Posts Tagged ‘rfd’

RFD’s New Forum Style

November 6, 2011 Leave a comment

I honestly don’t mind the new style of the RFD Forums too much. A lot of people are complaining, but I think it’s like what happens when Facebook re-designs and people start wailing.

The one major thing I would like to see is a change to make links more visually distinctive. Currently, it is too difficult to determine whether text in a post is a link or just normal text because they look too similar.

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Scary RFD People?

April 10, 2010 Leave a comment

My friend at work told me that he’s afraid of the RFD Forums because it’s full of people like me.


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International Shipping Into Canada (Customs, Duties, Brokerage and Taxes!)

January 12, 2010 375 comments

This post documents some guidelines on the frequently discussed subject of international shipping into Canada. So many deals out there come from other nations, typically the USA, Hong Kong, UK, which naturally means that buyers’ shipment will be exposed to scrutiny from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). This is the agency that can add on taxes and duties.

The fees you pay will fall into three categories:

  • Taxes
  • Duties
  • Brokerage

Taxes will be charged on all orders valued over CAD $20 (not including shipping.) The taxes are equal to Federal and Provincial taxes in your province.

Duties that depend on the type of goods and where the goods were made will be charged. For US and Mexico-made items, no duties apply due to NAFTA. Outside of that, the calculation is not simple and beyond the scope of this post.

Brokerage is the fee charged by the shipping company to deal with the paperwork and administrative process of clearing and accounting for the items through the CBSA, and paying the duties and taxes up front so the shipment can move on.

If the value of your order (not including shipping cost) is under $20 and it’s shipped by regular postal mail, you will not have to pay anything.

If you have to pay any of these things, the shipping guy will generally show up at the door asking for money before you get the package. (Some exceptions are listed below.) Have a cash or cheque ready, or give it to the front desk of your condo. You can also phone into the courier company and pay over the phone using your credit card. If you’re not home or the receiver does not have money available, the shipment will fail and they will have to try again.

I came across this great little calculator that helps in calculating the actual dollar amounts paid depending on the shipping method:  The Final Cost.


  1. There’s nothing you can really do to get out of taxes and duty, unless you feel like committing fraud, or trying your luck driving to a mailbox service in the USA.
  2. Taxes and duty are determined by the government, so they will not vary from one shipper to another.
  3. Brokerage is what can really catch you off guard. NEVER ship by UPS Ground! They have extremely expensive brokerage fees. UPS Worldwide Express Plus, UPS Worldwide Express, UPS Worldwide Express Saver, and UPS Worldwide Expedited Services do not have this problem (but tend to have a greater upfront cost.)
  4. Update (1): You can get around paying brokerage, but it requires some legwork. Please see the comments for a legal but labour-intensive method of avoiding paying courier brokerage.
  5. Update (2): Please see comments #96-#110 below from “Andy,” who has done a fantastic job of investigating the difference between “self-clearing” and “accounting” for your goods crossing the border. This very detailed chronicle will probably help numerous readers.
  6. Be careful of DHL as sometimes they will not ask for cash at the door, but the customs bill will arrive half a year later in the mail.
  7. Fedex and Purolator are more reasonable than UPS.
  8. If you phone into the courier company to pay, just be sure to do this after the shipment has cleared customs, otherwise the duties and taxes will not be known.
  9. Cheapest alternative is shipping by USPS because the brokerage will be done by Canada Post for a fixed cost of $9.95. (Price updated 2013)
  10. The CBSA can and will open your packages for screening purposes from time to time.

Stupid Things To Avoid

Here are some extra tips (aside from avoiding UPS Ground) that can save you from trouble.

  • Don’t ship porn or gay/lesbian interest materials. The CBSA people arguably fancy themselves to be some kind of morality police.
  • There’s a lot of other categories of sexual products they will reject, but I won’t get into the details or argue about whether or not the government should be the morality police in this blog. You can find this information if you need it. Just use your common sense.
  • If the seller of some eBay or other forum item is promising to unconditionally pay the customs / duty fees, it’s probably a scam and the seller will likely vanish right after you make payment.
  • Don’t get caught trying to get shippers to make false declarations, such as incorrect dollar values or gift declarations for non-gifts. The CBSA can re-assess the values of things, and will not believe your gift declaration unless certain conditions are met. If you get caught trying to scam something across the border, you may get onto the CBSA hit-list and be subject to more frequent and stringent screening.


Here are a few exceptions to the rules above:

  • Shipments from into Canada for items that are actually shipped and sold by have all customs-related charges included in the checkout price, so you won’t be paying extra at the border. Be careful here because many items at are actually sold by and shipped from other companies. Read the listing carefully.
  •, RockAuto and B&H Photo are in the same category as
  • A few other companies fit this profile, and you can find this out from their own FAQs.
  • Products shipped into Canada due to repair / replacement / warranty / etc. will not be charged duties or taxes because they are not a new item. However you can still be charged brokerage on these $0 fees. (Beware UPS Ground as usual.)
  • If the taxes and duties added on were genuinely incorrect, you can appeal the fees. If you shipped through USPS / Canada Post, the form is on the back of the CBSA papers attached to your shipment. Otherwise, follow the dispute procedure, which should lead you to Form B2G.

Categories: Canada Tags: ,

Avatars – An Era Has Ended

January 4, 2010 Leave a comment

After ten different Asian Soup Avatars, I made and uploaded an avatar featuring Shrimp Har Gow Dumplings.

