Canada, a land of terrorists? Probably according to McMaster-Carr.

Discussion in 'The Break Room' started by clivel, May 24, 2012.

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  1. May 24, 2012 #1

    clivel

    clivel

    clivel

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    Yesterday I ordered a few items from McMaster-Carr. Nothing too subversive I don't think, some timing belts, a few metric end mills and some metric fasteners.
    Oops it must be all that metric stuff that gave me away because a few hours ago I received this email from their export department:

    Due to the complexity of U.S. export regulations, McMaster-Carr accepts international orders only from our established customers. This decision also applies to orders shipping within the United States, because it is based on the final destination of the items. We cannot accept this order or future orders.

    Note the finality, that's it, they have cut me off forever.

    I wonder if the bright-sparks in their export department think that NAFTA is a four lettered word or have a hard time telling Canada from Iran when they look at a map?

    Nevertheless I emailed her back asking how one becomes an established customer and also asked for her supervisor's contact information. So far silence.

    Although my business will do little to their bottom line, and I would have understood if they had of refused the order on the grounds that it was below a minimum threshold, this email was garbage.

    What a pathetic company!
     
  2. May 24, 2012 #2

    Brian Rupnow

    Brian Rupnow

    Brian Rupnow

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    Clivel---I feel your pain. This issue has become a real problem for Canadians. I don't think it has much to do with terrorism, but it certainly has become a real snakefest trying to ship articles across the border, and get paid for them, either coming to or going from Canada. I have purchased a number of things from USA, not only because they are cheaper than in Canada, but because a lot of the time the item is simply not available in Canada. They arrive here, I pay the shipping, the difference in $ value, and the tax, and think I've got a real deal. Then two to three weeks later I get a bill for $30 to $50 from Canadian customs because they opened the box at the border and checked it for-----your pick---drugs??---illegal aliens???--Jimmy Hoffa??? This makes me absolutely crazy, and sure seems to give the lie to "Free Trade".----Brian
     
  3. May 24, 2012 #3

    Tin Falcon

    Tin Falcon

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    well I have no problem with Mcmaster Carr. I have purchased both mail order and will call.
    I order from them for my job on a monthly basis as well . Hmm.
    Tin

     
  4. May 24, 2012 #4

    kustomkb

    kustomkb

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    Hi Clive,

    I saw your post about ordering the timing belts from McM and meant to ask if their policy had changed because I had the same trouble before.

    It is obvious now that it hasn't. They are so convenient to order from and have a great website. I buy stuff from them at work all the time.

    I too buy stuff on line from the states and like Brian said, you get hit with a huge customs brokerage fee. Often more than the item is worth.

    Any ways, I see you are in Vancouver as well. So what you do is set up your Mc M account but give these guys as your shipping address; http://www.p2pparcel.com/ Then when it arrives, you get an e-mail from them, head down to Point Bob's, grab your package, give them $3.50, grab yourself a cheap six pack and a tank of cheap gas, then head'er back across the 49th parallel and tell the agent what you have got. They won't bother you for a small order.

    I just picked up a package from All Electronics yesterday. No issues.

    Cheers.
     
  5. May 25, 2012 #5

    petertha

    petertha

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    Thats been the situation for MMC for some time now (drats). They claim the customs paperwork is too onerous for them. Unfortunate, but it's their business decision, so what can you do. My friend works at a Canadian business that still gets MMC items shipped to this day, so maybe they have an in-houe screening criteria like $ order level or maybe a business/GST#, not sure.

    I still maintain that an enterprising USA person could make a part-time job killing just relaying orders back to Canuck shoppers. Whats the difference bewteen a 400$ RC model helicopter bag of bolts duty free & the exact equivalent parts from MMC?

    I found this place on the net, called the guy once. Seemed legit. I'm not sure what the markup was, but if anyone gives it a try I'd appreciate feedback. Sometimes even 50% isn't bad if all you need is 20$ worth of unobtanium hardware.

    http://www.angrovesales.com/McMaster-Carr1.htm
     
  6. May 25, 2012 #6

    Lakc

    Lakc

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    I have had to ship things to Canada for work where nobody cared how much it cost, and it was still a nightmare. I think I could find work easier as an unarmed guard in downtown Detroit....
     
  7. May 25, 2012 #7

    Chazz

    Chazz

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    Living in Yellowknife, I make it a point of doing business with companies that have no issue with USPS flat rate boxes, as well, I've ordered stuff directly from the Far East that have "Spend $200.00 and we pay the shipping" and I've yet to be dissapointed.

    The trick is, do your research, that's the beauty of the WWW.

    HTH
    Chazz

    BTW (for Canucks) KBC doesn't have what you need? Not to promote one company.
     
