Apple’s HomePod speaker officially launched last week in the US, UK and Australia. Canada missed out on the launch, which is most likely related to Siri’s English-only capabilities at launch.
I must confess—Apple’s HomePod arrived at my door yesterday (it would have come earlier if DHL didn’t miss its delivery window and Monday wasn’t a holiday). How? I purchased it from Apple.com and used a U.S. mail forwarding service Planet Express to make it happen.
Update March 4: Some users are reporting Apple HomePod orders are not going through, so this method may not work anymore:
Thank you for your recent order with the Apple Online Store. We appreciate your business.
We are unable to complete your order. We do not ship to freight forwarder addresses. Therefore your order has been cancelled. While you may see a pending authorization on your account, you will not be charged and that pending authorization will drop off in accordance with your banks policies. Please contact your bank for an exact timeframe.
If you don’t want to wait for HomePod to land in Canada (there’s no ETA, but many suspect sometime in 2018), here’s how to buy it from the USA online and have it shipped to your doorstep, with just a few mouse clicks. If you’re an early adopter and don’t care about money, then this tutorial is for you.
Finding a U.S. Mail Forwarding Service
There are a variety of U.S. mail forwarding services out there. How they work is you order a product online from an American retailer, but you put down their depot as the mailing address. Once they receive your package, they will then forward it to you in Canada, via a shipping method of your choice.
After doing some online research, I settled on California-based Planet Express, which offered the lowest DHL shipping options to Canada for HomePod, based on my estimates of the speaker’s box and weight. If you want to save more money, you could hunt for a mail forwarding service located in a state with no U.S. sales tax, which means paying no US tax on your HomePod via Apple.com.
How to Order HomePod from the USA and Have It Shipped to Canada
2. Deposit a balance, which Planet Express will use to ship HomePod to Canada. We added $40 USD (this was based on our guess of what HomePod’s dimensions and weight were + any surprise fees, etc), which you can do so via credit card or PayPal.
3. Once you’ve deposited funds, you’ll gain access to your U.S. address to use for shopping. Call your Canadian credit card company you’ll be using to order HomePod, and tell them you want to add a secondary address for online shopping. Give them the address Planet address provides to you. This will ensure your transaction on Apple.com will not get declined for having a different mailing address with your Canadian credit card.
4. Go to Apple.com and purchase your HomePod. Use the U.S. mailing address from Planet Express as your shipping address. Your billing address can remain as the one in Canada.
5. When Apple ships your package and lands at Planet Express, you’ll be notified by email. The company will take two pictures of the box (a great feature!), which you’ll be able to see online. Click on Actions then go to Mailout and select your Canadian home address to start the mail forwarding process:
…our home shipping address:
6. Next, you need to pick a shipping option to Canada. We went with DHL as the cost was $32.68 USD, which came with full tracking, insurance and a 2-4 business day shipping window. DHL brokerage fees are lower than UPS and FedEx, plus shipping speeds are faster than USPS (and cheaper too!).
7. You’ll have options for extra services like bubble wrap, etc, but we did not choose any. Planet Express only charges a $2 USD fee to mail your package, which is more than fair. They will receive your package for free. So our cost in the end to forward this package to Canada was the $2 fee and $32.68 via DHL, for a final cost of $34.68 USD.
8. Planet Express will also create a commercial invoice to attach to your package. For the customs form, we declared its full USD value, description as ‘speaker’ and origin country as USA.
The final dimensions for Apple’s HomePod shipping box and weight are as follows:
- Length: 9 inches / 23 cm
- Width: 9 inches / 23 cm
- Height: 11 inches / 28 cm
- Weight: 8.7 lbs / 3.94 kg
9. When your DHL package reaches Canada, you will need to pay customs fees, and in our case that worked out to $22 CAD in GST/PST (looks like I was only charged 5% based on the unit’s $440.05 CAD value), a $10.50 CAD processing fee to DHL and a $4.75 CAD transaction fee, for a total of $38.02 CAD.
DHL contacts you by phone and text message about this final paperwork and funds owing. You can pay them online ahead of time so you don’t need to waste time when the driver shows up.
At the end of the day, we highly recommend Planet Express (no, they are not paying me to say this, but we are using their affiliate link). They created a DHL shipping label for our HomePod within an hour of us processing the request online on February 9th, and it was picked up the same day. That’s fast.
This past Monday was the Family Day holiday in BC, but by that time our HomePod had already made its way to Canada. Customs clearance was processed the next day, and our package was slated for Wednesday delivery. But DHL didn’t show up that evening due to an “overloaded truck” (aka ‘fake news’), and the package arrived on late Thursday afternoon.
So what was the final cost for buying a HomePod from Apple.com and having it shipped to Canada?
- Apple HomePod: $349 USD + $33.16 California sales tax = $382.16 USD
- Planet Express: $2 USD mail out fee
- DHL shipping: $32.68 USD
- DHL customs clearance fees: $15.25 CAD
- GST/PST: $22 CAD
The HomePod cost plus mail forwarding worked out to $416.84 USD, or $523 CAD based on currency conversion. Add in the $37.25 CAD in clearance fees and tax, we’re looking at $560.25 CAD, all-in to buy a HomePod from the USA and have it shipped to your door in Canada. That is the price of two Sonos One speakers.
Apple Australia’s prices are about the same as Apple Canada given our currencies are nearly at par, and right now HomePod retails for $499 AUD down under, suggesting it may debut around the same price here. Throw in 12% taxes (BC), and we’d assume HomePod would cost $558.88 CAD, which is not far off from our experience using Planet Express.
Again, using Planet Express to buy a HomePod from the US and have it forwarded to Canada was very painless. The most time consuming part was calling our credit card issuer to add our ’new’ USA shipping address. Even if you live near the U.S. border and an Apple Store, this method will save you time, gas money and food required for a road trip, unless you were heading south anyways.
Let us know if you’re going to try this out, Canada. In the meantime, stay tuned for our full HomePod review, as we test out this sucker on the weekend.