rtc- thanks for the response- don't mind it for being late. I have found some places- didn't have on of the ones you mentioned. I wonder why Apple doesn't allow US merchants to send stuff across the border?
" ...I think there are licensing issues in Canada. Canada does not operate in the same fashion as the US. A lot of manufacturers do not want their products to be available in Canada. As an example: Philips; does not distribute product hardly at all in Canada due to regulations and other laws. I would have to look up the exact reasons, anyone have any ideas as to why exactly? ..."
Phillips markets products under the Phillips, Magnavox, and Norelco brands. Phillips products are actually marketed depending on the end-use nation.
The US has felt the ramifications of some of the following issues with respect to some products, except you can substitiute the "Far East" for "US" and "US" for "Canada". To combat grey-market products, many US distributors have specific, US-only brand names and or model numbers. In general, Canada gets the International brand names and US models, although it varies somewhat. *
There are multiple reasons. Some companies don't care about them while others care a great deal. A starting list might include:
A Canadian distributor is appointed. He's supposed to have exclusive rights to the market.
Where actual sales support a second or third Canadian owned distributor, instead this market goes to US-owned retailers, costing Canadians jobs and investment.
Advertising spending and tracking is the responsibility of the national distributor; he spends on ads and you buy from a foreign distributor, raising the per-unit cost of advertising for authorised imports.
The national distributor pays for warranty service but gets no revenue for this outlay if you buy out-of-country, raising the per-unit cost of warranty support for authorised imports.
Export limitations make it illegal to export the hardware; the manufacturer controls his compliance with the regulations by only exporting to an authorised distributor. (This is the main issue for Apple and US resellers, who are supposed to verify all export end users or risk being charged by the US Department of Commerce).
The national distributor must support multiple languages and needs per-unit compensation for these costs.
The national distributor pays for regulatory compliance (eg CSA approval) and needs per-unit compensation for these costs.
Basically, the wholesale price of a given product in a given market is determined by these and other costs, over and above the actual cost of hardware and shipping.
If the manufacturer lets it get out of control, then the national distributor must raise his wholesale price to cover these costs.
If it gets really out of control, then the wholesale price rises further and futher. Eventually there is a wide gap between prices in both countries and "grey-market" products become widespread.
Then the national distributor gives up and end-user support and availablility vanishes.
Just because a dollar for a Mac eventually ends up in Cupertino's hands, don't think Apple Canada doesn't have to justifiy it's existence.
In Apple's case, extensive grey-market importing would mean shutting down Apple Canada and appointing 3rd party distribution. It would also mean no Canadian Apple Stores (don't think this isn't an important part of the decison as to when or if such a store may eventually open).
With Canadian dealers, in general the big beef they have with manufacturers is the treating of Advertising budgets as a North American expenditure (and Canadian Ad agencies and publications don't get any of this money). Manufacturers conclude that Canadians are exposed to US media, and products are imported with the US Ad per-unit cost applied. Properly, products should be imported ex-Ad and the Canadian distributor should support marketing with the room this gives in pricing. It appears Apple uses the North American model, which is unfortunate but also is consistent with Industry practise.
When this happens, Canadian wholesale prices are as competitive as US ones; when it doesn't, Canadian wholesale prices are higher.
* Some examples:
Nikon USA has specific US model numbers; a Nikon N5005 is a F401x in Canada and elsewhere. Similarly, a Norelco razor is a Phillips razor in Canada and elsewhere, while a Maganvox CD player in Canada or the US is the sold as a Phillips CD player elsewhere. Phillips NV has recently modified it's branding in the US market, introducing the Phillips brand to designate a "high end" line.
Where products are available to US consumers and not in Canada, it is usually related to the Canadian distributor choosing not to support that model (based on his market research) for warranty support or regulatory approval. Electrical safety must be established (CSA or Ontario Hydro approval) and that must be paid for; a low expected volume of sales won't support those costs. RFI must also be tested and paid for (Industry Canada approval). Bilingual material must be available or created. In every case these things must be provided in the box from the manufacturer's facility, usually in the Far East, or added at extra cost here in Canada.
In general, CSA approval is good enough to get UL approval in the US or simply is allowed under fire/insurance regulations (it is very strict testing) but UL approval alone is not good enough to sell in Canada. UL (Underwriter's Laboratory) is a private, Insurance Industry funded organisation, it does few tests of products; instead it relies on data provided by the manufacturer. Manufacturers can provide CSA data to support approval by UL, because CSA tests each product before it is approved. Ontario Hydro approval is sometimes used in Canada when the product isn't going to be sold anywhere else.
I can appreciate the reasons for Apple not allowing US dealers to ship to Canada, but why doesn't the Canadian Apple Store (or private resellers) offer refurbished machines? Apple USA, Smalldog etc. do have some nice deals that we cannot access.
Apple's refurbished machines are snapped up by US resellers; demand exceeds supply.
Refurbished products carry a different warranty and costs to warrant those products are borne by the refurbishing chain rather than the standard chain. So, there's no mechanism in place to warrant the refurbished computer in Canada. The warranty is tracked by serial number; refurbished machines are re-serailased.
Resellers won't sell to Canada because that means a whack of paperwork and potential legal liability related to the US Department of Commerce's export compliance.
Basically, they have to prove that the computer they sell you won't go to Cuba (or a few other countries, but it's illegal to sell to them from Canada, so they're not the problem). A US retailer has no means to ensure compliance when the computer leaves the US.
It seems silly, but in fact the reseller must, by law, be able to certify the Export Compliance is adhered to. This is a lot simpler when the non-compliant US customer is subject to US law. Violations almost certainly will result in jail time; so far every conviction has resulted in prison for the individual or the officers of the company involved.
Apple does not allow export to any nation without a national distributor, even if it were legal to export the product there, because they have no means to verify compliance if there is no distribution chain. The PowerPC chip is routinely given a higher export restriction than x86 chips; so Apple is stricter than many PC manufacturers.
Without that caveat, resellers would gladly sell you any Macintosh from the US.