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If you live near the Canada – U.S. border and want to purchase goods online from a U.S. retailer, you should strongly consider having your order shipped to a pick-up location on the U.S. side of the border and driving to pick it up.
A number of companies have established pick-up offices in the United States located all along the Canada – U.S. border specifically to help Canadians with their online cross border transactions.
How shipping to the border works
For a small fee (usually between $10 and $50, depending on the size of your shipment), pick-up offices allow you to have goods you order from U.S. retailers shipped directly to their locations When your goods arrive, the pick-up office will notify you and you can drive across the border to collect your items. Some companies offering this service even allow you to manage and track the entire process online.
To have your goods shipped to a U.S. pick-up office at a border crossing near you, simply provide the retailer with the delivery address of the U.S. pick-up office when placing your order with that retailer.
For more information on costs and pick-up procedures, you should contact companies that offer these services directly prior to placing your order with a U.S. retailer.
Advantages to Shipping to the Border
Cross border shipping and pick-up services provide a number of benefits to Canadian consumers shipping goods to Canada from the United States:
- They allow you to order items from U.S. retailers who do not ship to Canada.
- They allow you to save on shipping costs, since most U.S. retailers offer low cost or free shipping within the United States; and
- By driving across the border to pick up your goods, you can avoid delays and damage to your goods that might have occurred if they had to clear Canadian customs.
If you ship your goods to the border and drive across to pick them up, keep in mind that you may still have to pay tax and duty on these items when you drive back across the border, so do your homework on the goods you are buying before making your order.