Pop Goes The News — A commercial currently airing on Canadian television stations is raising eyebrows for selling in U.S. dollars but shipping from within Canada.
The ad for the Gotham Steel frying pan, which features Food Network chef Daniel Green, show a red maple leaf, a Canadian web domain, and a line that informs consumers that “Canadian sales taxes” will be charged.
The commercial also boldly displays a price of $29.95 with “USD” in smaller type, plus shipping and handling. On the website, it is explained that the $6.95 shipping and handling fee is also payable in U.S. funds.
The cost of the Gotham Steel frying pan to Canadian consumers is, therefore, actually $36.90 USD, or $51.21 CAD (based on today’s exchange rate) plus taxes.
According to Canada’s Currency Act, it is perfectly legal to charge Canadians in U.S. dollars, even if the item is shipped from within Canada.
Despite the maple leaf and the .ca website in the commercial — and the fact that Canadian orders are shipped from Northland Fulfilment in Toronto — people buying a Gotham Steel pan are dealing exclusively with an American company.
Made in China, the frying pans are sold by EMSON Inc., a New York company that describes itself as “an investor, importer and distributor of ‘As Seen On TV’ products since the early 1980s.”
The Gotham Steel name and the trademark for the “Ticerama” non-stick coating is owned by Stay Focused Marketing in Northvale, New Jersey. (Neither appears to be trademarked in Canada.)
Customers in both the U.S. and Canada are ordering the pans via a website run by Digital Target Marketing, which has offices in Indiana and Florida.
The U.S. website for Gotham Steel was registered in August 2014 and renewed in September 2015 — the same month that the Canadian website was registered.
Are Canadians who purchase the Gotham Steel frying pan after seeing the TV commercial getting ripped off?
For one, Canadians are being charged $14 more than Americans.
Consumers going to GothamSteel.ca see a sale price of $29.99 USD plus $6.95 USD (or about $51 CAD) but those going to GothamSteel.com see a sale price of $19.99 USD plus $6.95 USD (or about $37 CAD).
What’s more, Canadians buying direct from the Gotham Steel website mentioned in the TV commercial are forking out about $51 CAD even though the frying pan is available for $30 CAD from Amazon or $40 from Showcase Canada — with free shipping from both.