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Thread: So this can happen if you don't declare something at the border...

  1. #11
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    Just a quick note to the newer members. There are several current and ex-police officers who are members here and at least one who works in fraud investigations...
    If I saved all of the money I spent on watches I'd probably buy a watch.

  2. #12
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    It usually doesnít work out when you import and fraudulently declare a lower value. Trust me is all I will say.


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  3. #13
    Senior Member Matanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomb18 View Post
    I've seen some people asking about bringing things to Canada across the border and not declaring them. Well I did that once, but I'll never do it again. It's not a watch, but it's the same idea....
    I am into astrophotography, and I saw a high quality telescope mount in the USA which was available for a reasonable price ($3500). So I drove down to meet the guy and asked him to write me a receipt for $2200. I figured I'd just declare it and save some on taxes.
    So when I got to the border, I told the customers agent about the purchase and he told me to park and go inside. So I went in, and the officer asked to see the mount which I showed him and he asked the price. I told him $2200 and gave him the receipt. He said OK please wait. About 20 minutes later he came out and said, you didn't pay that amount for the mount... The mount is much more valuable than that. I said, this is an older mount from that company ahd that's the going price. He said OK please wait...another 20 minutes go by and two customs officers come around the counter and with hands on their guns, tell me to empty all my pockets, leaving the pockets sticking out of my pants. Oh my God,....sweat pouring down my face...
    At that point, they picked up my wallet and started going through it and I said to myself, Ok this is enough and I confessed that I paid more for it. It was a good thing I did so....Just at that point he had the receipt for a money order for the mount showing the true value, but he didn't read it...Once I confessed he said, "Good thing you came clean, we would have taken your car apart as the next step"...
    So they told me to wait, and he came forward with a declaration that I had to sign, waving my rights to a lawyer and having to pay $650 CND for the taxes and penalties....So I signed, and he asked if if it was OK and not too much...he actually seemed very sympathetic to me at that point and said, well it's the law..
    So, at that time I was travelling quite a bit for work, and about %50 of the time, everytime I came back over the border, I was taken aside, had to wait quite a while, and then thoroughly searched.
    So, this only happened for about a year, and then I guess that Customs figured I learned my lesson and am once again trustworthy.
    So, that's my story...
    I feel for you.

    While it may be the law to declare, I sometimes wonder why we still have guns and drugs on the streets.
    I would rather have the Customs Border Agents focus their attention on the more important illegal stuff rather than harass and intimidate Canadians with no criminal record. Why question my desire to bring a telescope. It's not like I'm bringing two or more and selling the rest. Why question a guy with a nice jacket that was bought in Canada. It's not like he bought 2 or more other jackets. Too much focus on the small stuff because it's easy. Perhaps, it is a sympton of how our leaders think.

    My 1 cent worth. Rant over.

    Happy New Year members.
    6.5" left wrist

  4. #14
    Senior Member Matanda's Avatar
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    Edit: Sympton=symptom.
    6.5" left wrist

  5. #15
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    I had a similar situation a few years back. Used to have all of my stuff shipped to one of those cross-border mailbox shops in Upstate NY.

    Typically I would print all of my Paypal invoices prior to heading down and get everything itemized all pretty for CBSA. At the time I was still an officer in the armed forces, so getting nabbed at the Border wasnít worth the professional reputational damage.

    On this particular trip I was headed down to pick up a dozen or so items for a vehicle project. I had all of the receipts printed but hadnít actually tabulated the data. Not to worry, as there was usually a 10-15 minute wait to get up the kiosk on the way back, so I could just total it while I waited.

    Low and behold, on this particular day there was no one lined up. When I got to the kiosk I explained to the agent that I hadnít had time to total all of the receipts, but they were definitely over $500 in goods. He doesnít look at the receipts and sends me inside.

    Of course I get the most pissed off and arrogant guy at the inside counter. This fella clearly fell for a recruiting pitch that hadnít lined up with his actual experiences. I hand him the receipts and he goes to work estimating the taxes. After about 5 or 6 minutes of listening to this dude mutter and grumble, he asks me ďhow did you come up with $500?Ē. I explained to him clearly and concisely exactly how I got to his counter and what was said outside..... His total came out to $900 and change.

    Next thing I know, my car is getting torn apart. From where I was asked to sit in the lobby, I could watch him go about his business on a security monitor. He spent an easy 25 - 30 minutes out there going through everything. Had all of the contents of my car spread out like an episode of Narcos.

    Anyway, after finding nothing outside of what was included in the Paypal invoices he came back in and began to rather loudly admonish me like a child as he pounded out the tax forms and proceeded to inform me (and anyone else inside of the lobby based on the tone of his voice) that I was being flagged in their database for a period of 2 years which would subject me to additional scrutiny when passing through customs.

    He wasnít kidding. Although my luggage doesnít get ripped apart, I do end up spending twice as long as my co-workers getting questioned on return from business trips.

    Anyway, the whole experience left me so embittered, I no longer use that method for bring up goods, and certainly wouldnít consider trying to bring a high value second hand watch in that way. Too many grey areas and CBSA has virtual carte Blanche unless you feel like being detained while you wait for a lawyer.
    Founder: 2018 CWC Watch Sabbatical

  6. #16
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    Both of my brothers worked at the Sarnia /Port Huron border in the early years of their career. I've heard many of their stories. The biggest takeaway I got from them was that odds are you won't get caught smuggling BUT if you do get caught, you're on their "LIST" and when crossing at any border or airport you will be searched each and every time you cross. A real hassle and not worth it to save a few bucks. Just buy Canadian watches either from Bobby or any fellow CWC'er and enjoy the peace of mind about buying Canadian.

  7. #17
    Senior Member What Does Your Watch Say?'s Avatar
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    Imagine what was smuggled across the border in the time that these officers were questioning you.

  8. #18
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    IMO CBSA suitcase cops are often p, discourteous and unprofessional. I have universally found their American counterparts to be far superior... they discharge services far more professionally and without ego.


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  9. #19
    Senior Member tng11's Avatar
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    I went through a search ordeal at the airport about 12 years ago. Questioned on almost every single item, including clothing in my luggage. I was a teenager then and scared, but I really had nothing to hide. Didn't stop the CBSA agents from going full power trip on me. Their 2 hour search yielded zippo.

    I applied for Nexus after that and have made more than 100 crossings since without any hassle or being searched. Anytime I'm over my limit, I make a full declaration. I once declared $3,000 at YVR, and the guy at the counter thanked me for my honesty and told me to move along without having to pay

    Still, I am in constant fear of travelling with any watch that does not have Canadian paperwork. I rather play it safe and take a piece I bought myself from a local AD than take any risk.

  10. #20
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    When I was working retail in a mall I became acquainted with a mall security guard. He wanted to become a cop but couldnít make it so he joined the CBSA.
    Years later I was talking to my regular barista and she wanted to be a cop. She didnít make it so she joined the CBSA.
    One of my sonís basketball coaches was an armoured car guard who wanted to be a cop but he didnít make it so he got a job with CBSA.
    I know itís a small sample size but if everyone who washes out of basic selection for the police joins the CBSA it could explain the unprofessional power trips. Can you imagine dreaming of being a cop and ending up being a glorified tax collector? No wonder theyíre never pleasant.
    If I saved all of the money I spent on watches I'd probably buy a watch.

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