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"UPS brokerage fees shock horror!" Topic

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wehrmacht29 Jul 2004 7:29 a.m. PST

I'd forgotten what rapists UPS are when it comes to brokerage fees.

I had a parcel come from The Last Square yesterday, from their "Summer Sale".

Value of goods was CAD$57. UPS charges were CAD$38 and change.

The real slap in the face was a charge of over $5 as a "disbursement fee" for UPS paying $8 PST and GST for me. "Thanks guys!"

I am writing to their customer ombudsman to complain. In particular, if they are charging over $5 as a fee to in effect "lend" me the $8 used to pay the tax, this may constitute charging a criminal rate of interest under the criminal code.

In s.347,
'"credit advanced" means the aggregate of the money and the monetary value of any goods, services or benefits actually advanced or to be advanced under an agreement or arrangement minus the aggregate of any required deposit balance and any fee, fine, penalty, commission and other similar charge or expense directly or indirectly incurred under the original or any collateral agreement or arrangement;'

In this case, the money paid by UPS to CCRA is credit advanced.

'"interest" means the aggregate of all charges and expenses, whether in the form of a fee, fine, penalty, commission or other similar charge or expense or in any other form, paid or payable for the advancing of credit under an agreement or arrangement, by or on behalf of the person to whom the credit is or is to be advanced, irrespective of the person to whom any such charges and expenses are or are to be paid or payable, but does not include any repayment of credit advanced or any insurance charge, official fee, overdraft charge, required deposit balance or, in the case of a mortgage transaction, any amount required to be paid on account of property taxes;'

In my view the "disbursement fee" can be characterized as interest.

I'll let you know how this turns out. In the meantime, does anyone have experience with other couriers and brokerage fees? The UPS CSR insisted that everyone charges such an outrageous rate.



RudyNelson29 Jul 2004 7:32 a.m. PST

My Canadian clients never request UPS because of that reason. They all want Post Office and often global priority.

In fact I am maileing 26 osprey to a client in Saskatchewan today. - Time Portal Hobbies-

Personal logo BrigadeGames Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Jul 2004 7:48 a.m. PST


Sorry to hear of your problem. Good luck fighting with big brown. But do you really expect to get anywhere?

With such a large public company doing business worldwide, if it wasn't allowed I would imagine they would have been sued or told by the government to stop a while ago.

USPS Global Priority is the way to go.

Silverback29 Jul 2004 7:50 a.m. PST

wehrmacht, I am sorry this happened to you! The same thing happened to me some time ago and now I don't deal with US companies that use UPS. I hope US retailers will read this and stop using UPS as a shipping option for their Canadian customers. I get everything shipped to me regular mail and nothing has ever gone missing. The only courier package I have received lately was from Fernando Enterprises and the shipper was DHL. On a very large package there was a $7.00 brokerage fee.

Crucible Orc29 Jul 2004 7:55 a.m. PST

yeah. My fatehr won an auction on ebay once for 5 bucks, coming across the border(to canada) shipped via UPS, we was charged 7 dollars in brokerage fees. These days neither of us will touch UPS. If a company will not ship USPS then we forget about dealing with them all together.

Mapleleaf29 Jul 2004 7:56 a.m. PST

Be careful when ordering from the US as you could be paying a lot more Here are some examples

1. The figures are imported from a third country eg UK, the American vendor has to pay duty shipping etc which he factors into hois cost-he then ships to you in Canada you pay shipping and duty into Canada - This does not apply to US manufactured figures To compare check prices in both the US and UK

2. There are a lot of Canadian vendors who have good prices as well if you need some let me know and I will post some nbames They cover most figure lines

3 Buy at a convention so no shipping !! Pre order before you go and ask the vendor to bring them to the show

MiniGuy29 Jul 2004 7:58 a.m. PST

Welcome to Canada.

