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Beware

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I just received my new skis I ordered online from a shop in Canada. The UPS guy demanded a check for ~ $50, calling it a "Brokerage" fee.

Apparently the US govt. has their hand in and demands collection of the fee.

What seemed like a really great deal on a piar of skis became a mediocre one at best.

Beware!
post #2 of 10
uuum what?


You sure the UPS guys wasn't just looking for a little X-mass money?
post #3 of 10
I would call and check that out before handing over anything at all.
post #4 of 10
Customs Brokerage houses at the boarder have been around a long time.  Had no idea that UPS was going there, but not too surprised. 
They are all about handling the legal hassles for shipping stuff over the line.  Don't know if you would really need them for a pair of skis, but recommended them for vehicles coming over the line for sale or trade.

There were Customs Brokerage houses around in pre-revolutionary days.  They are kind of a legal form of greasing the wheels of government.
post #5 of 10
UPS often dings Canadians with that charge when we look for deals down South. I have had better luck with Fed-Ex.
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by C.B. View Post

Apparently the US govt. has their hand in and demands collection of the fee.

The US govt gets no money, unless you were charged a tariff or duty.  

UPS charges to prepare forms for the US govt whether or not a tariff or duty is actually paid.

http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/select/receiving/customs/fees.html

Sounds like you got stabbed with the
UPS Broker of ChoiceSM OnSite
$50.00
post #7 of 10
Welcome to the wonderful "rip-off" world of UPS.  They've been gouging Canadians for cross border shipments for eons, but the only time the issue comes to light in the U.S. is when the dollars are close in value and Americans start shipping things from Canada.

Here's what happens.  First, the brokerage fee has nothing to do with the feds.  UPS will collect appropriate duties and sales taxes on the shipment for the feds (this is different from the brokerage fee), but this isn't an extra fee because you need to pay sales tax on a retail purchase in the U.S. regardless and can't dodge it by ordering from Canada.  Duty is variable, and is zero on anything manufactured in Canada due to NAFTA (but with the exception of Line and some boutique ski brands, most skis are manufactured in countries that will require you to pay duty).  Basically, the government portion of the charge (duty and tax) should be minimal.

Where you get raped is with UPS's brokerage fee.  They don't allow you to do any customs importation paperwork yourself, so they do it and charge whatever they feel like.  If you don't pay, you don't get the goods.  It's complete robbery and they make more profit from it than they make from the shipping.  In the case of shipments through the postal system, there are often no fees applied because it isn't worth the administration cost unless it's a large ticket item (might be the same on both sides of the border, but I'm speaking from a Canadian perspective).  In Canada, if your mail shipment ends up being processed for duty and tax, then a flat $5 administration/brokerage fee is applied.  One time I had some re-fills shipped up from the U.S. for my Daytimer (Staples had stopped carrying what I needed).  The purchase price was $19 and it should have been delivered to my door with no extra costs by the post office, but the supplier used UPS (they claimed USPS on their website).  When it arrived, UPS wanted to collect not only duty and tax (which the post office would have waived due to it being below a value threshold) but they also wanted $25 for brokerage fees... on a $19 item for chrissake!  I refused the shipment and told them to send it back.

The lesson is to avoid UPS like the plague, if possible, and try to get all cross border shipments sent through the mail.  In most cases it is far less expensive than UPS for shipping, plus you avoid their rip-off brokerage fee.  Depending on the service offered, you can even get a tracking number.

Something I've noticed is that when I pay for premium mail service, it often ends up being delivered at my door (in Canada) by Purolator rather than Canada Post.... but without extra charges.  The post office still does the importation processing and may, or may not, charge duty and tax, then they pass it off to Purolator as their contracted courier for domestic courier deliveries.  It may be a similar scenario going in the opposite direction.

By the way, modern skis can be boxed small enough that they can be shipped by mail, as long as the shipper doesn't use an oversized box.  If they have bindings, the only way they can be packaged small enough to ship by mail is to remove the bindings (or leave them in the original box if possible) then nest the skis together (base to top skin) and position the bindings on top of the upper ski.  If you try to ship skis with bindings on them, base to base, the package will be too large for postal shipment (they measure the total length, height and width of the box) and they will need to go by UPS, FedEx, etc.
Edited by exracer - 12/5/09 at 11:50am
post #8 of 10
Ever since the snotty delivery guy some years ago, I've directed that all shipments must be made by a carrier other than UPS. Sometimes you have the choice on the SAC / Tramdock, Sierra sites, and I'll take ANYTHING other than UPS.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofun3 View Post

"I'm quite certain that I don't need some pre madonna telling me how everyone's foot is different." Greggor.

That's funny.  Is that a 'Madonna' in training... a mini Material Girl?    Greggor needs a language lesson. 
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post

By the way, modern skis can be boxed small enough that they can be shipped by mail, as long as the shipper doesn't use an oversized box.  If they have bindings, the only way they can be packaged small enough to ship by mail is to remove the bindings (or leave them in the original box if possible) then nest the skis together (base to top skin) and position the bindings on top of the upper ski.  If you try to ship skis with bindings on them, base to base, the package will be too large for postal shipment (they measure the total length, height and width of the box) and they will need to go by UPS, FedEx, etc.

 

Just a note from the other way round, I shipped two pair in the same box FROM Mass TO Ontario by US Postal service. Thye were packaged biding to binding---bases out.   It weighed about 32 pounds and was certainly oversize.  Cost 70 something dollars but worked out just fine for my Ontario buyer.  That was just a month or so ago.  He asked me NOT to use UPS for all the reasons you stated. 
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