Another 'shipping to Canada is nuts' story

I ordered my Glowforge on the very first day of pre-sales in 2015. Then I patiently waited and waited for three years before it finally shipped to me in Canada in December 2018. Never mind, it’s proven a lovely tool. My reward for investing my money in Glowforge for those three years was a $440 store credit. Great - that’s about 5% per annum interest - better than a savings account. Then I saw how much the shipping costs to Canada for some Proofgrade materials would be. When I regained consciousness, I decided that surely the cost would go down so I waited some more before using the credit.

Now I’ve finally given in and decided to use that credit, accepting that shipping will cost 68% of the value of the goods. I assume that the cost is so high because surely it must includes brokerage fees and Canadian GST. Think again - UPS wants yet another US$58 for those, further dimming my mood. So at the end of the day, my $440 store credit has dwindled by more than half, and shipping this bundle of materials has cost almost as much as shipping the entire machine.

Fortunately, here in Canada we have Trotec, who offer free shipping in Canada! (on a large enough order)




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Yeah it’s such a rip off I won’t order anything except parts for the machine that I can’t get anywhere else with my store credit.

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honestly, if i was a canadian with a credit, i’d find an american with $$ who can pay you through paypal/zelle/whatever and buy for them with shipping to US. get 80 or 90 cents on the dollar and call it a day. then spend that money on a source that won’t **** you on shipping.


Can you have it shipped to someone in the US and they ship it to you, or would that be equally expensive?

Thanks for the money-saving suggestions! In the end I’m still slightly ahead of net zero so it was simpler to just get on with the order.

Here’s an update to the story: Calculating the shipping cost of my order on the UPS website and using the same package dimensions and weight, UPS would have charged me USD69.00 to ship my package from Glowforge’s distribution centre in Louisville. Glowforge charged USD180.00 for the shipping - a $111 premium over their likely highest cost. This didn’t include any taxes or brokerage fees which had to be paid separately. It would appear that Glowforge are simply gouging their non-US customers.

As a comparison, I recently paid just USD146 to ship (also from the US via UPS Standard) an order of machine tools that cost 10x as much and weighed 3X as much as my little Proofgrade order.

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as a montrealer I share your pain and wish to send a friendly pat to your back.
what I did was sending my orders to family in NJ. of course with the borders almost closed it doesn’t help much nowdays. in the past I’ve gone through the trouble of doing my own brokerage, just to stick it up to UPS. took way to much time out of my day (and I don’t think UPS noticed…).
if you are near the border you can find people who still cross the border every day and will offer giving a US address as a service. I know a few people here in montreal that will take a box for 20$.


BTW, aside from trotec you can reach out to any local plastic distributor for materials, that’s how I get all my acrylic.

Absolutely agree. The only reason I’ve used Proofgrade materials is that they came with my Glowforge purchase - I’ve had nothing but success with all sorts of locally available stuff. All it takes is a little disciplined testing to get excellent results on appropriate material.


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