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oh well bye bye Am*zon.com


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41 replies to this topic

#1 of 42 OFFLINE   Jim Browning

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Posted November 07 2008 - 08:49 PM

(I'm using the * to replace certain letters because I was unsure if I could use the full name.)

Let me set the situation.... I'm a big buyer of DVD's. I'm Canadian, and I look everywhere I can online for good deals. I buy a lot from Canadian online retailers, but I buy just as much from Am***n.com in the US. I live in a very remote area that depends very much on mail order shoppingl

Even with the fluctuating exchange rates, buying from the above mentioned US retailer has been very good for me. ( and for them with the amount I've sent their way) If the price was good, all I would have to do is pay the duty and the shipping charge and the parcel would be on the way. No Provincial or Federal taxes. A good deal indeed.

Today I went to place a large order and was subjected to a new policy know as an "Import fee deposit" that would cover getting my shipment across the border. I was stunned. On my purchase the fee would have been close to $30.00 extra dollars. I tried a few test purchase and got various rates of $5.00 to $30.00 on other items.

I contacted customer service and asked about the fee. Being that DVD's are duty free, what was this new policy about? I was told it would expedite and assure my parcel made it across the border. And the fee was an estimate, if the actual charge was greater, they would bill me later. ( Oh gee thanks)

So the new fee just killed the margin in my budget. I complained some more, but alas it had no effect. I guess the 36 million Canadians don't really measure up to over 300 million American customers. So much for free trade and all that... being that some of the DVD's are made in Mexico...It was great that the entire North American continent was involved. They make them,, the Us sells them, and this Canadian buys them.

(I'm not bashing the USA... having lived and worked there for at least half of my 46 years)


So that's my story... I'm no longer angry, just dissapointed

Sincerely,

Jim Browning

#2 of 42 OFFLINE   Nebiroth

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Posted November 08 2008 - 01:13 AM

That's a puzzler. For some time, Amazon.com has offered this optional service for international customers (in Europe, say) - basically, they estimate what the bill for import taxes and that sort of stuff would be (here in the UK, we have two - Import Duty and Value Added Tax, which imports over a value of £18 sterling are subject to) and then permit the customer to pre-pay the charge. They then arrange to pay the charges for you when the package is processed - which means that you don;t have the hassle of the usual way - here in the UK, you get a letter from our post service telling you that there's a package for you with charges due - they pay the customs office the charges and then you repay them back to the post service (plus a fee for them!); you then have to go out to a post depot to pay and collect. As I understood it, the Amazon service meant you didn;t have to do that bit.

However, as you can now pay the fees and stuff to the postal service online, after which they deliver, it all seems a bit redundant.

However, I always thought that with the USA and Canada being in NAFTA, you weren;t troubled with import charges. Here in the European Union, there are no such charges or anything between the states...maybe NAFTA isn;t quite as much of a "free trade area" as the EU is yet?

It seems even more odd that Amazon aren;t giving you the choice. As the importer, you're responsible for import charges - the sender isn;t. It really shouldn;t matter to them at all, once you pay for the goods and it leaves Amazon, the charges are nothing to do with them and aren;t their responsibility.

#3 of 42 OFFLINE   Regulus

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Posted November 08 2008 - 01:18 AM

I didn't have any problems last year when I ordered The Man called Flintstone from them last year. (It was available in Canada but not the US, I understand that's about to change however) The only thing that got me was, (And I was a little disappointed at) was that the Movie had the "FBI Warning" on it before it started. (I was expecting to see the Canadian Counterpart, namely an "RCMP Warning!")Posted Image

DVD Collection Inventory: TV Episodes - 38,106 :biggrin: ( 817 Series ) :biggrin: Movies - 2,426  :biggrin: Serial Chapters - 1,201 :B)


#4 of 42 OFFLINE   Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted November 08 2008 - 01:38 AM

This extra charge I guess applies only to certain countries .Im in Greece , and the only thing that amazon charges me for dvds is 6.48 for standard international shipping, or 9.97 if I want them expedited shipping.Ive never been hit with duty/import taxes.
At last my body is reunited with my soul which was always feminine.

