If you don't know already, Canada is the US's largest trading partner. However, many US sellers are reluctant to sell up here (I'm Canadian eh!). They place Canada in the same group of countries as North Korea, Russia, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Iran, and a few other "choice countries".
In this day and age of tracking numbers, carriers such as the USPS, FedEx, and UPS, and PayPal insurance one would hope that the security and delivery of the object would not be in question.
Some of the reasons that I have received are:
1. Too much additional paper work
You may have to go fill out an extra form for Canada Customs or add additional information. The same happens for items being sold in Canada to the USA. There are certain items that need researching. I once sold a Nikon 8000 scanner to someone in the US. I didn't know that there was a special form that needed to be filled out. This form was related to security after the unfortunate 9/11 event. Because the scanner contains a laser, I assume Homeland Security wanted to be advised.
2. Item takes too long to deliver
Yes, that is true. Because items shipped to foreign countries have to get through customs in their respective countries, the hold up is usually there. When I track an item, there is definitely a delay at customs. The customs people in Canada have to determine the federal and provincial taxes for an item. What they do is usually open up the contents of the box, and check the validity of the item desrtibed on the shipping bill to assess and verify the value of the item.You will sometimes read on e-Bay by certain vendors that "they will not change the item on customs form to "used' or "lower the price". That hopefully means that they are honest and law-abiding. I end up paying the taxes, which are collected by the shipper. This can be done either with exact cash or by using a credit card.
How much of a delay? Sometimes it's 3-5 days, and sometimes it's longer. Surprisingly, I once bought a book from Great Britain on a Tuesday, and it arrived at my house on a Thursday morning via air mail!
3. Problems in damaged items and the hassle of returns
I've only had 3 items out of about 805 ever arrive or be delivered with problems:
a. One item was not described "inaccurately" and I was too hasty and eager to buy it - my fault! If you have any questions ask the seller before you buy.
b. One item had fungal growth in the lens, and I waited too long to complain to the seller - you have only 45 days (PayPal rules) to negotiate with the seller. My fault again!
c. I item had something that had a small part of the computer damaged. The seller immediately offered me a discount - I didn't ask but mentioned this to the seller, but he was extremely kind to offer me a rebate.
If I'm interested in something that is not offered for Canada, I will send an e-mail to the seller. I tell him to check out my record on e-Bay(Excellent) and I inform him/her that I have a PayPal account (which helps). Sometimes I''ll get a "yes", sometimes a "No", and sometimes the person or company doesn't reply altogether.
I respect the people and companies with regard to their selling policies, but just remember that Canada is the USA's largest trading partner. If IBM, Apple, HP, Esso, and most large US corporation sell to Canada, why not give it a try?
As of February 13, 2012, the Canadian Dollar was near-parity (value) with its' US counterpart. You wouldn't believe how many Canadians living near the 49th parallel (the border line) and go cross-border shopping at these times.
Also, an extra bidder doesn't hurt the bidding process, especially with the U.S. economy in the trouble that it currently is!
Thanks for reading this article,
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, eh!)
Added April 12, 2011
Since I deal mostly with vintage and antique toys, most sellers will send me the items via USPS First Class International. Of about 100 transactions, I've just had 1 item arrive broken. I had to honour my commitment not to pursue any damage claims as USPS does not provide for insurance. I did read on E-Bay this week, that for 19 cents US tracking can be added. I saw this in E-Bay or PayPal notices. For 19 cents, those of you who need to have tracking can have it for 19 cents, and you can add that to the cost.