R W
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Hey guys! I'm new around here, and relatively new to boardgaming as a hobby. There are several board games I want to get my family for Christmas, and am trying to figure out whether there's money to be saved by buying from American sites (I'm located in Canada).

I've already found a great list of Canadian retailers on this site, but the fact is that most of them are really expensive. The best one I've found is The German Boardgame Company, and will probably go with them if I don't buy from a U.S. site. But they're still really pricey in comparison to American retailers.

For example: one game I've decided on is Metro. At www.thoughthammer.com it's $17.24. At www.germangames.com (in Canada), it's what comes out to just over $27.00 USD at current exchange rates.

Can any experienced Canadians recommend a Canada-friendly U.S. retailer? Concerns are both shipping cost, and customs charges. Increased shipping cost usually balances out due to the lack of high Canadian sales tax. But customs fees are almost always a killer, and I don't have the experience to know how likely they are to be charged.

Thanks so much for your time!
 
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T. Rosen
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Arlington
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Re: Canadians: Experiences Purchasing from U.S. Game Retaile
I'd recommend checking out this thread:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/136126
 
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Greg Aleknevicus
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Re: Canadians: Experiences Purchasing from U.S. Game Retaile
The short answer is that, despite the lower price of US retailers, you'll probably pay less by buying from a Canadian store. This is due to the higher shipping charges (sometimes MUCH higher), possible brokerage fees and customs.
 
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David
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Yes, Shipping charges will kill any savings you might make from the lower prices.

And if you do buy from the US, avoid UPS like the plague. They'll slap you with absolutely obscene brokerage fees everytime something crosses the border. It was around $30 whenever it happened to me.

It's really annoying actually. The Canadian MSRP is rediculous. It's like they haven't looked at the exchange rate in 10 years. Wake up idiots, it's not 1.5 anymore. Sigh.
 
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R W
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Re: Canadians: Experiences Purchasing from U.S. Game Retaile
That's a helpful thread, Tom. Thanks a lot!

I'm aware of shipping increases, but it's always a matter of how much. If an American site charges me $15 when a Canadian one would only charge $10, I can still save a bundle (depending on the size of the order) due to the lack of tax. But yeah, if customs is a possibility I won't even try it. I just know, for example, with Amazon.com, I'll never be charged customs/brokerage if I stick with standard shipping. For books/CDs/DVDs .com almost always beats .ca these days (and by a considerable margin).

Courier shipping I stay far, far away from.
 
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Darryl Boone
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Coquitlam
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Re: Canadians: Experiences Purchasing from U.S. Game Retaile
I've only ordered from an American online retailer once, from GameSurplus. The prices were significantly cheaper but the shipping was $25-$30 for my four-game order instead of $10 from some online Canadian retailers. (But no customs fee, or it is included in the shipping charges.)

In the end, it was probably about the same as if I had bought it from a Canadian retailer, or very slightly higher... if the stores had carried those games. I bought some games that I couldn't find in Canada at the time, so I didn't mind the cost.

My conclusion: If you can buy it in Canada, do so. But if you're getting a few games, and they are either hard to find or very expensive in Canada, it might be worth it. Just don't expect to save a tonne of money.
 
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Isaac Citrom
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Yes, I concur. I buy from a Canadian retailer when I can. I buy from a US retailer when there is no other option if I absolutely want the product.

Often, though not always, shipping costs are not optimized. That is, many of the main shippers have special pricing from the US to Canada. But, often enough the retailer does not offer that as an option. As such, shipping costs can be very high.

In any case, tariffs and duties are a real killer, often bringing the price higher than if you had purchased from a Canadian merchant. And, of course, that is the purpose of tariffs.

Beware of brokerage fees from shipping companies and UPS in particular. Brokerage fees are fees you pay to the shipper for acting on your behalf vis-à-vis Canada Customs. I never ever choose UPS. Indeed, if UPS is my only option, I do not buy from that US merhcant. UPS ALWAYS charges very high brokerage fees. I have now several times paid out to UPS 100% of the cost of my item in brokerage fees. For example, I once purchased a replacement celphone charger for $24 USD. By the time all was said and done, via UPS I paid over $100 CAD. I am of the mind that UPS uses brokerage fees along the same lines as many people use "shipping and handling" charges on eBay--a means to grab extra cash.

Canada Post is irregular. I have noticed that they will often not bother with an item under $100, but do not take that as a firm rule. If Canada Post does snag your package, they charge a flat $5 CAD brokerage fee.

You can expect to pay brokerage fees even if no tariffs are levied, just the provincial and federal consumption taxes. The fact that they dealt with your product is warrant to charge the brokerage fee.

All that said, from time to time, the shipper just leaves my package alone and I save both the brokerage fees as well as the Canadian consumption taxes. But, this is random in its application.

In summary, I find I am very much better off ordering from a Canadian merchant.

 
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Mike Kollross
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Carvel
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I've ordered from German games and they were great. $9 flat fee for shipping. The more games you buy the more money you save. ;0)

I have also ordered from Boards and Bits and they were great as well. They also sent regular mail so no UPS fees, brokerage fees ect. Packages over $20 get stopped by customs and are levied a $5 handling fee as well as 6% GST. Make sure the seller doesn't over value the shipment as you pay taxes on their stated value of the shipment. Some people are mistaken that over valuing the package helps if you need to replace it if its insured.

