Customs due on AP shipment to Canada


Customer Service

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I've been a subscriber for a looooong time. On a couple of occasions I've had to pay customs when adding some miniatures/games/cards to my order, but I've never had to pay customs on my regular AP subscription (even when other books have been included in the order).

I've just received AP #122 (the only item in this shipment - order #4481716). Total value was $17.49 USD. When it arrived at my door I was required to pay $12.64 CAD to receive my package.

Was there some sort of error here? Or is customs in Canada treating goods differently now? Between the shipping, exchange and customs, I have paid about $45 CAD for this one item. If this were to happen again I'm afraid I'd need to cancel my subscriptions as it crosses the tipping point where it makes sense to keep subscribing.

Any insight you can provide would be great.

Thank you!

Jim

Customer Service Representative

Hi Jim,

We'd need to see a picture of your shipping label to determine if there was an error with how something was entered. (Best to send that in an email).

As for if customs in Canada is treating anything differently, you'd want to check on that with your customs office/website, to find out if they have any more information for you.

If you decide you need to cancel your subscription, please let us know.

Thanks!
~Sharaya

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had the same issue today.

Note that of the $12.64, $10 was a handling fee.

I don't think this is on Paizo's end, but something new customs has done.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Thanks Sharaya. I'll take pics and send an email. I would loathe having to cancel my subscriptions!

SR - interesting. I wonder if any other Canadians have been stung. I had thought that books/periodicals were generally exempt from customs (at least under $50) - but I am no expert on these things. I was also charged the $9.95 handling fee. Like you, I am more inclined to think this is customs driven vs. something on Paizo's end.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I'm wondering if it's a coincidence, or if it could be related in some way to the NAFTA negotiations.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not NAFTA, I did some further digging.

Packages like this are randomly assessed (for now). If it gets flagged, any book over C$20 has taxes on it assessed by Customs. The $10 service fee is actually for Canada Post collecting that tax.

Price on the item was US$17.49, which they converted to C$20.73, so we got randomly hosed.

We may or may not see this regularly, depending on how the sorting works, changes in technology (they may start hitting every package), exchange rate, price, etc.

Best to take it up with Canada Post/your MP.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

For now I'm going to chalk it up to coincidence/bad luck. I'll be curious to see what happens with the next AP shipment. Generally I've been able to count on packages from the U.S. under $50 USD sliding through without a customs charge. If customs starts aggressively enforcing the $20 CAN limit, it will unfortunately push many purchases that are shipped from the U.S. past the point where it makes sense for me (and possibly others) :(

If it becomes a pattern, definitely worth following up with Canada Post/MP.

Scribbling Rambler wrote:

Not NAFTA, I did some further digging.

Packages like this are randomly assessed (for now). If it gets flagged, any book over C$20 has taxes on it assessed by Customs. The $10 service fee is actually for Canada Post collecting that tax.

Price on the item was US$17.49, which they converted to C$20.73, so we got randomly hosed.

We may or may not see this regularly, depending on how the sorting works, changes in technology (they may start hitting every package), exchange rate, price, etc.

Best to take it up with Canada Post/your MP.


Add me to the list. Seems more than just random if enough of us got hit.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Maybe it was on a random shipment, rather than just a random package?

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Interesting thought. I wonder how Paizo orders arrive in Canada? Individually, together as a shipment, or in a wave?

Redelia wrote:
Maybe it was on a random shipment, rather than just a random package?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Add me to the list of Canadians who got hit by a customs charge.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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rokeca wrote:

Interesting thought. I wonder how Paizo orders arrive in Canada? Individually, together as a shipment, or in a wave?

Redelia wrote:
Maybe it was on a random shipment, rather than just a random package?

Depends a bit on the method. Our standard international shipping goes through UPS Mail Innovations International. They pick up from us in large batches which go to a processing center here in Washington. From there they are sorted into groups based on the next regional distribution level and so on until it hits the country of destination. Then it's handed over to the local postal system for further processing and final delivery.

While Paizo packages going to similar destinations may travel together for much of the transit times, it of course depends on destination, package size, weight, method, how many other packages are going to the same place from other shippers, etc. Even two packages going to the same address might have different delivery dates. One manages to get sorted onto an almost full truck while the other just misses the cut off and has to wait an additional day(s).

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Looking at things on our end, there is nothing we are aware of that has changed with how these shipments are labeled or shipped.


Another Canadian who got hit by the customs cost, and now has to question my subscription.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Thanks for following up Sara Marie. Much appreciated.

FYI, for other subscribers hit with customs, I live in Markham (north of Toronto) in case there's a geographical pattern to who/what was hit.


Saskatchewan.

They also got the PST wrong. They charged it but books are SK PST exempt. Unrelated to Paizo of course, just customs grumbling, but if they're gonna charge a handling fee they should do things correctly at least.


As an update on this, my latest subscription has arrived with no such issue. So indeed some unlucky picks or exchange rate at the time.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Unfortunately, I got hit again. The postal worker where I picked up my order told me that far more packages are getting flagged now for duties and the corresponding collection fee.