#5 of 42 OFFLINE   nikkif99uk

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Posted November 08 2008 - 01:58 AM

I never order dvds that will cost more than 18 and found I avoid any custom charges usually

#6 of 42 OFFLINE   Billy Batson

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Posted November 08 2008 - 02:02 AM

I've never heard of this, but it's been a while since I bought a DVD from Amazon US. They charge $12 shipping, which I think is rather a lot. So I tend to buy US DVD's from Amazon UK Marketplace, it works out a lot cheaper.

#7 of 42 OFFLINE   Blair G

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Posted November 08 2008 - 02:33 AM

That $30 numbers looks like they are expecting a customs broker to get involved. That's roughly what it would cost.

Perhaps your shipment reached a value or size where it defaults to courier shipping rather than mail?

A courier shipment could/would require a customs broker.

I sometimes buy from Amazon too but I'm lucky because we have family in Seattle that we see quite regularly. I get most US on-line purchases sent there. I haven't been charged duty coming back over the border with CD/DVD purchases in a very long time (knock on wood).
The only problem is with Amazon being based in Washington I get hit with the State sales tax.

#8 of 42 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted November 08 2008 - 02:35 AM

Amazon is probably trying to get Canadians to buy from Amazon.ca where the prices are 30% higher to start with (regardless of the exchange), then have taxes added on top.

There is no way that there should be $30 in anything added crossing the border unless they have changed to shipping via UPS or your order was $200 or so. At most, Canada Post would charge a handling fee (was $5 per package, not sure if that went up) plus GST & PST or HST depending were you are. Amazon.com never used to be subject to additional taxes coming into Canada.

The only other thing I could see having happened is that Canada Post has raised its shipping fees - I know they were going to double the already high price of shipping parcels within Canada.

#9 of 42 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted November 08 2008 - 03:10 AM

Jim,

Thanks for that information. Posted Image

I live in the U.S.A. This may have an impact on the ordering I do from Amazon.co.uk. I still have many sets I want to purchase from them. We'll see how that goes.

#10 of 42 OFFLINE   Nebiroth

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Posted November 08 2008 - 05:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ockeghem
Jim,

Thanks for that information. Posted Image

I live in the U.S.A. This may have an impact on the ordering I do from Amazon.co.uk. I still have many sets I want to purchase from them. We'll see how that goes.

I wouldn't worry about it - the USA has a much higher "personal import allowance" (that is, the value of goods which may be imported by a private individual tax free) than we in the UK do.

The last time I looked it up, Americans could import tax-free up to $100 worth - much larger than our pitiful £18 in the UK.

Australians have it made - their import limit is AUS$400!

#11 of 42 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted November 08 2008 - 10:41 AM

I have to say that I'm disappointed as well. I've never heard of having to pay import fees to Canada. Canada is considered part of the United States, at least I thought so.

Import fees aren't applied to items shipping to Canada. At least I've never had to pay import fees. Sounds like Amazon is trying to pull a fast one. I would file a complaint if you can or at least inquire at the post office regarding this. If such a thing doesn't apply to Canada then Amazon may be trying to pull a fast one on Canadian customers.

I would also fire off an email to Amazon USA customer service and tell them that Canada is not a foreign country and that import fees don't apply. I would also tell them that you'll no longer be buying anything from them and tell them how much you've spent through their online store.

One thing you might want to consider is getting someone from the United States purchase the DVD's for you and then ship them to you, getting around the import fee thing.

#12 of 42 OFFLINE   Jim Browning

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Posted November 08 2008 - 11:17 AM

UPDATE

I just received another reply from Amz.com in regards to this whole subject.

QUOTE
Effective October 15, 2008, Amazon Export Sales will estimate and collect an Import Fees Deposit for orders destined to Canadian addresses. Previously, Amazon was unable to provide customers an import fees estimate for all shipping options. A system enhancement now allows us to provide an import fees estimate and facilitate the import clearance process through the shipment carrier.

So they were previously unable to provide customers an import fees estimate....considering the fact that the problem of needing one never even came up in the past five years of buying from them, it's nice to know they now have a policy.

MORE QUOTES
For your convenience, Amazon Export Sales will estimate and collect an Import Fees Deposit to certain destination countries. These funds will be used by the carrier or another agent to pay the Import Fees on your behalf to the appropriate authorities when your package reaches the destination country. The estimated Import Fees Deposit will be displayed in the cost summary on the last page of our online order form, just before you submit your order.

