Shipping to Canada

I live in Edmonton, and had mine shipped to Montana Shipping Outlet in Sweet Grass, MT.
For GST, I paid $134.09 CAD on $2681.79 CAD declared value for my Basic.

Streamlining suggestions…
Canada to USA: If you have lots of items, when asked “What are you picking up?” make sure that you KNOW – because American border agents are rude as hell. I had various individual orders of “doesn’t ship to Canada” Amazon stuff, along with my 'forge, waiting for pickup.

I could tell right away that this was going to be a PITA because the US Agent had a scowl and very unpleasant demeanor going for him. Maybe they think this helps. No idea.
US Agent: Turn off your radio and put your car into park. What is the nature of your visit?
Me: I’m picking up various shipments they wouldn’t ship to Canada.
US Agent: What are you picking up?
Me: A laser engraver, plus various Amazon orders.
US Agent: A laser engraver!? Is that for personal or business?
Me: Personal
US Agent: What sort of stuff from Amazon?
Me: (struggling to remember) “Uhh, some masking tape, a blade shaver, a charcoal filter, a fan… uhh” (struggling to remember more) “…I have the receipts right here if you’d like.”

Apparent this was too much difficulty for him, because this is where he 'roid raged.
Me: Well I can’t recall everything on the list. It’s all written down.
US Agent: Is there anything else?
Me: Nothing else that I can remember. So that’s about it.
US Agent: Are you going any further south than Sweet Grass?
Me: No. Just in and out.

US to Canada: I can’t even think of any part of anything bad. Seriously. I rolled up, and Officer Finley was smiling.

Finley: Welcome back. How long were you out of the country ?
Me: Like, 30 minutes? I was just picking up some stuff in Sweet Grass.
Finley: Heh. Okay. How much stuff?
Me: Oh, I’ll have to declare. It’s well over a daily limit.
Finley: Okay. How much would do you estimate it’s worth?
Me: About 3000 Canadian? Roughly.
Finley: (scribbles down on a sheet) Okay. Just pull into the side and take this into the Traffic desk.

Before I went down, I had looked up the tariff codes of all the Amazon stuff and wrote them down. This helped when I went to pay. I had my Amazon receipts, handed them to the officer, and she called up the tariff codes to compare them to. She was confused by the “plastic blade scraper” used for removing labels. I classified it similar to a “household plastic cutting knife” because it was entirely plastic, without any metal. She just went with “Plastic, miscellaneous, other”.

She handed me my Casual Goods Accounting Document, and had me go to the cashier to pay.

So all in all, I’m glad I picked it up rather than having it re-shipped from the border. If UPS damaged it on the way to Sweet Grass, I would have paid for a second shipper to ship me a broken unit, and then had to pay for it back to the US for replacement. I just checked three things before accepting: a) is the laser tube intact? (it was), b) are the tempered glass panels intact? (they were) and c) is there coolant leaking inside the unit? (there wasn’t, and the unit was plastic bagged)

As @johnse noted, using a second shipper loses you the ability of knowing for sure who might have caused the damage. So I’d either use one shipper (wait for Glowforge to start International shipping), or pick it up yourself from the border.


Picked up from the USA too. Just pay the GST and PST. No duty

No it is covered at the point of delivery by UPS. If you see a severely damaged box you can reject it to the local UPS HUB. It is a grey area that Glowforge could void the warranty when it crosses the border. And when you open and the unit is damaged though box is okay. However, a responsible company will honour the warranty.

I wonder what training gives the right to be rude like that? I understand to profile people on the spot but still.

I did get the ‘look’ when I said laser cutter and questioned for personal or business . I know he wanted to ask ‘like for what for?’

having imported a bunch of things myself (to montreal) I would discourage you to use UPS brokers, as they are known to rip people off (just do a quick search at redflagdeals). you are likely to pay over 100$ or likely much more just for fees, above the actual tax, which they often get wrong.

one more thing I can share from my experience is that the canadian border calculates their tax on the price you paid including shipping! so when you declare the value you must declare shipping charges as well. it makes no sense, and I’m still convinced that the 2 agents that gave me big trouble and threatened me were wrong (even though I wasn’t hiding anything and presented to the window with all receipts in hand), I should mention it.

across the border from montreal we have a company called “Freeport Forwarding”, a warehouse were you can open an account and have stuff shipped there for you for a very low fee. you probably have something similar near your place.

(I didn’t actually ship to USA: at the time I chose to have it shipped to my home here in Canada, and now I dare not start making any changes…)

I suppose I should have said insurance rather than warranty. Here’s what @dan said a while back on the subject:

So if it is damaged on the waybill to the USA drop point, they would cover it via insurance. They’d send the replacement again to the USA address and the RMA shipping would also be from the same location (but via FedEx).

But if you forward it from there, and UPS trashes it, that’s a new waybill. Not on Glowforge’s (or Flex’s) insurance.