I still think you come out ahead in the end but not by much. I would only do it for hard to find games.
 
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Ender Wiggins
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RattlinBones wrote:
I've already found a great list of Canadian retailers on this site, but the fact is that most of them are really expensive. The best one I've found is The German Boardgame Company, and will probably go with them if I don't buy from a U.S. site. But they're still really pricey in comparison to American retailers.

Some Canadian retailers are very expensive, but others are very reasonable. Check out the 2006 Online Canadian Retailers Price Comparison Guide here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17663

For decent prices, a wide range of stock, and fast shipping, germangames.com is indeed a very good company to deal with, as is fungamescafe.com and jjcards.com. If you do a large order, they will go out of their way to get you the best deal possible. It does depend somewhat on the games you order, but in general ordering from the US won't be much cheaper after adding shipping, handling, and customs fees, so I'd rather give my business to Canadian retailers. If you think these online retailers are expensive, compare their prices with your local game store - I think you'll find that in comparison, online Canadian retailers like germangames.com, fungamescafe.com and jjcards.com offer excellent prices.
 
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Tim Mitchell
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Re: Canadians: Experiences Purchasing from U.S. Game Retaile
EndersGame wrote:
If you do a large order, they will go out of their way to get you the best deal possible.


Could you elaborate on this? Are you talking special orders or do you mean you've been able to secure discounts by ordering a lot of games at once from those retailers? Because goodness knows, I'm happy to place big game orders...
 
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Ender Wiggins
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Example: fungamescafe.com and jjcards.com will give you free shipping on a large order. They are appreciative of and will try to please good customers!
 
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Daniel Rocchi
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One of my first orders when getting into gaming was from funagaingames. Man, did I get dinged by customs. It turns out most of these games could have been gotten from some FLGS. Live and learn, I suppose. Now there are a few excellent Canadian eretailers that make things so much simpler.

I've ordered from both fungamescafe.com and germangames.com, and find the service and selection top notch. I have also pick up directly from them when convenient to save on shipping.

Good luck!
 
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M C
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Re: Canadians: Experiences Purchasing from U.S. Game Retaile
I can only echo some of the previous sentiments. Games to tend to cost disproportionately more in Canada. Germangames tends to be the most competitive as far as price goes, and I've used them a few times. I don't mind the higher prices because it offsets the hassle of trying to get games across the border. I also try and console myself by thinking of the gamers in Australia or Asia who have it way worse.

The bigger issue is that of selection. Some games seem to take 8 months to a year (or possibly never for some obscure titles) to make it to the Canadian stores. It's rare that I can find all the games I want at a Canadian store. Boardsandbits has the most reasonable shipping, so I've used them for games I can't find here and been satisfied.

Levalet.com is a Canadian store that has had some more obscure titles and their shipping has been reasonable.

If you do wind up ordering from the US, make sure the package is not sent via UPS or Fedex or they will surprise you with an extortion fee of $50 on top of the exorbitant shipping charge, often costing more than the games themselves!
 
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K K
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Depending on how close you live to the US border (not clear from your profile) you do have the option of ordering from the US retailers and having your purchase shipped to the US.

Most towns near the border have "mailbox services" business that will receive packages on your behalf. You just use their street address with your name, and voila you have a US shipping address. They will of course charge for the service, usually it is per package and it is paid when you pick up the package (I have paid between $2-$2.50 per package). The places I have used for this do not charge a setup fee of any sort and do not require any account setup. Some places do, I would suggest contacting them to find out before having anything shipped.

When I cross the US customs, I make sure I have an invoice printed out and tell them the purpose of my trip is to pick up a purchase I made online and show them the address where I am picking up and what I am picking up. Never had any problems.

On the way back to Canada, I declare the value of the items, and show them the packing slip from the order (if there is one) or the invoice I have printed. As for paying duty, when I cross the border it really is hit and miss. My experience has been that for purchases under $50 I do not pay duty (this morning I brought through an order of $100 from timewellspent and didn't have to pay, and I did declare the full value to the agent). If you do end up having to pay duty, my experience is that it has always been GST+PST on the total value (no extra on top of that). When you think about it, you would pay that on an order from Canada anyways.

Of course, this method works for purchases other than boardgames.



 
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Mark Stadel
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Re: Canadians: Experiences Purchasing from U.S. Game Retaile
I have ordered many times from the US but also prefer to shop locally if possible (germangames.com or fungamescafe.com) ... unless you are making a large order, the differences in final prices (after shipping, taxes, etc ...) is not likely to be much.

I'm not sure what people are talking about customs charges, though. There is no duty on boardgames, so customs charge you GST (which you would be paying anyways if you bought locally) and the dreaded $5 "handling fee" ... that's it. If you ship with UPS, FedEx, etc ..., then you will have to pay an additional fee (usually around $30-$40) because those companies have their own customs brokers; the simplest (and cheapest) way around that is to use USPS (ground, air, whatever).

 
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Greg Case
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I was at J&J Superstore (the FLGS portion) and they had metro for 19.99 Cdn, might want to send them an email at sales@jjcards.com
 
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