Mr Green29 Jul 2004 8:00 a.m. PST

We use UPS a lot for importing large quantities of glass from Italy, and the fees both custom and costs are decent enough. I agree with rudy and brigade though. Unless you plan on much larger shipments, UPS is too much hassle.
USPS is just as fast, w/o tracking maybe, but the Canadian border can't be that bad. Another method to wean companies off UPS is to use a PO box, or say you've got something like it. Since UPS won't go there, maybe they'll lay off the brown stuff for you.

Hillman29 Jul 2004 8:04 a.m. PST

I hate UPS. I've been dinged before and it's painful. They're highway robbers.

Dewbakuk29 Jul 2004 8:20 a.m. PST

They are better than Royal Mail. The fees are usually lower and they lose packages far less. At least into the UK.

wehrmacht29 Jul 2004 8:24 a.m. PST

Yes, if I'd known that Last Square was going to use UPS I would've said "don't"! But they never told me what shipper they were planning to use, just that the shipping would be "$10-12" (it turned out they charged me $16!) I spoke to the owner at Last Square and she's investigating why they sent the parcel the way they did. Like I said, it made the "Summer Sale" rather moot...


Thanks for the info on DHL. I wondered how truthful the UPS CSR was when she said everyone charges the same usurious rates.

@Brigade Games

"With such a large public company doing business worldwide, if it wasn't allowed I would imagine they would have been sued or told by the government to stop a while ago."

You'd be surprised. You are familiar with Money Mart and other "payday lenders"? Well, the "fees" they charge also are alleged to constitute criminal interest rates under Canadian law. When suing borrowers for repayment of these loans, these lenders often have their cases thrown out of court by judges who recognize the illegal interest charges. But has this stopped them? No, because not enough people have complained, and the police economic crime units aren't interested in the problems of people in the lower socioeconomic class who have to use these lenders' services.

I'm not big on the idea of class action lawsuits but if what Brown does is illegal, that might get their attention. I'm surprised no-one's gone after Money Mart et al yet.


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Jul 2004 8:27 a.m. PST

Not that I love UPS or DHL but there's quite a lot that goes in to those fees, beyond just the tax. Having worked in logistics for a number of years, I can tell you from painful experience that the paperwork, record keeping, package tracking, etc. are a real pain in the neck. These couriers are not covered by "postal" treaties, and so there's much more work involved.

The sad matter is it takes just as much work to track and ship one box of miniatures as it does to ship a container of 2300 cases (250,000+ units) of toys. Again, from painful experience, we always used USPS for small shipments (50 cases or less) for just that reason (even if the shipping cost were a lot more than UPS's base shipping cost).

And I had a logistics department and freight forwarding company working for me!

Jovian129 Jul 2004 8:46 a.m. PST

Caveat Emptor - you should always specify how you want your parcel shipped when ordering. You should also insist that they give you the total cost of shipping in advance - it is your right to do so prior to accepting the contract. Sorry you had a bad experience with UPS, I only hope that you don't use that as an excuse not to shop at the Last Square. They have been GREAT to deal with in every transaction I've made. Next time make sure you tell them you are in Canada (or any other foreign country) and tell them to use USPS Global Priority - it costs about the same and you don't end up with all of the fuss on "brokerage" fees.

Mike G29 Jul 2004 9:02 a.m. PST

At our work, all international orders go to The United Statges Postal Service. UPS is not internationally friendly.

antiochus29 Jul 2004 9:02 a.m. PST

38 bucks on a 57 dollar purchase? That is absolutetly insane. I received a Roman Mainz gladius last month from the USA, Canadian value was 175.00-It was sent UPS and i got hit with 63 bucks in fees.I thought that was high,but you really got nailed.Oddly enough my friend,who is a carpet cleaner, spent 500 USD on a floor carpet cleaner,it was sent US postal service and he didn't get charged a penny.Recently ordered around 60 CAD worth of corvus belli minatures from em4 miniatures in england-received it in week and a duty or tax incurred. Looks like ordering overseas is the way to go...

antiochus29 Jul 2004 9:14 a.m. PST

Also..little known fact about UPS..when you check your tracking # package isnt necessarily at the destination they say it is....apparently there are 2 forms of scans..a physical scan-meaning your package actually has been picked up and scanned...and "logical" scan-which means that even though your package may say its reached for doesnt mean that its actually there..."logical" scans are UPS' best guess as to where the package "should" be based upon their current operational and effieciency level..your package may not have been scanned at on...also you cant tell by tracking online..which scans are physical and which are logical....
thought i would share that...

