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Bargaining Tips

Reader's Digest / December 2014

Improve your online shopping skills

MORE THAN half of Canad­ians favour point­-and­-click shopping over in­-store throngs, leading to $19 billion in Internet purchases in 2012. But are we doing it right? Here, a guide to better virtual buying.

Outwit Other Shoppers
If you’re shopping on eBay or an­ other auction site, bid strategic atypi­cal amounts, such as $11.02 to trump $11. If you’re serious about an item, place your final bid about 10 seconds before the auction closes to outrace any consumers also watching closely.

Consider Your Duty
Check with the Canada Border Ser­vices Agency to see if what you’re ordering from outside the country is exempt from duty fees—all photog­ raphy equipment, for example. And remember that American­ and Mex­ican-­made goods are duty­-free; you
just have to pay sales taxes. Any pur­chase above $20 coming into the country is eligible. If you’re not in a hurry, ask the company if it’ll ship your items by United States Postal Service instead of UPS—you’ll save on brokerage fees. But shopping Canadian or checking online behe­moths’ Canadian sites before placing an order with an American retailer will help keep hefty charges at bay and avoid customs delays at the border.

Ask for Special Treatment
Looking for a gift Walmart doesn’t sell? Try Etsy, where a million active shops from 20 countries showcase artists and their work. “A ton of sell­ers do custom orders, engraved items or unique creations,” says Etsy Canada lead Erin Green, who once had an illustrator draw a portrait of her whole family, dog included.