Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Saving Money by Shipping Overseas

A while back I wrote briefly about being given a gift certificate for Amazon in the UK rather than Canada. My wife made her first purchase on the certificate and, amazingly, the total cost was less than if we had ordered the items in Canada.

My wife bought some school books, clothing, and a runner’s water bottle for a total of £208.33, which the Bank of Canada currency converter says is equivalent to $336.93. This includes shipping (£18.36) and import fees (£19.36), but we didn’t have to pay the UK’s value-added tax (VAT).

The same order in Canada would have been $368.21, which includes GST on the books and the full HST on the other items, but no shipping charge for such a large order. In total, we saved about 8.5% by ordering from the UK instead of Canada.

This is definitely a case of YMMV, but the next time you place an order with Amazon it might pay to see what the order would cost if placed with Amazon (or some other company) in another country.


  1. I recently purchased a war documentary from the US amazon site (instead of the Canadian one). My purchase (including shipping and duty) came to around $50 US. The exact same item on amazon.ca was $75 before taxes/shipping.

    Just ridiculous.

  2. @Chris: Your comment gave me an idea: Amazon arbitrage. Buy stuff in the US or UK and return it in Canada!