Brit food mail order

Old Jan 11th 2023, 1:00 am
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Default Brit food mail order

I have been looking at buying food through the British Corner Shop.
I know the delivery and HST charges but I am having trouble finding out how much duty would be put on.
Has anyone bought from any of the British mail order places and know what duty is put on food?

Thanks
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Old Jan 11th 2023, 1:50 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

I think it depends what you're buying as to how the total cost compares.

Some years ago I made up orders from different sites to get an idea and concluded that A Bit of Home (Mississauga) was the best deal. I had a regular pre-xmas order.
Some had cheaper prices but then the minimum delivery charges cancelled it out. Or slightly more but you could make up for it if the delivery charges didn't increase with adding more.

It can be a bit like Amazon where something might cost $20 and $5 delivery or a different seller charges only $2 but $23 delivery fees.

Also, if buying from the UK with a Canadian card, there's an additional currency conversion cost to be added.

The advantage of A Bit of Home is that they've already imported the stuff you're buying so you don't have to rely on the British Leg of the journey working.

Last edited by BristolUK; Jan 11th 2023 at 1:53 pm.
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Old Jan 11th 2023, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

Unless Canadian Amazon is different from US Amazon, most UK groceries can be bought through Amazon, i.e. you're buying "from" Amazon, but the supply is from a vendor who contracts with Amazon at least to collect payment, transport, and deliver, and perhaps to warehouse and dispatch orders too.

The expected lead times for delivery often seem to imply shipment from the UK, but as you paid a business in Canada for delivery in Canada, you won't get charged import duty.
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Old Jan 11th 2023, 2:33 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Unless Canadian Amazon is different from US Amazon, most UK groceries can be bought through Amazon, i.e. you're buying "from" Amazon, but the supply is from a vendor who contracts with Amazon at least to collect payment, transport, and deliver, and perhaps to warehouse and dispatch orders too.

The expected lead times for delivery often seem to imply shipment from the UK, but as you paid a business in Canada for delivery in Canada, you won't get charged import duty.
Amazon is definitely worth looking at but some things on the Canada version (even from the same seller ) are very often much more expensive.
Recently I bought some Stolen cake on the US site that was way cheaper in total than on the Canada version.

As time has passed and more Brit stuff has landed in the regular grocery stores or acceptable alternatives (Tim-Tam for Penguin, Pim's orange for Jaffa cake) are found or you have already satisfied your need of something, Amazon has become useful if you just want one off things like whisky marmalade or Bisto Chip shop curry sauce powder.
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Old Jan 11th 2023, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
Recently I bought some Stolen cake
Expecting a knock on the door from the law then?




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Old Jan 11th 2023, 2:40 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
.... Amazon has become useful if you just want one off things like whisky marmalade or Bisto Chip shop curry sauce powder.
But that may be the answer if you really want just one or two things and are scratching around for other stuff just to make up a decent order.

I haven't explored the function myself, but US Amazon allows delivery to a "locker" at a business - the location nearest me is a petrol station. So if you live close to the US border, as most Canadians do, it should be possible to get a US Amazon purchase delivered to a locker near the Canadian border, then pop over to collect it.

Provision of "receiving services" along the Canadian border has been popular for many years, receiving mail/internet orders within the US for collection by Canadians who cross the border to pick up their stuff. .... Similar services exist in Florida, for residents of the Bahamas and islands in the Caribbean, with the additional service of putting your purchases in a shipping container, with all the other people's purchases, and dispatching it to your island.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jan 11th 2023 at 2:51 pm.
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Old Jan 11th 2023, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
I haven't explored the function myself, but US Amazon allows delivery to a "locker" at a business - the location nearest me is a petrol station. So if you live close to the US border, as most Canadians do, it should be possible to get a US Amazon purchase delivered to a locker near the Canadian border, then pop over to collect it.
With the size of North America, I accept a 100 mile journey might not be far.

