How do I import perfume into Canada without getting it seized?
February 8, 2015 12:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking at ordering perfume from a business in Italy and having it shipped to Canada, for personal use. What do I need to know/do to make it happen so it's all nice and legal?

This is the company. The amount ordered will be less than $250 CAD at a time. They ship by post and also by UPS Courier worldwide. The perfume has an alcohol base so it falls under dangerous goods (flammable materials) and Canada Post, apparently, won't handle it. Is there any way around this? Will importing via UPS work, as it's still flammable, or do they have a way around that?
I'm ok with paying the sales tax, etc. but I don't want to order this and have the whole thing seized and possibly face an investigation. Would going through a licensed broker work, or is that really starting to increase to price? - I have no idea what the charges would be on something like that.
From what I've managed to find, all of the ingredients of the perfumes are legal in Canada, it's just the alcohol base that's the issue.
posted by Zack_Replica to Shopping (3 answers total)
Customs and flammability are completely separate issues. Canada post won't carry it (Even domestically) because it's dangerous to transport, not because perfume is too dangerous to have in Canada.Canada Post just doesn't want the hassle of transporting flammable stuff.

If UPS is happy to transport it, then let UPS transport it. It won't be seized as a dangerous material. It's not illegal. Have the sender declare the value on the little customs form and if there is duty (not sales tax) to be paid, you'll be notified and pay it before they hand it over to you. UPS will act as your broker (the form you fill out when you send it requires that you give them permission to act as your broker).

If the store ships internationally, they know how to do it. If there products were being seized when shipped they would stop shipping because a bunch of pissed of customers aren't good for business.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:20 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

You can receive it via UPS, however be warned it'll cost you extra. Not only will you be charged the customs fee, but you'll also probably have to pay the UPS brokerage fee too.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 4:39 PM on February 8, 2015

You can ship "dangerous goods", they just need more attention to packaging and paperwork. It adds a lot of expense, but it's the way to move stuff like this safely and legally. I do this all the time.

Dangerous goods have all kinds of exemptions, but the most commonly used ones are for small volumes of materials. There are exceptions for "limited quantities" and "consumer quantities", both of which are used by perfume companies all the time, with reduced (but different) packing, labeling and paperwork requirements from full on DG transport.

You're correct that regular post will not (usually) handle dangerous goods. You need to go with a licensed carrier. The most common in NA and Europe is probably FedEx, though all of the courier companies can do it. DHL is my usual second choice internationally, if FedEx can't/won't go somewhere.

I would be surprised if the company doesn't already know this and ship accordingly. The responsibility is all on their end. If the shipment gets screwed up, it's the shipper's problem. In my view, you are much more likely to have the item held for tax reasons, than for transport of dangerous goods (TDG---the Canadian law governing this).

I can go into (a lot) more detail if you need it, but short answer, this should be on Profumo, not you. Ask them how they comply with shipping dangerous goods by air. If they have a good answer (i.e. via one of the categories above), you know they've got it covered.
posted by bonehead at 6:40 AM on February 9, 2015

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