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11/23/2010

How Canadians can get the best Black Friday deals

EE8D3019CA5E3FD5AC5C12B2A6AFE0 The Canadian dollar might be hovering just around parity with the American greenback, but that doesn’t mean things cost the same on both sides of the border.

Several items are often much cheaper in the States for reasons I’m not well-versed to explain, but it’s disappointing for us Canucks – if you don’t use online shopping to your advantage.

Just in time for Black Friday, it’s worth drawing attention to Bing’s Cross Border Shopping tool. It offers a quick and easy way to comparison shop between items sold in Canada and the United States, factoring in everything from exchange rates to shipping and import fees.

One of the features I like most with Bing’s Cross Border Shopping site is how it adds up all the extra fees to give you a clear idea of how much you may or may not save when you purchase from an American retailer. Just as those system access fees and regulatory improvement fees can jack up your cell phone bill, shipping and handling fees can make a cross-border deal much less of a steal.

For example, this pair of Yamaha indoor/outdoor speakers cost $199.99 at Best Buy. Bing tells me, however, they cost only $60.38 at B&H Photo. Too good to be true?

No – the site tells me there’ll be an additional $43.42 shipping charge and a $3.92 brokerage and duties fee. Still, $107.72 is nearly 90 bucks less.

However, Bing also shows me the FujiFilm Finepix Z70 digital camera is available for as low as $149.97 in Canada. But New York City’s B&H Photo is selling it for $110.74 plus $28.31 for shipping and no brokerage & duties fees.

Can’t do that math? Bing says on the product’s page that buying it from the USA costs less, but not by much.

If you do decide to physically do cross-border shopping by car, you can follow the Canadian Border Services’ wait time updates on Twitter.

How do you take advantage of cross-border shopping?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

*Image: The Canadian Press

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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