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Any law students around here? Please help!


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I have an issue that irks me from time to time.  I always say it is not worth pursuing and move on, but then it all come back and it looks uglier and uglier every time.  


A month ago I bought a fishing rod on Ebay.  The fellow in the States made a mistake and mailed me the wrong rod.  He also let me know ahead of time that this has happened and I was going to return the wrong rod, but , as it happens the road was not delivered to me but to my wife.  She paid the extortionists the customs fees and more - whatever they asked for. or you do not get the item.  The payment was collected at my front door.  No hassle there.

When I went to return the package at Canada post, they accepted it, but did not refund the fees!  I was supposed to file a claim with CBSA, mail them original documents, proof that the item was shipped and then wait....   I did all of that.  In the meantime the correct rod arrived and I paid the same fees on it again.

A month later, no refund from CBSA.   I asked them again what the heck is going on.   They started asking me now for proof that I paid the customs duties on the second rod (the correct one).  I did tell them to go and......you guess what.   They are the guys who should have all of this info and should not be asking me for proof and giving me more trouble  Finally they paid what they took less $9.95, which they said could only be refunded by Canada Post.  I was supposed to file more claims for that.   I gave up.


Today my son received a gift from the States.  He plays in some computer tournaments and wins prizes.  The prize had an indicated value of USD 25 and declared a gift!

Once it got into Canada it went into the hands of CBSA and Canada Post (not sure in what order) and the final result is visible by their paperwork below.

On the gift of $25   my son was asked to pay $13.90 so he can actually see his gift.  Or they will not give it to him!!!!!!!

If there are any lawyers among us, or students with god knowledge I will really appreciate your advice on how this case can be handled.   It is not about the money it is about the principle!   This type of BS needs to end!





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Sorry to hear that but may I be polite and direct. You may not know but I practiced law for many years... I now am just a college/university professor and do it pro bono and I did practice immigration law (global trade) a bit (at a certain level a bit different than the area you talk about) but  teach immigration law among other subjects so I only say that to reassure you I do understand what you said but there is nothing you can do.

There is always a tariff or import tax on anything coming in saying its a gift won't work. Each day literally millions of mailed items come in to Canada and the CBSA sifts through them no.1 looking for illegal drugs, food, weapons,child porno as their top priorities but then items like you said. 

The CBSA is not your issue, the regulations and laws they enforce are. That tax or tariff on incoming goods is intended to encourage you to buy in Canada not to mention its a tax and you know why governments tax. So sorry its the law. You will have to change the law.

You can in theory go down to a Customs excise office and file an appeal but its a waste of time. Another thing and its a good general rule. Whenever dealing with CBSA they have a lot of discretionary power given the grey area of what they enforce. They sometimes will look the other way at port of entries when you break minor rules. They do tend to look the other way with people shopping in Buffalo but they do not have to. They technically can send anyone to the side and tax them on anything they buy.

We have a lot of import regulations people are unaware of and large businesses use import and export brokers to deal with all the paper work which can hold up or screw up important transactions and then on a higher level we have a lot of treaties and trade agreements setting out with certain countries what is taxed and at what amount.

There is no such thing is free trade. For that to happen countries would have to have the exact same state of economic market conditions and currency-what we have are lower tariffs on some countries then others.

All that shit said I am sorry but not much you can do but keep in mind anything coming from outside Canada by mail is intercepted by CBSA who may or may not intercept your mail and look for possible regulatory infractions.

I always tell consumers please don't use ebay or kijiji or any such source unless you physically go and look first at the item you buy. You take a big chance with any mail order that its not a box with a rock in it not to mention giving away a credit card anytime on your internet even to buy a pizza is dangerous. 

By the way I could tell you horror stories about Amazon and them not refunding money or scams where you get called by people posing as CBSA or Immigration or Revenue Canada officials. It aint worth the problems. Buy in Canada. Just look around. If you have to order through a respectable retail store and they can tell you the exact fees.

Welcome to the world of regulation Cougar.




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On 8/11/2019 at 5:50 AM, Rue said:

That tax or tariff on incoming goods is intended to encourage you to buy in Canada not to mention its a tax and you know why governments tax. 

My son's tournament award is not a purchase!  He does not work and has no income !   They will not give the award to him unless he forks out about 50% of its value to them!

And you tell me I have to put up with that and there is nothing I can do?

When I buy used fishing rods abroad they get me, just because the rod goes into their system.  When I buy the same used rod in Canada I pay no GST or PST as the transaction cannot be tracked by the government.  

Years ago I got about 80% of my items without any such taxes on them.  I assumed that there was a limit of whatever dollars per person and once you went over it, they started charging the taxes.   Now they do it on each every item  - even gifts with a value of $25!!!!!!   Completely Pathetic!

I will tell you what I will do; file a complaint with them to see what they have to say.  Then file a small claim for extortion against CBSA, Canada Post and Her Majesty and make it all go public on CBC!


Edited by cougar
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3 hours ago, Rue said:

Good luck but sorry the law on this gives you no civil remedies.

GST - good and services (sales) tax

PST - provincial sales tax

No purchase or sale took place. 

I will keep you posted how it went.   If I end up paying them another $200 in filing fees and whatever charges, at least I will have the pleasure of calling them what they are and leaving a public record of it.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Contacted a lawyer and asked him if my case will be allowed to run its course through the legal system.   He provided no response.  I take it he has no idea.

The other morning while on the road my phone rings.  It is the CBSA.  They tell me they will refund the full amount of what I paid. 

Even without me filing any paperwork!!!!!!!   But they do not admit any mistake.  It was the mistake of whoever entered the info in the system because they say they "do not read customs declarations"!!!!

I still wanted to tell them what I thought of them, which was going to come up in court but anyways.  I can say it here.

We look like our Queen is so poor that it is about to go naked and I have to pay for her panties through taxes on my $25 son's tournament award or the purchase of used small sporting goods across the border.   Again, pathetic!

But they escaped my wrath again.


Edited by cougar
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  • 2 years later...
On 2/22/2022 at 11:54 AM, Necrophos said:

I find it absurd to put you go through such conditions. I feel like something must be incorrect out there. I am sure that the only ones that could help you for a lower price are online law consultancies.

You responded to a thread 3 years old!

I got everything refunded on this one.  They made a mistake by not noticing the "gift" note.  Of course this cost me more in work than the $13 I recovered.  

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  • 2 months later...
21 hours ago, megenhelgerman said:

Well, as I understand it, there is a tax on any product, and there is nothing you can do about it.

In fact there is.  Buy on Facebook and Kijiji.

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  • 1 month later...

There are a lot of import regulations people are unaware of. Large businesses use import and export brokers to deal with all the paperwork, which can hold up or screw up important transactions. Then on a higher level, there are a lot of treaties and trade agreements setting out with certain countries what is taxed and at what amount. Each product has a specific taxable amount. I wasn't aware of all of these until recently when my friend from ucmjdefense.com told me about it as I intended to import a few containers.

Edited by maebryantot
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