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2004 9:32 a.m. PST

Should you have .02 cents or $200 worth of figures shipped from the US to Canuckistan by UPS, they will charge the same flat rate of $38 for brokerage fees.

Old Glory only ships by UPS to Canada, beware!

wehrmacht29 Jul 2004 9:42 a.m. PST

"Should you have .02 cents or $200 worth of figures shipped from the US to Canuckistan by UPS, they will charge the same flat rate of $38 for brokerage fees."

Not quite - the breakdown went something like this:

Brokerage fee: $18
CRA fee: $5
"disbursement fee": @$6
Customer going apoplectic with rage: priceless

The $18 portion of the fee is a flat rate, you're right on that one. PST/GST/duty may vary, as will the "disbursement fee" (it's based on the PST/GST, minimum @$6)


antiochus29 Jul 2004 9:42 a.m. PST


Only other experience is with USA Fed Ex..ordered 2 tubes of green stuff from Fantization in Cali...value appox 35 bucks CAD..charged brokerage fee of approx. 11.00 that 38 bucks on 57.00 doesnt make sense.....

wehrmacht29 Jul 2004 9:47 a.m. PST

@ Jovian1

Agreed, "my bad" for not specifying shipment method. They did give a range for shipping price as "$10-12", and actual charge was $16 - I have taken this up with them, as it exceeded the quote by 33-60%! Clearly the Last Square knew the shipment was coming to Canada as I discussed this with their rep on the phone. I shoulda known to specify "no UPS!" but we'll see what the Last Square will do about it.


the trojan bunny29 Jul 2004 10:03 a.m. PST

I ordered from Old Glory US a while back. 3 Colonial packs, about $100 value, UPS charged me $55! I havn't ordered from a US company since then because of this!


Lesack29 Jul 2004 10:36 a.m. PST

They call UPS "the brown" for a reason.

They can't seem to deliver to my apartment even though I can see their depot from it. Nor will they ever hold the packages at the depot so that I can pick them up.

keeperbear29 Jul 2004 10:59 a.m. PST


That hardly means that UPS are "rapists". With your scree name, I thought you would know that it was the 'Wehrmacht' and 'SS' who were the real rapists and murderers during ww2.

maxxon29 Jul 2004 11:23 a.m. PST

I personally can't fathom why people use private courier services at all. They might be worth it if you ship by
the container, but over here they hate private customers
and make no secret about it.

Even when a package is shipped "shipper pays everything except taxes & tolls", they charge the recipient service
fees for paying said taxes & tolls. All perfectly legal, ofcourse, under some general transport agreement penned
by, you guessed it, private transport agencies.

The saddest thing is that this somewhat out of control of the customers. Even if you select your initial carrier, you have no control over who they pass to your package over to.

For example, USPS (yes, the government agency) has farmed airmail delivery in Finland to a private transport agency.

Now, when your package goes through customs, this private firm slaps on handling charges and whatnot to no end.

If USPS had a deal with the Finnish Postal Service, they'd be legally obligated to offer free customs declaration through so called Postal Customs Offices. But the private carrier is not obligated to offer this, and therefore they can undercut the Postal Services bids because they know they can gouge "extra postage" from their "customers".

Sweet deal.

wehrmacht29 Jul 2004 11:25 a.m. PST

@ keeperbear

wehrmacht29 Jul 2004 11:27 a.m. PST

@ keeperbear

It's called "hyperbole". Maybe calling them "highway robbers" would have been more apropos. Thanks for the history lesson, though. Nice troll, I wonder if anyone will bite? ;-)



FrankHunter29 Jul 2004 11:58 a.m. PST

I used UPS once about 10 years ago and I was dinged more than the goods inside were worth. Never used them again. USPS/Canada Post work just fine.

