Dave D had a recent post about his experience in buying war-games stuff online. For Canadian gamers like me, the process gets more complex and well down right weird.
Here's a summary of recent experience.
- If I order books or figures through a Canadian dealer I get charged $15 shipping. I've had similar experience through several shops. I honestly believe that this is about what Canada Post charges based on my experience shipping parcels to family in Nova Scotia. However, I do wish the shops would be clearer about shipping charges as often you don't see the final cost til after you've hit the Paypal approval button. For example I had these charges on a box of Perry Plastic Napoleonics and a set of cards for Maurice.
- If I order more than £15 of figures through Caliver Books, they ship them post free anywhere Internationally including the wilds of the Canadian prairies. No worries about transparency here as free is free and it says so right on their main webpage. Really I don't think it's absolutely free as I suspect that they get to deduct the VAT, but hey it feels good. They don't always have the stuff in stock, but they did ship my missing pack of Crusader Indians in good time. Books are another matter however, and shipping costs are quite expensive.
- Or I can order direct from some manufacturers - with a major plug going to Perrys who get major bonus points on both transparency and speed of delivery. They deduct the VAT and then charge me shipping. The transparency here is amazing as once I log in to my Perry account they show all their prices net of VAT (£5.83 vs £7.00, a 1/6th savings). They charge me shipping at about 25% but clearly state it. It works out a little more than what Caliver charges, but I buy from the maker, there are no back order issues and it's like wicked fast dude.
- Here's a weird one. I ordered the Black Powder "Last Argument of Kings" supplement from Warlord games, using their North American web store. I got it for $21 US plus $3.50 US shipping (it was the 50% off sale), and again there was good transparency. However, the book itself came from the UK, and came in good time.
- Otherwise buying from the US is generally not a lot of fun. You get dinged on the exchange rate twice (UK -> US -> Canadian) and they charge full price on shipping (25%). Plus in most cases they ship it in a box that is about 12 times as big as it has to be and Canada Customs nabs it and requires you to pay duty and PST/GST (or VAT equivalent). UK stuff comes in appropriate sized boxes and really gets caught by the revenue man.