I'm quite sure this is not Paizo's fault. However, if it continues I will probably have to cancel, as an extra $10 per order for 1 or 2 AP volumes is crazy.

My problem is with Canada Post. I've got no problem with paying the taxes I'm supposed to on the products, as that's only a couple of bucks. It's the $10 fee to collect that small amount that's ridiculous.

I know Paizo is always looking at shipping methods, but could you please look again at alternatives for your northern neighbours? Bypassing Canada Post eliminates the problem.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Apologies.

After chasing Canada Post on this, they tell me the collection fee is actually coming from USPS.

Still, an evaluation of shipping methods may be needed.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I agree - it's not the extra tax, it's the 'service charge' that would make a subscription unsustainable. I hope some solution can be found for Canadian subscribers/customers.

Thanks for your pursuit of the post office.

Scribbling Rambler wrote:

Apologies.

After chasing Canada Post on this, they tell me the collection fee is actually coming from USPS.

Still, an evaluation of shipping methods may be needed.


Agreed, examining options would be good. Perhaps bulk import into Canada and then send via Canada Post? (some Kickstarters have done this to reduce shipping costs.)

My wife tells me that our last subscription shipment got hit with the service fee and taxes.

The next shipment (alien archive pawn box) is slated to ship Priority and will cost more for shipping than the cost of the item.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

It's interesting that it's the USPS collecting the fee (unless it's at the request of Canada Post). That kind of policy would seem to work against U.S. retail businesses and the postal service as it would reduce the amount that Canadians spend with those business and reduce the number of postal shipments.

Scribbling Rambler wrote:

Apologies.

After chasing Canada Post on this, they tell me the collection fee is actually coming from USPS.

Still, an evaluation of shipping methods may be needed.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've sent Scribbling Rambler a request for further information via email.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Thanks for investigating this Vic.

Vic Wertz wrote:
I've sent Scribbling Rambler a request for further information via email.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Just received the latest Character Deck for PACG here in Vancouver, Canada and was charged $12.42 for Tax and Handling Fees. I had never before had to pay anything on receipt of any PACG subscription products. If this continues, I too will have to cancel my subscription as this is a huge increase in cost for a small, frequently delivered, ~$20 product.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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I've been in touch with our reps at Mail Innovations (most of our shipments to Canada are handled by them).

First, they verified that it is indeed Canada Post, not the USPS, that is charging the service fee. The following quote is from the Canada Post website:

Canada Post wrote:

A handling fee of $9.95CAD per dutiable or taxable mail item is applied. This fee is in line with the government’s efforts to help recover costs from those who benefit from services, and is similar to arrangements in the United States and other countries.

...

Customers with questions regarding the collection of these taxes should call the CBSA Border Information Service (BIS) line:
• within Canada 1-800-461-9999
• from outside Canada 1-204-983-3500 or 1-506-636-5064 (long distance charges will apply).

There's really nothing that MI can do about it, but they did add this:

Mail Innovations wrote:
...it’s VERY RARE I’ve heard of this happening. I called a few additional customers this morning and none of them are experiencing this issue.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Mail Innovations also tells me that all of our MI parcels bound for Canada enter through Vancouver, and at the point that Canada Post would inspect them, they have already been blended with parcels from other Mail Innovations clients. Which means that if Vancouver suddenly decided to ramp up their inspections and assessments as a matter of policy, it *should* affect MI's other customers. The available evidence therefore suggests that it's just the luck of the draw working against us, and that should even out over time.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for checking, Vic.
I'm not surprised that it's on Canada Post's end, though one of their reps told me otherwise. After all, if it were USPS the charge would vary with exchange rate.
Hopefully my luck will improve with the next few shipments.


For Canadians getting hit with duty, Contact your MP and complain! That $20 exemption is the lowest of all the G20 nations and hasn't changed since the 90's. For comparison the reverse, an American buying from Canada, they have a $800 exemption at the border.

Now if the new NAFTA negotiation get passed there is a US requirement that our exemption would be increased and I believe they amount requested is $600.

Who knows what is going to happen to duties if NAFTA ends.


I am in contact with Canada customs and border agencies that performs the actual assessments. They made a mistake in applying SK PST to my previously reported order and my recently received copy of FGG's The Blight. This is a mistake as SK PST does not apply to books, so partly to be a pain to them for being a pain to be, I'm chasing my $1.20 refund.

I have discovered that while they don't deny making a mistake, their minimum refund is $2. This seems unfair as they pursue values that will result in assessments below that and they are capable of making mistakes that should be refunded.

Mostly unrelated to the actual concern here but, if I'm lucky and somehow impactful in my follow up, I hope at least their policy will ignore values below $40 so that their refund policy is in line with the minimum mistake they are capable of making.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Received my latest AP today, along with about $100 in miniatures - and no customs fees at all this time! A pleasant surprise. So hopefully things have started to even out.

