Online buying from US may soon change

Buying in the US could be getting a lot more expensive.
Buying in the US could be getting a lot more expensive.
Buying in the US could be getting a lot more expensive.

With most Canadians living about an hour from the border, many motorcyclists in the Great White North shop online for parts from the US, in an attempt to change money. But, upcoming changes may make that less attractive.

First off, most Canadians have heard by now that the US government is considering a border crossing charge. They’ve talked about this idea before, and quashed it, but in an attempt to raise money to pay for their grand illegals-proof fence to the south, rumour has it they’re working on another plan to charge us.

But wait, there’s more! US government masterminds are also a little bit peeved about this newfangled Internet economy. To their great surprise, many Americans aren’t paying their state sales tax voluntarily, when they purchase things online. In order to regain all those funds, which the perpetrators are probably spending on things like food and housing instead of sending their politicians on vacation, the US is considering some sort of Internet sales tax.

So the question is – how would such a move affect Canadians, who usually ship their Internet purchases to a US address? Would they be charged the sales tax for that state, or what?

It wouldn’t be a terrible thing if more business was directed back towards Canadian brick-and-mortar dealers. And now, there are also many based-in-Canada web dealers competing for our bucks, so even if business with the States becomes unfeasible financially, our dollars should still stretch farther.


  1. I thought I would be a good Canadian, and order a windshield for my bike at royal distributing. I want the item fast, and paid $25 more. The parts guy says it will be here in 4 or 5 days. Sounds good! I thought. Anyways it’s been 3 weeks now, and still no windshield. I have called there numerous times, and been put on hold, until I get pissed off enough to hang up on them. Finally I go in and get told its coming from Calgary and should be here this week.

    Anyways, So much for helping local stores. From now on I will be sticking with online until they make it more costly!

  2. The Canadian Government will have to assist the brick and mortar aspect. But the current govt has already placed an increased 20% “levee” on imported bicycles. Now how much more would they put on bike parts? The other issue and this will raise hackles, is the lack of customer service from some Canadian dealers. That too has to change (I know it isn’t all of them). I try to buy from a Canadian dealer, but when I can get it much much cheaper in the states….we are no different than big business in that regard.

  3. Yep. Sorry to say, but selection and pricing are much better stateside. A rep in California for a certain product line which will remain nameless here, said to me,”You should be able to buy that item at XXX dealer for the same price as we sell it for here. They shouldn’t be charging more; I sure hope they’re not.” Guess what ? He was wrong. Add in the 13% tax and that evens out my shipping and package pick up fee from you know where in Niagara Falls; plus, this $150 item was already $20 more at this dealer in Canada. I’ll wait, and then go for the ride on a nice day. Nothing like delayed gratification for less.

  4. Last week I bought (well my wife bought) a bag for my KTM. I have purchased previously from a KTM site in the US and was satisfied. Now they don’t ship original KTM parts outside the US. In the end it’s not a big deal, I was able to get the item at GP bikes. The Canadian list was about 20.00 more than in the US but I got a bit of a discount so in the end it was cheaper @ GP. When including shipping it was cheaper at list anyway.

    Regarding taxes on out of province sales I have to charge 13% HST in Ontario, 15 % to customers in NS, 5% to AB, QC and now BC after their recent change. It’s a pain but we have no choice. Really the US needs a national sales tax given their financial issues.

  5. Defiantly a problem with the availability of products in Canada. Last time I bought a new suit, boots, and gloves I had to go to the states because they were only bringing the suit in one color to Canada. I had it shipped to Canada and won random tax charge and picked it up at the post office tax free. This is outside of Canadian dealer hands and unfair to them. I love saving money but I assume we are loosing a lot of tax revenue this way that could pay for crumbling infrastructure and rising health care bills.

    I have since discovered the ease of US pick up. Always declare my purchases and pay the appropriate tax but it is still usually cheaper and sometimes easier than dealing with the local dealers, especially if you have a reason to stay over for the weekend.

    I’ve has some good luck with Bayside out of BC, any other Canadian Online retailers worth giving a try?

  6. I try to buy here from Canadian web sites or at my nearby shop but its hard to find what I’m looking for or the style(at least to try it on to make sure it fits). At least half if not ALL my parts for my scooter I can only get from the states and shipping to Canada from the States always adds $35-50 in shipping plus what ever the Canadian Tax collectors need if any to make a $25 part nearly $100+. I would like to shop here more but we in Canada just don’t get the same amount of choices as do the States. Oh well.

  7. If more “Brick & Mortar” stores at least advertised their inventory online, they might drive more business to their doors.

    Dual Sport plus only recently switched to online purchasing, where A Vicious Cycle has been retailing online for a number of years. Royal Distributing’s idea of online marketing is to make their paper catalogue available online, and you are free to call the store and get it shipped, if you an navigate their ponderous PDF online only catalogue by matching key words.

    So… If I find a product on that meets my needs, that’s where I purchase it, and I’m careful to ensure that price + shipping beats what I’d find at GP Bikes or Atlantic Motoplex. Even with the exchange rate, you come across some real deals online that Canadian retailers can’t or don’t want to match, much less list.

    I spend my money where I get the most for my dollar. In the States or here at home, but largely it’s been south of the border for much of it. Racks for my DR650E and cases, an AFX 39 helmet, a tent, bike tools. You name it, if I find it cheaper online, that’s where I buy it.

  8. It is only Wed. and I have told at least three customers “sorry … it is not available in Canada”.
    or ” that price is 20.00 less than I can buy it for”.
    The brick and morter is going to have to change.

  9. Right now, it’s about $9 bucks worth of gas for the bike, $3.50 for the bridge toll, plus $5.95 holding charge for each item I have dropped shipped to my USA address. So my break-even point is roughly $20 plus a fun day’s ride to retrieve my stuff. So if there was a tax, yes, it would cut into my savings. But of course that would also depend on the cost advantage of my purchase. And the big drawing is that a lot of the US suppliers that I order from have FREE SHIPPING to my US address, but I’d have to pay shipping if I wanted it all the way to Canada. The other major issue for me is selection and availability. For example, I wanted a Shoei RF-1100 helmet in the Enigma pattern in a 2XL size (in 2012). Readily available in the States but in Canada, not. I even talked to the Shoei Canada manufactures representative and stated I’d be willing to pay, and wait until they could get the helmet for me, but in Canada, if you need a 2XL size, the ONLY helmet Shoei Canada will bring in is Black. Thanks but no thanks…. so Shoei Canada forced me to shop state-side. Sad for Canadian retail dealers who don’t get manufacture’s support and chase customers over the border.

Join the conversation!