Here is the legal way to avoid brokerage fee when importing goods from USA into Canada with courier companies like UPS, or FedEx, without driving hundreds of miles to the port of entry.
When you want to order some goods for personal use from the US into Canada, you want it to be delivered fast and cheap. It can be orders from eBay, and many other stores across US. Many eBay sellers do not deal with UPS anymore because of outrageous customs brokerage fees. Usually buyers face this fee only at the door, when the package is delivered.
It is called C.O.D. (collect on delivery) invoice which includes duties and taxes for imported goods, and UPS customs brokerage fees and other UPS fees like collect on delivery fee, bill integrity fee, taxes on the fees and so on. This C.O.D. bill is usually about 50% of the item’s price! Of course duties and taxes must be paid, but it is usually from 5% to 15% for casual goods (no alcohol, or tobacco, or other goods for which duties applied) depending on the province.
When importers see the invoice to pay an extra 50% of the item’s price they order, some of them just refuse to pay, and the item is shipped back to the seller. The sellers do not like this as well as importers, and ship items with more expensive and pretty slow USPS mail service. It goes through Canada Post to the addressee in Canada, and they charge $5 for customs clearance. But USPS delivery can take up to 6 weeks, and their delivery cost can be higher than for UPS Ground.
Depending on the order’s price, UPS Customs Brokerage Fee varies up to 50%. For example, for the order of $40.01 the brokerage fee is $19.45 + tax, according to the table on UPS website. If you still want to use the advantage of pretty fast, guaranteed, and trackable UPS ground service to ship your imported goods from US into Canada, You do NOT have to pay UPS brokerage fees!
You are allowed to self-clear your personal shipments and pay any duty/taxes owing at an office other than where the goods are being held. You do NOT have to be in the port of entry to clear your items!
There are local CBSA (Canada Borders Service Agency) in major cities where you can pay applicable duties and taxes for imported goods. There is absolutely no need to drive to Canadian border points like Windsor or Fort Erie to clear your items.
Here is the way how to avoid UPS brokerage fees according to CBSA:
If you are planning to have future shipments sent to you by courier from outside Canada, you do have the option of refusing the accounting services offered by the company, choosing instead to clear the goods yourself through your local CBSA office. If you choose to do this, you will not incur any brokerage fees. The two options available to you are the following:
1. Prior to receiving your shipment, you can contact the courier company and inform them of your wish to self-clear any shipments that are addressed to you and on which brokerage fees are applicable. The company will explain their procedures to you.
2. As an alternative, when a casual shipment is delivered to you, you can refuse delivery and advise the courier company of your intention to self-clear directly with the CBSA. In this case, please ensure that you take note of the unique shipment identifier number on the package, as the shipment will be returned to the courier’s warehouse.
With both options, you will need to visit your local CBSA office and provide them with specific details, including the courier’s name, the unique shipment identifier number, a description of the goods and their value so that the CBSA can correctly assess the goods. This information is usually indicated on the shipment’s invoice, which will be provided to you by the courier company. When you have paid the applicable duties and/or taxes to the CBSA, you will be given an official receipt indicating that the goods have been accounted for. You will need to present this receipt to the courier’s warehouse where your shipment is stored, in order for the courier to release your shipment to you.
In conclusion, in order to self-clear goods in local CBSA offices and avoid UPS, FedIX and other courier brokerage fees you will need the following:
– Courier’s name
– Unique shipment identifier number: Courier must provide
– Shipment’s invoice: Courier must provide
– Place where the package is being held
The exact procedure of self-clearing with scanned documents is given here:
Now you can avoid the outrageous UPS/FedEx behavior and force them to obey the law and let importers to self-clear without paying brokerage fees!