International Shipping to Canada: The not-so-nice surprise.

International / Customs & Duty fees
We are only shipping to our fine neighbor of Canada currently, but it has its drawbacks. The taxes customers have to pay can be steep. We just learned this from a customer who shopped our 33% off sale, but was charged tax on an amount that exceeded the original retail price of the products purchased. 


No bueno. 

Turns out, she paid a 13% tax for her package on an amount way higher than her purchase. We can not figure out where the added cost value came from, as none of the numbers add up to either of us, but this is something to consider if you order from Canada. It certainly has our attention.

Here's this customer's feedback. 

I picked up my package today and was surprised to have to pay $61.71 CDN in duty! In reviewing my order placed on January 13 and the prices on the Customs Declaration, the value on the forms does not reflect the sale prices at which I bought these products for, on sale.

I bought 2 Rose Absolute - Organic ( Morocco) 10 ml 2 Helichrysum - Wild 10 ml I was billed $212.60 USD before shipping; this came to $264.26 CDN before shipping.

On the Customs Declaration form the value of these items are listed: $202.84 $195.32 Total of $ 398.16 USD.  This is a big difference in what I actually paid for these!!! My credit card was billed $295.30 CDN which included shipping/handling. GST/HST on this value given on the Customs Declaration form came to 51.76 CDN after conversion @ 1.252100 Handling fee $9.95 Total paid in duty + handling $61.71 CDN

We immediately submitted a ticket to Shopify Support. They also could not help fully as calculations by Customs and other factors is outside their scope and the way the software system is built calculates on an algorithm set in accordance with aspects particular to the country. 

If you make a purchase from us be aware:
How the currency exchanges are calculated and what is determined for the importation tax is something you may need to take up with the Post or Customs when you pick up your package.  Make sure you have your receipt of purchase and credit card charges so you can dispute any costs that appear unreasonable or out of alignment with your payment -- at the time you pick up your package.

Here is what we learned after submitting a Support Ticket to Shopify:

The duty rate is calculated based on a few factors:

  • the product’s declared value and shipping costs
  • the product category as determined by the HS code
  • the country or region of origin
  • the destination country's tariff rates
  • applicable trade treaties

Other fees can be added to the duties estimate that a third-party app provides:

  • Import taxes - Domestic taxes paid to the destination country.
  • Additional fees - Fees billed by the carrier for import services such as working with a customs broker, collecting import fees from customers, or calculating import fees in advance

We are now aware of this issue, however... due diligence is now required by you, if you intend to order any product and have it shipped to Canada. 

On our end, the Shopify system automatically calculates a tax on several factors based on a code of the product itself, plus weight, plus distance, plus the category of the items (wellness, clothing, toys, etc ).

Further, we are not able to manually adjust the Customs declaration form, nor adjust the prices without paying a monthly premium and upgraded features for international packages. 

At this time, we do not ship to Canada with such frequency that it is cost effective for the premium upgrade and third party app that offers a variety of features. While we could do this, to offset this premium, we would be obligated to collect a rather steep shipping and handling fee from our Canadian neighbors, and the duty would also still need to be paid.  To this end, it is not cost effective on either end.

Add this to the shipping woes and increasing costs of things, and it's just a big boo-bummer of a situation. We are thankful this one customer has shed this light so everyone else can be aware. Please read again, the above copy in red in this writing. It would behoove you to be prepared with all your receipts at the time of pickup so any potential disagreeable circumstance can be resolved in the moment. 

We brainstorm how to manage this in the future, as charging a high handling fee is not in anyone's best interests.  If there is a sale on our site and orders from Canada come through, we are pressed to find a solution. As of this writing, we are open to suggestions. 

Much to consider indeed. We have had only two orders from Canada to date. One reported this issue.