Strong Canadian Dollar = 14% off Powerbooks?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by srobert, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. srobert macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2002
    Hmmm... at the current currency exchange rate, I could get a 7% off any Powerbook if I drove an hour and bought it south of the border. That figure goes as high as 14% if I take into account much higher sales tax in Quebec, Canada).

    Of course, I might have to toss away the beautifull box before driving back home through the border.

    Am I getting this wrong? I've always been terrible at acounting.

    Here are some numbers:

    Top of the line Powerbook Prices:
    2,999 USD or 4,299 CAD (Converts to 3,215 USD)

    Mid-range Powerbook Prices:
    1,999 USD or 2,849 CAD (Converts to 2,131 USD)

    Today's Currency Rates:
    1 CAD = 0.748032 USD
    1 USD = 1.33684 CAD

    Canada's total sales tax* (by province, GST+PST):

    Ontario: 15% (Edited. Thanks kafiene)
    Quebec: 15.025%
    British Columbia: 15% (Edited. Thanks KenWedin)
    Alberta: 7%
    Saskatchewan: 7%
    Manitoba: 7%
    Newfoundland: 15%
    New Brunswick: 15%
    Nova Scotia: 15%
    Prince Edward Island: 7%
    Others: 7%

    *I copy pasted those numbers from the web. There might be errors.
  2. kafiene macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    PST + GST in Ontario is 15% .. but thats just me nit picking

    Other than that I think your math is right and you would save quite a bit by going down to the US.... but don't take my word for it, I just had an exam so my heads a little spinny
  3. srobert thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2002
    From those numbers, I could save $685 (CAD) from the top of the line powerbook. Not bad. It's like getting a free iPod.
  4. KenWedin macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2002
    Re: Strong Canadian Dollar = 14% off Powerbooks?

    Actually, Alberta has never had a provincial sales tax, so the 7% total is correct, while BC does have an 8% PST, which amounts to a total 15% when combined with GST. As far as I know, Alberta is the only province (other than somewhere like PEI) in Canada that has never had a provincial sales tax, so I doubt the other 7% quotations for other provinces.

    If this calculation is correct, I may drive down from Vancouver to Seattle for my next PowerBook. My best friend is a Customs border guard, so I may ask for his unofficial opinion.
  5. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2002
    You have 2 potential issues:

    The first is if Cdn customs wants to see proof of purchase in Canada and you don't have it, they will charge you the import tarrif (which is 0) and GST. If you refuse they can confiscate the laptop. A reliable workaround that a little birdie told me is take an obviously used laptop bag with you and they most likely won't pay any attention to the fact the computer looks brand new.

    The problem that is most likely more important is with a US serial number, there will be no warranty on the latop.
  6. srobert thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2002
    Hmm... did'nt know about that one. Let's say that if person "A", living in the USA, buys a nice birthday present (AKA.: Powerbook) for good friend "B", living in Canada, there is no warranty? Bummer.

    Might still be worth the $685 saving though, unless you're very unlucky. Though call.
  7. KenWedin macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2002
    Re: Strong Canadian Dollar = 14% off Powerbooks?

    I think your assumptions are correct. Comparing my dream package on the U.S. and Canadian Online Apple Stores, I get the following numbers, though they lack the BC and WA state sales taxes and the $30 tank of gas for the trip to an actual retail store.

    From Canada: $7,851 CAD
    From Canada: $5872 USD
    From U.S.: $5,399 USD
    From U.S.: $7,218 CAD
  8. kanker macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2003
    Don't quote me on this, but I think Applecare on a laptop is a worldwide warranty, unlike the desktops. Checking Applecare fine print would probably comfirm or deny this.
  9. srobert thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2002
    Re: Re: Strong Canadian Dollar = 14% off Powerbooks?

    When checking the US prices I used vermont sales tax.

    As for the fuel... let's hope our dollar goes up a cent or two and that'll cover the fee. ^_^
  10. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    This thread reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer and Newman figure out a way to return their empty soda cans in Michigan for 5 cents each, and still make a margin when they figure in cost of fuel, etc...


  11. KenWedin macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2002
    Yes, I bought all my PowerBooks from the 170 to G3/300 in Japan over about a sixteen-year period and was able to service them in Arizona and Calgary during my "breathers" in North America. Strangely, the G3/300 was purchased in Tokyo but had Canadian stickers on the inside panel, as if it had been imported from Apple Canada for some reason. Yet, if I remember correctly, it did still have a Japanese keyboard before I bought a U.S. keyboard replacement.
  12. srobert thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2002
    and here is an extrat directly from apple store:

    Get peace of mind from Apple
    The AppleCare Protection Plan extends the complimentary coverage on your Mac to three years of world-class support. The plan includes expert telephone assistance, onsite repairs for desktop computers,* global repair coverage for portable computers, web-based resources, and TechTool Deluxe from Micromat—all for one economical price.