  8. May 25, 2012 #8

    clivel

    clivel

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    This whole problem of having items shipped to Canada from the US has become a real nightmare, and from what little experience I have had UPS bears a large part of that blame.
    Firstly their shipping fees are exorbitant, I have recently tried to purchase some timing belts from the US, tiny things, a dozen could fit into a largish envelope, but without exception the companies I found that will actually ship to Canada quote a $30 to $40 fee to ship via UPS and for some reason will not instead send via US Post. But for us in Canada this shipping fee is not the end of it, for my $20 worth of timing belts the government expects $2.40 in sales tax, which UPS then charges an additional $38 fee to collect on behalf of the government.

    In contrast ordering items from the UK has been an absolute pleasure. Whatever items I have ordered have always been sent via Royal Mail, the prices have been reasonable and the service fast and just as importantly, on this end it is delivered by Canada Post who don't gouge the recipient for collecting the sales tax and don't seem to collect it at all if if is under a certain amount.

    @Brian, From what I understand free trade only applies to made in the US products. Sales taxes are payable on all items, import duty is only payable on items imported from the US that are not made in the US

    @KustomKB, thanks that link to p2pparcel is very useful and saved for future reference :)

    @petertha, the link to Angrovesales looks interesting, I know one shouldn't judge a book by its cover but their very amateurish web site doesn't instil too much confidence, but I might just risk it, I will let you know if I do

    @Chazz, KBC is normally my first choice, it is only a 20 minute drive to my local one, unfortunately they don't stock everything.


     
  9. May 26, 2012 #9

    petertha

    petertha

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    My experience is that all couriers, UPS, FedEx, Purolator, DHL... seem to have the same 'over-and-above' charges when it comes to processing customs form crossing the border. Maybe Im off base, but I think it’s because they are private businesses obligated to fulfill requisite government paperwork. That costs them money & unfortunately they pass it on down the line. On a $10,000 machine, 40$ paper processing isn’t a lot. On a 20$ bag of bolts, 40$ seems plain dumb. But I wonder if couriers are just following the rules & the paperwork requirement is essentially the same?

    When the same part arrives via post to my door via USPS from USA, 80% of the time it arrives home free. 20% it’s opened for inspection & I get a duty notice. So I go to the post office & pay a flat 5$ processing fee to RevCan (+duty & gst etc). Why the difference? Someone told me because the postal system is a semi-government institution (read: subsidized). So maybe that’s their idea of competition? Maybe 40$ is spread across all packages? Maybe I’m paying for someone else’s parcels via my income taxes? Not sure, but you have to admit, its financial sheep herding, who wants to pay more? If you ship an item from Alberta to Ontario, the cost difference between Post & Couriers is pretty similar. So it’s a cross border thing, not a shipping cost thing.

    Here’s another quirk. I order books from Amazon dot com (yes the USA side not .ca). It arrives at my door in 4 days flat via UPS courier for 7$ all-in shipping, no dinger fees. If I try & send that exact package back to the same USA address via Canada Post, it comes to 30$ based on weight alone & god help if it becomes lost, no tracking features. That costs extra yet. I’m certainly not complaining, but how does that happen? Maybe Amazon is big enough that they cut a UPS deal? Not sure.

    Some USA vendors recognize the business opportunity to Canada/International & even though it’s probably a pain to them, they endeavor to ship USPS if desired. Actually I think I works great, flat 5$ fee + tracking number + reasonable price. And I think USPS simplified it more recently ‘if it fits in this box you pay this flat fee’. Very smart, no standing in line on the weigh scale filling in those goofy forms. We should do the same.

    I buy stuff off eBay USA all the time, both from individuals & company sellers. Usually its hobby stuff so no duties payable & always sub $500 value. Rarely, if ever, do have a customs issue if it comes via post. It would be great if declared value less that X (say 500$) just pays a nominal, flat fee & be done with it. It’s not like hobbyists are killing the billion $ free trade agreement. But logic & government rarely are words to use in the same sentence. I still maintain that if an enterprising USA person ‘brokered’ McMaster orders for a markup fee he could make a good part time profit & not be breaking any laws I know of. Meanwhile, I have learned to shop around & reward USA vendors via my business sales that DO recognize the International business opportunity & DO make provisions. Mcmaster doesnt really offer a lot of unique things to me I cant source elsewhere, its moreso a great one-stop-shopping source & great website. That is their real strength.
     
  10. May 26, 2012 #10

    petertha

    petertha

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    My friend in Abbotsford BC area does the same as you (utilizing a USA 'holding point' destination for his orders). Its like a weekend ritual, pack the family for 'a ride', pick up hobby parcels, fill up the tank with cheaper gas, grab a flat of low-test beer & back home again. The pains we hobby nuts must endure! There is a similar place in Montana but that's a 5 hour 1-way haul for me. Would make sense for a lathe, but not smaller $-value items for me.

    FWIW, Ive bought electronics stuff from this place & they will ship USPS if requested.
    http://ca.mouser.com/
     

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