B&H ordering for Canadians

Nelu

1-DX Mark III, EOS R
CR Pro
I'm posting this so that others can avoid the mistake I made: ordering from B&H.
On August 10 I placed an order on B&H's website, for a Canon EOS R5.
My credit card was immediately charged the full amount $5624.82 CAD (4094.95 USD).
Since the camera was not available for purchase and there was no estimated delivery date, I cancelled the order on August 14 and started to look somewhere else for an R5.

After checking my Visa card balance I noticed that B&H only refunded $5265.42 CAD but the same amount of USD (4094.95).
In this transaction I lost $359 CAD, without getting anything in exchange.
My problem with B&H is that they charge the full price for a product even if they don't deliver the order.

I contacted them and also I complained to Visa, without any success.
I filed a complaint with BBB but I'll keep my expectations low.

In conclusion, as Canadians you have two options, in my opinion:
  1. Never buy anything from B&H if there's the slightest chance that you might need to cancel an order or return an item.
  2. Get yourself a new credit card that will use USD instead of CAD.

Lesson learned, the hard way...
 

Nelu

1-DX Mark III, EOS R
CR Pro
Was the difference because the dollar/loonie exchange rate had changed since you placed your order?
Paid: $5624.82 CAD (4094.95 USD) - converted at 1.37360
Received: $5265.42 CAD (4094.95 USD) - converted at 1.28583
When I talked to Visa they said that because my Visa card is set for CAD, there is a transaction fee of 2.5% I think when you purchase anything in USD.
I'm not mad with Visa, I mad on B&H because they charge non-domestic buyers the full amount when the order is placed, even if they don't have the merchandise to deliver.
 
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Ramage

EOS R5
CR Pro
Aug 27, 2019
349
556
I'm posting this so that others can avoid the mistake I made: ordering from B&H.
On August 10 I placed an order on B&H's website, for a Canon EOS R5.
My credit card was immediately charged the full amount $5624.82 CAD (4094.95 USD).
Since the camera was not available for purchase and there was no estimated delivery date, I cancelled the order on August 14 and started to look somewhere else for an R5.

After checking my Visa card balance I noticed that B&H only refunded $5265.42 CAD but the same amount of USD (4094.95).
In this transaction I lost $359 CAD, without getting anything in exchange.
My problem with B&H is that they charge the full price for a product even if they don't deliver the order.

I contacted them and also I complained to Visa, without any success.
I filed a complaint with BBB but I'll keep my expectations low.

In conclusion, as Canadians you have two options, in my opinion:
  1. Never buy anything from B&H if there's the slightest chance that you might need to cancel an order or return an item.
  2. Get yourself a new credit card that will use USD instead of CAD.

Lesson learned, the hard way...
Yeah I have a USD CC for this reason, the whole exchange business always feels a bit shady.

I hope you find an R5 locally and the $359 does not hurt to much in the long run.
 

snappy604

EOS RP
CR Pro
Jan 25, 2017
416
282
there are other things too you should be aware of. I don't think it's scam, just weirdness you need to figure out going across borders and it applies to B&H, Adorama etc. Not only the exchange rate issue you mentioned, but also they often ship in multiple parcels from different warehouse and may arrive at different times and get charged duty handling fees multiple times depending on shipping method.

UPS is particularly nasty this way and charge a ridiculous minimum fee depending on shipping method, try it multiple times for a single order!

They really need to consider this into their business practice.
 

Ramage

EOS R5
CR Pro
Aug 27, 2019
349
556
there are other things too you should be aware of. I don't think it's scam, just weirdness you need to figure out going across borders and it applies to B&H, Adorama etc. Not only the exchange rate issue you mentioned, but also they often ship in multiple parcels from different warehouse and may arrive at different times and get charged duty handling fees multiple times depending on shipping method.

UPS is particularly nasty this way and charge a ridiculous minimum fee depending on shipping method, try it multiple times for a single order!

They really need to consider this into their business practice.
B&H has an option to collect duty and taxes at checkout so you do not get surprises at delivery (Seems to always workout to be more than local after exchange but it is an option). If I am forced to use a US retailer for an item I will always find the ones that offer USPS because at worse you will be charged the taxes. With Fedex and UPS they like to charge brokerage fees that are calculated using some form of dark magic.

I once had a custom sump built for my reef tank and the only shipping option out of Colorado was UPS. UPS wanted to charge me $800 in fees (For a $1400 sump) to deliver the package. Since I live near the port of entry (Vancouver) I went to the UPS hub got the paper work stood in line for 10 mins at customs and for $5 I cleared the item myself.
 
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snappy604

EOS RP
CR Pro
Jan 25, 2017
416
282
B&H has an option to collect duty and taxes at checkout so you do not get surprises at delivery (Seems to always workout to be more than local after exchange but it is an option). If I am forced to use a US retailer for an item I will always find the ones that offer USPS because at worse you will be charged the taxes. With Fedex and UPS they like to charge brokerage fees that are calculated using some form of dark magic.

