Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purchases]

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Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purchases]

Postby retiredjg » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:08 pm

I've had relatives in Canada for more than 40 years and have only just this year run into problems. Here's a few examples.

    1) Canadian wanted to buy a phone only available in the US, but was prohibited from using Canadian CC to buy it.

    2) I was unable to buy Canadian iTunes gift cards with my US credit card.

    3) The Canadians cannot use the US iTunes cards on their Canadian iTunes account.

    4) A Canadian sent me a check which I could not deposit in my bank because it did not have a 9 digit routing number. He finally had to buy a money order and send that instead. I have not tried to send a check to Canada lately and have no idea if that could be deposited or not.
We finally got problems 1 and 4 figured out, but are currently still stymied with problem #3. I gave up on problem #2.

Anybody have any insight into what is going on or how I can work around these frustrations?
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Re: Frustrating US - Canada Money Problem.

Postby sscritic » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:25 pm

Terms of service. That's how Apple runs its business.
Gift Certificates, iTunes Cards, Content Codes, and Allowances purchased in the United States may be redeemed through the Services only in the United States, its territories, and possessions.
http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html#SALE
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Re: Frustrating US - Canada Money Problem.

Postby sscritic » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:28 pm

If you send them a check and they can cash it (and get Loonies), they can buy a Canadian iTunes gift card for use in the Canadian iTunes store. I buy US gift cards at my grocery store.
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Re: Frustrating US - Canada Money Problem.

Postby rob » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:32 pm

Minor stuff - Want to try other countries where the US tax rules are essentially forcing people - including US citizens - to lie or have their accounts closed..... Your looking the wrong side of the boarder :-/ It's been getting worse for some time but is ratcheting up on the new year. Stopping now before I get away from consequences of tax law and into politics :D

It is a different country - even Canada, so expecting to be able to deposit them into a US bank directly is unlikely. Some banks can no doubt deal with it but most will not touch a non US check let alone - what sounds like - a personal non us check.

As to apple... well... It is what it is if you want to be locked into their platforms. That is a decision by a private company on the use of their internal currency labelled iTunes.
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Re: Frustrating US - Canada Money Problem.

Postby retiredjg » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:38 pm

sscritic wrote:Terms of service. That's how Apple runs its business.
Gift Certificates, iTunes Cards, Content Codes, and Allowances purchased in the United States may be redeemed through the Services only in the United States, its territories, and possessions.
http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html#SALE

Yes. I know the US cards can only be redeemed at the US website. However, when I called customer service, they indicated to me that all my Canadian relatives had to do with to use the US website instead of the Canadian website. Apparently, it ain't so. So I'm pretty much left with a short stick....
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Re: Frustrating US - Canada Money Problem.

Postby retiredjg » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:41 pm

I have not tried to send a personal check to Canada lately. Any ideas on whether it would be accepted?
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Re: Frustrating US - Canada Money Problem.

Postby sscritic » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:42 pm

retiredjg wrote:
sscritic wrote:Terms of service. That's how Apple runs its business.
Gift Certificates, iTunes Cards, Content Codes, and Allowances purchased in the United States may be redeemed through the Services only in the United States, its territories, and possessions.
http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html#SALE

Yes. I know the US cards can only be redeemed at the US website. However, when I called customer service, they indicated to me that all my Canadian relatives had to do with to use the US website instead of the Canadian website. Apparently, it ain't so. So I'm pretty much left with a short stick....

They can if they can get an account at the US website; that's a different question. It may require a US address and a US credit card, at least one billed to the US address. I saw something along those lines while researching your original question (or complaint).

P.S. Do you want answers or just want to complain? To get answers to questions you want answered, you have to ask the questions to which you want answers. :)
The Canadians cannot use the US iTunes cards on their Canadian iTunes account.
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby Puakinekine » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:01 pm

retiredjg wrote:I have not tried to send a personal check to Canada lately. Any ideas on whether it would be accepted?

I paid an insurance bill in April and paid university tuition fees using $US bank checks as recently as September. No problem so far with doing this, but for the exchange rate always being unfavorable when these bills are due, and having to allow plenty of time for Canada Post to actually deliver the mail.
Last edited by Puakinekine on Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Frustrating US - Canada Money Problem.

Postby 6miths » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:04 pm

retiredjg wrote:I have not tried to send a personal check to Canada lately. Any ideas on whether it would be accepted?


If they have a USD bank account then the cheques go in with no loss in terms of exchange rate or fees.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain
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Re: Frustrating US - Canada Money Problem.