Personally I wouldn't describe such a trip as popping over even if I was a driver.
Perhaps if one was on a British Goodies run, loading up the van and selling prawn cocktail crisps to a demanding group of customers
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Old Jan 11th 2023, 7:21 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
Expecting a knock on the door from the law then?




Who wants to know. He's not in right now.
Followed by doing a runner out the back door and leaping over garden fences.
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Old Jan 12th 2023, 12:38 am
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post

Who wants to know. He's not in right now.
Followed by doing a runner out the back door and leaping over garden fences.

And then, if you're unlucky, a hand clamped on your shoulder - you're nicked.
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Old Jan 12th 2023, 1:17 am
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

Originally Posted by pennyhp View Post
I have been looking at buying food through the British Corner Shop.
I know the delivery and HST charges but I am having trouble finding out how much duty would be put on.
Has anyone bought from any of the British mail order places and know what duty is put on food?

Thanks
The duty is unpredictable. Just before Christmas I forgot a stash of chocolate I had bought in England, I left it in my mother's garage. I had a relative send it on to me. The postage was a hundred quid. Add to that the fact that I'd paid for a checked bag both ways on the plane specifically for the chocolate, which I forgot, and the chocolate became really quite expensive. Anyway, the box was clearly labelled "Chocolate, 50lbs, some random value picked by my sister-in-law". No taxes or duties were charged.


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Old Jan 12th 2023, 4:22 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

Originally Posted by dbd33 View Post
The duty is unpredictable. Just before Christmas I forgot a stash of chocolate I had bought in England, I left it in my mother's garage. I had a relative send it on to me. The postage was a hundred quid. Add to that the fact that I'd paid for a checked bag both ways on the plane specifically for the chocolate, which I forgot, and the chocolate became really quite expensive. Anyway, the box was clearly labelled "Chocolate, 50lbs, some random value picked by my sister-in-law". No taxes or duties were charged.
I don't know about Canada, but it is common for countries to have low/no tax on foods, though what is a low/no tax "food", and what is a taxable luxury product can be very arbitrary. .... In the UK cakes and biscuits are zero-rated for VAT, however if any part of a biscuit is coated in chocolate then it becomes a luxury product assessable for full VAT; however a chocolate topped/ coated cake is always just a cake and is zero-rated for VAT.

"So what?" I hear you ask. Enter McVities with their jaffa cakes, which HMRC had determined to be a biscuit, and to cut a long story short, biscuits start out hard and dry and go soft when they're stale, and cakes start out moist and soft, and get dry and hard(er) when they're stale, and so the court ruled in favour of McVities. I used to work for McVities/ United Biscuits.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jan 12th 2023 at 4:25 pm.
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Old Jan 12th 2023, 5:47 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

If they ship it with a courier, most likely you'll get hit with the federal + provincial sales taxes plus whatever brokerage fee the courier decides, sometimes this can be ridiculous amount. I think British Corner Shop use DHL which charge something like a $20 or $30 brokerage fee. If it's shipped through regular mail like Royal Mail/Canada Post it will likely have no duties unless it's over $100.

There's a company here in BC that also ships out UK food, you might be able to avoid import duties ordering from them: https://www.thebritishstore.ca/

Last edited by CanadaJimmy; Jan 12th 2023 at 5:52 pm.
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Old Jan 25th 2023, 3:42 am
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

We buy our Walkers Crisps off Amazon ca from an Irish vendor. They get sent in a large box and I've never paid duty...

We recently ordered some Heatgen thermals off M&S Canadian website. We paid in CAD, postage was free and they said taxes & duties were included/would not be charged. We were a bit sceptical but decided to give it a go.
They arrived from the UK by DHL a few days later...and nothing extra had to be paid.
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Old Jan 30th 2023, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: Brit food mail order

I buy British goodies local (Ontario) now. My favourite is Blighties in orangeville, they used to have pretty reasonable shipping (through summer I ride (motorcycle) out there and just running low on that trip.

New favourite is Great British Bakery cos their pasties are so good. That's an in-person drop in obvs.
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