Canada Customs (ouch!)
I'm not sure where this should be posted, so I'll start here.
I live on Vancouver Island. I've been ordering tobacco from Smoking Pipes for about 2-1/2 years. Until about 6 months ago, all shipments passed through Canada Customs unscathed. I have kept them right around 200g, usually a little under. Since the first time a shipment was caught by customs it's been happening with increasing frequency. I'll generally place an order for myself every 2-3 weeks as well as a couple a month for friends who use a certain Oriental blend as rolling tobacco. With more & more being caught, I decided to try smaller quantities (~100g). Same result. About 75% are now being caught. Perhaps customs has some means of red-flagging a recipient or shipper, or they are simply being more diligent sniffing out tobacco imports.
Anyone have similar experiences lately? Suggestions?
No suggestions but a question: when you say the packages are getting "caught", do you mean seized or having tax added?
gc45, I don't have any suggestions other than to keep trying. I too have been noticing a huge increase in the amount of packages being assessed duty (I'm in Vancouver), be they single tins or larger. That said, if I order a lone tin of C&D product, I will be assessed $18 duty on it, bringing the cost up to around $30 CAD - still $20 cheaper than through City Cigar or R.J. Clarkes...so even if I knew I was going to get a customs fee levied with every order, I wouldn't hesitate to use the U.S. etailers.
I'm in Vernon, BC and just placed my first order. Now I am a little concerned because although I know even with duty it is cheaper than local, I was hoping I could order 200g or less and not be levied. Or if so have it be the exception not the norm. My first order is in Richmond on its way here right now, I am so pumped to finally have some options to try. Honestly though, it will be a bit of a bummer to have to pay duty on it all though. I will definitely have friends bring me back tobacco in person if they take trips to the US. But even if I could afford local B&M prices, being in a small town, I have to drive an hour just to find one. Then they usually just have the OTC type selections at disgusting prices.
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Rookie, but learning.
I understand the law changed on Jan 1, 2012 to eliminate the "Less than 8 oz" exemption. We're now supposed to be charged duty on any amount imported. So far, I've not been charged any on a small shipment, but as gc45 suggested, I think they're able to track "frequent buyers" and I'll probably get charged duty soon.
I do agree with schmitzblitz, however - even WITH duty, it's significantly less than the local B&M and much as I'd like to support my locals, it's just not on. FWIW, I measured my last batch and got 30 pipes out of 2 ounces. That's $2 per pipe at our local prices, less than $1 at US prices. I've done the math and will continue mail ordering!
The first time I ordered from smokingpipes I got dinged on tax, but I'd do it again cause the tobacco I got is amazing. Any better success from 4noggins or other sites?
Try an order from 4noggins - note carefully the labelling on the customs declaration.
Since you're ordering every three weeks and got "caught" and charged duty, they may have indeed "flagged" you in their "system" (it makes sense).
Like someone here suggested, 4 Noggins may improve your odds -- you might also want to "spread it out" -- since you order for friends, set up a rotation on shipments by a different person to a different address.
Since this is a public forum, Discussion of circumvention of local or national ordinances and customs regulations may want to be relegated to a slightly more private area.
That being said good luck folks I'm stocking up on tobacco before the states prices get up to god awful far. I'll be sure to smoke a bowl for you guys that customs overlooks at least a little of your Baccy
The true measure of a mans worth is how he chooses to chance his mortality
Junior Member of the Black Bloods
Despite smokingpipes being cheaper and having a better selection, I will not order from them as the packages are more likely to be opened by customs. 4noggins has my vote.
Thanks for the input. I'll try 4 Noggins.
In answer to sothron: By caught, I mean opened & taxed.
As to the additional cost: With taxes & customs processing fee ($10/ shipment), larger bulk tobacco orders wind up marginally cheaper than drugstore tobaccos locally; proportionately a little higher for smaller orders — shipping almost the same cost & customs fee identical. As the tobaccos are generally better & far more varied, it's still a good deal.
Shipments arriving unscathed are ~ 1/4 the cost of drugstore tobacco.