Sigh... I've never had a package delayed or interrupted at the border... no customs or duty tags have ever been attached to the boxes demanding additional payment. Some of my orders have been as small as $6.00 and some as large as $500. I telephoned Canada Customs today and they told me that nothing has changed in regards to fees that they know of.

Amz made it clear at the end of their letter that they consider this to be a problem of me not understanding the new system, and that no further information can be attained by writing to them. Basically it was a "thanks for writing, now go away."

I guess that's all that is left for me to do. ( I did write them again saying that it was more a problem of their lack of comprehension than of mine)

Besides, their shipping prices have been getting pricey lately as well. (being Canadian also excluded me from using their FREE Super Saver Shipping)


that's it for now,

Jim

#13 of 42 OFFLINE   John L

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Posted November 08 2008 - 11:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebiroth
I wouldn't worry about it - the USA has a much higher "personal import allowance" (that is, the value of goods which may be imported by a private individual tax free) than we in the UK do.

The last time I looked it up, Americans could import tax-free up to $100 worth - much larger than our pitiful £18 in the UK.

Australians have it made - their import limit is AUS$400!

Actually, the tax and duty-exempt limit is A$1000.

#14 of 42 OFFLINE   Mark Talmadge

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Posted November 08 2008 - 12:36 PM

Jim, if I were you, I would file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and whatever other agency in Canada that investigates things like this because it sounds like Amazon is trying to cash in on Import Fees even though they are not an issue when shipping to Canada.

The Federal Trade Commission would be another agency that I would file a complaint with. I'm sure that Amazon is feeling the impact that the U.S. Economy is having and this is just their way of trying to squeeze extra fees.

I would fire back another email telling them that you're planning on reporting them to whatever agency you plan on writing to and that they're charging fees that don't exist and that don't apply to Canadian residents.

#15 of 42 OFFLINE   RickER

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Posted November 08 2008 - 01:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Talmadge
I've never heard of having to pay import fees to Canada. Canada is considered part of the United States, at least I thought so.

What the hell? Did i sleep and miss something? Did we invade, or did they join up?

#16 of 42 OFFLINE   Jim Browning

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Posted November 08 2008 - 01:22 PM

oops

#17 of 42 OFFLINE   Jim Browning

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Posted November 08 2008 - 01:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Talmadge
I have to say that I'm disappointed as well. I've never heard of having to pay import fees to Canada. Canada is considered part of the United States, at least I thought so.

Hmmm maybe I missed something.... I better check my money and see if the Queen's picture is still on it........ it looks suspiciously like Bea Arthur!

Jim

#18 of 42 OFFLINE   Rodrick

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Posted November 12 2008 - 11:57 AM

I didn't know that. I live in Good old Vancouver BC Canada. Home of 2010 Olympics. I guess I'll have to go back to only buying at REAL CANADIAN SUPERSTORE, or see what they bring in at Bestbuy, Costco and Walmart.

A few DVD sets I bought from Amazon but I haven't lately. Wow thanks. on that.

#19 of 42 OFFLINE   Mark Lx

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Posted November 12 2008 - 12:41 PM

I was told that when you buy from amazon.com in Canada, it is in fact shipped from Canada and not subject to duty. I order from the US (.com), Canada (.ca) and the amazonUK all the time (depending on the best deal for the two, and from th UK because a lot of the best shows aren't offerred in North America and for some reason R2 discs of television only cost about half as much). I pay duty from the UK about 10% of the time and don't recall paying it from the US (I could be wrong).

Anyway, fortunately I pretty much have the greatest of TV by now and have settled into more of a rent and copy mode if I want something different.

#20 of 42 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted November 12 2008 - 03:27 PM

That really sucks. Posted Image

Is it possible that if their "previous" system couldn't estimate the duties before the customer confirmed his order that Amazon just ate those expenses themselves back then, and now that times are so tough, they just decided they have to pass them on?

Either way, it seems to be a deal killer.

(Although, I'll gladly trade you your lower cost prescription drugs for a DVD import duty! Posted Image )


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