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Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Old 12-20-20, 01:41 PM
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Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

I've been using wowhd.ca, deepdiscount.com and blowitoutahere.com for years. I believe they are all owned by the same company.

All these websites used to ship directly to Canada via USPS. However, my last three orders have been sent through a brokerage firm called RR Donnelly, which also uses USPS.

HOWEVER... RR Donnelly appears to charge custom, tax and brokerage fees even on small orders. I ordered the Buck Rogers set in early December for $76.68 CAD from WOW HD. It was held up by Canada Post until I received the delivery notice requiring me to pay $17.96 in fees and taxes. (5% GST on $76.68 is only $3.83, so even factoring in the $5 CBSA handling fee, it looks like someone is making money somewhere).

I had placed another order from DeepDiscount about a week later that is now held up in customs, according to Canada Post tracking. That order was for two Blu Rays that total only $42.18 USD but I'm expecting a delivery notice with more fees and taxes. Will advise.

I'm trying to get some clarity from WOW HD but I suspect they are just going to say fees and taxes are my problem. Which, honestly, is correct... but if you're going to switch shipping companies and cause your customers to get dinged with extra fees, you should at least give us a heads up.

I don't mind paying the taxes but I can't stand the ridiculous customs brokerage fees.

Has anyone else experienced this issue?
Old 12-20-20, 02:17 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Are you sure those are the exact VAT rates and fees ?

Just go through all the calculations:


- $5 fee
(17.96 - 5)/76.68 = 16.9% VAT

- $6 fee
(17.96 - 6)/76.68 = 15.6% VAT

- $7 fee
(17.96 - 7)/76.68 = 14.3% VAT

- $8 fee
(17.96 - 8)/76.68 = 13% VAT


- $9 fee
(17.96 - 9)/76.68 = 11.7% VAT

- $10 fee
(17.96 - 10)/76.68 = 10.4% VAT


Do any of these VAT rates + fees making any sense?
Old 12-21-20, 01:00 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Originally Posted by morriscroy View Post
Are you sure those are the exact VAT rates and fees ?
I made an error in my original post... the COD was $17.65.

But it gets even better. I was never issued an invoice by RR Donnelly or by Canada Post. All it says on the shipping label is "$10.40 tax and $7.25 handling".

That makes no sense anyway since the GST is 5%.

Even if we go with the 13% HST, that's still only $17.22 (9.97 tax + $7.25 handling).

Something doesn't add up and I suspect that RR Donnelly, the brokerage firm that WOW HD and Deep Discount have started to use, is hosing customers.

Still waiting to hear back from WOW HD.
Old 12-21-20, 01:49 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

How exactly is that $10.40 caclulated?

If this is an international order, are they calculating it through a currency exchange rate on a particular day? Currency exchange rates are constantly fluctuating every day worldwide.


Doing some googling on this rrdonnelly company, it sounds like it is a little known freight shipping company until that division was sold a few months ago.

https://tfiintl.com/en/press_release...dls-worldwide/
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Old 12-21-20, 01:57 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

(More generally).

Of the many times I have ordered stuff from overseas, it was largely a crapshoot as to whether the customs paperwork was done properly at all.

This is independent of the places where I lived.

The most notorious were the times I lived in europe before the internal EU border/customs checkpoints were removed. It became a huge guessing game of figuring out the exact customs duties, fees, etc .... and the added complications of VAT (whether corrected applied or not), currency exchange rates on a particular day, etc .... whether at a land border checkpoint or the local postal service.
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Old 12-21-20, 03:03 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Originally Posted by morriscroy View Post
(More generally).

Of the many times I have ordered stuff from overseas, it was largely a crapshoot as to whether the customs paperwork was done properly at all.

This is independent of the places where I lived.

The most notorious were the times I lived in europe before the internal EU border/customs checkpoints were removed. It became a huge guessing game of figuring out the exact customs duties, fees, etc .... and the added complications of VAT (whether corrected applied or not), currency exchange rates on a particular day, etc .... whether at a land border checkpoint or the local postal service.
Thanks very much for the info.

I agree it's a crapshoot re: taxes and customs, particularly through the U.S. and Canadian postal services.

