We are pleased to offer Canadian customers duty-free shopping from our Web site and our U.S. catalog. As a service to our Canadian customers, we collect from you only a GST & duty of 10% on the total value of items ordered, excluding any shipping charges. Please Note: You are responsible for any HST or PST over 10%, if applicable.
(First of all, what the hell does this mean: "We are pleased to offer our Canadian customers duty-free shopping...we collect from you only a GST & duty of 10%..."?)
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you have to have a GST number to collect GST. And wouldn't the Canadian government like to know that KnitPicks is helpfully collecting a 10% GST and duty for them? So I did some looking around the Canada Border Services Agency website (www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca) and found this:
1. With certain exceptions as set out in paragraphs 2 and 3 [these exceptions include alcohol, tobacco, books and magazines], this Order applies to both non-commercial and commercial importations of goods through the mail.
2. When it has been determined that the value for duty of goods being imported by mail does not exceed CAN$20 per mail item, and the goods are not subject to the exceptions listed below, these goods are exempt from the goods and services tax (GST) and the harmonized sales tax (HST) under section 7 of Schedule VII of the Excise Tax Act and are granted remission of all customs duties, excise taxes, and provincial sales tax (PST).
I'm no taxation lawyer, but what that seems to say is, if the duty value of the package is assessed at less than $20 Canadian (and you can get a lot of yarn for a duty value of $20), you don't have to pay squat to bring it into the country by mail. So what is this little 10% scam they've got going, just a way to screw the Canadian customer? Lovely. How about they just be honest and say, "We here at KnitPicks never liked the NAFTA, so we add an extra 10% to all Canadian orders, just for living in the wrong damn country." But don't pretend you stick that 10% into an envelope marked "Canada Revenue Agency", attach a $1.10 stamp and pop it into the mail, just as a little service to your northern neighbours.