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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I've been seriously shopping for a particular set of wheels from the US, and wanted to know ahead of time what my import costs would be. I know this topic has been covered a million times, but I thought I'd add some detail.
Total costs = item cost + shipping cost + brokerage fees + insurance + taxes (item value*(GST+PST)) + duty (if applicable) + adjustment for currency difference
As you all know, the big shippers (UPS, FedEx, DHL) charge a "brokerage fee" for clearing your item through customs. This fee covers the paperwork cost of presenting your items and their $ value to US and Canadian customs (the gov't). 100% of those costs are passed on to you, the consumer, in the form of brokerage fees.
Here's the UPS brokerage fee table. Pretty simple, based on value.
FedEx is a little different. For FedEx Express service, the brokerage fees are built into the shipping cost. For FedEx Ground service, the brokerage fees are as follows (this table is NOT on their website, I called them):
Item Value (USD) / Fee (USD)
$40-75 / $15
$75-100 / $18.25
$100-200 / $27
$200-350 / $35
$350-500 / $38.50
$500-750 / $44
$750-1000 / $49
$1000-1250 / $55.50
$1250-1600 / $58.25
$1600+ / $62.75
DHL charges a 2.5% "disbursement fee" to cover brokerage costs. This seems a bit murky to me, but here's the link to the relevant page on their website.
USPS / CanadaPost (the postal services) *also* charge a brokerage fee, but it tends to be much lower: Canada Post automatically applies a $5.00 processing fee ($8.00 for Priority Post) for each package to clear Canada Customs. Why is it so much cheaper? I have no idea. I DO know that it takes MUCH longer (as much as a few weeks longer) for an item to clear customs when shipping USPS / CanadaPost. You can guarantee yourself a delay if you're trying to avoid duties / taxes by labeling the item as a "gift", by marking it with an unrealistically low value, etc. I know this from experience.
Note, you *can* try to avoid the brokerage fees altogether by doing the customs legwork yourself. It's a huge PITA, but here's how it works:
- refuse the package when it is delivered to your door
- alternatively, tell the company you're buying from to *clearly* mark on the package that you will take care of clearing customs ... tell the company to mark this information clearly on the shipping waybill as well
- once the package arrives, refuse it, but do get the waybill from the courier company
- once you get the waybill, head to Canada customs to pay any duty or taxes that are owing
- make sure you also have an invoice or something to prove the value of your delivery
- after that, it's back to the courier company to pick up your package
The upshot on brokerage fees: if you can't wait, pay the extra fees and use UPS / FedEx / DHL. If you can wait, use USPS. If you're feeling enthusiastic, use a big shipper, but go through the hassle of heading down to customs yourself.
A word on Duty / Taxes: Canadian Customs only charges duty and taxes on items with a declared value of CAD $20 or more. However, *don't* try to sneak a high-value package in with a low marked value -- they're very good at stopping such packages indefinitely.
That's it. Feel free to add stuff I've missed.
Good night, and good luck.
Adam
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (alte schule)

added to faq.
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (spoonie)

My local UPS carrier told me that their selection process for what goes into brokerage and what doesn't is completely random. And they like to process easier items which are very quick to write-up, but can yield them a profit for their services.
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (ZoomBoy)

thanks for the good write up
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (ZoomBoy)

Quote, originally posted by ZoomBoy »
My local UPS carrier told me that their selection process for what goes into brokerage and what doesn't is completely random. And they like to process easier items which are very quick to write-up, but can yield them a profit for their services.

The profit-motive makes sense, but in my discussions with a UPS agent this morning, I was told that 100% of packages going US > Canada with a value of $20 or more go through the brokerage service, no exceptions.
Maybe your carrier was referring to Canada > US shipments?
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (alte schule)

Nope, US to Canada that's the only way I buy really with our dollar right now. I've had multiple items come through UPS and have no brokerage, then I've had silly items come through very low in value (50 dollars) and have had 50 dollars USD in brokerage fees.
In fact, I bought my Saitek eclipse keyboard around the holidays for roughly 80USD and had to pay about 30 at the door, THEN UPS customs/Canada customs asked me for another 6 dollars about 2 months later. I usually just pay because it is such a hassle to argue with UPS' private brokerage firm they hate their jobs so much they really don't know what customer service is.
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (ZoomBoy)

Excellent write up. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
USPS is the way to go.
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (SnowGTI2003)

I still Don't understand how places like Jegs and Summit can ship with out these fees but Black forest Industries and Autotech can't?
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (PrupleGTI)

One important thing to note about FedEx based on my experiences is that they are the only company willing to clear packages through customs and bill you later to ensure speed of shipment.
I believe this might only apply to priority overnight service, but I have, on numerous occasions, received packages from FedEx without any customs clearing delays (i.e., next day service from the U.S. was indeed next day service), and the customs/duty/tax invoice came a few days later in the mail.
Another reason why the slightly higher initial cost of FedEx is well-justified.
 