The problem I have with the whole set up is that I never received an invoice from WOW HD or RR Donnelley explaining the breakdown of taxes/fees. And if I refused to pay the $17.65 COD (Cash on Delivery) at the post office, they simply wouldn't release my package.

The order was originally in Canadian dollars but it's possible they used USD to calculate the fees. But as I said, short of an invoice I have no idea what's going on. That in itself is inexcusable.

I have two more parcels from WOW HD and Deep Discount en route through RR Donnelley. I will likely receive them after Christmas but if I get charged taxes and fees again I will never order from those companies again.
Old 12-21-20, 03:38 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Originally Posted by Rammble View Post
The order was originally in Canadian dollars but it's possible they used USD to calculate the fees. But as I said, short of an invoice I have no idea what's going on. That in itself is inexcusable.
Examining the cad/usd exchange rate, it went up from around 0.75 to 0.78 over the past month or so.

For something that is around $10, this fluctuation would mean approximately a 30 cents discrepancy.
Old 11-03-21, 10:26 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Is DeepDiscount even still worth it for Canadians? In the old days we got free shipping when ordering over a certain amount. Now it's $66 shipping for 30 items.

Somewhat related: Are there any good, comparably cheap, possibly domestic alternatives to DD? WOWHD is not one. Also, any worthwhile price-comparison sites around? Sadly, DVDPriceSearch seems to be a shadow of its former self. I hadn't looked at it in years until yesterday.
Old 11-04-21, 04:54 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Google Shopping does a half-decent job, though only stores who pay are listed. Amazon is excluded from results for example.
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Old 11-04-21, 08:10 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Thanks, I'll give it a gander, Phantom.
Old 11-04-21, 11:35 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

After a glance around, I have decided that I'm far and away best off with the likes of DeepDiscount, the Amazons, and ImportCDs. Other stores don't have nearly the depth of selection of those three.
Old 11-14-21, 12:11 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Man, I really do feel bad for folks all over the world who get dinged with all kinds of customs charges, etc. Iíll bet that it really makes it hard to plan financially for hobby purchases and so forth. Seems like here in the US the most we have to deal with is maybe a little extra sales tax when an item is shipped.
Old 11-14-21, 08:56 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

A warning for any Canadians (or others) ordering from Unobstructed View...

I ordered a BD and a 4k disc on October 13th, during a sale. Both were in stock and I paid immediately, with PayPal.

At least a week after I ordered both items changed to 'backordered.' So mine didn't ship, and still haven't, over a month later. One of the items shows as being in stock, again, yet it still hasn't shipped. They can't use the excuse that they're waiting for all items to ship together, as shipping cost is per item, and there was no discount for ordering multiple items.

The biggest piss off in all of this is that I received an email from them, in August, stating the following:

We’re taking it to the next level in e-commerce at unobstructedview.com! As you read this, we are launching a new accounting platform, which means a new website and we have recently moved to a new larger facility that will deliver a better experience from your first click to your last. Here are just a few of the improvements you can expect over the course of the summer:
  • Accurate inventory levels. If we say we have it, we will have it.
  • If you choose to pay by credit card, you will not be charged until your order ships.
  • Improved customer service.
  • Quicker turnaround on in-stock orders.
A real slap in the face, particularly the first item. I wish Amazon would just price match their sales, like Amazon US does for Criterions sales, so I could skip this bullshit.
Old 11-14-21, 09:26 PM
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Re: Canadians: Beware WOW HD, Deep Discount, etc.

Originally Posted by slybone View Post
Man, I really do feel bad for folks all over the world who get dinged with all kinds of customs charges, etc. Iíll bet that it really makes it hard to plan financially for hobby purchases and so forth. Seems like here in the US the most we have to deal with is maybe a little extra sales tax when an item is shipped.
The de minimus threshold for importing goods duty free into the US is a generous $800.00, if you import anything valued at more than that, you might be liable for duties and customs brokerage charges. In Canada, that threshold is only $40.00, anything more than that is a crapshoot on if you will dinged or not. In recent years, I've usually been ok importing goods worth less than $200 at a time (either crossing the border in person, or through the mail) but it's always up to the whim of the person checking the packages, or depending on if it even gets checked (Customs does not have the manpower to check every single package coming into the country). But yeah, Canada sucks compared to many countries, our threshold should definitely match the $800 of the US's limit IMO.
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