Thane Morgan29 Jul 2004 12:10 p.m. PST

I originally shipped UPS. They consistently tacked on extra fees, and took longer than they claimed they would. The tracking was meaningless, because they would skip tracking at many stops.

I switched to USPS for everything. No I don't get tracking, just delivery confirmation, but who cares. The only important detail is "did it get delivered", and it doesn't matter if its lost after Peoria or lost after Minneapolis, its still lost, and they aren't going to let you go digging through UPS offices to find it.

USPS was less expensive, and arrived faster. I don't understand the value of UPS for anything but pallets.

Nightgaunt29 Jul 2004 12:40 p.m. PST

When I was in Canada, I refused to order anything from a company that only shipped via UPS for the same reasons. I have a friend whose relatives shipped them a comforter from Rochester, NY to Toronto, ON. The cost of the brokerage fees was more than the cost of the comforter. They simply refused the shipment and made UPS give it back.

Some companies are pretty good and will ship U.S. Postal Service if you ask them to. Others won't, and those didn't get my business.

As for the "disbursement fee", could that be the $5 fee that Customs slaps on things if you get stuck at the border? That always bugged me. If I had a package stopped at the border they charged me GST, PST, and a $5 handling fee. If the package was small enough and wasn't stopped, I saved the taxes and the $5 fee. (Or did the government finally stop slapping on that fee? I understand someone was going to argue that the fee was illegal under NAFTA because it acted as it was essentially a tarriff.)

wehrmacht29 Jul 2004 1:05 p.m. PST


The "disbursement fee" that I am most upset about is the $6 that UPS charges me for having paid the PST/GST on my behalf. This is in addition to reimbursing them for that cost... so $8 PST/GST turns into $14 fee charged to me...


brambledemon29 Jul 2004 5:52 p.m. PST

I know a guy who uses a sculptor in Canada all the time. the sculptor-who is very talented-uses UPS. He is smart enough to send the figure as a "sample-no declared value" He also does the same thing when he uses the USPS to send the "sample" back to the sculptor. He simply send the invoice by email. He has never had any problems-nor has he had to pay brokerage fees. And no, I am not the "guy".....cause that might be illegal or something....maybe...but I'm not that guy anyway....

Frog God of Team Frog Studios29 Jul 2004 7:51 p.m. PST

I work at UPS (the Supply Chain Solutions division), at least through tomorrow :D , and I don't use them for shipping if I can avoid it...if you think they treat their customers poorly, you should see how they treat the help...:/

-Paul @ Team Frog

::happy to be escaping::

wehrmacht30 Jul 2004 8:10 a.m. PST

I mentioned the Last Square in the thread. I want to say that I am extremely happy with the store and the way they handled my order. Highest praise for them!


FloconDuMais14 Aug 2004 3:50 p.m. PST

Hah! Those jerks at UPS nailed me for $80 worth of fees on a $200 item. $50 of that was 'brokerage fees' about $25 was taxes and $5 was a COD charge they charged me as I now had to pay THEIR driver when it showed up!!! Well, if they hadn't charged me a fortune in brokerage fees I wouldn't have had to pay their driver $80 when he showed up, now would I?

I used UPS all the time in the past, but never again! Death to Brown!!!!

scowling16 Aug 2004 9:14 a.m. PST

I'm Canadian. Whenever I want to order from the US, I check their terms to make sure that they are shipping ia the US Postal Service only. I won't buy from outfits that ship via UPS as their default shipper.

When I place an order, I always note in the comments section "Please ship via US Postal Service; do not ship via UPS or other courier." I di this even if that is a redundant statement.

On the very rare occasion when they do ship via UPS anyway, I refuse the package and e-mail the company advising them that I have done so. Then I order elsewhere.

