Canadian Duty on U.S. Pickups?

October 14, 2009 10:40 AM

Having just recently bought a new acoustic guitar, I've been looking into pickups and am considering the LR Baggs M1 Active.

It's $245 here in Toronto but only $169 US at various online stores. Our dollar is kicking ass right now so it would be way cheaper to go the US route. My only worry is the duty. The Canadian Customs sites confuse the hell out of me regarding what duty is and isn't charged on. I've purchased computer memory, Airport cards, stuff like that before without being charged.
Any advice?
And I know not to use UPS for shipping, I've heard all about people being majorly burned with brokerage fees and stuff like that.
posted by chococat (5 comments total)

I'm sure there's some logic to it, but IMO Canada Customs is really just a random tax on some items that look interesting to border agents. I've had big items cross the border with no trouble, while small packets get opened and taxed and vice versa.

Having said that, try to use US Postal Service if possible, as even if it gets stopped, the duty will likely be less than the built in brokerage fees from UPS or FedEx.
posted by Paid In Full at 1:15 PM on October 14, 2009

Can't comment re the Canada/US issue, but I bought an ES175 a couple of years back from a place in New Jersey and had it shipped to England fully expecting HM Customs to clobber me for import tax....but nope, got away with it. And that was a big item. I've bought other small stuff from the US (a set of Grovers for instance) with no trouble either. I reckon it's just the luck of the draw mate - I think they just check random stuff, and if you get caught you just have to take it on the chin and cough up.
posted by MajorDundee at 3:46 PM on October 17, 2009

Okay well I just bit the bullet and did a possibly silly thing by buying a new one on Ebay.
$169 US, free shipping via USPS Priority (although I upgraded to Express for $15).
Possibly silly in that if it's busted it will be a bit of a drag to return it, at my expense.
But if I don't get gouged by Customs I should save about a hundred bucks Canadian.
posted by chococat at 6:13 AM on October 20, 2009

I'm duty bound to point out that I am actually Major "Bull Moose" Dundee of the Royal Canadian Mounted Customs And Excise Dept, and you're nicked matey. A classic set-up, works like a fuckin' charm. If you'd just step out of the vehicle sir, and keep your hands where I can see 'em.....

Sorry choco - couldn't resist that! :-) Let us know how you get on.
posted by MajorDundee at 11:47 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Got it today, it's awesome. Nice and warm sounding without that thin, plucky piezo sound.
All told I saved about $80. $169 US plus $31 CDN which the mailman collected for the 13% GST and PST tax.
posted by chococat at 11:34 AM on October 26, 2009

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