There is one shop/concession in a department store I can never walk past however: my weakness, is for Radley handbags.
After all that abuse, my bag is fading, in more than one sense of the word. The zip is starting to go, the lining is torn, the colour is faded. Our partnership must come to an end.
I had a fleeting look at the bags in the shops here, but I could not get excited about them (well, there were a few I liked, but they were around $500…). Then I made the ‘mistake’ of paying a visit to Radley website where, lo and behold, they had a sale on…
Before I got my hopes up I checked their delivery policy, and to my excitement they shipped out to Canada, and not for a ridiculous price. They stated USA orders under $200 would incur no import taxes too! Result!
I fell for a brown bag smaller than my current one, with over 50% off the original price, and ordered it. I received an email on the 9th July to say it had been dispatched. On the email was a tracking number, so I gave it a week (the normal time for post to reach here from the UK) and then started checking on my its status…
The status bar said the bag was in Canada, but after that, it then didn’t progress for the next three weeks. Beginning to get a little concerned, I rang the parcel company, who said it should have been with me two days after the email (11th/12th July) - but it was now the 9th August. Looking into it, there was a note in the system to say I had to pay taxes. She promised I would hear from someone in the next couple of days and they would inform me how to pay the duties.
I didn’t hear a word.
I then looked up the delivery firm on the internet and rang the local office in Montreal, thinking I could go downtown and pay the import tax in person, and get my bag. The guy on the end of that phone call was not at all helpful, and we went around in circles establishing the wrong phone number was on the system hence they had been unable to contact me. He must have dictated the phone number on their system to me four times, after each asking me if I was sure it was the wrong number. To which I replied each time that yes, I was positive it wasn’t the correct number, trying to tell him the right one. He then responded huffily he didn’t have a pen.
Eventually, he found a pen and I was able to give him the correct number. He did manage to tell me my bag was not in Montreal, but in Toronto...
I got my credit card out, and she told me the amount. I was glad I was sitting down at the time, as the cost was...wait for it... $42!!!
Lucky the bag was on sale – if it was full price that would have been an incredibly expensive mistake! I grudgingly paid, and my handbag was duly delivered the next day.
I re-read the Radley website carefully, and kicked myself: in the USA orders under $200 didn’t have to pay taxes, but it didn't apply to Canada...
In Canada – although there are exceptions to the rule - you generally don’t have to pay taxes on anything under the slightly lower $20.
Looking into the tax writing this blog post, the numbers don’t add up. It would appear I have been a little overcharged: you have to pay 15% of the value of the goods in GST and QST (Goods and Services tax and Quebec Sales Tax), plus a minimum of $10 as a handling fee… but accounting for that I am out of pocket $25 - seems the courier charged me a $35 handling fee!!!
I can safely say I will not be buying handbags from England again, unless I am in the UK!