« Cops -- overpaid or underpaid? | Main | Avg. Canadian personal debt rises to $25,597: report »

June 01, 2021

Is cross-border tire shopping worthwhile?

The last time the loonie was worth more than the U.S. dollar, Canadian consumers complained bitterly about the price gap between the two countries on a pile of goods. Well, not much has changed this time out.

Tire Take tires, for instance.

The owner of a Niagara Falls, N.Y., warehouse that caters to cross-border shoppers by providing a U.S. address and temporary storage for goods ordered from U.S. online retailers claims tires are his biggest seller.

“I’m looking at four tires that cost $500 here that up in Canada would be almost $1,000,” he told the Toronto Star.

Ontario tire dealers say consumers unfairly blame them when the real culprit is the manufacturers, who have done little to lower the wholesale price despite the rising dollar.

So, should you buy from Tirerack (which seems to have a few detractors) or some other place south of the border?

If price is the issue for you, you probably will come out ahead. The local tire shops won't thank you, of course, but what are you going to do?

Customs duties vary with the goods you’re buying and the country of origin, but expect to pay at least seven per cent if the goods originated outside of North America, plus the usual taxes upon declaring your purchase -- something many people seem to skip.

And, yes, personal exemptions can be used to offset your costs, depending on how long you’re away. Most drivers have the tires installed there as well, generally for about the same price you’d pay up here.

Click here and here for some hands-on advice from those who've been there.

Have you made a cross-border tire trip recently? Any problems or suggestions to report?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.





Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...