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Some U.S. based sellers don't like to deal with Canadian buyers for one reason or another.

Some say it's because we send payments in forms that they cannot accept. While I agree that it can be a hassle, many an American has sent an unaccepted form of payment to me as well. It's human nature to think certain rules apply only to the other guy, it's not based on nationality, and while I can see a seller wanting to avoid the future possibility of this happening, it's unfair to label an entire nation of people as difficult to deal with just because of a few bad experiences. Personal cheques seem to be the biggest problem, but that seems to be the case even when it's strictly a U.S. transaction. People everywhere think, "Well, MY cheque is okay, you don't need to hold it, and look at my good feedback." That's annoying no matter where the buyer is from.

Granted, there is one problem that has cropped up with U.S. sellers who normally accept cheques, and this is no fault of the sellers or the buyers. I - and many other Canadian eBayers - have a U.S. chequing account. There should be NO problem for someone in the U.S. to cash one of these cheques, but apparently some banks charge anywhere from $15. to $25. to process them! This is absolutely ridiculous!! Everything is computerized now! It's a U.S. currency cheque! We are supposed to have Free Trade!! It is a blatant rip-off! But then again, how can you trust a bank that would charge their U.S. client a fee and make them wait for 30 days to process an International Postal Money Order from Canada without telling that person that they could process it instantly and for free at the Post Office!!! It's happened!

Some don't like to wait a few extra days for payment in the mail. Well boo hoo. What's a couple of days? Sure occasionally some things get delayed even further than that in transit, but things get delayed and lost from state to state too - one only need look at the USPS auction listings on eBay to verify that. Neither the USPS nor Canada Post is 100%, but they have both been pretty damn good in my experience.

Others still, say it's because they don't like that they can't track the item once it's out of the States, so there is no way of knowing whether an item has actually been received by the buyer or not. Fair enough. but just tell the person that there is no insurance and that they have to trust the integrity of your feedback - and you their's - and if they don't receive the item there is nothing you can do about it, otherwise you will have to send the item in a more costly fashion like UPS in order that you CAN track it.

One of the most contentious issues appears to be the declaration of the item as merchandise or as a gift. Personally I never ask sellers to mark the item as a gift (to avoid the chance of random duty or taxes added onto my parcel by customs) because I know that many sellers object to it. Consequently I end up paying extra for parcels about 5% of the time. It's a drag, so I can't really blame people for trying. As a seller myself though, I really don't see it as that much of an issue. I generally mark my packages as gifts regardless. If I were a legitimate business and included invoices or receipts then yes, I could see a problem, and would strongly object to the idea as well. But for the average eBay seller who does not include any proof of a sale there is no real legal risk involved, and as for it being "morally wrong to cheat the government", I just disagree. I pay my government plenty of taxes every year, thank you very much, so if they were to lose out on a few bucks here and there (and the money goes to the Canadian government, not the U.S.'s if that's a concern) for some antiques and collectibles I've bought, big deal. They certainly and regularly squander enough of our money on questionable things, U.S. and Canada both.

All of these issues aside, one of the reasons we Canadians ask sellers who state U.S. Only in their auctions whether they might indeed sell to us, is because most sellers WILL sell to us when asked. Often they have just forgotten to uncheck the U.S. only box, or they are new to foreign shipping, or they just want to screen out any potential deadbeat foreign bidders. When a person wants an item badly enough to email, it's unlikely that we will be a deadbeat, so they agree! But still, some sellers complain about being asked if they will make an exception about foreign shipping. What's to complain about? We are just asking. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Just say no, if that's the case; and if that IS the case, just why CAN'T you make an exception if someone is courteous enough to ask beforehand and wants the item badly enough that they are not only willing to pay the extra postage, etc., but willing to pay 150% of the price because of our low dollar? Could there be more to it than just your need for a lack of hassle? Is there some sort of underlying political resentment? Don't expect us not to be upset if you do say no. There are plenty of items that go unsold because of this attitude, and other items still that would have fetched the seller a higher price if only they would be more willing to negotiate.

These few narrow minded sellers bitch and whine and make statements about our lack of reading or comprehension skills, or ignorantly figure that it has something to do with the French language up here. No, we simply want the item you have to sell because we haven't been able to find it elsewhere, and it may cost more to ship and it may take a little longer in transit, but once we convert our money, our cash is just as good as yours!

Why should we be upset if you say no? Well, besides the dissapointment of not being able to purchase something we'd really like, there IS a bigger picture. Here it is:

We Canadians are always being over-powered culturally by the U.S. machine. It is a constant struggle for us to maintain our own identity here. We resent that we know and understand much of your history, and yet most of you know almost nothing of ours even though we are your neighbours. I have said before that we are like the little brother always being left out, and it's true. We look up to you like our big brother in many ways, but also see the foibles that you seem to be unaware of. Subsequently a long standing, deep-seated resentment of being left out of the game has evolved. For me personally it goes as far back as the comic books I read as a kid, and all of the cool stuff one could buy in those cheesy ads, like sea monkeys and spy cameras. They all said U.S. Only, and it was a pain in the arse. Well, it still is and we're fed up with it! This is why some - not all - but some Canadian eBayers are so hostile to those few (thankfully) of you who are so unwilling to make any exceptions about shipping to us. When it is a rare item of some kind that we are interested in and there are no local options for purchase, it is really frustrating and irritating.

There is no USW in front of the eBay domain, it's WWW and that stands for WORLD WIDE WEB!!!

Having said that, I love most of the Americans I know and have dealt with here on eBay and in my life. I grew up in a border town and have spent much time in the States, and I know that a few bad apples don't spoil the whole bunch - on either side of the border.

VLP 2001

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February 2001