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I bought some audio cables from a US company (items totaling about $75) and also paid for shipping. Two weeks later, the package arrives and I'm hit with a $40 "brokerage C.O.D. fee". Ugh!

Called UPS, the lady on the phone told me there's the standard $8 customs duty fee, plus $20 UPS handling fee, $5 bond fee, and another fee I forget. I simply can't believe this! To top it off, I have to drive 20 mins to Richmond to pick the package up because UPS delivery guys sometimes don't carry a phone in case of non-delivery even though you ask them to call you.

Anyone else have experience with UPS or these ridiculous fees?
 

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Bald by choice
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Yup; if the vendor won't ship USPS (US postal service) I won't order cross-border
Regards
from Ottawa
Harvey
My feelings exactly.
I too went through the UPS handling fee shock, when I first started dealing with Ebay purchases.
Now I email the seller, and if they won't consider USPS mail, then I don't bid.

jb.
 

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Mac Guru
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FedEx hasn't yet raped me quite as badly as UPS always does, but both shipping companies still charge unreasonably high over-the-border fees in any case.
 

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Yep, I've been to UPS-Rip-Offville once, and I'll never go back.
I've seen several USA-based website vendors stating on their websites that they will not ship to foreign addresses via UPS. Too many customer complaints I guess.
What has brown done for you lately?
 

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I got dinged $90 for two boxes of cereal my former boss shipped to me from the US. That has got to set a world record for cost of two boxes of Cookie Crisp.

She shipped it to the company I was working for at the time (one of the big accounting firms) and I slowly wore down the Director of Finance over 9 months to write it off. :)
 

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I shipped a B & W G3 from Michigan to Red Deer 3 or 4 years ago and I got hit with a 130 UPS charge on top of the price I already paid for the machine. I will Never use them LOSERS again....they are crooks...
 

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I got dinged $90 for two boxes of cereal my former boss shipped to me from the US. That has got to set a world record for cost of two boxes of Cookie Crisp.

She shipped it to the company I was working for at the time (one of the big accounting firms) and I slowly wore down the Director of Finance over 9 months to write it off. :)
If the package had been marked with the correct value - UPS couldn't charge a brokerage fee. Items that are imported with a value of less than $20 CAD don't have duty or tax assessed - so there can be no brokerage fee either.

If a fee is incorrectly charged - you can fill out a form and have the fees refunded. I've done it successfully many times.
 

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I don't purchase form anybody that ships UPS on eBay or otherwise.
 

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If the package had been marked with the correct value - UPS couldn't charge a brokerage fee. Items that are imported with a value of less than $20 CAD don't have duty or tax assessed - so there can be no brokerage fee either.

If a fee is incorrectly charged - you can fill out a form and have the fees refunded. I've done it successfully many times.
I can't remember who shipped it. I got a call from customs saying they had a package for me labelled "cereal" and they asked me what was in the box...I told them cereal.

The customs officer then asked if he could open it, I said sure, he opened it and declared "It is cereal". Then he told me it would have to go to Agriculture Canada.

By the time it got to me they had tagged on $90 worth of fees.
 

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I can't remember who shipped it. I got a call from customs saying they had a package for me labelled "cereal" and they asked me what was in the box...I told them cereal.

The customs officer then asked if he could open it, I said sure, he opened it and declared "It is cereal". Then he told me it would have to go to Agriculture Canada.

By the time it got to me they had tagged on $90 worth of fees.
Haha - nice.
 

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There is a way to avoid the brokerage charges -- clear the package through Canada customs yourself.

First things first - do not accept the package when the delivery person arrives (if it has brokerage fees asessed). Tell them you'll call to have the package cleared through customs yourself.

I found this out after the friendly clerk at UPS informed me after I baulked at a $150 charge. He told me, albeit quietly, that if I call into the 1-800 number and talk to a person, tell them that you will be clearing the package through customs yourself; I'm never home to pick up the packages (day job) so I'm always travelling to the depot with my slip.

After calling the 1-800 number and receiving a phone call reply that your forms are ready, you then have to go to the customs broker at UPS and sign a few forms. The next point is very important: Make sure you have an official invoice from the seller/company you bought your stuff from! You then go to Canada Customs, which in Winnipeg is not too far from the UPS depot (both are near the airport, which most of the depots usually are). You wait in line, the agent looks at your invoice, and you pay the GST & PST on the item.

