Canada Customs may not be the Grinch that stole Christmas, but it seems to be trying for the Meanie of the Year Award.
Five days ago, Brenda Givens of Toronto was married in New York. On her return to Toronto, where she is awaiting a U.S. visa, a Canada Customs official asked her if she had anything to declare. She declared a radio received as a Christmas present.
Then the Customs official checked her purse where he found her marriage certificate dated Dec. 27. He looked at her gold wedding band and said it should have been declared, along with her engagement ring. The Customs official then seized the rings and gave her a seizure receipt which said the rings were "smuggled or clandestinely introduced to Canada." The young woman protested, but today, instead of showing her rings as most happy brides do, she showed coworkers at Toronto's Wellesley Hospital the customs receipt.
The wedding band cost $53.55 and the engagement ring $477.90, for a total of $531.45. But the Customs man wanted her to pay $781.04 to recover the rings. The difference represents the penalty for contraband, sales tax and the duty. Givens doesn't have the money, she says, and "I really don't understand it.
"I wasn't trying to sneak them in. I just didn't know you had to declare them," she says.
She can recover the rings by paying more than their cost to Canada Customs or she can appeal the seizure.
Givens says her husband is upset, and she plans to appeal.