US citizen buying used trailer in Canada - Fiberglass RV

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Old 09-16-2008, 12:10 PM   #1
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Hi everyone! I'm a new member to this group and this is my very first post ever, so please redirect me if this is a topic you've discussed before. We are interested in buying either a new or used Escape 17' Plan B, and the procedure for importing a new Escape from Canada to Washington State sounds easy and straight forward.

Do you have any experience/information/advice on purchasing a used trailer from a private party in Canada and bringing it across the border to reside in Washington? E.g. Do I pay GST/duty? Do I need to get permits from Canada/Washington?

Thanks! - Val
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:54 PM   #2
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Why not try contacting Reace/Tammy direct, either toll free (# is on his webpage) or email? I know for a fact he has at least one used one out there for sale (belongs to a co-worker of my better half, the Trailer Goddess. I'm not sure which model it is though. Escape has just added the Trillium line to his expanding lineup of r/v's.
They (Escape) prolly could walk you through the complete buying experience too!
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:27 PM   #3
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Thanks Doug! I e-mailed Tammy yesterday, but she didn't know the procedure for purchasing a used trailer. I'm going to contact the US border folks and our State DMV. If they have info I'll post it here in case others are interested. - Val
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:59 PM   #4
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I was curious too a while back and used the top right search button. Importing, canada, should bring up the threads. Lots of good info. Welcome to the board. Lot's of nice folks here.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:40 PM   #5
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I bought my Trillium in Surrey B.C. four years ago and brought it home to Seattle. It was overall a fairly simple and painless process. I had great communication with the seller (it helped that they were nice, knowledgeable and organized) before I went. Lots of emails, photos and a phone call or two. I knew in advance what kind of currency they preferred, what were my towing needs to bring it home that day (ball size needed, height from ground to coupler, electrical wiring type plug, all lights working, tire condition). Since I was pretty certain I was going to buy it before I went (unless of course they had really misrepresented it), the seller (at my request) had contacted their equivalent of the DMV/DOL and knew what to expect. They are open on Sundays BTW. Anyway, once I made the decision to purchase, she and I went to the Canadian DMV with a bill of sale, registration and my check book!!! It took about 30 minutes or so. They did charge me $25 or so for a one day permit. Can't exactly remember what that was for. Could have been the tags were expired. Went back, hooked up the trailer, checked all systems and headed out for the border.

My best piece of advice is to MAKE SURE YOU STOP AT THE LOO BEFORE GETTING IN LINE!!!! You may be there a while and there is no public restroom.

I admitted immediately that I had puchased the trailer, they orange carded me and sent me over to the office. They asked me a bunch of expected questions, went out and examined the trailer, couldn't find any sort of ID number and that seemed to bother them. They finally gave up, stamped my papers in triplicate and I was on my way. They are VERY SERIOUS at the border, no nice chat it up, it's all business. Overall, I would do it again and wouldn't be nearly as nervous the second time....oh, and I would stop at the potty before hand!!

Good Luck!
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Old 09-16-2008, 04:41 PM   #6
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What Sharon says pretty much sums it up.
Here's a few more tips though...

The Canadian 'DMV' is NOT open Sunday, so I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that they went to ANY open Insurance vendor (I.C.B.C. insurance vendor, usually but not always located in or near a shopping mall). The $25 charge was probably for a ONE DAY permit. Our insurance works differently than in Washington. I did not know that an American COULD take out such a permit, but it does seem 'do-able'. This permit is usually available for any number of days usage (with higher costs), but in a case like this I'm assuming the gov't EXPECTS you to buy the vehicle (trailer in this case) and make a bee line for (home) the American border, not waste time touring around in Cananda with it. This permit is a temperory license plate AND insurance (although basic) all in one. We have no 'tabs' up here, makes things a LOT easier!!!

Once you clear customs (U.S.) you'll need whatever it takes to get the trailer (plates and insurance wise) back to your place. Any taxes, fees, levees will probably be assesed either from value listed on your bill of sale unless customs has a book value on the trailers make and model.

There are a few border crossings available to use but the one with the shortest waiting lines is the Huntingdon (B.C.)/Sumas WA. one. Stay to the left lines in the line-up otherwise you'll get tangled up with the people coming out of the duty free store (slows EVERYTHING down). TRY to plan the return trip as early as possible (Sumas IS open 24/7) and stay away from Friday to Sunday re-entrys ....too long a line up.

ALWAYS try to be polite and volunteer NOTHING (information wise). You MAY end up confusing the issue more. Answer only questions asked of you, and to the best of your knowledge. IT might help also IF you could pursuede the old owners to accompany you through customs, but this idea is NOT necessary and could further confuse the issue.
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