Thanks Vic

Vic Wertz wrote:
Mail Innovations also tells me that all of our MI parcels bound for Canada enter through Vancouver, and at the point that Canada Post would inspect them, they have already been blended with parcels from other Mail Innovations clients. Which means that if Vancouver suddenly decided to ramp up their inspections and assessments as a matter of policy, it *should* affect MI's other customers. The available evidence therefore suggests that it's just the luck of the draw working against us, and that should even out over time.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pravus wrote:

For Canadians getting hit with duty, Contact your MP and complain! That $20 exemption is the lowest of all the G20 nations and hasn't changed since the 90's. For comparison the reverse, an American buying from Canada, they have a $800 exemption at the border.

Now if the new NAFTA negotiation get passed there is a US requirement that our exemption would be increased and I believe they amount requested is $600.

Who knows what is going to happen to duties if NAFTA ends.

If you're looking to change the system, there's one other thing you might want to be aware of. I'm not an expert on Canada tax by any means, but I have been looking around a bit on this topic, and found this troubling.

The section of the mail manual I quoted before also says this: "Any item mailed into Canada is potentially subject to duty and/or taxes with few exceptions. Visit the CBSA website at cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/postal-postale/menu-eng.html for more information on mail imports. The CBSA collects provincial sales taxes (PST) on most taxable imports valued at over $20CAD entering Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The CBSA also collects Harmonized Sales Taxes (HST) on most taxable imports entering Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Ontario."

If you go to that CBSA website, you'll find a sidebar linking to Determining duty and taxes owed. That page describes the $20 exemption: "Under the provisions of the Postal Imports Remission Order, if someone mails you an item worth CAN$20 or less, there is no duty or tax payable." It then goes on to provide a list of "Items that do not qualify for the CAN$20 exemption":

Canada Border Service Agency wrote:

• tobacco;

• books;
• periodicals;
• magazines;
• alcoholic beverages; and
• goods ordered through a Canadian post office box or a Canadian intermediary.

If I'm understanding all that correctly, that means that they can tax you on all books regardless of value and then ping you with a $9.95 handling fee.

Sovereign Court

Thanks for the information, everyone.

I live in Québec and I was also charged the handling fee twice in the past 4 months. I'm surprised that the fee is being applied in such a seemingly random manner, and I wonder why it's happening at what seems like an increased frequency lately (just a rhetorical question). I hope we won't reach a point where the fee gets applied to every single shipment.

<---- If it does, this will definitely be the face that I'll make.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Pravus wrote:

For Canadians getting hit with duty, Contact your MP and complain! That $20 exemption is the lowest of all the G20 nations and hasn't changed since the 90's. For comparison the reverse, an American buying from Canada, they have a $800 exemption at the border.

Now if the new NAFTA negotiation get passed there is a US requirement that our exemption would be increased and I believe they amount requested is $600.

Who knows what is going to happen to duties if NAFTA ends.

If you're looking to change the system, there's one other thing you might want to be aware of. I'm not an expert on Canada tax by any means, but I have been looking around a bit on this topic, and found this troubling.

The section of the mail manual I quoted before also says this: "Any item mailed into Canada is potentially subject to duty and/or taxes with few exceptions. Visit the CBSA website at cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/postal-postale/menu-eng.html for more information on mail imports. The CBSA collects provincial sales taxes (PST) on most taxable imports valued at over $20CAD entering Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The CBSA also collects Harmonized Sales Taxes (HST) on most taxable imports entering Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Ontario."

If you go to that CBSA website, you'll find a sidebar linking to Determining duty and taxes owed. That page describes the $20 exemption: "Under the provisions of the Postal Imports Remission Order, if someone mails you an item worth CAN$20 or less, there is no duty or tax payable." It then goes on to provide a list of "Items that do not qualify for the CAN$20 exemption":

Canada Border Service Agency wrote:

• tobacco;

• books;
• periodicals;
• magazines;
• alcoholic
...

I was reading on someone comment on another forum

--To avoid this in the future look for retailers that factor in taxes/duties in the checkout process (so nobody charges you the handling fee).

It's fulfilled by Amazon & On Ebay look for their global fulfillment program by Pitney Bowes. Barnes and Noble also charges sales tax to Canadians therefore no brokerage fees.

Again you'll get charged the taxes upon checkout so no brokerage fees.
--
Would that be something Paizo would be able to look into? As An original Dragon magazine and day 1 Charter Subscriber AP I been happy getting books from Pazio for years and only in the last 12 month have I been hit with the Broker Fee at least 6 times ranging from $15 - $30 each time. That cost + shipping and handling nearly wipe out the benifine of being a subscriber and saving %20-30% discount off of the cover price. At this point the only saving grace is the FREE PDF I get with the subscriptions.

Subtotal (4 items) $66.76
You've saved $16.20 off suggested retail—that's a 20% discount!

CBSA brokerage Handling fees $15
Shipping & Handling $19.65

Order Total $101.41

cost at my local hobby store would be about
$66.76 + $16.20 = 82.96 + taxes

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

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