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US mail order for Canucks...(6 posts)

US mail order for Canucks...Farmpunker
Aug 12, 2002 2:34 PM
Canadians (specifically Ontarians) I'm wondering about biking stuff and US online merchandise. What is the deal here? If I order, say, a frame, and get it shipped, do I have to pay GST and PST? Where, when, why, how? Does this apply to ebay stuff as well?
Tangenitally, I'm going to get a cross bike eventually. Should I just go out and get the best priced (CDN) bike, the Jake the Snake, or should I go with high end products and satisfy my bike lust and go for a wicked frame that will last a long time (and here I'm thinking IndyFab Planet X, Gunnar, and maybe Aegis Shaman for pure stupidity)? I'm not knocking the Jake, I'm just admitting a lust for high end product. I will eventually want the best, so why not get it now, right?
re: US mail order for Canucks...Velocipedio
Aug 12, 2002 4:11 PM
Good questions!

The answer to the mail question is "well, it depends..." Typically, and according to the law, you'll be charged PST, GST and a $5 customs handling charge on delivery on everything. If the item is shipped by a courier [UPS, DHL, FedEx... etc.], you'll get a bill in the mail for the relevant amount of tax, duty and fees owed. [There should be no duty on items from the US.] If the item is shipped by mail, you'll either have to pay the mail man, or pay at the post office when you pick it up. The law is pretty clear that, if you buy something, you have to pay tax on it.

It's worth noting that not EVERYTHING actually gets taxed. For some reason, clothing that I've ordered from Voler, which was mailed in a simple bubble envelope, has never been caught by the excise men. Anything I've ever ordered from Nashbar, Cyclocross World, Branford Bike, etc., has.

Most of the time, items on eBay are shipped by private individuals, so the excise men tend to ignore them. I don't, however, think you could get a bike frame past them, though. I suspect they would be curious. They would also look at the item's shipping insurance to determine the value.

There are ways around it, of course. You could have a frame or bike delivered to an address in Buffalo, drive down with a beater bike, ditch the beater and pick up the new frame. I do't think the border guys would pick up on the switch if you had a receipt from US customs [a bike's a bike]. You have to wonder if it's worth it, though.

Truth is, you could probably get a better deal at your LBS.

For those of you in the US who might wonder about all of this hand-wringing about tax, Federal goods & services tax is 8%, while provincial sales tax is typically 7%, which adds 15% to the cost of all purchases. Moreover, this tax is applied to the shipping charges AS WELL as the actual purchase.
re: US mail order for Canucks...hummu
Aug 12, 2002 9:13 PM
If you know your prices you may find a deal from a US mailorder source. Usually it is cheaper and more convienient to buy locally, though. As for your dilema in choosing a high end cross frame . . . what about Marinoni, or True North, or heck, that Jake doesn't seem to slow down Ann Grande.

The previous reply mentions paying tax on all purchases, including used. I thought there was no tax on private sales of used goods. If not, there are a lot of garage sale folks that owe a lot of back tax :-)

I have the sellers I deal with (private sales, used goods) state that the package is a gift of used bicycle parts (neat gift, eh?) with a low dollar value. I always have them send through the post office and nothing has taken more than two weeks to arrive. This includes small parts as well as a used frame I bought about a year ago. Your milage may vary.
Little fingers everywhere...Farmpunker
Aug 14, 2002 2:22 AM
Figured as much. Rotten government. Income tax came in as a temporary measure during WW1. Temporary? It's the biggest burn going: we tax you for making money. And then we tax you on everything else you buy, too.
That's my bitch of the day.
Moving on, thanks for the info. I assumed as much regarding mail order on larger priced items. After I posted those questions I remembered that I ordered from CarRCoffins, a pair of shorts, and have purchased some Dirt Rag gear, too. No taxes there.
As to my other discussion, I have nothing against the Jake. Great bike, no question. But if I'm going to buy a cross\road bike, then I want steel (or carbon). I'll be using this bike for about four cross races a year, ideally, maybe more, and the rest of the time I'll be road riding, and I want a comfy ride; these country roads are terrible. Jamis' Nova looks like a sweet ride, and it's likely what I'll end up buying (or the Jake). But mainly what I'm asking\thinking about, is whether I can buy a killer high end frame that will have "lifetime" performance and then build it up reasonably cheaply with good parts. And here I'm thinking of a mountain-road component mix. STI shifters and mountain d's, cranks, etc, until I can afford a full groupo, like Centaur or Chorus (rebuildable appeals to me).
Let's say I get a Shaman frame for 1800CDN. I put 700 bucs worth of parts on it, used, ebay, whatever. I have a great bike for 2500. About a grand more than a Jake, a great bike itself. Is this worth it? Would going high end right off the bat save me money in the long run or make me a poser?
Little fingers everywhere...Velocipedio
Aug 14, 2002 3:54 AM
I have issues with sales taxes, myself, but I'm actually lad it's applied relatively consistently to domestic and overseas sales...

The Jake's frame is Easton Ultralite Taperwall Aluminum. It's about the most compliant smoothest-riding aluminum I've ever ridden. The ride quality is actually a fair bit like steel. I'm a steel guy [Marinoni road bike] and I like it, so that's saying something.

If you ARE buying a killer high-end frame, you can get a Centaur parts kit [no brakes and hubs] for @$680 Canadian. You'l have to get Campy wheels or, better, build up a set of OP wheels from Campy hubs [@ $400 Canadian]. Say you get a frame for $1000, and finishing kit for $400, you'll still be around $2000 for a Centaur-equipped bike.

One thing you might consider is contacting Marinoni. They have a 'cross frame/fork called the Fango [Italian for mud] in Columbus Zona steel for @ $800. They're also Campy distributors, so their parts kits are quite competitive. I wouldn't be surprised if you could get a full-built Fango, with Centaur for something in the neighbourhood of $2000. They'll also custom-build the frame to your specs.

[No, I don't work for Marinoni. I do ride a Marinoni Leggero road bike though, and have nothing but the greatest respect for Giuseppe Marinoni's work.]
I second the Marinoni advice....very nice. (nm)SS_MB-7
Aug 14, 2002 4:32 AM