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New Rule Proposal For Pointless Threads

January 4, 2010 Leave a comment

With the rash of TFSA posts appearing now that 2010 has rolled around, I propose the following new Forum Rule:

People who post threads asking questions that could easily have been been answered through the forum search or Google should be banned from posting until they are the first to alert on three other threads that have the same deficiency.

The alerts should appear in a special “validate this alert” forum where regular users can vote on whether or not it’s a valid alert for this topic. That data could be then recycled to automate the banning of other users who violated this rule.

Categories: rfd, Uncategorized Tags:

Life Online

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

It can be amusing and interesting to follow users’ thread-posting histories on RFD.

For example, I looked up one user who posted this frantic thread asking for recommendations on lawyers after she got arrested and charged with Impaired Driving. After getting lambasted on the forums, she went mostly silent, and then eight months later posted a For-Sale thread for her car because of “moving to downtown don’t drive anymore.”

Amusing in some ways, I guess. I PM’d her, asking what happened, and she didn’t respond.

Just a little slice of life.

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Crime and Safety in Toronto

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Despite the various rambling threads about safety in Toronto, the fact is that all kinds of things go down in this city.

Earlier this month, my cousin was actually car-jacked in Toronto by a gun-toting crack-smoker who forced him to drive around for an hour and make Interac purchases so he could get the Interac cash-back money.

Scary stuff.

Categories: rfd, Toronto Tags: , ,

The Unwritten Rules of RFD (Now In Written Format)

December 28, 2009 5 comments

I believe that these are the unwritten rules of RFD, now in writing. Feel free to comment if I missed something.

1. Don’t blog in the Off-Topic Forum. Get a blog.

2. According to many horror stories, never let Canadian Tire touch your car, unless you enjoy patronizing “mechanics” who create more problems than they solve.

3. Do not expect to actually receive the cheque for your Mail-In-Rebate at TigerDirect.

4. Avoid Bell Canada like the plague! I think they are the worst company in Canada, and many voices across the forum concur. You could not pay me to use Bell Canada’s services. Teksavvy is the smart alternative.  (Honourable mentions for the Worst Company in Canada are: Rogers, Canadian Tire, The Brick, Future Shop, ICICI Bank, UPS.)

5. Never ship from other countries into Canada using UPS Ground, as their excessive brokerage fees are not included. UPS Express does not have this problem. (Update: See my post on international shipping.)

6. If you are a female, you are best advised that you do not reveal your sex because of the vast hordes of horny virgin males who think they’re going to get some if they hang out for long enough behind a computer screen. They will stalk and taunt you every time you come online.

7. Threads discussing sexy lesbians are permitted, especially if pictures are posted. But don’t post threads acknowledging that gay men exist, as those will be locked due to rules prohibiting sexual discussions.

8. Most “Days of Deals” and weekly sales have lately become quite dissappointing and usually not worth waiting for.

9. Don’t shop at Canada Computers unless you are familiar with how they operate and they kind of market to which they cater. See here and here for more information. Also, be SURE to read their return policy because it is atypical.

Financial Etiquette For The Forums and For Life:

  • Except in case of emergency, never use Interac debit, except at your own bank’s ATM. It opens you up to many potential fraud problems. If you come in and complain about how you have no money while the bank “investigates” the fraud, we will laugh at you.
  • Credit card offers with extremely low balance transfer rates are trying to trick you. The fine print most likely says that payments will go against the balance earning the lowest interest. Therefore, if you did a $9,000 balance transfer at 0% and then made a $200 purchase, that $200 purchase would sit there earning 19% interest until you paid off the entire $9000! (Note: This may change under new credit card legislation.)
  • All the cool kids use TD Canada Trust and eschew RBC Royal Bank.
  • RFD is really not about saving money. It is about gaining social status through the most daring and time-wasting price-matches, posting pics of your credit cards, and finding reasons to impulse purchase on things that you would not have bought to begin with. RFD MOTTO: Buy first, think later!
  • If you try to post your Tangerine Orange Key number in hopes of getting the cash referral bonus, you look really stupid because a) This is against the Official rules of RFD, and b) You obviously never did a successful referral because they ask the new client for more information about you than your Orange Key number.

The Following Things Are Allowed, But Will Kill Your Forum Karma and Generally Put a “Kick Me” Sign On Your Back:

  • Making posts asking questions that could have easily have been answered by phoning the company in question or using Google
  • Advocating that North American automobiles are superior to German or Japanese automobiles.
  • Starting a thread asking which Winter Tires are best. This topic has been discussed to death many many times. Use the Search or Tag Search.
  • Asking if you can get away with using just two Winter Tires; This can be hazardous to your health! It’s all or nothing.
  • Asking how to get out of tickets or fines you received after you did something that endangered other people’s lives.
  • Asking forum members for CarFax or CarProof reports. (CarFax no longer offers unlimited accounts, and CarProof never offered it. Every report costs money.)
  • Feeding the trolls.

Beware The Following Troll Topics! Some people post threads about these topics just to create discord and get people angry:

  • Why should I tip service workers when they are already paid to do their job?
  • Saying “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas”
  • Advocating that North American cars are better in terms of quality and gas mileage than Japanese cars.
  • Someone pretends to be a woman who is asking “heartfelt” questions about her relationship with her boyfriend. (Any thread in Off-Topic from a new poster who claims to be a woman, and the fact that that “she” is a woman is important to the question, should be taken with a grain of salt.)
  • Questions from “new members” about how to get out of fines due to lack of auto insurance, insurance fraud types of activities, or impaired driving.
  • Questions from “gay  guys” who need help coming out, relating with their family, etc.
  • Questions relating to dating people from specific ethnic groups, particularly Asians.
  • More to come …
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