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08-18-2008, 03:16 PM   #1
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Photoprice Canada

This website for Canadian comparison shoppers has recently been updated by the very amicable Gordon who runs the operation:

Photography, Digital Camera, Lens Price Comparisons for Canadians - photoprice.ca

I gave him a hand compiling the Pentax line, so if there's anything currently in production missing, let me or him know.

08-18-2008, 04:52 PM   #2
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Something that I noticed: The Camera Store (often the best brick&mortar prices in Canada) is not listed on the website.
08-18-2008, 05:37 PM   #3
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Thank you for that. I have added it to my favourites.
08-18-2008, 05:46 PM   #4
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It's a great idea but the folks responsible for the site refuse to include import duties as part of the cost when buying from the US.

It's only $8 or so but it does exist, thi shas been refuted by the site despite thread on dpreview where i showed a recipt with the "random" fee by customs.

08-18-2008, 07:36 PM   #5
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Customs Fees

Actually there are no import duties on *most* photo equipment. I qualify this because some items people consider photo equipment may not actually be considered such in different applications. I am very familiar with the legal underpinnings of cross-border transactions.

These are for fees administered via Canada Post:

There is a fee administered by Canada Customs & Revenue Agency for processing the GST/PST/HST for items bought outside the country. The fee is $5.00 per shipment. The tax is paid on top of that on items newly bought or for used declared value. You can appeal all transactions they levy on you. The form to do so accompanies every delivery. You will not succeed in an appeal if you legitimately owe the tax as if you'd purchased the item in Canada; nor the $5.00 processing fee. If you've been overcharged or the declared value was wrong, and you can demonstrate that, you will get your money refunded. It is not uncommon for people to buy items at a discount from the US, then have the declared value left unchanged from the list price. Under the law, if you can document the actual transaction price (PayPal is excellent for this), they must charge you tax only on the actual transaction cost. It is vitally important that if you buy from, say B&H, the invoice state "photography equipment" on the list, or similar, to be duty exempt. This is especially true for orders from retailers.

There is no "random fee". I've read the DP Review threads and they are inaccurate, so it's not wise to spread inaccuracies to another board.

For fees collected by private couriers, the game changes considerably, and usually at costs much higher than Canada Post. The brokerage fee for items worth over $500 at UPS used to be a flat $50, for example. FedEx, DHL and others were cheaper, but not by much.

With used equipment, often CCRA ignores the fee collection as there is no receipt worth a business or tax number accompanying. This is where the collection process can be flaky.

Costs for all cross-border transactions are well-known prior to shipment if one does the research.

Gordon does a good job on Photoprice.ca of demonstrating a competitive marketplace and trying to do so solely on internet ad revenue. I noticed gaps in his Pentax summaries and helped him compile an updated list.


QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
It's a great idea but the folks responsible for the site refuse to include import duties as part of the cost when buying from the US.

It's only $8 or so but it does exist, thi shas been refuted by the site despite thread on dpreview where i showed a recipt with the "random" fee by customs.
08-19-2008, 04:17 AM   #6
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Sorry Alfisti, Aristophanes is correct, there are no duties on photographic equipment. All charges are GST, PST if any or courrier charges.
08-19-2008, 05:21 AM   #7
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For the love of god, i'll prove it to you later.
08-19-2008, 06:15 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by JCSullivan Quote
Sorry Alfisti, Aristophanes is correct, there are no duties on photographic equipment. All charges are GST, PST if any or courrier charges.
QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
For the love of god, i'll prove it to you later.
you are both right. if you look on the actual document for import duties, camera equipment is specifically excluded. however i noticed that the time i did order from B&H, shipped by UPS, those bastards charged me for it. i know there's a way to claim it back, but i didn't want to go through all the paper work.

08-19-2008, 06:44 AM   #9
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Here is an invoice for a lens sent by a private seller. As you can see there are charges for taxes, then an excise tax and then a "Handling Fee" from customs.

This was sent via the post, not a courier.

I get charged this handling fee sometimes, not allthe time but th eamount varies based ont he cost of the lens.

"Mightymike' over on dpreview is the only other person that seems to agree with me, everyone else makes out I am trying to prove the existance of bigfoot.

So m,y charges on a $213 lens were over $50, far more than the site above will lead you to believe.

08-21-2008, 05:36 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
Here is an invoice for a lens sent by a private seller. As you can see there are charges for taxes, then an excise tax and then a "Handling Fee" from customs.

...

So m,y charges on a $213 lens were over $50, far more than the site above will lead you to believe.
Disclaimer: I'm the guy behind PhotoPrice.

Alfisti, as I explained in the reply to your e-mail to me, it looks like there's a reason you paid these fees. Off the top, $32 of your fee was tax, and you can never avoid that.

First, let me note that you are taking price calculations from a physical store and specific shipping method, and complaining that the numbers didn't work out when buying from a private seller with a different shipping method.

Second, the $8 fee by Canada Post is its brokerage or handling fee. I document this on my site, in the article on Tax, Duty, and Brokerage Fees. The reason why you don't see this fee doesn't appear in the normal product calculations is because the shipping option all the US merchants use is UPS (it's cheaper than USPS/CP and brokerage-free).

Third, it looks like you paid a 5% duty on your items. This is likely because your private seller misdeclared your goods, likely he put "photographic accessories" on the declaration form. Canadian customs duty is a bit weird like that. There is 0% duty on camera lenses, cameras, or tripods, but only if they are declared correctly! If your seller writes "photographic accessories", there's a 5% duty; if your seller writes "lenses" (no camera), there's a 2% duty. Also, since your private seller likely didn't use the harmonized customs code and just wrote it in, it's up to the customs agent to translate the text into whichever category he or she saw fit. Talk about inaccurate!

So the conclusion I'd like you to take away from this is:
  • When buying from a private seller or smaller store, be insistent on the wording for the customs declaration form. Give the seller the harmonized customs code and ask them to put it on the form. You can't expect a seller who rarely ships to Canada to get all the paperwork right.
  • The shipping method will affect the fees you pay. Canada Post charges a flat rate $8, where as UPS Ground or FedEx Ground charge exorbitant rates. Always be aware of this.

Finally, you can also get your money (atleast, the incorrectly charged duty) back. It costs one stamp and you'll get a cheque from Canada Customs in 4-6 weeks. You can read my article on the topic: photoprice.ca: Accidentally charged duty? Get a refund. (apologies for the link to my own site).

I hope this makes sense, let me know if you have any further questions.
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