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Author Topic: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP  (Read 11180 times)

DeepShadows

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Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« on: September 19, 2011, 10:20:22 AM »
So in many years of buying and selling camera gear online to and from the US, I have never had anything but problems with UPS and Fedex. USPS had a clean record until now. The vast majority of my packages coming from the states have been from USPS Priority International with them using their own boxes (so it's not flat rate shipping). My experience with tracking has been pretty weak, it usually doesn't update with the small transfers, only the big things like leaving the country from this city and clearing customs and then released to Canada Post. So I have only done large transactions within Canada (over $3000) and have never bought a Super Tele Big White from the US. So I found a 300 F2.8L IS, and bought it from a guy in the US. He ships it out on August 30th, the usually weak tracking tells me it goes to Chicago sort facility and then leaves the Country. 7 Days later it's in Canada Customs in Missassauga, Ontario. And there it sits. It has not cleared customs yet. I have bought 8 other things (some larger) since then and have received half of them. Nothing has been in customs this long ever in my experience. It's now the 19th of September, 13 days and still in customs, 9 business days. Are they using my lens just because they can for fun? What could possibly take them this long? I am leaving on an epic road trip on the 30th and I expected I would have it with more than enough time to spare. Has anyone had any problems like this? Anyone bought large lenses from cross border? Most important question for me is can I call them and ask a real person about it? I investigated the CBSA website and called their number and got the impression that it's a nono to ask about a specific shipment. HELP!!!!

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Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« on: September 19, 2011, 10:20:22 AM »

photophreek

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2011, 10:36:42 AM »
I have bought a few lenses from the US and have had all of them shipped USPS Express Mail International (EMI) without any problem.  I find USPS Priority Mail International slower and tracking not that great. 

Canada Customs has never been a problem and I would suggest that you call Canada Post and ask them for an update.  When I have called, the Canada Post person was very helpful and gave me far more information than what was on their tracking page. 

I'm only guessing, but the declared value on the package could be causing Canada Customs some concern given the weight of the package.  If the Customs form was removed accidentaly, Customs may be waiting to get a new form from your seller and the delay maybe with the seller.  This information is available to the Canada Post person when you call. 

Hopefully, you get your lens soon.  I'm waiting for the Canada Post driver to show up today to deliver my almost new 100-400mm lens.

rumorzmonger

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2011, 10:39:32 AM »
I can't offer you any positive advice, I'm afraid.

Any item valued at over $1600 coming into Canada is flagged as a high-value shipment, and you will likely end up needing to hire a customs broker to clear this through customs for you (or you can tackle this yourself, if you live near a CBSA/CRA office).  The CBSA may also hold it until you can "prove" (to their satisfaction) how much you actually paid for it.  The CBSA will usually send you a notice by mail within a couple of weeks.

Having experienced both of these scenarios personally, and having had friends wait for several months for similar items (including a 300 f2.8L IS, ironically...) to clear Customs, I would never, ever, consider having something this expensive shipped by mail across the border.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 10:41:13 AM by rumorzmonger »
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photophreek

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2011, 10:50:04 AM »
Great advice and information from rumorzmonger.  I was not aware of the $1600 limit.  All three of the lenses I have had shipped were under this limit.  I will certainly heed the advice of not shipping anything over the $1600 limit by mail.

DeepShadows

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 11:04:20 AM »
I don't believe that, I have received multiple items over $2000 without a hitch, two different 1d3 bodies as examples.

DeepShadows

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2011, 11:21:52 AM »
So I just got off the phone with Canada Post and they can't help at all, the package is not in their hands yet, so they have no information. CBSA also can not be reached to find out. BAAAAHHH!!!!!

rumorzmonger

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2011, 11:53:57 AM »
I don't believe that, I have received multiple items over $2000 without a hitch, two different 1d3 bodies as examples.

I guess your luck finally ran out...  ;)

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2011, 11:53:57 AM »

DeepShadows

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2011, 11:55:54 AM »
Now after contacting USPS they say that it DID clear customs on the 7th and that it left through the Toronto sort facility on it's way in Canada. They can't open a "research into this" unless I'm the shipper :( I'm wondering if a customs agent saw an opportunity to get themselves a free lens :(

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2011, 11:56:59 AM »
I have a online store, and 50% of the small under $500 items I ship by USPS get held up in customs, sometimes for up to 8 weeks.  Naturally, this has customers screaming and wanting refunds.  Eventually they do get it, and see the postmark date was 4-8 weeks earlier.

On the other hand, UPS is quick and efficient, but for standard shipping, they charge a fee for passing it thru customs, and they add the taxes required by Canadian law.  Naturally, this causes customers to be unhappy as well.

You can't win!

BTW, ship UPS or FED EX with premium express shipping, and the processing fee is included in the cost, but Canadian GST will still be collected.

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2011, 12:00:17 PM »
When the lens arrives, open the package, if possible in front of the carrier so they can see the contents.  I would think that the sender insured it, so if its empty or pilfered, insurance could be collected.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 04:27:25 PM by Mt Spokane Photography »

photophreek

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2011, 03:29:05 PM »
While 1D bodies are heavy, they are not as heavy or as bulky as the lens that is being shipped to you.  I sounds like Canada Customs randomly checks value and determines whether the package is considered high value.  The 300 f/2.8 seemed to have "struck a nerve" with Customs.  Sorry you didn't get your lens yet. 

BTW, regardless of how the package is shipped UPS, Fedex, Purolator or USPS, HST will be charged and collected by the Courier or Canada Post.  I spoke with the Canada Post driver when he delivered my 100-400mm lens today and he said that Canada Customs is building a very large addition onto the Gateway Canada Post facility.  It appears that Canada Customs is pulling a full court press on collecting HST.

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2011, 03:54:44 PM »
Just to clarify, only the GST (5%) and customs tariff (if applicable) are collected by customs, even in HST provinces.
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DeepShadows

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 05:45:52 PM »
I am fully aware of the requirements for GST (Alberta here! :) ) and carrier charge, my lens is just "somewhere". I know I must pay when it get here... my problem is just that it is somewhere and I don't know where it is, and the three parties involved are not talking to each other or me and have different stories :(

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 05:45:52 PM »

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2011, 07:04:39 PM »
I was just clarifying the point above in regards to HST.

I own a lens rentals business and ship via Canada Post, sometimes stuff just gets "lost". BC seems to be the worst place for it.

Did the shipper call USPS for you? Did you call customs about the package to see if it did indeed get cleared?

If the shipper won't help, just call them and say you're the shipper. :)

I have a USPS package coming that left 3 weeks ago, I bite the bullet and pay the brokerage fee and usually ship UPS.

I can possibly help you with Canada Post, I have some contacts that will actually look into things. Let me know.
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Harley

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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2011, 08:10:06 PM »
Having a similar problem with an Ed Mika FL conversion mount that I bought on Sept 1st after reading the article here on CR.  No tracking with Canadian Post. 

Ed has been great about corresponding with me.  Unfortunately, sounds like he's in a jam with a handful of customers.  He says the next level of shipping jumps the price from $11 to over $50.  I had no idea it would be so difficult to mail something between Canada and the U.S. 
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Re: Canadian Customs for large lens HELP
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2011, 08:10:06 PM »