    So that settles it I guess. We'd still get the warranty even if we buy it from the US and use it in Canada.
  13. KenWedin macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2002
    PST, HST, GST, etc.

    Although the point may now be rendered moot, PST is discussed in detail at

    It looks like I was correct that Alberta is the only province without PST or an equivalent, but the same is true also for the three territories, as I had assumed.

    Although I'm now living in BC, it appears as though the rate is actually 7.5% rather than 8%.

    Anyway, I do realize that this is a peripheral discussion, separate from the main point of the value of purchasing Apple products in the States and bringing them back.
  14. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    It'll work

    That plan would work :)

    I'm heading to NYC at Easter, and I've been planning on buying a new Mac when I'm out there for the last few months.

    Powerbook 12in - $1600 vs. £1300. It equates to roughly £850 when bought in NYC; a saving of £450.

    iBook 12in - $1100 vs. £850. It equates to roughly £580, when bought in NYC; a saving of £270.

    Obviously, the exchange rates will fluctuate, but still - I know where I'm buying my new Mac :)

    The plan is to buy a neoprene wallet and take it home in my backpack I guess. The Powerbook looks so good, I can legitimately say I've taken great care of it, hence the finish - if they ask me to demonstrate it working, or whatever.

    Having said that; what's the import tax from the US to the UK? I watched a program on NYC a few weeks ago, and apparently, you're only allowed to bring back $100 worth of stuff! Can anyone clarify?


    Edit: customs allowances

    "£145 worth of all other goods including gifts and souvenirs. "

    How is the payable duty worked out?


    Also, thinking about it, with post 911, are they checking many laptops? What are the consequences of bringing it home, passing it off as prior-purchased?

    Good luck with your purchase :)

  15. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2002
    The repair coverage is global. But, you still have to buy the computer in the country of your registration address (unless something has changed recently). We bought over 200 iBooks last summer to outfit a worldwide sales force. When we were negotiating the purchase, Apple was adamant that the computers had to be purchased in Canada because the company purchasing them was in Canada. Then we could distribute them to the sales force anywhere we wanted.
  16. KenWedin macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2002
    U.S. iTunes purchases possible by Canadian residents?

    Although this is a different topic, I'll post it here, because it matches the general idea.

    Have any Canadians been able to purchase music from the U.S. iTunes Store? I'm wondering whether Apple uses the same technology as Google to determine the country of origin for your ISP/network/IP address or whether they simply rely on the localized settings in System Preferences.

    Can you buy a Pepsi south of the border and use a dialup account like AOL while there to download a song with the bottle cap liner info or even just change your computer settings in Canada to see whether iTunes purchases are possible? Okay, I admit having been too lazy to try it myself.
  17. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Having never crossed an international border, are the respective customs people that anal?
  18. KenWedin macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2002
    Yes, they can definitely be pretty unreasonable at times, or at least extremely strict. It's sometimes worse traveling between Canada and the U.S. than between Asia and North America.

    It depends on the Customs official and time of day. Yet, Customs is a lot more reasonable than Immigration in most cases, in every country I've visited or resided.
  19. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Sorry for beating a dead horse. I assumed that crossing the US border (either way) was a formality. Are you saying that as canadian citizens going from the US to Canada, a simple declaration is not enough. That they go through the luggage in full?
  20. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2002
    It's normally a formality. But they do have spot checks and you never know when you might be the person they pick. If you get picked, they will be totally anal.

    Also, if you drive, there are certain crossings where smuggling is more prominent. There is a higher chance of getting flagged at one of those.
  21. warcraftmaster macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2003
    i think this works? some one (i dunno lets call him john doh)form alaska going to the school of univ of ak fairbanks kuskokwim in the city Bethel and that is the billing addy and the your laptop goes to your addy as a gift form "john doh" and its put to your master card:D then you save 5-15% for student discount and a 14% from are all mighty doller+ you save i dunno 7% from taxs in some places. 26-38% you do the math but i think that is a lot of money.
    i read this on some itunes post your bill addy just has to be in the U.S.
    but dont tell every one because if there is only a U.S maket for apple computers then they would be no apple canada and we would not get like itunes and this plus i like to support the people that give us apple computers
    this a estamate so you redo this and get the right # i just did this to show you. but you gotta rember the bill addy and name or else your computer is gone if it breaks

    i am canadian:D
  22. lind0834 macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2003

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