Voila! You pay the taxes without the brokerage charges!

Unfortunately, this can only be done during normal business hours. In fact, the UPS broker in Winnipeg is only open until 3pm (last time I checked) ... so this can be annoying to do if you work during the day.

Hope this helps - most of my electronics suppliers use UPS exclusively, so I don't have a choice in shipping. :(

-- Kristine
 

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Tritium Glow
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Ahh, how are you going to clear a package that's already cleared. If it's on the truck for delivery...then it has cleared and been released by customs. You can't call UPS after the fact and say...oh, oh, I want to clear the package myself.

You would need to inform UPS or any carrier for that matter, that you'll be clearing the shipment yourself prior to the shipment arriving at the border. Your package will then be placed in Canada customs bond...for which charges may apply, since you're using UPS's customs bond. Bonding allows your package to enter Canada without clearing at the point of entry, but remains in customs custody untill cleared at an inland bonded warehouse.

You then take the time to obtain the necessary documents from the shipper, drive to a customs facility, wait in line, file your entry, wait hours to clear your package, pay duties and taxes, drive to UPS, wait in line, pay bond fees, wait for them to find it, drive home.

If your time and effort is worth $0.00, by all means, clear shipments yourself.
 

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The brokerage fees are assessed in lieu of the customer clearing it themselves. If you want to put in the extra effort to clear the package yourself, UPS must then oblige by your decision ... even if the package has been sent out for delivery. Just because the boy/girl in brown shows up at your door demanding payment doesn't mean that you can't refuse it. In fact, if you have a tracking number, call UPS before they deliver and ask to clear the package through yourself.

As for my effort being worth $0.00 ... hardly! I think the <$2.00 in gas that I spent, plus a lunch hour (that I was being paid for - how I spend my time is my business), is certainly worth the savings of $150 in brokerage fees. Yes, it's a pain. Yes, I shouldn't have to go through it. And yes, UPS shouldn't be charging it. However, until the system changes, this is what you have to do.

By the way ... all you need for "documents" is the receipt issued by the seller that says what the item is (clothing, electronics, etc.). I've never waited more than 20 minutes at Canada Customs for an agent, and Winnipeg has a small office. I can then pay my taxes however I like, VISA/MC/Interac. I've never heard of anyone taking hours to clear a package through. Even during a lunch hour is hasn't taken me more than 40 minutes.

-- Kristine
 

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Tritium Glow
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The brokerage fees are assessed in lieu of the customer clearing it themselves. If you want to put in the extra effort to clear the package yourself, UPS must then oblige by your decision ... even if the package has been sent out for delivery.
As I said in my first post, the package is cleared at that point. UPS can't be delivering packages not released by customs. What you're doing is disputing the charges and UPS can refuse your request as they already acted as your agent and cleared your package through customs. They are not obliged to do anything at that point, if the customer service rep reverses the charge fine, but they don't have to.

My solution is to avoid UPS Standard shipping if at all possible. If that is unavoidable, perhaps you could pre-release your shipment by asking the shipper to fax you a commercial invoice and clear it at Canada customs before the shipment even arrives at the border. Then fax the release clearly showing the tracking number to UPS. Theoretically, this should be possible, however, I don't know if there are any issues stemming from the systemic side.
As for my effort being worth $0.00 ... hardly! I think the <$2.00 in gas that I spent, plus a lunch hour (that I was being paid for - how I spend my time is my business), is certainly worth the savings of $150 in brokerage fees. Yes, it's a pain. Yes, I shouldn't have to go through it. And yes, UPS shouldn't be charging it. However, until the system changes, this is what you have to do.

By the way ... all you need for "documents" is the receipt issued by the seller that says what the item is (clothing, electronics, etc.). I've never waited more than 20 minutes at Canada Customs for an agent, and Winnipeg has a small office. I can then pay my taxes however I like, VISA/MC/Interac. I've never heard of anyone taking hours to clear a package through. Even during a lunch hour is hasn't taken me more than 40 minutes.
Not everyone lives in Winnipeg...or has access to such efficient customs personnel. ;)
 
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