Postby retiredjg » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:41 pm

sscritic wrote:P.S. Do you want answers or just want to complain? To get answers to questions you want answered, you have to ask the questions to which you want answers. :)

Are we grumpy today?

I was actually looking for folks who might have found a work around.

And yes, I am complaining about iTune customer service giving me incorrect information before I bought the darn things. Probably like the IRS - not responsible for incorrect info given out by their own customer service reps. :annoyed
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby PennySaved » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:01 pm

One option for sending money internationally is to use Paypal. I've sold stuff to Canadians on Ebay and they have paid me using Paypal. However, the receiver of the money gets charged $0.30 per transaction plus 2.9% of the money transferred. I am not sure about currency conversion fees. Paypal users can have money in their account transferred to their bank account or use a Paypal debit card, at least in US.
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby baw703916 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:13 pm

Seems like there may be a business opportunity for some enterprising Canadian on eBay, to offer to buy Canadian iTunes gift cards and send them to friends and relatives in Canada for, say a 5% markup.
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby hazlitt777 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:37 am

retiredjg wrote:I've had relatives in Canada for more than 40 years and have only just this year run into problems. Here's a few examples.

    1) Canadian wanted to buy a phone only available in the US, but was prohibited from using Canadian CC to buy it.

    2) I was unable to buy Canadian iTunes gift cards with my US credit card.

    3) The Canadians cannot use the US iTunes cards on their Canadian iTunes account.

    4) A Canadian sent me a check which I could not deposit in my bank because it did not have a 9 digit routing number. He finally had to buy a money order and send that instead. I have not tried to send a check to Canada lately and have no idea if that could be deposited or not.
We finally got problems 1 and 4 figured out, but are currently still stymied with problem #3. I gave up on problem #2.

Anybody have any insight into what is going on or how I can work around these frustrations?


Just thinking out loud here...but could he buy a few gas cards for you equivalent to the gift he would like to purchase for you, or could you do the same for him? Would that be a way around it?
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby sscritic » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:39 am

Do you trust them? I think this will work.

They go to store. They log out. They log back in using your apple ID and password. They use the gift card on the US store. They log out as you. They log back in as themselves.

I am assuming that you can login from anywhere in the world using your apple ID. They would see the last four digits of your credit card if they looked, but not more.

There used to be a problem with DRM; songs you bought couldn't be shared with another account(?)/computer(?), but that is no longer the case. There may be a problem syncing with various devices through the cloud because that would depend on using their apple id, but there shouldn't be any problem listening to the songs or directly copying them to various devices.

Again, I haven't tried this, but I think it would work.
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby retiredjg » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:52 am

sscritic wrote:Again, I haven't tried this, but I think it would work.

It sounds like a plan and I wonder if it would work as well. I think by now that "dad" has already made it good with the kids (who aren't that good at waiting) and I'll just have to make it good with him (gee, I wonder if his bank will accept my check?). But if not, I think your idea might be worth trying. Thanks!
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby Firewood42 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:45 pm

Years ago I had an account in a small U.S. town that was owned by a Canadian Company. They had owned this company for years and all the checks came from Canada. It was the largest employer is this small town.

One day I was surprised to see we were way overdrawn on our checking account. It turned out that the bank had hired a new girl that was really up on the rules. Since it was a foreign check, the customer was not supposed to get credit for it until the funds were actually deposited from Canada. Needless to say the bank made quick amends to everybody and straightened out the new girl to the policy they had been following for years.
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby dpc » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:06 pm

My daughter (and our grandchildren!) live in Canada. Money transfers between US and Canadian banks are a hassle. There is a foreign exchange fee that is charged for each check as well as an extended holding period before the funds are released. This applies in either direction. My daughter says that most people there who need to do business or handle US funds maintain a separate bank account in a US bank. PayPal is also a problem. I'm trying to get my daughter to open an account at a local credit union here.

On Amazon, some items can be shipped to Canada and some cannot. I can go to the Amazon.ca website and order there but the selection is more limited. Also, my credit cards charge a 3% fee for Canadian purchases. Some CCs do not impose this fee. There was a thread on this issue (that I started) a couple of months ago.

All in all, it's a PITA.
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby sscritic » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:33 pm

I don't know about your experiences, but I didn't have any trouble buying from Amazon in England. I did pay a foreign transaction fee on my credit card, just as if I had used it in a shop in London. I didn't expect anything else, as I was shopping in England. What interested me is that the item was shipped from Germany, and of course the address was upside down. :)
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby littlebird » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:53 pm

Firewood42 wrote: It turned out that the bank had hired a new girl


That's what you get for hiring minors. Had the bank hired a fully grown woman, I'm sure this wouldn't have happened.
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby Bylo Selhi » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:43 pm

1) Canadian wanted to buy a phone only available in the US, but was prohibited from using Canadian CC to buy it.

