All the agents are perfectly nice to us, event on these instances where we went inside to pay.
    My dh would just die with even the thought of paying duty !!!
    $400 x 4 people is a lot of money to spend in a weekend for us!!! Lol
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