The nearest tobacconist worthy of the name is 1-1/2 hrs away in Victoria. IIRC, their house blends are ~$20/oz, about 7 times the price of the bulks I buy online. On the basis of that comparison, even with taxes etc., the imports are a much better deal.
As to tins, I only recently started buying a few. Can't comment.
Having said all that, I'm sure most Canadians buy online in the hope of avoiding onerous taxes, at least in part. Smoking Pipes clearly labels their shipments. No attempt at subterfuge.
Guys, please don't post stuff like this on a public forum. The reason is obvious.
Sooner or later CRC is going to plug that hole. The whole point of import duties is to bring the price of a cheaper foreign product up to or higher than the price that the same product sells in the domestic market to discourage import and encourage buying locally so the own country benefits.
That said, however, Tobacco prices in Canada are absolutely ridiculous. 100g cost about 60$ US at most tobacconists - at least here in Ontario. The same tobacco can be had in the US for 24 $ US regularly prices, or often 15 $ US when it's on sale. US prices are very similar to the European prices, e.g., that same tobacco costs about 18$ US in Germany. That makes Captain Black per gram more than 2x more expensive than a vintage bottle of Dom Perignon.
Suffering from a serious case of "EPARD", also known as the Estate Pipe Acquisition and Restoration Disorder.
Guys, please don't post stuff like this on a public forum. The reason is obvious.
Guys, suggest we be very discrete with what information is posted openly on the forum.
Sharing certain information discretly amoungst friends is fine. This is an open forum and ANYONE can join, so if you have a good thing going, let's at least be discrete about it as the next person that reads this (and other certain threads) could belong to CBS or something similar and the honeyhole could easily go away forever.
Peck, slow, customs receives thousns of tobacco shipments at the border each day. You'd think they don't know already?!
Well mine just came in. I had $32 and change in duty charges. Now I am curious if I was just levied on my tobacco (which was a fraction of the order) or if I was levied on everything. I did not receive any breakdown of the duty fees, just a total payable upon pick-up. So my order was:
1-Bjarne Viking pipe (first briar )
1-MM Pride Straight pipe (hey that sounds funny worded that way)
1-MM Great Dane Straight pipe
8-bundles of pipe cleaners
1-12 pipe cleaner holder
1-Nording Hunter's Beagle 50g tobacco
1-oz Black House tobacco
Plus of course the obligatory P&C Calendar, which was mangled. My bill with shipping was $113.21 + 32.45 for duty, which puts me at $145.66. Now I still think I got good value at that rate, I just don't know what duty was assigned to what item. So anyone have to pay duty on pipes and accessories or just tobacco? I would order from P&C again for pipes and accessories if I am not getting dinged duty on them. But I would order my tobacco elsewhere because P&C's shipping is only worthwhile on a larger order. Now I suppose if I had to assume each shipment would get levied, I would just have to budget accordingly. But what a bummer that would be. I never visit the US anymore, so I have no real option but to order online or to have the odd friend or family member bring me some back from a vacation. I can just foresee a confused phone call from a friend now..."what kind of what tobacco, in how many ounces...or was that grams?..."
Okay, I gotta put my goodies away and get back to work. I agree that we shouldn't discuss specifics on circumventing customs issues. So as much as I have liked this thread, I think it would be a great idea if the members that did get specific would edit their comments and keep it general or vague.
chakaraka, depending on what province you live in, your duty will vary slightly.
In British Columbia, you are assessed (around) $9.00 per ounce of tobacco (it's actually nine and change); ergo $24(ish) of the duty would be in tobacco. I would venture to guess that the other ten and change would be sales tax, but without seeing the brokerage papers I am just making a guess here.
schmitzbitz, thanks for the feedback on that. So basically on accessories and pipes, we are just subject to HST? I think the lady at the post office was supposed to provide me with a copy of the brokerage papers and for whatever reason did not.
Canada Customs charges ~$10 processing for any package they open, regardless of size. Canada's "tobacco tax" is about 55%, plus HST. I find a shipment of ~200g & costing $20-25, including shipping, will roughly quadruple in cost when the dust settles.
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