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Thanks Everyone for your feedback! - It is about $500 more to ship to my house, and I don’t make that in a day, so I may go to the UPS drop point - and either have that company take it over the border - (there is a company called Letterlock Abbotsford that partners with a store in the US - Letterlock Sumas). They recieve parcels and take them across the border for a small fee. Noted the concern though about damage, and responsibility. Would be best to have it delivered to the US side and then pick up though, so I have a US address and don’t have to pay overseas shipping.

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Yes, that is correct. Forwarding will not be covered. If you forward from the USA mailbox you should buy insurance from the pickup point to the Canadian box to cover potential shipping damage. To avoid question on warrenty that’s why I picked up in the USA. So I know damage would be from shipping or a defect as I care about the machine once it hits my hands

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That looks like the best plan I think. However I own a wooden toy company and I ship all the time to the USA, and use UPS Supply Chain Solutions (brokerage service) and have to say I’ve never heard of them charging duty on the shipping. They try to get you to declare the shipping charges as part of the cost - but if you leave it blank they don’t.
I’m interested that they charged duty on the shipping cost at the border, that seems wrong. I guess I’ll see when I get mine - will post!
Thanks for the info!

Thanks - that is the way I will go I think, unfortunately if it is shipped when they say it will be Christmas, and the lines at the border…

The expected shipping date you mention—is that the estimate in you account page? That is the date they expect to send you the Golden Ticket email asking for the address to send you your laser.

It will still be up to 6 weeks after that email before UPS is given your machine to deliver it.

Also, you will receive 3 packages. One should be received earlier in the 6 week window, and is the starter proofgrade pack that ships from Tennessee. The other two ship from California, but sometimes arrive on different days.

That is my shipping notification date - so it looks like I won’t be in a Christmas lineup at the border. Perhaps in a lineup at the border in February…
Golden ticket email? - wait, is this a reference to Charlie and the Chocolate factory? I hope they have a chocolate in the box.

Thanks for this - I wasn’t aware there is a 3 part shipping, - wonder if I can ship the simple packages to the house and the laser to the Shipping drop point.

Ups tends to charge brokerage on personal items. Business they often waive as its usually part of the account and you give them repeat business. Don’t know why.

UPS will try to charge brokerage fees, but you can always tell them you wish to “self broker”. Even if they show up at your Canadian address with a US package. At that point they need to send you the customs paperwork so that you can complete the brokerage on your own.

The mistake a lot of people make is they sign the terminal when UPS shows up, or they agree to settle an account via the web page to “ensure there are no delays in shipment” (and bill you for Brokerage).


I’m in BC and had mine shipped to the US. Posted my experience here:

It went swimmingly.

I also uh, fudged customs and claimed that the large unmarked box I was transporting was a vinyl cutter that I had purchased on Cyber Monday with a value below the allowed declarable and was sent through without so much as a second glance… That’s at your own risk obviously.

Sounds like a good experience, I think that is the prudent way to go, and really most of us live near the US somewhere, I have to take the ferry to the mainland so mine will be a day long activity, but my sister is in White Rock and makes great banana bread, so it won’t be a total loss!
Thanks for your post!


wow, you took a chance there with the border. I haven’t always declared everything I brought in, but keep in mind that they know when you went into the USA. so if you only go for a few hours and they assume you went shopping, in fact you told them so, the likelihood that they would ask to see the invoice is very very high. at least here in Quebec…

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I picked mine up in Blaine.
Security Mail Blaine Wa.
250 H St.

Super easy to set up an account and have it shipped there. Only paid the tax. Bring your receipt and a copy of the manual (help the Customs guys figure out what you’re talking about)

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Thanks for the shipping drop point note, I will contact them.

However I got ahead of myself, I got a note saying it will ship on the 15th - then a few days later - moved to the 20th - then 2 days later to the 26th. I am now officially afraid to check my ship date.

I’m a patient guy and I run a global educational toy business, but seriously there is little worse than this constant slippage in promised dates. They know or they don’t - and in business if you don’t know then say it - and if it is going to be late tell me the correct date. I would never promise my clients product and then say, oh I really meant 3 weeks from that date - or is it 6 weeks, they’d stop doing business with me! (of course once we have the GF we will stop doing business with them I suppose).

Anyway, I am now ready to ship (to the USA! - hint hint in case staff is following this) and have a plan, now I just have to stop checking…

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I see where you’re coming from. And it is very frustrating. And it’s worth complaining about. But in my interpretation they’ve always said they don’t know. The email notification date on the account page is just an estimate, just as it’s titled: Estimated Shipping Notification Date. I’ve never seen them use the word ‘promise’ or ‘guarantee’ when it comes to when one will get their GF. Waiting for the GF allows us to practice our Zen, an equanimity one begins to embrace by the decision to look no longer at one’s estimated notification date.