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Very good write-up. Even though I don't order car parts from the US, I do deal with other items, including mountain bike parts, etc...
Thumbs Up
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (alte schule)

we ship across the border alot
if yo mark it as a "gift" and also describe it as "Antique Auto Part" you don't have to pay duty and brokerage. just tax
but don't put the invoice in the box cause they open it.
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (PythonParts.ca)

i just bought some BBS RC's from the a vortexer in Indiana. Cost me $210 in duty and taxes. Mind you they were the rims and the tires together. Still came out cheaper than buying them here. They sell maybe 1700-2100 used here with tires. I payed 1180US shipped and 210 duty charges. Still a good deal, and they are in amazing shape too. BTW they were shipped with UPS.
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (ghettojetta20vT)

there are shipping options available to us. There is a warehouse/broker you can send you stuff to in niagrafalls buffalo, they ask for a small fee and then you can just drive over and pick it up, claim it at the border.....or dont. up to u.
ORRR what you can ask the shipper to do is put their cost price on the invoice instead of the one your paying depending on what it is. so for example if your suspension was $1000 they put $500 so thats the dutties you will be paying (from the 500). Not many shippers will do this due to insurance purposes......if ur shipment gets damaged then UPS will only cover them for the invoice value posted. A while ago I had the shipper change a $2500 dollar order to $300....saved like 400 bucks.
Also another thing a shipper can do is send it as a gift. but i heard you can only do that through USPS. could be wrong though.
But you best bet is sending it to an addres in buffalo and pick it up. Im sending it to my broker that I use for other product shipments. Also has to be an item that they wont hastle you for at the border (like brand new rims and tires in boxes lol. If its suspension take it out the box and leave it in your trunk and they cant say anything.
 

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Re: the skinny on UPS/FedEx/USPS shipping from US > Canada (dmc)

Quote, originally posted by dmc »
One important thing to note about FedEx based on my experiences is that they are the only company willing to clear packages through customs and bill you later to ensure speed of shipment.
I believe this might only apply to priority overnight service, but I have, on numerous occasions, received packages from FedEx without any customs clearing delays (i.e., next day service from the U.S. was indeed next day service), and the customs/duty/tax invoice came a few days later in the mail.
Another reason why the slightly higher initial cost of FedEx is well-justified.


If speed of shipment is important than okay, otherwise I find them REALLY expensive for this.
I recieved my v-flow intake and engine cover a month or so ago. Now a few weeks later I recieve a bill from "FedEx Trade Networks"
$400 USD shipment - light package
Charged me:
55.91 - GST
42.93 - Brokerage Fees
6.20 - Disbursement fees
what I thought I was saving buying from the US now cost me more.
This is why I always request that stuff be shipped USPS but many places wont do that because they claim they would have to send someone to the post office instead of FedEx picking it up.
FACT: USPS now picks up parcels = no more excuses!!!


Modified by kevin911 at 5:00 PM 3-5-2007
 

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Quote »
Note, you *can* try to avoid the brokerage fees altogether by doing the customs legwork yourself. It's a huge PITA, but here's how it works:
- refuse the package when it is delivered to your door
- alternatively, tell the company you're buying from to *clearly* mark on the package that you will take care of clearing customs ... tell the company to mark this information clearly on the shipping waybill as well
- once the package arrives, refuse it, but do get the waybill from the courier company
- once you get the waybill, head to Canada customs to pay any duty or taxes that are owing
- make sure you also have an invoice or something to prove the value of your delivery
- after that, it's back to the courier company to pick up your package

If shipping by UPS ground, you're missing a step. You need to notify UPS ahead of time that you will be clearing customs yourself.
Or else by the time you refuse the package at delivery, UPS has already paid for duty/taxes.
 

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Your not allowed to comment in this thread Ric. I had to have that stuff shipped cause younever told me you were going down.
 
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