My inference is that the Canadian has an "Amerifriend" with a US address to which they want the phone shipped.

Some online sellers, especially of valuable merchandise like phones, will ship only to an address that's on file with the credit card. They do this as a fraud prevention measure. Likely the issue here is that the credit card has only a Canadian address associated with it. Most, if not all, credit card companies allow you to add secondary addresses, e.g. your work address so you can have stuff shipped to work. Some Canadian credit card companies, especially if they issue US$ credit cards, will allow US secondary addresses, e.g. because while the card holder may live in Canada they spend significant time in the US.

I bought a Google Nexus phone some months ago by first adding an Amerifriend's address as a secondary. The credit card was a Canadian TD/CT US$ Visa. I don't think it had to be a US$ card, but I have one and I wanted to pay in US$ in any case. The CSR at TD/CT Visa had no problem with adding a US address. After all lots of Canadian "snowbirds" fly south to FL, AZ, etc. during the winter so the request isn't unusual. I used the Amerifriend's address as both the billing and shipping address when I placed the order on Google's site. There were no problems with placing the order. The phone was shipped to my Amerifriend and my card was charged the correct amount. I picked up the phone in the US a couple of weeks later and declared it on the way back into Canada. (I was away for >48 hours so there was no duty or tax to pay in Canada.)

2) I was unable to buy Canadian iTunes gift cards with my US credit card.
3) The Canadians cannot use the US iTunes cards on their Canadian iTunes account.

Dunno anything about Apple iStuff. I'm an Android ;)

4) A Canadian sent me a check which I could not deposit in my bank because it did not have a 9 digit routing number. He finally had to buy a money order and send that instead. I have not tried to send a check to Canada lately and have no idea if that could be deposited or not.

The format of MICR-encoded routing numbers differs between Canada and the US. This may cause the automated sorting systems to reject cross border checks and send them for manual processing. It's possible that some US banks don't want the hassle and so refuse to accept Canadian checks outright.

That said,
1. I've never experienced problems depositing US checks nor had problems reported to me by recipients of my checks.
2. I have a US$ checking account at a Canadian bank (TD/CT.) I always send US$ checks to the US. Even though the format of the MICR rounting information is Canadian, there's never been a problem. I always deposit incoming US checks to my US$ account.

As for Amazon, they generally don't have a problem with shipping books overseas. I've bought books not only from .com and .ca but also from .uk and .de. In all cases I used my normal Canadian Amazon account. A few years ago I got an amazon.de gift certificate and had no trouble depositing it in my account. Keep in mind that Amazon charges outrageous fees for overseas shipping.

Now other parts of Amazon are another matter altogether.
1. As posted upthread, there's a lot of merchandise that .com won't send to Canada. I have it sent to my Amerifriend. Unlike Google (above) Amazon doesn't care if my CC billing address is in Canada.
2. OTOH yesterday Amazon was giving away some free Android apps on their site. They wouldn't let me download them from Canada, not even using system apps that make it look like I'm in the US using a US carrier. The error message complained that the billing address in my account wasn't US. This is the same account that I routinely use with .com to buy merchandise to be shipped to the US.

So even within one company, policies vary among divisions. Go figure...
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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby Firewood42 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:47 pm

littlebird wrote:
Firewood42 wrote: It turned out that the bank had hired a new girl


That's what you get for hiring minors. Had the bank hired a fully grown woman, I'm sure this wouldn't have happened.


Sorry I guess she was a woman. May still work there.
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Re: Frustrating US - Canada Money Problem.

Postby umfundi » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:21 pm

retiredjg wrote:I have not tried to send a personal check to Canada lately. Any ideas on whether it would be accepted?

Oh, yes. The question is: What are the fees?

I had someone in Canada send me a check denominated in US Dollars. My bank charged fees because it was not drawn on a US bank. (I am in the US.)

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Re: Frustrating US-Canada Money Problem [Cross-Border Purcha

Postby likegarden » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:27 pm

I also had a problem with depositing a Canadian check in a US bank. I insisted on getting paid via check to avoid giving the Canadian party my checking account number, but learned for the future rather to do wire transfers which deposit money into a US account in a few days.

My US bank did not know they needed to fill out a special form. My Canadian check was sent to the Canadian bank via registered mail from my US bank here in NY state and seemed to have been lost in Canada. Finally someone at this Canadian bank was able to track my check down, send the required form to the US. It took a total of 3 months to get the money, and cost me $120 for shipping charges and bank fees.
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