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Digital Camera Shopping

Digital Camera Shopping

June 5th, 2008  · stk

OLD POST: Just getting around to adding the finishing touches on this post about our purchasing experience for a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 camera. (Since broke and we're buying the newer version of the same camera ... and again in the U.S.) The price differences remain huge between Canada and the United States.

Lumix DMC-TZ5 Digital Camera:
Priced Higher in Canada than the United States - Why?

We've been looking to purchase a second digital camera. We really like our current Casio EX-850 digital camera, but it lacks certain features: 28mm wide angle, close focusing distance & a long zoom. Additionally, two cameras come in handy on family adventures, as we'll no longer miss photo opportunites because the other of us has the camera.

When Rachel spied a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 digital camera on sale at a local London Drugs store, it looked like it had the features we wanted: quality Leica lenses, 10X optical zoom, 28mm wide angle and close-focusing distances for macro shots! Yay!

Because London Drugs has a great 30-day price-matching and return policy, we felt comfortable pulling the trigger and quickly making a purchase. The sale price was $379 CAD and by the time we paid the taxes (12% - 7% PST and 5% GST) the total price came to $425.59.

Once we got the Lumix DMC-TZ5 digital camera home, I read the manual and made a bunch of test shots. We were pleased with the the camera. We also checked to make certain we were getting the lowest price.

What I discovered illustrates that Canadians often pay substantially more than Americans for consumer products. Also, the difficulty I had with ordering demonstrates some of the pitfalls with mail-order companies - especially for Canadians.

By buying in the United States, I ultimately saved $150 over the London Drugs sales price. However, I had to ship the camera to a U.S. address and as a result, didn't have it in my hot grubby hands until our next planned visit to the States.

To find out how Canadians can save by buying mail-order consumer goods in the United States .... read on.

Does NAFTA Level the Pricing Playing Field?

If I had my preference, I'd buy products from my local Canadian vendor any day. However, as a consumer, I'm about value and I'm not going to pay significantly more, just to shop Canadian. There's a price-tag on convenience, for sure, but knowing what that dollar amount might be, can be sobering.

Do Canadian companies think Canadians are stupid?

68% of Canadians use the Internet. Many Canadians have the ability to perform a quick Google search, just like I did, to compare digital camera prices from a variety of U.S. vendors. This isn't rocket science.

At the time I purchased this camera, Google prices ranged from $250 to $386 USD, with quite a number, from recognizable U.S. vendors, in the $279 range. Fully $100 less than than the London Drugs price.

The number of Canadian-only shopping bots is limited, but I did use www.shopbot.ca and found only three Canadian vendors listed. They had prices ranging from $342 CAD to $399.

Clearly, Canadians are paying about $100 more than Americans for this camera (excluding tax and shipping).

This is very frustrating. I fail to understand why Canadians must pay more and frankly, refuse to play.

I found a vendor in the States I liked (that had the camera in stock and offered free expedited shipping - our U.S. vacation was upcoming) and put in an order for the camera. The price? $288.95. Shipping? Free the U.S. address we would be visiting. I even found an online discount promotional coupon (Google is my friend) that saved me an additional $10. So the final price was $278.95 and no tax.

That's a far cry from $425.59!

I took the camera back to London Drugs and when I told them my reason for the return (that I got it cheaper elsewhere), I showed them the shopping cart printout page from my U.S. mail-order vendor.

"Oh, that IS significant," the photo counter clerk said, "You got it online? From the U.S.?"

When I affirmed that I did, she didn't even try to price-match, she just refunded my money.

Canadian stores don't even try to compete!

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Updated: 22-Oct-2012
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