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A warning for our Canadian fans: CODs

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Okay, after some early reports this week about Canadian backers being charged extra money to receive their packages, a.k.a. "cash on delivery," we did some digging.

Just to be clear: NOTHING WAS SENT C.O.D.

The charges are from Canadian Customs. It's a tax on some or all of the items you received from the United States.

If a country's customs department flags a package, boom, you have to pay. The tax is based on the type and cost of the items which we have to report with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Like, we can't claim the stuff in those boxes isn't taxable or only worth six cents. That's what is known as international mail fraud and that's a felony and we're not gonna do that.

The additional shipping you paid as part of the campaign was just to get to the package from the warehouse and across the border. We had no way of knowing if or what Customs might charge for any given package once it's there -- not all Canadian backers had to put up with this extra charge, for example. And I haven't gotten reports from anyone in Europe about extra customs charges either.

We should've warned you guys about the possibility of additional charges from Canadian Customs, but quite frankly, this is our first campaign and the whole thing has been a learning experience. We just didn't think it would happen. All we can do is apology for the error and make it clear that additional customs charges are a possibility in our future campaigns.

Steven Palchinski, Tim Hale, and 6 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Magnus von Tesla on January 8, 2015

      Got it without an issue, didn't have to pay any cusoms!

    2. Magnus von Tesla on December 29, 2014

      Hey, I got my "your package has been shipped notice" on 12DEC, but there was no tracking info. Is it possible to get the tracking number for my package? Thanks!

    3. Missing avatar

      Brendan Tihane on December 5, 2014

      Eh. Mine was like...$16? But I got one of the $150 packages so I can't exactly say that's not fair. We get a lot for our taxes so I'm not one to complain and honestly? I was so geeked about the package that I couldn't possibly care.

      For Canada it'll basically hit all packages with a claimed value over $100. Different countries, different guidelines.

    4. Missing avatar

      Fortune on November 28, 2014

      Special Mission Pack arrived in Australia today with Saturday delivery and no extra charges as pretty much anything under a value of A$1000 gets waived through customs.

    5. Missing avatar

      Feraal on November 28, 2014

      Hey, not your fault here guys, but I've come to expect extra charges on everything I buy online anyway. Special Mission Pack arrived in Norway today, service charge $19,37 + tax $17,36 = USD 36,73, about what I was expecting. Any other Scandinavians out there who had better luck than me?

    6. Kyle McLauchlan on November 27, 2014

      It's not too bad, most of the charge(for Canadians) is a handling fee($10).

      If you guys are really want to make it up, send Scott up for a few Canadian Cons. =)

    7. Magnus von Tesla on November 27, 2014

      Haven't gotten my stuff here in South America yet; but I'l llet you know. The customs here are very hit and miss; if I'm lucky, I can get them to consider it a book (free of taxes as all are books/cds/dvds) with gifts (free of taxes by virtue of being gifts)... if not, I might have to pay taxes on it...

    8. Ken Baker on November 26, 2014

      I received my special mission pack a few days ago in Southern Ontario. I was lucky enough to be spared a customs charge, though I never received a shopping notification.

      Regardless, the Robo merch is awesome (love the black t-shirt) and was worth the wait.

    9. Barry on November 26, 2014

      Yea, I dunno really.
      Relic Knights, Ogre, customs charges. Robotech? Nothing.
      Dr. Dino is a MAD MAN!

    10. Twigs on November 26, 2014

      Just for interest sake I got my stuff yesterday I’m in Canada and did not have any customs charge. So I guess it depends on the custom agent that looks at your stuff…… Maybe some of them work for Dr. Dinosaur.....

    11. Tesladyne LLC 6-time creator on November 26, 2014

      Thanks, James!

      Don't worry, we have no interest in committing any kind of fraud. For one thing, we're not even the ones who handle the packages, we have a whole warehouse of folks doing that. There's no way they're going to risk their entire business to save some of our backers a few bucks :)

    12. Daniel Pawliw on November 26, 2014

      I'm from Ontario and I got hit with the customs charge. I'm perfectly fine with it, I always expect it for the kickstarters I receive and am usually just happy that customs overlooks it. It's all good =D

    13. James Thatcher on November 26, 2014

      One last thing... the "Dreaded Serpent of Customs Taxes" - it's not usually the customs authorities fault that there are these taxes, it's the local government that is trying to protect it's local providers and revenue (duties); for VAT and GST it would be the same charge as if I were to go into a shop in Bremen or London or Ottawa and purchase the same thing... You're still paying what you would normally pay to the government...

    14. James Thatcher on November 26, 2014

      OK - I'm going to stick my neck out here so you can all see this. My day job is a Licensed United States Customs Broker - it's what I do... The job of a broker is to represent an importer of record (someone who is receiving goods in a country) to the local customs regime. I HIGHLY encourage you NOT to submit these as a gift. That could be considered fraud, and is punishable very highly. That being said, the majority of these items are paper based and books... If your country is a member of the World Customs Organization (which I would assume is almost all of you Canada and Europe for sure) - then you should be able to classify these as Chapter 49 - in most countries this is duty free... however this will not exempt you from the VAT or other import tax requirements. Depending on how these were sent for international (I'm guessing it was postal service) it would be my recommendation that you pay your local postal authority for the VAT and fees. In most European countries the VAT is 22% (ish) - remember to ensure that when you are asked to pay a VAT/GST that you are assessed on the goods having the US Value and the conversion to your local currency is done correctly.

    15. Eric Barkman on November 26, 2014

      Yeah, as a Canadian who has bought a lot of stuff online, this is something that happens on occasion. In my experience it's rare, and I don't think I've ever experienced it with anything under $100. Even above that it only happens sporadically. I'm hoping it doesn't happen to me, as I am currently unemployed, but as I have yet to get a shipping notification, who knows, maybe I'll have a job by the time I finally get it.

    16. Imaria on November 26, 2014

      Sadly, this is why I got the Cybernet Interpunk pack. I'd have loved to get a physical copy, but shipping+customs gets unreasonably more expensive every Kickstarter order.

      Canada ain't cheap.

    17. Tesladyne LLC 6-time creator on November 26, 2014

      Crap! And now I just got our first report of a non-Canadian international backer getting Customs charges as well.

      So, looks like any international backer is now a potential target for the dread serpent of Customs taxes.

    18. Steven Palchinski on November 26, 2014

      One thing that can be done, not necessarily fool proof, is to send it as a gift. I have had this done with ebay purchases in the past.

    19. Bjorn van Rijszen on November 26, 2014

      Well, at the time of writing this, the guys DID get their report from Europeans getting this charge.

      Y'know. Just a heads up for fellow Old (but far superior*) Worlders.

      * Shut up. I wasn't serious. Panties may be safely untwisted.