Sep 122007

I’ve written in this blog before about UPS and their brokerage fees. I just today had another example. I ordered something from the U.S. (knitting gadgets I haven’t found in stores in Canada) and the order was $US50. Works out to about $53 Canadian at current rates. The brokerage fee that UPS charged me to bring it into Canada was $29.55 plus GST. That plus the normal GST of $6.85 (to which I have no objection) brought the total charge to $38.18. On goods worth $52.73. When I called up UPS to ask what was going on, I was told that’s the fee. Nothing I can do about it. Except, of course, for making sure that I never ship via UPS. Oh yes, I did email the seller of the goods to warn her of the problem and ask her to not ship via UPS for her Canadian customers. And my local shipping store, which used to be an MBE and is now a “UPS Store”, will suffer as well, since they have to use UPS to ship anything outside of Canada (within Canada they still have some choice). Not that I ship a lot, but when I do, it won’t be UPS if I can possibly avoid it.

If you want the gory details, they’re here. $19.45 fee, plus $4.25 COD fee, plus a $5.85 bond fee because I didn’t prepay the brokerage fee. Adds up to $29.55.

  13 Responses to “UPS Rip-Offs”

  1. Shipping via UPS ground is a great deal within the U.S., so vendors seem confused or hurt when I beg them not to use UPS ground to ship to Canada (the brokerage fees don’t apply to UPS overnight or two-day, I think). USPS air mail (via DHL in Canada) is faster and cheaper than UPS, and the brokerage fee is $5.00 when they bother to collect it at all.

    Unfortunately, sometimes vendors still mess up and ship UPS ground after agreeing not to. I’ve seen fees very similar to yours. The only alternative to paying the brokerage fee is to refuse delivery.

  2. I never, ever use UPS when receiving stuff from the US. I won’t even buy from people no matter what the product is. I’ve miised out on some nice auctions on Ebay because of that but the deal would have disappeared once UPS got their hands on the package.

    As mentioned the way to go is USPS (ground or air). You can refuse the shipment from UPS it’ll go back. Also note that MANY UPS shipping centers/services in the US don’t know that the Canadian receiver of the goods will get ripped off in fees. My sister in law sent something from the US and the customer service person told them no additional fees would apply (besides duty).

  3. Canadian customers should request USPS for order from the US. No such brokerage fees surprised from them.

  4. I’ve been looking for an article that was published in TIME quite sometime ago about the rip offs that UPS does to Canadian customers- Fedex has gotten on the bandwagon as well- the only safe method is USPS, or arranging your own shipping if it’s large- I import a lot from all over the world, & will not buy from any merchants who insist on UPS- period. Even if they have a clue-on the whole they don’t care & don’t listen. If I manage to track down the article I will sned a link-


  5. My story is similar to many. I shipped a medium sized birthday gift package to Canada from California. It got to the address very quickly but the driver asked for $118.00 in total fees! The recipient refused since the package was worth $60.00. I called to ask why and the mess has unfolded to 3.5 weeks of confusion.

    Now they claim they have lost the package and are performing some kind of “search” for 7 days. If not found I will be reimbursed for the cost of the purchase and shipping. They have ruined their business with me and I suggest using alternative for shipping to Canada from the US since there will be no surprise fees and errors like this. “What can brown do for you?”. “Screw you” is what my answer is. Be warned!

  6. Hi There, My name is Wanda and I too have had problems with UPS. Right now I am waiting for an envelope that cost over $33.00 US to send to Canada. It was guarenteed to be here by noon yesterday. Now they tell me that they will do what they can to see if it can get here by noon today but no guaretees!!!!!!!! I am actually wanting anyone that has had problems with UPS to send me an email, please put ups in the heading. I am going to send a bunch by a Canadian Courier to UPS…I want to make sure they get there!!!!!

  7. I had the same unbelievable experience. Shipped parts worth 50 dollars from US-was quoted 22 from UPS store. Two weeks later received a call from store that buyer had refused shipment and oh by the way there is a 25 dollar “duty” required. After a half hour on the phone found out that there is a 31 dollar brokerage fee due! UPS says that the UPS store should have told me. UPS store said they have no control over fees. WHAT A RIP! Total cost to ship 55 dollars of product 54 dollars and nobody thinks anything is wrong with this picture.

  8. I’m another one who detests dealing w/UPS, especially for cross border shipping. As previously suggested USPS is the way to go. Problem is some US shippers refuse to ship by USPS because it’s not convenient.
    There is another way using UPS. In case you’re not aware of it, UPS has a service called “Mail Innovations”, where they ship small parcels (which are suitable for mailing) to a depot and from there it is sent by mail. They have several of these depots in the US.
    Check out:
    I have had shippers in the US use this method and it works.
    HTH, Ken

  9. The only sensible way to ship UPS to Canada is to give it to a UPS store. I have been able to avoid the brokerage and other fees that way. I have asked UPS why this is and they don’t seem to know.

  10. I just received a Christmas gift from a friend in the US. The value was USD $17.50 (a photo album).
    UPS charged me $2.84 GST + $17.10 brokerage fee + $0.85 on the brokerage fees + $1.53 QST on the brokerage fee
    For a total of $22.32 !!!
    I know that my friend did not intend to have me pay $22.32 for his gift.
    On top of that, I had to pay on the spot when delivered at my door, and they won’t take cash, so I had to use my credit card!!!

    Guess who I will NOT use the next time I need something sent to me to that I have to send anywhere. And they say that Wall Street are criminals (who never go to jail). Wish 60 Minutes would do a feature on this rip-off.

  11. I don’t think that it’s so much that US companies don’t know about us Canadians taking it in the butt from UPS. I just don’t think they actually care. After all, it doesn’t effect them. And Canadians are after all, a puny little market that has very little effect on the bottom line of any US company. I’ve tried several times to convince different US companies to ship by USPS and they just ignore it. The most practical solution is to have items sent to a US package forwarding service and have THEM forward it to you by USPS. Even with what they charge for this service, you will still pay substantially less than what UPS charges.

  12. 9 days to ship a small package from Minnesota to Sumas, Washington is absolutely ridiculous. that is what happened to my parcel and because of that, I could not pick it up after a short holiday in the US which would have allowed me to bring it across the border duty and tax free! now I have to waste time in the border line-up, cross to pick up my parcel and pay all the fees involved to bring it home. talk about LOUSY SERVICE, this is another example. I’ve learned the brokerage fees issue long ago and will not use their sevices into Canada, and now I’m taking it up the chute within the US!!

  13. UPS returned a package to the sender without even leaving their truck to check at our front desk. Now I have to pay TWICE to receive a parcel from two hundred miles away, taking over a month to arrive. Sure, a senior citizen’s home dweller is, perhaps, easy to bully and too old and stupid to complain! I’m perhaps the exception. What arrogance by this company! My advice: use an alternative.

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