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Re: ADA Products

Charles Kuehnl seems to have some experience with the ADA product source I
mentioned last night. His caution is well founded - you should never order
from a totally unknown outfit unless/until you feel certain that they are
capable of following through with delivery. Hopefully, any initial problems
they might have had when he tried to order might have been ironed out by
now. I have e-mailed them regarding a few pieces of CO2 equipement I would
like to obtain, and will let the list know what I find out when (and if)
they get back to me.

One thing I do note is that they accept the 3 major credit cards (Visa, MC
and AmExp) and if they failed to deliver most credit card companies would
reverse any charges.

Charles also asked about my experience with import duties. A few years ago,
when Dupla was still without an authorized importer in North America, I
contacted Dupla in Germany and asked if I could obtain product directly from
them. They referred me to the Dupla importer in Great Britain and for a few
years I regularly brought Dupla merchandise into Canada for my own use
(well, ok, I ordered some stuff for some friends too). Apparently, at the
time, they were willing to sell directly to Canadians but would not sell to

The first thing I learned was that unless a company accepts payment by
credit card, it can be expensive to have to get the money wired directly to
their bank - it took several tries before my local bank was able to do it
right. This was early in the UK's company's growth phase, eventually they
were able to accept credit cards and that made things easier. One thing that
WAS very nice was that the UK company gave me "trade pricing" rather than
"retail pricing" and I was exempted from VAT charges (17%). We all pay
enough taxes.....(more on that later...)

Shipping, even via surface mail was a major expense as well - air mail was
way beyond reasonable, so I settled for the "slow boat from England" route
and had to wait about 3 weeks each time to get my merchandise. The shipping
charges on a dozen large boxes of Duplarit G totalled more than the cost of
the product.

I wouldn't even consider trying to order ADA substrates from Europe - it
just wouldn't make sense from an economic point of view. A look at the
offerings from ADA for substrates leads me to believe that some of their
newer products are very similar to Seachem's Flourite, and I'm quite happy
with Flourite. There are also posts archived in the APD archives regarding
making functional alternatives to AquaSoil and PowerSand which would be far
cheaper than the real thing.

The "duty" surprise came later......via a bill from Revenue Canada for the
Import Duties owing on my orders. Living under NAFTA, many people in North
America seem to forget that manufactured goods from other parts of the world
are usually still subject to varying rates of duty, and the percentage can
vary quite a bit depending upon what is declared on the package by the
shipper. I discovered that the aquarium equipment I bought from Dupla
(mainly CO2 equipment) attracted a 20% duty but things like Duplarit G and
Duplaplant and Duplaplant 24 were allowed through with no duty. My contacts
in Ottawa (I was employed with Revenue Canada at the time) advised me that
some fertilizers were duty free. This was fine if the shipments were all one
or the other (i.e. all equipement or all fertilizers) but mixed shipments
invariably were hit with a 20% duty on the whole lot. Since I was a Revenue
Canada employee, there was no way that I could have ignored the bill - I
know what a tax collector can do when he's chasing down an overdue account.

All in all, it was an interesting experience and even with the added charges
the Dupla products I bought during that period were cheaper than I had been
paying several years earlier from John Burleson. But I'm glad that there is
now a regular North American source for the products.

ADA doesn't have anything that is so "special" that you can't get a
functional equivalent from another source, usually at a much lower cost, but
some of their CO2 delivery equipment is both very beautiful and functional
and it would be nice to know that if someone wants it, they can get it
without having to fly to Japan for it.

James Purchase