GreyONE22 Aug 2004 11:35 p.m. PST

I work for US based book and game publishers and have for the last 20 years or so. I used to get packages sent to me with business samples via UPS and I always ended up having to pay UPS up to $30.00 to receive a "FREE" non-commercial product samples. The last straw came when a UPS operator phoned me up to say that they were holding a package for me at the local airport -- in the past I always had to pick up these packages from our airport which was over one hour away. The operator wanted to know what I wanted to do with the package (it wa sent by a customer to me, right? Why do they need to ask if I want the package delivered? Isn't the fact that my address is on the invoice good enough?). She wouldn't tell me who sent the package, but pointed out that if I wanted the package delivered to my office, I would have to pay an $18.00 fee. I told her to ship it back to the publisher with a note stating, "Please re-send using FedEX". For some reason, FedEX always delivers my packages without any hidden fees, right to my door even if I am not home. Not sure why that is. I now use either FedEX, or Canada Post (out going) USPS (incoming from the US). How can UPS operate using extortion tactics?

CScotR09 Sep 2004 10:47 p.m. PST

I have had the same UPS nightmare... my god what wankers!!

I have had exellent service from GHQ and C in C both ship USPS. GHQ usually gets nailed GST and PST witha $5 fee sure beats the $65 I got nailed by UPS. CinC usually get through with no customs.

Very fast delivery too, to FT Nelson BC the WARGAMING CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE


tightlines23 Sep 2004 9:43 a.m. PST

Well add me to the list of unhappy customers!!! I just paid what looks like a standard $37.85 brokerage fee on a $90 item. Someone once warned me about using UPS and their fees. I wish I listened better. Anyone considering them now; be warned and ask for an alternate provider. For me, any company that will only use UPS will not get any more sales from me.

vodamc501 Jan 2008 12:20 p.m. PST

I sell on E-Bay and after my first and last time used UPS to ship to canada..what a HORROR…heard back from person i sold an article to for #42.00 which included shipping and he was charge $22.40 USD to get it out of UPS hands…damn…i refunded the guy the $22.00 USD and changed all my listing to USPS going to Canada….WHAT A F____ RIP OFF…

Personal logo Wyatt the Odd Supporting Member of TMP Fezian03 Jan 2008 12:04 p.m. PST

I have a friend up in Canada. It was cheaper for him to order figures from Old Glory (who only ships internationally via UPS) and have them sent to me. I then sent them via USPS to him.

As far as tracking – if you fill out a customs form, it has a number on it which also works as a tracking number. Similarly, if your sending something to someone across a border and you both have PayPal, have the recipient make a 25 payment to your account so you can use the "Create Shipping Label" option – which gives you free tracking as well.


aka Mikefoster03 Jan 2008 5:48 p.m. PST

I refuse to use UPS for any shipments and I tell vendors that I want my orders shipped out via USPS Priority mail. In most occasions when I order it is from an east coast vendor and for some reason Priority mail is cheaper and faster than any equivalent that UPS has (at least a the weights I ship) Also USPS doesn't charge extra to deliver to my house or on Saturday.

Personal logo BrigadeGames Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Jan 2008 11:56 a.m. PST


people use UPS because of tracking.

The problem with EBay sales is that EBay does NOT accept the delivery confirmation tag on a USPS (post office) parcel. It must be sent registered or Express Mail which is tracked.

Marcus Brutus08 Jan 2008 7:38 a.m. PST

For clarification, Old Glory will ship USPS but one needs to ask them specifically. They should know by now not to ship to Canada by UPS but I never leave it to the discretion of the company. I simply get them to put insurance on the package incase something goes wrong.

Wehrmacht, good luck on your complaint but I doubt you'll get very far. The rule is that as the importer, you are responsbile for paying for all fees involved in importing your goods. The argument of usury won't likely work in this case. They are charging you for the service of paying the GST/PST, not lending you the money. Not that I'm not on your side on the issue.

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