I once had a custom sump built for my reef tank and the only shipping option out of Colorado was UPS. UPS wanted to charge me $800 in fees (For a $1400 sump) to deliver the package. Since I live near the port of entry (Vancouver) I went to the UPS hub got the paper work stood in line for 10 mins at customs and for $5 I cleared the item myself.
I always use that service from B&H and still been charged from time to time.. Once they went to sort it out.. so thought dealt with.. until the company chased me.. turns out they credited my card with the amount, but didn't actually get the company to cancel it out or tell me... and the company went after me.

totally agree with Fedex and UPS.. it's crazy nutty brokerage fees that don't make sense, but usually they don't tell you you have options.. they just threaten to withhold the object unless you pay. I've found out since you can do what you can do, but its muddied so they can gouge you.

its not just B&H... I did try adorama and they were most unhelpful.. same order.. same parcel company.. 2 brokerage fees, 1 went ot airport and 1 part went to a pickup counter elsewhere. ship it together!!!!
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,384
1,393
Unfortunately, selling internationally is full of expenses for a seller. They process a credit card immediately and warn you of that. If you cancel a order, they can only refund to you what money they received. If the exchange rate is different, you might gain or you might suffer, and you get hit with fees from the credit card company when money comes your way.

The moral is to make sure you really want the item and don't plan to cancel because it will likely cost you. There is no good reason as to why B&H should send you more money than they received. That would be great if it worked.
 

7DmkI

EOS 90D
CR Pro
May 30, 2016
124
115
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I had a similar experience with B&H before. I placed an order and paid with a C$ credit card. Before the items were shipped, I wanted to add some more items thinking they would just add them to the original order. Nope - they cancelled the initial order, refunded me in C$ which of course was less than they charged earlier and did a brand new order again. I guess B&H is receiving and refunding everything in US$; it was the financial institutions/CC companies in between buy and/or sell US$ then charge/credit local currency amount to the customers' CC. The financial institutions/CC companies are the one making money on the conversion while we suffer.

Like many other Canadians, I use a US$ CC issued by a Canadian bank for cross border shopping. But not all retailers accept US$ CC issued by Canadian banks - Canon USA is one of them. Seeing all these fantastic deals on refurb gears, I tried to use that US$ CC to place an order in Canon USA website with a USA shipping address, the order could not be completed with a message asking for another CC. Darn!
 
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Nelu

1-DX Mark III, EOS R
CR Pro
I had a similar experience with B&H before. I placed an order and paid with a C$ credit card. Before the items were shipped, I wanted to add some more items thinking they would just add them to the original order. Nope - they cancelled the initial order, refunded me in C$ which of course was less than they charged earlier and did a brand new order again. I guess B&H is receiving and refunding everything in US$; it was the financial institutions/CC companies in between buy and/or sell US$ then charge/credit local currency amount to the customers' CC. The financial institutions/CC companies are the one making money on the conversion while we suffer.

Like many other Canadians, I use a US$ CC issued by a Canadian bank for cross border shopping. But not all retailers accept US$ CC issued by Canadian banks - Canon USA is one of them. Seeing all these fantastic deals on refurb gears, I tried to use that US$ CC to place an order in Canon USA website with a USA shipping address, the order could not be completed with a message asking for another CC. Darn!
That really is messed up!
My solution is not to buy anything from a US store and stick with Canadian ones. Yes, I'm going to miss some great deals but I won't have any nasty surprises.
For sure, B&H lost me as a client.
I know that the credit card companies make money with foreign currency transactions but B&H should not charge the full amount if they don't even have the product in stock.
They should charge the credit card when they actually ship the order.
 

rgp

Sep 24, 2020
1
1
I am Canadian as well, I had a different experience.

I ordered from B&H both the R5 and the R6 as I was still deciding which one and also got the $200 and $150 discount codes that have been around.
I ended up cancelling the R6. As mentioned, B&H does charge the credit card of international orders at the time of checkout, which was a surprise to me. But I knew about the 2.5% “currency conversion” fee when buying with CAD credit cards so I used my no foreign conversion fee canadian credit card.

At the end, I paid CAD$ 3504 (2655 USD) out of my credit card for the R6 and I was refunded a few days later CAD$ 3517 so I was lucky I received CAD $13 more than I originally paid, this was because of currency fluctuation.

My suggestion for any Canadian shopping abroad is to get a credit card that does not charge foreign conversion fee, and that applies to both purchases and refunds, it will make your life a lot easier, and I am earning some good miles out of it as well.
 
Last edited:

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,384
1,393
I am Canadian as well, I had a different experience.

I ordered from B&H both the R5 and the R6 as I was still deciding which one and also got the $200 and $150 discount codes that have been around.
I ended up cancelling the R6. As mentioned, B&H does charge the credit card of international orders at the time of checkout, which was a surprise to me. But I knew about the 2.5% “currency conversion” fee when buying with CAD credit cards so I used my no foreign conversion fee canadian credit card.

At the end, I paid CAD$ 3504 (2655 USD) out of my credit card for the R6 and I was refunded a few days later CAD$ 3517 so I was lucky I received CAD $13 more than I originally paid, this was because of currency fluctuation.

My suggestion for any Canadian shipping abroad is to get a credit card that does not charge foreign conversion fee, and that applies to both purchases and refunds, it will make your life a lot easier, and I am earning some good miles out of it as well.
It is easier for US customers to purchase from Canadian stores and often cost us less due to the currency conversion. What it boils down to is to be careful and be aware of currency conversion charges, etc.