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shipping surchages and duties us to canada

updated thu 20 dec 01


Cindi Anderson on tue 18 dec 01

We spent 30 minutes talking to UPS about US/Canada charges. It is quite
convoluted... but I am personally glad to know this so I can inform
customers. Ann Semple (who posted this thread) got completely different
answers from UPS in Canada, so she had her bill itemized and compared to
what I am saying here. It seems right except that on item 1 below, it
seems they charged her per box, not per order, so she is looking into that.
In her case $50 of her $128 was taxes.

There are 3 fees involved that get collected by UPS upon delivery. There
are the UPS fees (brokerage and dispursement) as well as duty and taxes
which UPS collects and pays to the Canadian government on your behalf.

1. UPS Brokerage fee - Based on value in Canadian dollars. This is PER
shipment, even if it is a group of boxes, but ONLY if you ship the boxes as
a group (they will have linked tracking numbers and say box 1/3, 2/3, 3/3,
etc. and/or the separate packages are all listed on one waybill.) This fee
gets charge on UPS ground orders, but is built into the cost for UPS air.
It seems that Ann Semple was charged this as if each box were separate, not
for the entire order, so she is looking into that.
0-$20: free
$20-$40: $6.25
$40-$100: $16.70
$100-$200: $24.50
$200-$500? : $34.50

2. Duty and tax - This gets collected regardless whether it is UPS ground or
air. (unless item is duty free)
Varies depending on the item. Includes duty, GST (goods and services tax),
HST (Harmonized sales tax) and PST (provincial sales tax.) Don't ask me to
try to summarize this as I can't figure it out. It seems you may pay
between 7%-15% depending on where you live. I guess Canadians are used to
these taxes, but sometimes they are used to getting them charged separately
through the mail, instead of UPS collecting them. Here is the webpage that
talks about duty fees.

Due to NAFTA, things made completely within US/Canada/Mexico and accompanied
by a certificate to that effect, are lower or no duty.

3. Dispursement fee, paid to UPS to collect the duty and submit it on your
behalf. This is 2.5% of duty+tax, or $5.50 minimum (again per order as
defined above). This gets collected regardless whether it is ground or air.
Some people said they get around these problems by shipping USPS. The
problem with that is that they are terrible about claims for lost or broken
packages even when they are insured. And since Sept 11 a high % of our
packages have not been showing up, so we are much more selective about our
shipping by USPS.

BTW, Canada to US is much better
No UPS brokerage fees, and under $200 value is no duty

Fremont, CA