Yes, it is possible that the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) or the United States Customs and Border Protection (“USCBP”) will cancel your NEXUS membership for up to 6 years if you are the importer of counterfeit goods. As a result, you should be careful when ordering goods online.
We are raising this issue now because many people have started their holiday shopping and buy goods online. You must be careful and if a deal is too good to be true, it may be counterfeit. Look to see if the goods are being sold from a foreign vendor and will be imported into Canada under your name. Be careful that you buy from reputable sources – but even, then there is no guarantee.
Ask yourself before confirming any online order – Are you willing to lose your NEXUS membership (and ability to get into shorter airport security line ups) to save a few dollars on a gift for yourself or someone else? If not, buy from an authorized dealer.
This is a growing issue. Recently, we were contacted by a client who purchased goods on Amazon and the goods were shipped to him at a Canadian address. The package was opened by the CBSA and they seized he goods as counterfeit. He did not know that the goods were counterfeit when he ordered the goods (but should have asked a few questions given the price of the goods). He became aware that his NEXUS membership was cancelled due to the seizure of the shipment when the CBSA posted a letter on his Trusted Traveler Program account and sent him a letter. We successfully appealed the NEXUS cancellation.
In another recent case, a client returning from China was sent to the secondary inspection area because the CBSA saw that she had an expensive handbag. The CBSA wanted to ensure that the traveler declared the handbag. The CBSA believed the handbag to be genuine until the traveler produced a receipt (she had the receipt with her). Given the price of the handbag, the CBSA determined that the handbag was counterfeit and seized the handbag. The CBSA also seized her NEXUS membership card even though it is common for travelers to purchase goods at the Pearl Market in Beijing. This appeal is underway.
In another recent case. a client returned from Asia with gifts from business colleagues. The gifts were Burberry scarves. The traveler declared the scarves based upon what she believed the gift to be worth. The CBSA assumed the scarves were counterfeit based on the values provided. The CBSA went online and found the retail selling price for the scarves. While the goods were not seized as counterfeit, they were seized because the CBSA valued the goods at full price and took the position that the goods were undervalued. The traveler successfully appealed. The traveler contacted her work colleagues to obtain a copy of the receipt. The scarves had been purchased at a warehouse sale for 25% of the suggested retail selling price. The goods had not been undervalued.
If you have imported goods and they have been seized as counterfeit or if your NEXUS membership has been revoked, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have posted many articles about NEXUS issues on the LexSage website. Some helpful articles include: