UPS/FedEx Brokerage Fee – avoid scam (Canada)

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. CBSA officially replied that UPS forces customers to pay outrageous customs brokerage fees illegally.

When you want to order some goods for personal use from 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 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 extra 50% of the item’s price thay order, some of them just refuse to pay, and 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 theirs delivery cost is 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 at UPS website.

If you still want to use 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!

I’m not advising you to use other courier services, like USPS, or driving hundreds of miles to the port of entry in order to clear items by yourself as UPS forces you to do, otherwise paying brokerage fees.

You do NOT have to be in the port of entry to clear your items!

I’ve ordered some auto parts from California, and UPS forced me to pay brokerage fees. They told that there is absolutely no ways to clear items by myself in local CBSA office other than port of entry. I have spent almost two months to investigate and escalate this issue with UPS and CBSA (Canada Borders Service Agency). Finally I got a call with apologies about the incident and official reply from CBSA which indicates the following:

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.

UPS SCS (Ground) was also incorrect to inform you that you had to present yourself at the office where the goods were located.

CBSA also advised me that they are going to inform courier company and CBSA offices to ensure they are aware of the proper procedures.

There are local CBSA (Canada Borders Service Agency) offices in GTA (I’m located in Toronto) where you can pay applicable duties and taxes for imported goods. There is absolutely no need to drive into Windsor or Fort Erie to clear your items. There are also a lot of CBSA offices across Canada, so you most likely may choose one which is pretty close to you.

Here is the way how to avoid UPS brokerage fees:

(Important note: this information is outdated, please see update as of October 17, 2010 below for required list of documents, according to which commercial invoice is not required by CBSA. That list is final and allowed to self clear many shipments successfully)

  • Place your order at US store with UPS delivery option
  • Print out your commercial invoice (PayPal invoice, or e-mail receipt from the store). You may want to make sure that shipper will put the correct price on the package for customs (just send them a note about it)
  • Wait for item to be shipped and get your tracking number
  • Call UPS, give them tracking number and tell that you want to clear your items by yourself in your local CBSA office. They should instruct you what you will need to do

Note: this mechanism can be only applied for Low Value Shipment program (LVS),when order’s price does not exceed $1600 CAD. In case of more expensive goods you will need to present yourself at the port of entry to clear your goods, or find a broker to do this for you.

If for any reason UPS still tells you that you can not clear items by yourself in local CBSA office, and you must go to the port of entry in order to pay duties/taxes – it is illegal! Insist on your rights. Tell that they violate the law. Mention that there is an official reply from CBSA. If you get the refusal from UPS, write down the name of the person you talked to, time, and phone number you called in. Please describe your case to me and I will forward it to the person in CBSA who investigated my case and replied to my inquiry. I’m not posting his contact information here to avoid spam. He advised to contact him if this issue is repeated again.

I believe that it should be applied not only to UPS, but to all other courier services. For example, FedEx brokerage fees must be avoided in the same way.

Updated information as of October 17, 2010.

Canada Customs (CBSA) officially replied and provided procedure of self clearing process which UPS, CBSA offices, and importers should follow:

How to pay duties and taxes for imported goods

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.

Thank you for contacting the CBSA.

Internet: (

Canada Border Services Agency

Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0L8

Government of Canada – Gouvernement du Canada

(Some personal information has been omitted, and CBSA e-mail address also to avoid spam. Some key phrases has been highlighted by editor, not by CBSA)

We may conclude, that in order to self-clear goods in local CBSA office we need following:

The final and proven way of how to avoid UPS brokerage fees:

- Courier’s name: UPS

- Unique shipment identifier number: UPS must provide

- Shipment’s invoice: UPS must provide

- Place where the package is being held

Let’s stop UPS outrageous behavior and lawlessness, and force them to obey the simple law and allow importers to self-clear without paying brokerage fees!

Tell about this procedure to all people who use UPS (or other couriers with high brokerage fees) to import goods from US into Canada! If UPS will hear about it from importers hundreds/thousands times per day, they will definitely start to use new procedure.

The exact procedure of self-clearing with scanned documents is given here:

How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee

510 comments to UPS/FedEx Brokerage Fee – avoid scam (Canada)

  • Dean

    I just heard the same lies from a UPS agent (Ann in Team 86, 12:30 Sep 15, 1-800-742-5877) as described in this article.

    Yesterday UPS attempted first delivery of an item I ordered from a California electronics manufacturer. The value of the single item was $157 CAD. UPS wanted $49 Brokerage COD! (~$8 GST + a $41 brokerage fee!) While googling around for UPS brokerage information I stumbled across this very informative site.

    Armed with the new-found knowledge that I could clear the items myself, I called UPS and told them I wasn’t going to pay their overpriced brokerage fee and would do it myself. “Ann in Team 86″ did everything to convince me it couldn’t be done. She said that the parcel would be sent back to Vancouver and it would have to be cleared there. I told her that was incorrect and that it should be held at the local warehouse in Calgary. She then said that I wouldn’t be able to clear the item myself with the CBSA because it wasn’t a casual item “like clothes sent from a friend or relative”. I told her that was incorrect as well. She didn’t exactly refuse to let me do my own brokering but she was otherwise completely useless in helping me. The parcel is now being held at their warehouse and I have 5 days to pick it up before it is sent back. Luckily I remembered to ask for the address where the package was going to be held (in this case the Calgary UPS warehouse). Apparently this may be required by the CBSA. The invoice and tracking number I already have. Hopefully all goes well and I’ll be able to report back with positive news.

    In summary, UPS is still spinning the same lies and don’t count on UPS “instructing you what to need to do”.

    See also for some excellent tips and information (the comment by LVSFree further down on that blog was especially informative for DIY brokering)

  • Trueler

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Dean.

    Please drop here a line how it goes with clearing.

    LVSFree/LVSInfo gave good advices in various forums: they are based purely on the law. But this law has never been applied by UPS, so they convince customers that there is no such law, because otherwise they will loose millions of dollars on brokerage fees. I have escalated the issue to CBSA, and they promised to inform UPS about the new procedure. So, I hope this CLVS law will be applied on practice by UPS soon. Insist on your rights! If you have time, try to get from local UPS warehouse in Calgary refusal in written, that they do not allow to self-clear. Try to go your local CBSA office with tracking number, invoice, and address of UPS warehouse where goods are held, and money to pay taxes. If they (CBSA office) don’t want to clear your items, call to CBSA line directly from their office, and tell that CBSA recently confirmed that it should be new procedure.


  • Hammerman


    I refused to pay the $40 brokerage on a package with a value of $139 today. I grabbed the box and took it inside and offered to pay the HST but the UPS guy refused. He came back three times to ask for the package blocked and at one point blocked by driveway with another UPS truck while they transferred stuff from one to the other…not sure if this was intentional or coincidental since he had to come back to do it.

    I again offered to pay the taxes of $18 and change….refused to take it. Demanded $62 which included HST on the brokerage.

    I don;t care if I never get another package from UPS again. I will not pay. I contracted for shipping and paid the seller shipping. I expect to pay tax but I will not be held to ransom.

    Anyone else done this? What happens next? A few years ago I got an invoice at an office where I was working for some unsolicited packages…samples….and they were asking for a brokerage fee…I told the guy to screw off and he threatened to go to the president of the company…I said…go, if he signs off on the invoice, it’s his money. (it wasn’t UPS and this was long before internet shopping became popular…)

    I understand that DHL and USPS don’t charge this ridiculous fee.

  • Trueler

    Hi Hammerman,

    UPS will probably send this case to collection agency, so it is not a very good idea just not to pay and forget about it. It may affect your credit history.

    What you need to do is to take your unique shipment identifier number and invoice which tells what kind of goods you received and what is the value for duty and go to local Canada customs (CBSA) office to pay $18 taxes. They will provide you with official receipt that taxes have been paid. Then you show (or fax) this receipt to UPS.

    There are several CBSA offices in GTA. One of them in Brampton already received updated procedure and they know what to do. I got another reply from CBSA today about this issue. Other customs offices probably know what to do as well.

    CBSA replied that importer can refuse package and pay taxes by himself or herself to local CBSA office, and then schedule another delivery with UPS.

    Please let us know how it goes. If you have any questions or troubles we will try to help. If you need location of CBSA office we can send it to you as well.


  • Dean

    Thanks for the tips Trueler. I regret not reading them before I went out today! Well, I have my package and I managed to to avoid paying brokerage fees, but I don’t know if I would necessarily call it a success since technically I wasn’t able to self clear.

    I took my tracking number, warehouse address and sellers invoice with me to the Calgary CBSA office (#701). I told them I needed a B15 and the CBSA agent refused to give me one because I didn’t have a shipping manifest or some other form (I forget the name of it – Cargo Control Document maybe?). She said I would have to go to the UPS warehouse and get the form from them and come back. I showed the agent section 56 of D 17-4-0 which says the I only need to supply the unique shipment identifier number and address of the warehouse where the shipment is being held but she refused to budge. I asked her what I should do if UPS refused to give me the form and she said they had to because I had the right to self clear.

    I drove to the UPS warehouse and told the clerk I had a package waiting and I wanted the form so I could self clear. She nodded a bunch but I could tell she wasn’t really listening. She brought out the package and told me to sign a form which granted UPS Power of Attorney for being my broker and I needed to pay GST and brokerage fees. I refused to sign and said again I wanted to self clear and I needed the shipping manifest. She said she didn’t know anything about that and had to call someone else to help me. After a 20 minute wait another UPS employee came out of the back and suggested we step outside to talk about it. We went outside and I said I wanted to self clear and she said I couldn’t. She was very confrontational and said the same things as the UPS woman on the phone I spoke to several days before: ie. the package would have to be sent back to Vancouver, etc. Flabbergasted, I just asked her outright: “Are you refusing to allow me to self clear my shipment?” She said “Yes, I am.” Would you put that in writing? “Yes.” I told her I had the legal right to self clear and she said UPS doesn’t allow it. I don’t know if she began to doubt her stance or if she was tired of dealing with me but she then said “Tell you what, you promise never to ship using UPS Ground again and I’ll waive the brokerage fees.” I told her I had already decided never to use UPS again and I had no problem with her conditions. We went back inside and while waiting to pay, I showed her the relevant sections of D17-4-0, the CBSA response to someone asking how to self clear, the post by LVSinfo, etc. She seemed a little surprised at the information, her hostility disappeared and her mood visibly changed. She asked if she could make copies of the information and I told her to keep them, please! I don’t know if she was a little remorseful for her hard stance previously but she gave me her first name (Darlene) and work number should I need to call her although she said she understood I had already decided not to use UPS ever again. I told her I would be willing to use UPS again as long as they abide by the law. Our conversation ended much more civilly than it started.

    From todays experience I would have to say that neither the UPS or CBSA Calgary offices know how the “self clearing” process is supposed to work. UPS doesn’t think it’s required of them to allow it and the CBSA seems to think that forms are needed that the importer is unlikely to have or be able to get from UPS. Overall it was a very frustrating experience which I don’t plan on having again.

    Trueler, feel free to email me if you need additional information to pass on to the CBSA.


  • Trueler

    Hi Dean,

    In the last reply from CBSA, they indicated the second document as:

    “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”.

    Most likely, they needed shipment invoice which UPS driver showed you at the delivery attempt (my invoice shows “value for duty”, brokerage fee, and so on). Next time you (and other importers) should just grab this invoice from the driver and go to CBSA office. Then schedule another delivery with B15 on hands, or go to warehouse.

    However, according to the law, sellers invoice should be enough. Looks like Calgary CBSA office was incorrect asking you for additional documentation. But logically, from the customs point of view, it should be some tie between tracking number and item’s price, so they are asking for document where value for duty and tracking number are identified together. But the law is the law.

    From your frustrating experience, UPS in Calgary is unfamiliar with proper procedures. CBSA assured me that they will contact the courier company to inform them about it. Probably it is still in process. Since you provided them with applicable laws, maybe they will review it and apply for future cases. I think we may call it a success.

    Thank you for update!

    If I see more complaints on UPS behavior around brokerage fee, I will definitely try to escalate the issue again.


  • Aspen

    May I add one more point:
    When you look up your tracking information, under the “Show Package Progress”, UPS makes matters extra confusing for importers (being people like you and I who buy stuff from the US). They use phrases like:


    This comment makes it sound like the receiver (being YOU) has somehow assigned UPS to be your Customs Broker. And all you had to do was… nothing!

    My point is that UPS makes it sound like it’s a done deal.

    My favourite is this entry:


    UPS often posts this entry while the item is still physically in the USA. So all the stuff they say about needing to be in Fort Erie, or whatever point of entry, is hogwash. And their system’s comments are designed to keep you from clearing items yourself.

    The way I understand the Courier Low Value Shipment Program (CLVS) is that the big couriers are allowed to bring items across the border, and move them around inside the country (despite not officially being “customs cleared” yet). It’s really only after you pay the bill at your door that they actually do the clearing. The system is designed so that there aren’t 50 million packages sitting in Fort Erie waiting for people to pay the HST before UPS can put them on a delivery truck. UPS is “bonded” under CLVS, which means Canada Customs “trusts” them to move stuff around inside the country and collect the proper taxes. Again, otherwise stuff would have to literally sit at the border until it was tax-paid and could move.

    My point here is that under CLVS, there is no difference between UPS’s Barrie sorting facility, and the Fort Erie port of entry. Both facilities are bonded to move “uncleared” items around. So when they tell you they have to ship the item back to Fort Erie for you to clear yourself (as they told me today on the phone), it just isn’t true under CLVS. A bonded warehouse is a bonded warehouse. That’s the whole point of the program. I suppose you could even think of the brown trucks as “bonded trucks” too. Being on the truck is effectively the same as being in Fort Erie.

    I assume that Canada Customs *could* get picky and ask to see the physical package. In that case, I have no idea what happens. I would imagine that UPS would be obliged to produce the package somehow. I’ve never been down that road – perhaps someone else could comment on this??

    Anyways, don’t let UPS push you around. It will take many people doing their own clearing, and then maybe we will see flat-rate $5 brokerage fees from UPS, just like we see from Canada Post.

  • Aspen

    Oh, and another little gem that should make you mad…

    As part of the fee, UPS can charge you “Bond Fees”. Here is their explanation:

    “Bond Fees
    Customers are responsible for payment of duties and taxes. When funds are not provided in advance by the customer, and UPS must post a bond to allow UPS shipments to be released in advance of payment to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), a fee of 2.7 percent (minimum $5.85) of the amount advanced by UPS will be charged. To avoid bond fees, call 1-800-PICK-UPS and ask about our Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) plans.”

    Basically they are saying that they had to somehow “front” you the money for the taxes payable. BUT, under CLVS, they don’t actually REMIT the sales taxes to the government until the next month after you receive the item (and pay the taxes COD). So they sit on your money for days or weeks. And they have the nerve to charge you for supposedly fronting you the money, which they don’t actually do.

    To translate into english, “UPS must post a bond” essentially means “UPS promises to remit your money to the government next month”.

    It always amazes me the nonsense that companies can get away with just because the general public is uninformed.

  • Trueler

    Hi Aspen,

    First of all, thanks a lot for valuable input!

    This is true that UPS tracking information is very confusing, especially if ordering stuff from abroad for the first time. It may look like your package came to Canada border, failed clearance, and sent back to US, because it specifies locations US->Canada->US.

    Your point is correct. UPS makes it really a done deal with brokerage services. They tell that you “agree” to use UPS broker because you signed up for delivery with exporter.

    “PACKAGE DATA PROCESSED BY BROKERAGE. WAITING FOR CLEARANCE” actually means that items could be still in US, but electronic information about the item (value for duty, weight, etc.) has been sent to the port of entry and could be processed by brokerage. System is really designed to keep you from clearing yourself. UPS customer service is trained to keep you from clearing yourself as well!

    Under CLVS package may travel around Canada without taxes paid, but it can be released to the importer only when importer pays taxes. Your point is correct.

    When you clear items by yourself, Canada Customs can NOT ask you to show the physical package. It is wrong assumption. They can ask you only for the document which specifies item’s cost and tracking number. The thing is that Canada Customs at the port of entry already released the package! They could see it in order to inspect and correct value for duty, or just trust the documentation. This is what the official document says. Does it answer your question?

    “Bond Fees” are scam as well. That’s right, UPS pays taxes to Canada Customs only in the next month, when they actually took money from the importer at the delivery time. UPS does not pay anything from its own pocket, no “bonds” should be posted.

    Thanks again for your information!

    Are you clearing by yourself now? Can you please share your experience how you do it now? It looks like UPS is not aware of the new procedures yet…


  • Aspen

    Hi Trueler,

    That is a good point – about Customs seeing the physical package. Do you have an reference for where it says that in the “official document”? Do you mean the D17-4-0 memo?

    I’m thinking that Customs would have a right to open and inspect any package – you know, to make sure there’s no drugs, or illegal stuff. They have that option right at the border. They must open random packages for security purposes? But what you’re saying is that they have their chance to open and inspect right there at the border. And then once they give UPS the go-ahead to move it, it’s effectively “cleared” from a security standpoint. Hmmm. Good stuff.

    On the whole, I still try to avoid using UPS. However, last time I did try to clear it myself. Although I did not have the correct documentation. I went to Pearson, but didn’t have the commercial invoice which linked item description, weight, tracking number, shipper, etc all together. I only had tracking number and ebay invoice. The folks at Pearson were really trying to help me, but they just didn’t have enough information. Live and learn. However, in the kafuffle to get info out of UPS, they offered to waive the brokerage fee, so at the end of the day it all worked out.

    I have another shipment I just refused at the door, and I’m making the trip to Pearson, but this time with a lot more information (commercial invoice CI, ebay invoice, UPS’s Barrie warehouse address, tracking info printed right on the CI). I tried to get UPS to waive the bro fee again, but no luck this time. So I’ll go again and let you know.

    It’s a PITA for me to get to Pearson, but it’s the closest CLVS office – plus it’s open 24/7.

  • Trueler

    Yes, I’m referencing to CBSA Memorandum D17-4-0 – Courier Low Value Shipment Program

    Here is the part of this law:

    17. Prior to or upon arrival of the shipment, the courier must present two copies of a cargo/release list to the CBSA.

    18. The border services officer reviews the list and highlights any shipments that require examination. Goods that have not been selected for examination are considered released. The border services officer will release stamp one copy of the list and return it to the courier as proof of release by the CBSA. The second copy is retained by the CBSA.

    19. Goods selected for examination must be presented to the CBSA in the designated CBSA area of the warehouse.
    Failure to present the selected goods may result in penalties. The border services officer examines the selected shipments and makes a decision either to release the shipments or to reject the goods from the cargo/release list.

    That means if the package is already with UPS in Canada (they are ready to deliver), so it has already been inspected (if needed) and released by Canada Customs.

    Note that it involves interaction only between CBSA and the courier. No brokers have to be involved in the process.

    Thanks! Hope you will be able to apply the law this time at Pearson CBSA office.

  • Aspen

    Hi Trueler,
    I went to the CBSA office at Pearson today (Sunday – yes, they really are open 24/7!) to clear a UPS package. I had with me:

    1. Commercial Invoice – from the shipper, indicating shipper and receiver name and address, description of goods, value, weight and UPS’s tracking number labelled across the top. (I thought this would do the trick, but read on…)
    2. Ebay receipts with more details of the goods in the package – descriptions, photos, dollar value, dates, etc.
    3. Address of UPS’s facility at which the package was located (in this case, Barrie).
    4. The CBSA Memo D17-4-0, with the rules of the CLVS program – just so I could have an intelligent conversation about the program with the officer.

    The CBSA officer first asked me for the “waybill” from UPS. I said that I didn’t have it, I only had the CI with the tracking number on it. I referenced para 26 of the D17-4-0, which says:

    “26. The importer must be provided with a receipt containing the details of the transaction that was reported to the CBSA, in accordance with Memorandum D1-8-1. In addition, the unique shipment number (tracking number, i.e., waybill number) which is identified on the cargo/release list should be provided. ”

    This paragraph led me to believe that the “unique shipment identifier number” WAS the UPS tracking number.

    However, the Officer said NO. There was yet another number, which is the “Cargo control” number, and it is the unique number that was assigned to the shipment. It’s the number that the CBSA cares about, and NOT the tracking number.

    I contacted UPS last week and attempted to get all the info I needed. They gave me the CI, but they wouldn’t give me the waybill, insisting that if I need that information, they would have to send the item back to Fort Erie before they could somehow give me that information.

    The Officer was very clear about the following points:

    1. There is NOWHERE in the CBSA rules that says I need to go to Fort Erie, or whatever port of entry, to clear the item. He would have cleared it right there at Pearson if I had the waybill from UPS.
    2. There is NOWHERE in the CBSA rules that says UPS needs to send the item back to Fort Erie before they can release the waybill and the unique identifier/cargo control number to me.
    3. It is ENTIRELY UPS’s internal workings that make it so difficult to clear items yourself, more details below…
    4. UPS mis-represented themselves when they told me I could only clear “personal effects” items myself, and that all other items needed to be handled in Fort Erie.

    He further said that if I wanted to clear the item myself, UPS would likely send the item back to Fort Erie and then insist that I physically show up in Fort Erie to do the clearing. He further suggested that UPS does this so that they can also delay you to the point where they invoke their “any packages not picked up within 5 days are sent back to the shipper” policy.

    He said that after UPS sends it back to Fort Erie, they could then move it around again inside the province, but that they would then charge you extra fees for “in-bond” movements. Which would equal or exceed the ridiculous brokerage fees that you try to avoid in the first place. Again, there is nothing in the CBSA rules that says UPS needs to do this. Under the CLVS program, it’s not like their Fort Erie warehouse is an more bonded than the Barrie warehouse. It’s just “how they do it”.

    I asked if I could request that the CBSA cancel UPS’s authorization under the CLVS, quoting para 5 of the D17-4-0:

    “5. The CBSA may cancel a courier’s authorization to participate in the Courier LVS Program if the courier:
    (a) requests in writing that the CBSA do so;
    (b) is bankrupt;
    (c) made a misrepresentation in obtaining the authorization;
    (d) has failed to comply with any act or regulation that prohibits, controls or regulates the importation or exportation of goods into or out of Canada;
    (e) made a misrepresentation regarding the courier’s responsibilities as an authorized courier under this program; or
    (f) no longer meets the requirements in paragraph 4.”

    I said that it’s pretty clear that UPS has violated (d) and (e). They blatantly misrepresent the CLVS program to the general public, and specifically to me in this instance. They refused to provide the information I needed under para 21:

    “21. Once goods are released, the courier is responsible for providing the importer or customs broker with all release information and supporting documentation for each shipment. For commercial goods the courier needs an undertaking from the importer or the importer’s broker that the appropriate accounting will be completed and the duties and taxes will be paid. The importer or broker needs to have posted security with the CBSA to obtain release before payment.”

    In the above paragraph, “released” means that CBSA didn’t select the package for inspection when it originally crossed the border. It was “released” to move about in UPS’s possession inside the province. To me, this means the package can be anywhere in the UPS system, and UPS is RESPONSIBLE FOR PROVIDING THE INFORMATION.

    The fact that they outright refuse to provide the information, at least without an (illegal) wild goose chase, means they are violating the terms of their participation in the CLVS program.

    Are there any lawyers out there listening to this? Do we have grounds for some kind of class-action lawsuit against UPS? Or at least some grounds to get them kicked out of the CLVS program? What should we do from here – please offer some legal suggestions….!?

    The officer understood my frustration, but he said that there is little he can do to get UPS kicked out of CLVS, and that was more a game for the politicians. Of course…

    So the bottom line of my attempt to clear today was that UPS didn’t/wouldn’t give me the right information.

    And the Officer was pretty clear that UPS makes it almost impossible to exercise your right to clear items yourself.

    Tomorrow I will contact UPS again and demand a copy of the waybill, with the CBSA-relevant control number on it. If they give me the “we have to send it back to Fort Erie” horse manure, I will inform them that they are violating the terms of their participation in the CLVS program, and see where that gets me.

    Sure, I want my brokerage fees waived on this shipment. But more importantly, I want EVERYBODY ELSE out there to also get around UPS’s extortionate brokerage fee, and in doing so, insist that UPS actually honours their responsibilities under the CLVS.

    In a sense, it’s too bad that UPS does waive the fee. Because it appeases the person, at the time, and the matter never gets escalated.

    I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow…

  • Trueler

    Hi Aspen,

    Thank you for update!

    Sorry for confusion. “Unique Shipment Identifier Number” differs from UPS tracking number. It should be printed on the package, or you may call UPS to ask what “Unique Shipment Identifier Number” is.

    It looks like CBSA in Pearson was incorrect asking you for waybill. As I understand UPS already provided waybill to CBSA at the port of entry. But I believe UPS must provide waybill to you by request as well.

    The latest reply from CBSA indicated following documents and information which we need to bring to local customs office in order to self clear:

    “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”

    Ask UPS for “unique shipment identifier number” and waybill. If they can’t provide waybill, ask for written refusal. Ask for shipment’s invoice as well.

    It looks like not only UPS makes obstacles on self-clearing process… The law tells that commercial invoice is enough, but CBSA in Pearson asks for waybill. Why?

    Ok. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow with your case. I’m going to order some stuff soon as well and go through the process of self clearing.

    That is right! If UPS just waives the fee it is not good. We have to establish an official way and force UPS to follow it! And let all the importers in Canada know about it.

    Thank you! Keep us updated.

    PS: it won’t be good if UPS will be excluded from CLVS program. If we will establish the way of self-clearing, we will definitely want to use UPS, because it is pretty fast.

  • Trueler

    Hi All,

    I have posted official reply from CBSA to the end of this article which clarifies things. Please take a look which information and documents should be required at local CBSA office in order to self-clear and avoid UPS brokerage fees.


  • Aspen

    Hi Trueler,

    I was unsuccessful in clearing this item myself, and I ended up paying the brokerage fee (I was charged $19.50 to pay $4 in sales tax on a $33 item – which, of course, is simply highway robbery).

    I did attempt to get the unique shipment identifier number (let’s call it the “USIN”) from UPS on the phone this morning. I explained to them that the CBSA officer’s first question was “do you have the waybill?”. So I assume that the USIN is printed on the waybill. But hold on…

    So the woman on the phone says NO, I CAN’T get a USIN from UPS, because it doesn’t exist!! The only way they can generate one is if the item goes back to Fort Erie. She explained (I am totally getting the run-around from both CBSA and UPS, can you tell??) that UPS brings stuff in from the States all the time. And they bring in a whole batch of packages together. The CBSA officers at the port of entry have the option to select packages for inspection. The ones they do inspect are pulled aside. The other items stay in a bundle of packages.

    Now, in the CBSA documentation, D17-1-2, they have an example of a “Consist Sheet”. And on such sheet, there would be a list of all items brought in together in a batch. On the sample Consist Sheet, each package has it’s own line, and it’s own “Cargo Control Number”. Each line also has Exporter & Importer info, number of pieces, description, weight, value and country of origin.

    I’ve heard the term “Cargo control number” before, and it seems to be a synonym for the USIN. I.e. I think CBSA would be able to reference the Cargo control number to clear the item.

    BUT, the UPS lady says that each package DOESN’T GET ASSIGNED a cargo control number when brought in together with other packages. I can’t see how this is possible, especially when it seems to be a specification of the CLVS program that each item does have a Cargo Control number, but ok for now. She says that all items under $1,600 (i.e. all items eligible for the CLVS program) just pass through the system without their own USIN. And if you want a USIN, they have to send the item back to Fort Erie so it can be pulled out of the system (and presumably out of the batch/list) and given its own USIN. Essentially, it sounds to me like this: UPS treats packages as CLVS items, but if you want to clear it yourself, they have to pull the package out of the CLVS system and treat it like it’s over $1,600. It would then get the full treatment as a package that needed special attention to get cleared.

    This, of course, flies fully in the face of the CLVS program. It doesn’t say anywhere that an importer has to treat a package like a >$1,600 item, just so it can get assigned a USIN that the CBSA will recognize. Such a requirement would totally defeat the point of the program.

    She did offer me another number that WASN’T the tracking number. She called it the “Shipment ID#”. It was an 11 digit combination of letters and numbers. At this point, it seemed like maybe that was the USIN, but she was adamant that CBSA would not accept that number either. It would have to go back to Fort Erie, for the “royal treatment”.

    She further said that the item that arrives at my door doesn’t get any special number that CBSA would recognize until after they do the clearing. But they don’t actually do the clearing until AFTER they take your money at the door.

    So after yet another frustrating call with UPS, going further down this rabbit-hole, I gave up and decided to just receive the item and pay the bro.

    I collected all the documentation that arrived with the package at the door. I have:

    1. The waybill – which was clearly printed by the shipper after he used to do the shipping. It had the to/from details, the tracking #, and the Shipment ID#, being the 11 digit combo of letters and numbers. Since this was printed by the shipper 2 days before it arrived in Fort Erie, I don’t think it has any special CBSA-assigned number on it.

    2. The Commercial invoice – I talked about this above. Has content details, weight, value, tracking #. This wasn’t enough for the CBSA guy.

    3. UPS brokerage invoice – the bill that the driver shows you to collect the bro and the taxes. This invoice has 2 more numbers that I hadn’t seen before. The UPS invoice number (9 digits, all numeric), and “Transaction No.”, which is 14 digits, all numeric). It also lists “Port of Entry – 0410 – Fort Erie”.

    At the end of the day, I am still no further ahead on understanding what the USIN is.

    My next step was to take all my documents back down to Pearson CBSA, and to have them show me what the USIN is. Because I have everything I am ever going to have right there in front of me.

    At this point, I’m not sure who is trying to be more difficult – UPS or the CBSA. I read other posts on other sites about how to clear items yourself, but NOWHERE does it mention EXACTLY what the USIN is. And this seems to be the hang up at the CBSA. It’s happened twice now, that I’ve gone to the office, thinking I had everything, and been bounced because of the stupid USIN.

    I won’t be near the airport for at least a week, so I’ll update again after that visit.

    Please, please, please, Trueler, let’s hunt this thing down until we kill it! We need to let people know exactly what to ask for, and exactly what to do. Or else the little guy just gets beaten down by the big machine of the system.

    If you can get SOMEBODY to commit to exactly what a USIN is, then please do… Because from my experience, a USIN is only a mythical creature that nobody has actually seen.

  • Aspen

    Oh, and there is no way that UPS will be pulled from the CLVS program, of course. But it’s a way for us, the general public, to make something happen. If we have a legal argument that they are violating their participation in CLVS, then maybe we will get somewhere with being able to clear items ourselves.

    Even if the self-clearing process is easy, there are still only a small % of people that will use it. So I don’t know what UPS is afraid of.

  • Trueler

    Hi Aspen,

    The unique shipment identifier number should be exactly the “Shipment ID#” printed on the waybill you got from UPS.

    So, looks like you have all the necessary information, because CBSA in Pearson asked you for the waybill. I know cases when UPS provided importer with “shipment’s invoice” which specifies all the necessary information as well.

    If you try to get something from UPS and they do not give it, ask for official written refusal and for ID of the person you talk to.

    Does the waybill specifies description of goods and value for duty? It is needed as well. Probably you will need shipment’s invoice from UPS as well, it your waybill does not specify value for duty.

    I can assure you, if self-clearance process is easy, a lot of importers would use it. But we have to do it easy first!

  • Aspen

    Hi Trueler,
    It looks like I can get to Pearson on Friday, so I’ll take the bundle of documents and get CBSA to “officially” tell me what they needed (post-mortem) for me to clear it myself.

    I’m not confident about the “Shipment ID#”, since it was generated by the shipper days before it hit the border.

    Do you know this for a fact, or are you using common sense?

    Because if it is indeed true, then UPS was willing, and in fact did provide that number over the phone. I could handle the old “no, you have to go to Fort Erie” intimidation thing that they do, provided they still give me the info. Then I just show the drive the receipt from CBSA, and they have to honour it.

    In fact, I could then have all the information right up front, sent by the shipper. I just ask the shipper to email me a .pdf or .jpeg of the waybill and the CI at the time of shipping. And I could go clear it BEFORE UPS even has their first delivery attempt. That would be sweet.

    Anyways, I’ll have another update on Friday.


  • Trueler

    I know that waybill specifies unique shipment identifier number. It does not matter when it was generated, because the process starts right after shipment occurs, when the actual package is in its original place.

    Do not ask CBSA in Pearson what they need! Bring them what main CBSA office told:

    - Unique shipment identifier number
    - Shipment’s invoice
    - Place where the package is being held (address of UPS facility)

    And bring printed reply from CBSA. They must follow it.

  • Rodrigo

    Hello everyone!
    First of all , sorry if my english is not perfect.
    My name is Rodrigo, I bought a turntable from the US and UPS charged me %40 of its value on brokerage fees. The Turntable was supposed to be delivered today (oct 20) This very day I realized about brokerage fee and about this blog and how people is trying to handle the problem…
    I was waiting for the turntable until 1 pm and then left the house to go to school (after reading this). I found that that UPS truck was parked a couple of blocks away. I asked the driver for my package and told him how upset I was due to this sudden brokerage fee charge. To my surprise, he advised me to go to Vancouver airport and to clear myself the item. So that’s what I’m going to do today’s evening.
    Some questions,
    IS the place where the package is being held , the last place mentioned in the tracking system? Or it can be different?
    The Unique shipment identifier number shouldn’t be the same invoice number? If not, UPS should give it to me?

    Thanks in advance, good luck to everyone in your issues with UPS and please wish me luck


  • Trueler

    Hi Rodrigo,

    UPS should give you necessary information and documents. Please check above comment for the list. It is better to double check with UPS if the last place mentioned in the tracking system is the same as the place where the package is being held. Unique shipment identifier number should be different from the invoice number (I’m not sure here).

    Share your experience after self clearing attempt. Hope it will be successful! Honestly!

    GOOD LUCK!!!


  • Rodrigo

    Well! I thought I was gonna have more problems, but no. Besides the long time that UPS took in order to “generate” the paperwork (like 40 min) everything ended working fine. No complications, no bad faces, I just had to pay GHT (BC tax) for the turntable in customs, but no brokerage fees. Thanks A LOT for all your info and comments.

    Good luck to everyone! Bring down UPS abusiveness kingdom hahaha


  • Trueler

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Rodrigo! Congratulations!
    Looks like the procedure of self clearing is working.

  • Aspen

    Hi Trueler,

    I went back to Pearson today with all the documents, numbers, information that I had for the shipment on which I just paid brokerage. I figured that the info they need must be somewhere, right? Especially because it’s already cleared and tax-paid! Certainly they could show me after the fact which document would do the trick.

    Wrong. They still asked for the waybill with the customs information on it. So it appears that the “USIN” we talked about is NOT on any documentation that I could get.

    They said that the only way to clear UPS items at a port (i.e. Pearson) that is NOT the original port of entry is to request that UPS send the item in-bond to Pearson, and then I could pick up the paperwork from UPS’s airport location. Then I take those docs to the CBSA office and I can clear the item. But otherwise, there is “no way” to clear the item at Pearson. More specifically, there is “no way” UPS will provide the requisite information without an in-bond movement (which costs extra $ and may negate any savings from not paying brokerage fees).

    I don’t understand your comment:

    “Do not ask CBSA in Pearson what they need! Bring them what main CBSA office told:

    - Unique shipment identifier number
    - Shipment’s invoice
    - Place where the package is being held (address of UPS facility)

    And bring printed reply from CBSA. They must follow it.”

    Why wouldn’t I ask the very people that are going to make or break my next self-clearing attempt? I can stand there and argue that they are supposed to clear the item, but without the right documentation, they are just going to bounce me again.

    Let me repeat the dilemna: UPS says they will NOT provide clearance documents, including the Unique Shipment Identifier Number aka Cargo Control Number UNLESS they return the item to Fort Erie. Only then can I have such documentation. And if I want to clear it at Pearson, I have to request an In-bond movement from Fort Erie to Pearson.

    The reason why Rodrigo was successful is that the Vancouver airport WAS the port of entry, so they were able to provide the necessary customs documents/USIN/Cargo Control number. Albeit at a cost of 40 minutes.

    That’s where I am. The CBSA officers were adamant that I should NEVER use UPS to import items because of their ridiculous brokerage fees. Or they said I could use Fedex, because I could go to the Fedex facility at Pearson, and they WOULD be able to give me the waybill/manifest/cargo control/whatever documents I needed.

    The problem here is squarely with UPS. It is their own internal B.S. policies that make this so difficult. They don’t HAVE to send the item to Fort Erie, at least not according to the CBSA. But the CBSA can’t MAKE them provide clearance info to people who want to self-clear at Pearson or Brampton, etc.

    I really want to be wrong about all this, so please correct me. But you can’t just say “take a copy of a website blog” as some kind of authority to make a CBSA officer somehow circumvent their system. They need what they need, and UPS won’t provide it.

  • Aspen

    I just read your related post under

    The UPS responses there are very clear:

    “UPS restricts in-bond movements to the first point of arrival. ”


    “A low value shipment (goods valued under $1600 CAD) is only considered released once a broker has been assigned. This will identify who will be accounting for the duties and taxes and also ensure payment. As you are not a certified broker, courier shipments cannot be released to your care. UPS is legally not able to move a shipment from the port until the release is in place.”

    I think it’s these 2 comments that UPS is using to deny us the clearance information we need to go to Pearson or Brampton to clear the items ourselves.

    Their second comment smells of horse manure, because any individual has a legal right to do his own clearing. And I’m not asking for the item to be released into my care, so neither I nor UPS is breaking any laws by asking to do the clearing myself BEFORE I take receipt of the goods.

    Of course they aren’t allowed to give you your package until it’s been either tax-paid, or a broker has collected your Visa number & promises to remit the tax next month. But again, I’m not asking them to do this.

    AND AND AND, we know from the D17-4-0 that the item IS considered CLEARED once it has not been selected for inspection at the border…

    21. Once goods are released, the courier is responsible for providing the importer or customs broker with all release information and supporting documentation for each shipment. For commercial goods the courier needs an undertaking from the importer or the importer’s broker that the appropriate accounting will be completed and the duties and taxes will be paid. The importer or broker needs to have posted security with the CBSA to obtain release before payment.

    This paragraph makes it abundantly clear that the whole broker assignment thing only starts to happen AFTER the item is cleared.

    So we’ve caught UPS in an outright LIE about this, I would say.

    The UPS respondent is correct in saying that they can’t move goods until they are released. But released doesn’t mean tax-paid. It just means the border guards haven’t selected it for inspection.

    UPS says “A low value shipment (goods valued under $1600 CAD) is only considered released once a broker has been assigned.”, but there is nothing in the D17-4-0 that supports this. Am I missing something, or are we slowly but surely exposing UPS for outright fraud & deceit?

    Where do we go from here? Where are the lawyers?

  • Trueler

    Hi Aspen,

    I’m referencing not to the blog post, but to the official reply from main CBSA office which specifies the list of documents (bring it to them and they must follow it):

    – Unique shipment identifier number
    – Shipment’s invoice

    UPS must provide this information. If they don’t provide, ask for official refusal! They usually send it by e-mail and fax. All you need is “shipment’s invoice” – it has all the info. You do NOT need a waybill. CBSA can not ask you for documents which you can not get from UPS. Show them official reply from CBSA, not the “blog post”. Again, they must follow it! Do not ask for what they “need”, tell them the rules.

    Airport in Vancouver was not the port of entry, I believe, because air-delivery is not subject to brokerage fees. So Rodrigo successfully implemented guidelines from the article and comments.

    Another guy just successfully completed self clearance. He did exactly how is written here. He got “shipment’s invoice” from UPS by fax, went to CBSA office where he showed official reply from the post and explained the procedure, paid taxes, and got B15 form!

    If you still have a desire to fight for your rights, go ahead, and be more specific with UPS and local CBSA. Good LUCK!!!


  • Trueler

    Aspen, I’ve already outlined in the article’s title that it is an outright fraud.

    We go to self clearance from here. Just let as many importers as you know about new procedures which CBSA advised to follow.


  • Aspen

    Hi Trueler,
    Perhaps I am being really, really dense, but I don’t see any document called “Official Reply from main CBSA Office” anywhere. All I see is a webpage with some excerpts from said document, but I don’t see that being binding on a CBSA officer.

    I’ve gone over every square inch of this page, and I don’t see any links, or hyperlinks, or whatever they are called.

    I would expect an official CBSA document to be on some sort of letterhead, and signed by someone important. Otherwise I’m just going to get laughed out of the CBSA office at Pearson again.

    Please show me (and everyone else) where this legally binding document is. I would love to see it.

    Otherwise you are asking me to go into (basically) a police station and start telling Officers that they are mistaken in how they do their job.


  • Trueler

    Hi Aspen,

    Sorry, if it is not clear enough from the article. But the reply from CBSA is almost at the end of the post between two solid gray lines (it is several paragraphs) after the sentence: “Canada Customs (CBSA) officially replied and provided procedure of self clearing process which UPS, CBSA offices, and importers should follow”. What kind of link would you love to see?

    I contacted CBSA several times. Initially they replied that it is possible to self clear locally and UPS was incorrect. Then I spoke to CBSA representative from Ottawa. And only after that CBSA sent me official reply with detailed procedures which I’m sharing here with other importers.

    Don’t be afraid to show this reply (from CBSA) to customs officers in Pearson. If they laugh at it (I’m sure they won’t, if you tell them what you are showing), write down their names, and ask for written refusal that they can not do self clearance for you. Make sure you have your shipment’s invoice (with unique shipment identifier number), address where goods are located, and money to pay HST. If it won’t work, send their refusal to me, and I will forward it to the CBSA person in Ottawa responsible for the Couries LVS Program.

    Hope it helps. Do not hesitate to ask any additional questions if the process is still not clear for you. We will try to find a solution and help.


  • Jim

    Hi all –

    I just want to personally thank Trueler and this website for saving me $23.30.

    I received a UPS yellow sticker on my door on Friday, Oct 15th when I arrived home from work. It stated that I missed my first attempt at delivery and they would try again. It also noted that I owed $23.30 in fees. I was immediately shocked as I purchased an item as a gift for my brother from a company in the US for $29.95usd. I paid for the item ($29.95) and the shipping fee to Canada ($12.95) and waited for my item to arrive.

    I thought it was completely absurd to have to pay $23.30 for an item that was $29.95. Anyway, I immediately googled some help, found Trueler’s website and took the appropriate steps.

    The first thing I did was to call UPS. I told them what I wanted to do (self-clear my package) and the Customer Service Agent immediately gave me the standard response that I couldn’t do that….I had to go to the port of entry (in my case, Montreal). I told her that Montreal is 4 provinces away and that wasn’t reasonable, and she said she was sorry, there was nothing she could do. I let it go a couple of hours, called back and spoke to a different CS agent. I told her the same thing. Said I needed to pick up a package that was delivered to me, told her I wanted to self clear. I got the same standard response (I wasn’t allowed to do that, etc). It was at this point, I politely cut her off and started quoting EXACTLY from this Blog post. I said I was already in contact with CBSA (which I wasn’t…) and said that I know from them, that I am “legally” able to self-clear any items that are sent to me. I told the CS agent that I was allowed to go to my local CBSA office (which is in my City and about 15 mins away) and self-clear. I informed her that I DIDN’T need to go to the port (Montreal). She objected, but I said I would need to have the “unique shipment identifier number” and a copy of the “Shipment Invoice”. Again, she objected. I must say, these UPS CS agents are trained VERY well to stick to their guns and they do everything possible to dissuade you from self clearing. There was no way was I backing down without getting this information. Her tone changed when I said the following (which I got directly from this blog):

    I said “I spoke with CBSA and they said it was illegal for UPS to deny my legal right to self-clear my package”. I then said “if you won’t give me the unique shipment identifier number and fax me a copy of the Shipment Invoice I need it in writing from UPS that you are refusing my right to self clear my package. I need to take this to the CBSA office.”

    It was at this point she told me to hold and she would chat with her Supervisor.

    She was gone about 10 minutes and when she came back, her tone had changed and she couldn’t have been more accommodating. She told me that normally they can’t do this, but they would make an exception, etc. She told me the number, took my fax number and within 10 mins, I had my fax in my hands!

    The next day, I drove down to the CBSA office and informed the 2 agents there that I wanted to self clear. They said that I could, looked at my information and began to proceed. I ended up only having to pay $3.96 and NOT the $23.30 that UPS wanted. I had to them call UPS back, them them that I had self cleared my item. I also had to fax the form I got from CBSA (B15) to two UPS numbers. The next day, I walked into my local courier company, and picked up my package!

    Was it a lot of work? It certainly was. Was it worth it to NOT have to pay the $23.30 to UPS? It certainly was. Never again will I deal with UPS. However, IF I do, at least now I know what to do.

    This just goes to show that if you follow Trueler’s steps, get those 4 pieces of information, this can be done and you can self clear. UPS won’t give up easily, but if you stick to your guns, you can get yours.

    Score one for the little guy.

    Thanks to Trueler and this website.

  • Trueler

    Hi Jim,

    You are very welcome!

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience here!

    To deal or not to deal with UPS is your choice (and everyone’s else). Other couriers (FedEx, for example) charge brokerage fees as well. Some of them may bring a package to you, but in a month or two they will send you an invoice asking to pay for ridiculous fees. USPS/Canada Post charge flat rate brokerage fee – $5, but you never know where your package is located. From my experience tracking system is not informative at all, it is not even updating its status. USPS delivery is usually more expensive and takes much more time (again, from my experience).

    I think it is the best to choose the courier company which you know how to work with and what to expect.


  • Jim

    Thanks Trueler –

    Again, based on this experience, I won’t be using UPS anymore. Granted, if I do, at least now I know how to self-clear.

    I have had the experience in the past where FedEx has delivered a package to me, and several months after, I have received a bill in the mail for fees that were QUITE expensive. I now need to find out how to clear items once they have already been received.

    If anyone has information on this, let me know. Thanks.

  • Derek

    Here’s a link to the CBSA Memorandum D17-4-0 on the Courier Low Value Shipment Program:

    Of particular note is the section on Release and Accounting, pg. 5:

    55. The courier or its agent is required to provide the importer with a receipt containing the classification of the goods, the transaction number, and a breakdown of the duties and taxes.

    56. If an importer wishes to account for the goods himself or herself, the courier does not release the shipment to the importer but holds the goods until the importer presents satisfactory proof that the appropriate duties and taxes have been paid directly to the CBSA. The importer must note the unique shipment identifier number and contact the courier to determine where the goods are held in a bonded warehouse until the release is effected.

  • Aspen

    That’s all fine and good, but it doesn’t say anywhere that the courier is NOT allowed to force the importer to go to the port of original entry in order to get a unique shipment identifier number.

    In my books, this UPS self-clearing issue is far from a slam-dunk. Nobody has shown the ability to clear at Pearson where the package arrives through Fort Erie or Windsor.

    There are 6 million + people in the GTA, and as far as I’m concerned, the CBSA office at Pearson should be processing self-clearances from people using UPS all the time. But they aren’t. It still doesn’t work. UPS will still insist that it needs to go back to Fort Erie.

    So far, other people on the site have had success in Vancouver, in Montreal, and in getting the brokerage fee waived. That’s really only 2 success stories.

    Has anyone had success doing this through Pearson or Brampton?

    Trueler – have you ordered something from the states and had success self-clearing? Are you located in the GTA?

  • Trueler

    Hi Aspen,

    Thanks for getting back in touch.

    CBSA replied that UPS was incorrect to inform importer that you have to present yourself at the office where the goods were located in order to self clear your personal shipments. So, UPS is not allowed to force the importer to go to the port of entry in order to get a unique shipment identifier number because it is part of self clearing process. Moreover, it is electronic information which is mentioned on the shipment’s invoice which UPS can send you by e-mail and fax.

    You had an opportunity to be the first importer who successfully cleared personal shipment at Pearson if you could properly use valuable information you had. Unfortunately you met some obstacles on your way. Somebody else will try and make self clearing procedure easy working at Pearson CBSA office to the benefit of all other importers.

    Again, UPS can NOT insist that you can not do self clearing locally. It is the law and confirmed by CBSA. Most people do not do self clearing because they are not aware of this, and UPS customer service representatives on the phone “do not allow this”, which is incorrect. We are here to let people know about the rights. And yes, there are already several successful stories described here (far from all the people like to share their experience). I believe there were much more successful cases.

    I’m located in GTA. When I was trying to do self clearance for the first time, CBSA officer in Brampton told that it was not possible and I had to go to the port of entry in order to get the documentation which the courier usually presents to Canada customs. He told me that information I showed him (some old reply from CBSA regarding the issue) was incorrect. After that I escalated the problem to CBSA which took couple of months. You already know the result. So now I have no doubt that next time I will be able to self clear successfully in a local CBSA office, let’s say Brampton. I’m going to order some stuff from US pretty soon.

    There is one simple point: let to know about the procedure of self clearing to importers you know. And then it will be very easy and painless, not only in Vancouver, St. John’s and Montreal (where we already have successful cases).


  • Mike Wang

    Hi Trueler,

    Thanks for your information about self clearance with UPS. I recently bought an item on ebay which valued for 300 dollars and the seller chose UPS ground for shipping. I was semi-aware of UPS expensive fees but it didn’t mattered to me until I received the yellow notice. They demanded 99 dollars brokerage fee. I called the UPS customer service line and explained about how expensive the brokerage fee was and how I would like to clear it myself. The man I spoke with was very compliant and sent me to the brokerage line. I spoke with one of the agent named Tammy and I explained my situation with her. She stated that I have to go to the Port of Entry to clear my item (Fort Erie.)I was reluctant to do so and I asked if I could just go to my local CBSA to self-clear. She declined and said it was too cost-inhibit or something like that but since I was a first time user of UPS she cut the brokerage fee by half. Which was 26 dollars. I decided not press on and just accepted her offer. Through my experience with UPS I’ll use UPS Worldwide Expedited if that was my last resort.

    Thanks Trueler

  • Trueler

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for sharing experience! Tammy from brokerage line was definitely incorrect sending you to the port of entry (Fort Erie). You should insist on your rights and ask for required documents next time. UPS has to provide them to you without going to the port of entry. Then you can pay taxes in any local CBSA office.


  • Amy

    I just bought a pair of boots from UGG Australia (Canada site). The price was the same as the retail price in Canada, and only charged $10 flat rate shipping.

    Only after I got the UPS tracking number, I noticed that the item was being shipped from California. So I tried to cancel my order with UGG, and they said they will re-route the package back to their warehouse, but being paranoid I checked the tracking number everyday, and sure enough the package was still being shipped to Vancouver. So I contacted UGG again, they advised that I should not refuse the package because it will be considered abandoned and will not be shipped back to them and I will not be refunded for the amount I was charge.

    Anyways the package arrived today, I was afraid to turn down the delivery but I did not get any brokerage invoice. I’m really worried after reading all these horror stories about the UPS fees, what can I do if they send me the invoice after I have returned my boots to UGG? I don’t want to pay $50 for nothing! Is there anything I can do now??

    Any help would be much appreciated!!


  • Trueler

    Hi Amy,

    Sorry for late reply. If you return an item, the taxes should be refunded as well. Now (when boots are in your possession) you owe taxes to Canada customs. UPS works as a broker as well, and they promise to pay taxes on your behalf to Canada customs by the end of the following month. UPS will send you invoice with HST and brokerage fees soon. Since you are going to return your package back, take the proof of return and present it to UPS then, they should waive your invoice.

    Just to be 100% sure, you may want to call UPS to confirm it. That should be true, because you will not have to pay any taxes.

    Do you think it really worth returning? Who will pay for return delivery?

    If you decide to keep your package, you may consider self-clearing if you have local CBSA office nearby. In this case you will have to pay only HST, but not outrageous brokerage fee.


  • saz

    I am expecting a package from US in a few days. I chose standard shipping. Didn’t know I would have to pay ‘extortion’ fees with that option. I going to give UPS a call. Lets see how it goes.

    Here is the list of offices where Office where Courier Low Value Shipments Program clearances are performed

  • saz

    The UPS website now says my package is now in transit in Windsor

    WINDSOR, ON, CA 11/25/2010 5:54 A.M. IN TRANSIT

    When do you think I should give them a call and tell them I want to do the customs myself?

  • Trueler

    Hi saz,

    As soon as you see that your package left Windsor, i.e. something like this:
    you may call UPS and ask to send shipment’s invoice to your e-mail or fax. If they do not know what shipment’s invoice is – ask for commercial invoice. Make sure they got your address or fax number correctly.

  • Anne

    Hi, I was trying to follow the instruction on this post to self-clear a package from ups.

    1. The shipment’s invoice I received from ups has no shipment ID#, only the tracking# looks like a sticker on the invoice starts with 1Z, and rep from ups told me this was prepaid package and therefore no such thing what I’m looking for.

    2. I went to the CBSA office in Scarborough to pay and I was told that this office only issue refunds. Then I called the CBSA to find out which local office would allow me to do self-clearance but I got an answer that: I have to go to the offices which are responsible for ups in Windsor or Hamilton, and that the package went through broker already then I cannot self-clear again. Moreover, he told me that there’s a reason that the package has to be cleared at those locations because they could physically exam it, and it’s against the law for what I’m trying to do!

  • Anne

    I’m trying to find the local CBSA office where I can pay taxes, so I called and was redirected to one at Front St Toronto, they told me that they don’t clear for UPS and gave me a 905 area number to call, I assume this is by the airport. Again I was told that it is not their jurisdiction to clear UPS item. I’m just trying to make sure which local CBSA office will accept taxes payment and issue the B15 before I waste another trip, but looks like I’m better off paying UPS $23~!!

  • Trueler

    Hi Anne,

    It is really strange and incorrect information from CBSA representative you spoke to over the phone. You are definitely allowed to pay taxes by yourself in any CBSA office which performs CLVS program clearances. You may find the list of offices in the link provided by saz in comments here or in the post with detailed instructions (with copies of invoice and B15 form).

    The representative from UPS told you that package is prepaid and you don’t have to pay anything? Unique shipment ID # is printed on the package label as well, so you could just write it down when you’ve seen it. Does the shipment’s invoice specifies what goods are in your package and what is value for duty?

    If you think that spending another trip worth more than ~$23, it’s your choice.

  • Anne

    Hi Trueler,

    I just paid UPS $23 for an item valued $30 due to some other costs (rush hour driving across GTA, parking fee at Pearson). I will try self-clear on next item from UPS, if there’s one. But I would like to point out the information I have had at this time for use of self-clearance.

    1. UPS fax – shipment’s invoice with tracking #

    2. UPS gave me shipment ID # over phone – they cannot generate one until after 2 weeks from the time of entry, (do we need physical doc to show to CBSA?)

    3. CBSA Pearson – the one and only in GTA, the address is for receiving postal, cannot get confirmation of the physical location


  • Trueler

    Hi Anne,

    Thank you for update! It was a good decision for you now, because driving to Pearson during rush hour is not the best idea. For future it is good that CBSA in Pearson works 24/7. I’ve just checked map of the Pearson International Airport, and CBSA is located in Terminal 1 level 1 (arrivals). According to the map, it is close to exit “E” to the street. If you go to Pearson with your next shipment, please take reply from CBSA from this post (just copy it to the document and print) and show them instructions. If they do not agree, kindly ask them to clarify it with the main CBSA office by phone.

    Actually there is another CBSA office in GTA which performs clearances of personal shipments – Brampton (407 & Hurontario). They already know these instructions :)

    I don’t think that CBSA needs physical doc with shipment ID #, written number should be ok.

    One more hint! I have recently figured out how to get shipment ID # by yourself. If you create an account on UPS website, login, and track your shipment, you may see it in “Reference Number(s):” section on the second place. Anne, can you please check it for your tracking number and let us know if it is the same number UPS gave to you? If you don’t want to register on UPS website, just never mind :)


  • saz

    Hi Trueler,

    I have 3 references #’s. Not sure which one is the Shipment ID # though.

    Tracking Number:
    1Z3Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Saved
    In Transit
    In Transit
    Shipped To:
    Shipped/Billed On:
    Reference Number(s):
    Axxxxx, Wxxxxxxx, 3xxxxxxxxxx
    Special Instructions:
    3.00 Lbs

  • Trueler

    Hi saz,

    Mine was starting with characters which go right after “1Z” in the tracking number. It is “3X…” in your case. So I believe that Shipment ID # for your case is the third reference number “3Xxxxxxxxxx”. My Shipment ID # had 11 characters as well.

    Thanks for help to figure out how to get Shipment ID #!


  • Anne

    Hi Trueler,

    I registered an account with UPS, the shipment ID # is listed by Reference Number, mine has only 1 set of numbers. Thanks for the new hint!!

    If I have B15 form on hand for the driver, would the driver release the package or it’s better to inform UPS beforehand? I would love to skip the conversation with UPS about self-clearance :)


  • Trueler

    Hi Anne,

    You are very welcome!
    Most likely driver will not accept B15, because they are not trained to do so. You will have to fax B15 to UPS brokerage department, call them and ask for release. At the same time you may schedule delivery.
    In my case I could skip conversation with UPS about self-clearance. Driver did not ask me to pay anything and just gave me the package. Then I called UPS to figure out if I should expect invoice – they confirmed that there is an invoice expected. I’ve asked about self-clearance and they told me the same story that it is not possible. I called again and just asked for shipment’s invoice – they send it to me. After self-clearance at CBSA I called again and asked how to present them B15 – they gave me UPS brokerage department’s fax number. Now I do not expect any invoices from UPS for this shipment.


  • saz

    Hi Anne,

    Can you confirm if the Shipment ID # is an 11 digit alpha numeric #?

    To Trueler:

    a) If they are going to invoice me after should I just let the driver deliver and then I can ask UPS for the shipment invoice, go to the CBSA office, get the B15 and then fax them over to the brokerage department.

    b) Do you have the fax #?

    c) Is parking free at the Brampton CBSA office?



  • Trueler

    Hi saz,

    a) This is exactly what I did
    b) Yes. I’ve asked UPS for the fax number. It is 1-770-990-1724 (UPS Brokerage Department). Make sure you put your tracking ID number on the cover page, so it won’t be lost. I’ve put this fax number in the detailed instructions at How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee
    c) Yes. Parking is free at the Brampton CBSA office. There are no any “Canada Customs” signs at the street. When you locate the building, turn left as soon as you enter. There will be a door on your left.


  • Trueler

    As I understood, Anne got the shipment’s ID # from UPS, and the number appeared on the web page after registration was the same.

  • Anne

    Hi saz,

    My shipment ID # is 11 digit alpha numeric # starts with 69F.

  • saz

    Hi Trueler,

    Just to let you know the progress of my shipment. I am guessing now the CBSA has enough information for me to go there and self-clear my package.

    12/01/2010 2:00 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
    12/01/2010 4:28 A.M. IMPORT SCAN
    12/01/2010 1:30 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

  • Trueler

    Hi saz,

    Please make sure you have shipment’s invoice with description of goods and value for duty, unique shipment identifier number, and address where goods will be on hold when you go to CBSA and self-clear your package.

    Current tracking status means that your package successfully crossed Canadian border, i.e. customs decided to let it go.


  • mrmomar


    I tried your method today for a shipment of goods purchased online from Boston, MA to Calgary, Alberta Canada. I had already read your post and comments and was prepared for the typical UPS roadblocks described above. I will share my own experience below. Personally, I think UPS is changing their tactic as a result of this blog to make it even more difficult. It is our responsibility to inform CBSA and consumers of these tactics in order to force UPS to make self-clearing easier.

    Bottom line: UPS does not want people to self-clear packages because they make $$ doing it for us.

    12:00 pm.
    UPS called to ask for authorization to act as a broker on my behalf. I refused and said I would self-clear the package. They agreed, then informed me I would have to go to the warehouse in Winnipeg! 1300km away! They said the only way to self-clear a package is if it is personal effects (goods older than 6 months that you already own and are shipping across borders). I told her that she was misinforming me and asked her to submit in writing a statement that UPS is refusing to let me self-clear the package. She said she did not have access to email (a lie that I later found out when calling back) and could fax it only. I had it faxed to work.

    The fax states:
    “packages that are entering into the port of Winnipeg cannot be cleared though [SIC] another port – example : Calgary – unless – it is personal effects”

    I asked for her name, employee ID#, told her I would contact CBSA and hung up.

    12:30 pm
    I called CBSA (1-800 461-9999) and complained UPS would not allow me to self-clear a package unless I went to the port of entry. The CBSA agent said this is incorrect and that the package could be transported between from Winnipeg to the bonded UPS warehouse in Calgary, where it could then be self-cleared locally. This is consistent with CBSA’s Memorandum D 17-40 Section 16: “Courier LVS Program Release Process
    16. When Courier LVS goods arrive in Canada at an office other than the office of release, the in-bond movement of the shipments to the office of release is permitted…”

    12:45 pm
    I called UPS again to ask for an electronic copy of my invoice to provide to CBSA. She read the notes on my shipment and informed me again I would have to clear the shipment in Winnipeg. She agreed to send the invoice via email, but I never received it. I told her I had spoken with CBSA and they informed me that the previous UPS representative was incorrect – I could self-clear the package in at the bonded UPS Calgary warehouse. She immediately put me on hold to speak to a ‘brokerage specialist’. 5 minutes later she came back and told me that CBSA was correct, but that my package would not be travelling ‘in-bond’ between Calgary and Winnipeg. She explained that if it is not travelling in-bond, then it must be released by CBSA in Winnipeg and all duties / taxes paid prior to release. I told her that I would gladly submit the CBSA required documents to a local CBSA office and have them fax it to Winnipeg for release. I also asked her to email / fax me a statement that my package would not be travelling in-bond between Winnipeg and Calgary. After this request, I was immediately put on hold and transferred to the UPS ‘brokerage specialist’.

    The broker specialist reiterated that only personal effects could be released without visiting Winnipeg. I repeated that I knew this was not the case, and that I would like a written statement that my shipment would no be travelling in-bond between Winnipeg and Calgary. She diverted the topic by saying that the UPS Calgary warehouse is bonded, but that this particular shipment is not travelling in-bond. I explained that I was certain there was a way to self-clear the package, and that I had no problems staying on the phone until she explained how it could be done. When I cited that their statement also contradicts the CBSA’s Low Value Shipment program, she again said that this particular shipment did not fall under the LVS program because CBSA had requested to inspect it already. I found that a little odd since it isn’t due to arrive in Winnipeg for another 4 days.

    After some back and forth, she offered to split the brokerage fees. I explained that I was determined to self-clear this package. Within a couple minutes, they waived the brokerage fee entirely, and I agreed to pay for the duties and GST only.

    While this was financially successful for me (no brokerage fees, but I was on the phone for over an hour), I was not able to actually self-clear a package at the UPS warehouse in Calgary. I suspect that I caught them in a lie by telling me that the package was not travelling in-bond between Winnipeg and Calgary, which is why they would not submit it in writing, and they gave a lot of ‘special circumstances’ for this particular package. The fact they would tell me it is not travelling in-bond is concerning — this suggests that it is travelling without protection, insurance, etc. In this case, I don’t know which situation is worse, the truth or a lie.

    I believe that UPS is well aware of our right to self-clear packages, and they will take any tactic to prevent it. It is in their own best interest to waive the brokerage fee to the occasional customer than to make self-clearing an easy process. In doing so, they are protecting their ability to charge an exorbitant fees for a small amount of paperwork. When I asked why USPS charges $5, they said it was because the postal service is a government agency. Unless consumers continue to complain to exporters, UPS managerial staff and the CBSA, this situation will not change. Currently, brokerage fees are acting as an enormous barrier for international and electronic commerce, particularly for small businesses and their costumers who rely on couriers as part of doing business.

    I will also be filing a complaint with the CBSA and UPS.

  • Trueler

    Hi mrmomar,

    Thanks a lot for your detailed experience!

    UPS does not want to let people self-clear because they make money, absolutely agree with you.

    The fact that UPS waived brokerage fee for you (and for some other people) obviously confirms that people are allowed to do self-clearance :) It is cheaper for UPS to waive brokerage fees for some people, rather than show that they allow self-clearance. However, they already showed it because we have several successful cases here.

    When I’ve asked to send invoice to my e-mail they could do it only with the second attempt, when they spelled my address back and there were ~6 mistakes in 10 letters. Make sure they get you address correctly.


  • GMDee

    I just received a first notice of delivery from UPS for and order totalling $280.00. $60 of that was shipping (UPS ground), and I just found out the brokerage fee is an additional $98. I did a quick Internet search and found this invaluable website, went through it and decided to call UPS. I was told by the agent that because the package was already cleared, I wouldn’t be able to self-clear it. He said that if I wanted to self clear, I would have had to call the company I ordered the product from and decline UPS’ brokerage service before the package made it to the border. Basically I was told that it was too late for me to recuperate the brokerage fee and that I am stuck with it.

    From what I’ve read on this blog, you can refuse a package at the door (so it has obviously already been cleared), and still attempt to self clear it, thereby avoiding the brokerage fees. I think what I’ll do is call UPS back in a while and speak to a different rep., change my tactic and try again. Has anyone else been told this by UPS? for the most part it seems that the UPS reps will deny altogether that you can self clear. This rep was clever in saying that self-clearing is possible, however it was too late for me to do so.

  • GMDee

    Just called back, and the rep had no problem letting me self-clear; however, because I live on Vancouver Island, and UPS uses Purolator as a delivery service on the Island (UPS doesn’t actually do any of the deliveried here), the package would have to be sent back to Richmond B.C (the port of entry), where I would then have to go to fill out the paperwork and clear the package. Because there are no UPS warehouses on the Island, I’m stuck taking the ferry to the mainland.

    There may be a way to self clear the package, but its looking as though I’ll have to deal with two separate couriers on this one. It isn’t worth it this time, unfortunately. I sure as hell am never going with UPS again though.

    To anyone looking to self clear, just be aware that UPS may be changing their tactics. I spoke to three different reps (two in the US and one in Canada), and not once was I told that I wasn’t allowed to self clear. It seems that UPS is trying to make self clear very difficult, rather than denying that it can be done.

    Good luck to all!

  • Trueler

    Hi GMDee,

    Thank you for sharing experience!

    Everyone is allowed to self clear when package already went through port of entry customs. This is what CBSA tells, and Low Value Shipment program states. UPS was incorrect telling you that you can not pay taxes by yourself.

    One question to you. Do you have CBSA office nearby? If you do have, you can ask UPS for shipment’s invoice and self clear. UPS will provide all necessary information to Purolator after you provide B15 form to UPS (we have such a case done successfully in St. John’s). For more detailed instructions you may see this post:

    How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee

    If you don’t have local CBSA office nearby, then unfortunately you have no choice other than paying brokerage or taking ferry.

    Best Regards,

  • Trueler

    Looks like there is a tendency of successful self-clearing now.

    Share your experience!


  • Jim


    I have dealt with UPS and their crooked brokerage department many times and finally got on my search engine and found this blog. Thanks for your efforts in all of this. What I’ve learned here today will be sent to my entire address book and to anyone else that wants it. I have one question though. If I intercept my package after it crosses the border (before delivery) and I have the appropriate documents, can I not just FAX the B15 form to UPS showing all duties and taxes are paid and my shipment will arrive at my door without charges? I have checked with a couple of the companies I order things from in the states and they tell me that they put the shipping ID number on the commercial documents and the (in this case) NAFTA documents. If I understand correctly, I can get the required info from the shipper and don’t need to get anything from UPS? Can you comment.

  • Trueler

    Hi Jim,

    If I understood the first question correctly, so yes, you can just fax the B15 form to UPS. If it will be enough time for brokerage department to handle this info and waive the fee in the system, so the driver won’t ask you to pay. Now it is pretty common practice that drivers don’t ask to pay, but UPS sends you invoice in several weeks. In this case you are fine as well. If driver asks to pay for invoice at the door, so call UPS to schedule delivery when they update the system with the information that taxes paid. Usually it takes 1-2 days.

    If the there is a shipment ID number, description of goods, value for duty, address on the invoice which you can get from the shipper, there is no need to ask UPS about anything. In my case UPS sent me by e-mail exactly the same invoice which shipper sent to UPS.

    Best Regards!

  • Jim

    Greetings all!
    I posted to this site a while ago (Oct 26, 2010 – “Jim”) about my experiences of dealing with UPS and following Trueler’s instructions and not having to pay UPS fees. I keep dropping back from time to time to read the posts. I agree with the above poster – this info/blog should be made available to ALL Canadians, esp. those who buy on eBay! eBay should make a sticky so that all Canadians buying stuff from the US that is shipped vis UPS know their rights…

  • Trueler

    Thank you Jim for good words and spreading it around!

  • LVSinfo

    Hello, I have been reading the comments on this website. It is heartening to see folks asserting their rights to self clear and disheartening to see both UPS and the CBSA still making it difficult.

    One comment I wanted to make was to clear up some confusion on the unique shipment identifier number. The 14 digit Transaction number is indeed the unique shipment identifier number. With this number Customs can see all electronic documents submitted to them that are related to that number. So if they need the cargo control number they can pull it up in their system using the 14 digit transaction number.

    You may want to just outright request the transaction number and quote paragraph 55 from D17-4-0 which says they must provide it. This is less vague than asking for the unique shipment identifier number and all couriers/brokers/CBSA officers will know what this number is. Why the D memo references transaction number in paragraph 55 but unique shipment identifier number in 56 I do not know, but they are one in the same.

    A transaction number will always be more useful to CBSA then any other number you give them. (although if you do have the cargo control number they can find the related transaction number and vice versa.)

    It is interesting to see UPS switching to Fedex’s tactic of leaving the package without collecting the duties and taxes (and brokerage fee) and sending a bill later. This is blatantly against the LVS rules outlined in D17-4-0,(they are not to leave the package with the importer until the importer has paid the duties and taxes, its black and white) but as Trueler has outlined when they doe this it makes it very easy to go pay your duties and taxes and fax the copy of the B15 to the courier. (I do this all the time with Fedex)

    My suggestion to anyone that has followed the correct rules to pay their duties and taxes and has run into road blocks with the UPS and CBSA that are contrary to what is laid out in D17-4-0 would be to write the Minister in charge of the CBSA and complain. Be very detailed, document every call you make and who you talked to and what was said. Make sure for both UPS and the CBSA you ask to talk to a supervisor and get their names and what they said. Outline how what you were told is contradictory to the CBSA regulations in D17-4-0. Honestly the only way UPS and other couriers that are violating the regulations will change their ways is to get their knuckles rapped by the government. The only way this might happen is if enough people make proper complaints (with details) to the proper politician.

    The minister in charge of the CBSA is:
    Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews
    Parliament Hill
    Suite 306, Justice Building House of Commons
    Ottawa. Ont. K1A 0A6
    Ph:(613) 992-3128
    Fx:(613) 995-1049

    Remember all mail to members of parliament requires no postage and they are required to respond (though it is often a canned response)

  • Trueler

    Hi LVSinfo,

    Thanks a lot for following brokerage fee related threads here and your post! Really appreciate it!!


  • LVSinfo

    I was just looking over the CBSA website and I noticed they have added an electronic feedback form, to send them complaints or compliments about CBSA programs or service provided by staff. This could be a good, easy, first step to making concerns known to the powers that be at the CBSA that their is a problem with non compliance of the LVS customs regulations by the couriers and its adversely affecting CBSA clients (the importers). Check it out, it beats complaining snail mail. Click the feedback form link at:

  • Trueler

    Thank again, LVSinfo!

    I used to communicate with CBSA via e-mail. This is how I got a reply with instructions how to deal with UPS/FedEx/Others brokerage fees. But it takes weeks to get replies even by e-mail.

    Guys, please fill the feedback on CBSA website with your detailed explanations if local CBSA offices or UPS do not follow instructions!

    Good Luck!

  • Sabs

    Hi Trueler,

    I’m in Mississauga. Unfortunately I only came across this page after the payment of fees. $350. So far the highest of everyone on this page (do I win a prize?) This was all because I had my parents send me my laptop from NJ with UPS because I forgot it there when I visited last. They wrote the value as $2000 so it would be properly insured if something were to happen. I ended up paying the HST (252.20) Brok fee ($87.26) and the Brok fee tax (11.34) even after speaking with CS and asking them to reduce the fees out of “good faith” on my own computer.

    So now I am in the process of getting a refund through CBSA Informal Adjustment Request. I am already running into problems and I’m just filling out the form. It’s asking me for the CBSA import receipt number, which I don’t have. In the instructions, it says under field 3

    ” Provide the CBSA inventory/import receipt number from the CBSA Postal Import Form or the Casual Goods Accounting Document or from a courier receipt. You must attach the original import document”

    This is scary because I don’t have these forms from UPS and it isn’t on the UPS Invoice, or the UPS page I got from the driver, as far as I an see.

    If anyone knows what I have to do, please let me know, otherwise I’m going to the CBSA offices to ask them.


  • Trueler

    Hi Sabs,

    Taxes and fees on your own computer for which you’ve already paid taxes?!

    Either UPS incorrectly assessed the shipment or your parents told in UPS store that they are selling that laptop to you. I believe it is the first case. So, it is entirely UPS fault. “Value for duty” definitely had to be marked as zero because it is a product already purchased in Canada.

    Just imagine. You are traveling with a laptop which costs $1000 every weekend across the border from Canada into US and back. Should you pay over $500 each month in taxes to Canada Customs?


  • Eric


    Is this methods still working?
    I recently wanted to clear my item locally however both UPS and CBSA told me that only way for me to clear the item is to be at Fort Eerie.

    I was also told that above (“The final and proven way of how to avoid UPS brokerage fees”) is not possible by the CBSA agent named Matthew on January 20th 8:13AM.

    My item is currently at Fort Eerie being cleared.

    Thanks for your response (Hopefully before UPS arrives).
    I’m hopeless as I have been denied by CBSA.

  • Trueler

    Hi Eric,

    Yes, it is working. Please refer to this post as well to see how the process exactly works:

    How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee

    You’ve got incorrect information from UPS and CBSA agent Matthew.

    Note, that you don’t even have to inform UPS that you want self clear. Just ask them to provide shipment’s/commercial invoice with shipment ID number (or you can get it by yourself when logging in to the system).

    When clearing in CBSA office – show them instructions which I posted here obtained from main CBSA office in Ottawa (did you show them to Matthew?). They have to follow them. Otherwise put the name of the officer who refused to assist you and make a complaint to the ministry.


  • Nicole

    I was charged $40 in brokerage fees for a gift sent to me from NYC to Toronto. The gift was $45. The rep at UPS told me this was duty as the invoice of the gift was over $100. When I got the gift the invoice clearly said the gift was only $45. I spoke with UPS today and let them know I was expecting a full refund and was not going to let it drop until I got one.

    They actually have a class action lawsuit against them and CTV is considering doing a story about this unethical and what I consider criminal behaviour. Anyway, I do suggest people that have been charged this fee ask to speak with a supervisor and insist on a refund. They do not ask permission to be your broker and that is illegal. When I mentioned this, the supervisor said she would process a full refund.

    I cannot believe this company as well as FEDEX apparently gets away with doing this.

  • Trueler

    Thanks Nicole for your input. It was indeed kind of criminal behavior from UPS around your gift.

    I hope CTV will consider not the fact that UPS does not ask permission to be your broker (because it will not have any positive results), but violation of the Low Value Shipment program where all the importers are allowed to pay taxes and duties at any local CBSA office without driving hundreds of miles to the port of entry as UPS and some uneducated CBSA officers illegally force you to do!

    CTV, do you hear us?


  • If you have a story to share regarding UPS, please send an email to CTV NEWS:

    UPS is horrible and we need to warn others before they get burned too.

  • Trueler

    Hi Lydia,

    There are already a lot of detailed stories regarding UPS as you may see here in comments and in another article as well:

    How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee

    Message to CTV News: If you decide just to say bad words about UPS and advertise national Canada Post with USPS, it will not help at all! Almost all the people in Canada are already aware of the outrageous brokerage fees from UPS, and that USPS/Canada Post do not charge it (or just $5 flat fee).

    CTV, please let people know that there is a way to avoid brokerage fee and still use UPS!

    Everyone can pay taxes and duties at any local CBSA Office.

    The only requirements are that shipment’s value for duty is below $1600 and there is a local CBSA office available (there are many of them across Canada).

    The procedure of self clearing is not hard, but UPS and some local CBSA agents are against of it and they are making the process almost impossible from time to time.

    CTV, you may really help Canadian importers by spreading the word of self clearance procedure in any local CBSA office! There are even several offices in GTA. You may interview CBSA officials in Ottawa to triple-confirm the official reply from CBSA which I posted in this article.

    Everyone! Please share your story here! It is indeed helpful, so we can see how UPS changes its tactic and we can probably find the next solution.

    PS: USPS/Canada Post is a different story. If you pay taxes yourself, UPS is a wa-a-ay much better than USPS/Canada Post, because it is many times quicker (compare 6 calendar days and 1.5 months), less expensive, and you know where your package is located every single hour.

    Thanks in advance!

  • Eric

    Hello Trueler

    I was told that the bill will be on package and they cannot send me a copy to my e-mail.
    So instead of UPS commercial invoice, can I use the Paypal invoice which was the original at the time?

    Or does it not work for the “How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee”?

    Thanks again Trueler!

  • Eric

    I got the Bill by trying with another rep, thanks and I apologize Trueler

  • Trueler

    Hi Eric,

    UPS inventing new things… “commercial invoice only on the package”… hm

    I suggest you following. Try one by one until success.

    - Please call another representative and ask for commercial invoice to be sent to your e-mail. If refused, ask for supervisor (in one of my cases only supervisor of supervisor could send it to me).

    - If UPS does not provide it, please contact your seller. They have absolutely the same document. Actually, they send shipment’s/commercial invoice to UPS. Ask them to e-mail it to you. It is different from PayPal invoice! Seller specifies “value for duty” on it – it is needed by customs.

    - If no luck with seller, print out you PayPal invoice with the description of the goods and value for duty. Login to the UPS website to get your Shipment ID. Put this ID along with tracking number on PayPal invoice. It will probably be accepted by the customs (I don’t guarantee this).

    UPS and seller should definitely provide you with invoice, so there will no need in PayPal invoice I hope.


  • Trueler

    Thanks Eric for update which you posted while I was typing answer to your previous question :)

  • Ben

    I just phoned UPS at 1-800-742-5877
    I talked to ROBIN @ EXT 2116

    She gave me the usual rundown.
    I told her, she is a manager and has the right to refund money and that “I ONLY WANTED HER TO DO WHAT WAS RIGHT”

    I hit her morals and she crumbled.




    I think I may drop a package in their drop box, hopefully the shit won’t stink up my car on the way their.

  • Nick

    Hi Trueler,
    I bought a $1900 computer from California and it was shipped through UPS on January 26. What are my options to avoid or minimize these UPS fees since the value of my item is greater than $1600? I know you said that I must present myself at the port of entry to clear my goods, but I live in Toronto and I’m assuming the port is really far.
    On the UPS tracking web page it says that the “Package data processed by brokerage waiting for clearance” in Windsor, ON. Not sure if that is the port of entry, but if it is, it is definitely too far for me to travel to.

    Any ideas?


  • Trueler

    Hi Nick,

    If the value for duty is specified as $1900 on the shipment, so it can not be cleared by yourself in a local CBSA office, because it does not fall under CLVS program. I’m sorry for this.

    I did not research the issue of minimizing brokerage fees for items above $1600. You may try to search for this in some Canadian forums.

    Since it is a computer, and there is some software installed on it, probably shipper reduced value for duty to be under $1600. I believe it is not illegal to do so, because you could just pay online and download that software without any delivery. I hope that seller took this into account (or another legal aspects) which helped to offset the value for duty under $1600.

    Just wait for your shipment to be sent from Windsor to Concord, and then you may call UPS and ask what fees you will be required to pay at the door. And ask for commercial/shipment’s invoice to be sent by UPS to your e-mail. Tell that it is necessary for your records, don’t tell about self clearance. In this invoice you will see what “value for duty” seller specified. If they refuse (they sometimes do) ask for supervisor, or try another agent.

    There is another way if you will have problems getting commercial/shipment’s invoice from UPS. Wait for your shipment to be delivered to you, and take a copy of C.O.D. invoice which you will have to pay (driver will present it to you) and the label on the shipment. You may take a photo of them and print out later. If the value for duty is below $1600, you can do self clearance. In this case tell the driver that you are going to dispute your C.O.D. bill. He will bring your shipment to the Concord UPS warehouse.

    Since the computer has been shipped on January 26 from California, I’m expecting it to cross the border in Windsor on January 31 – February 1, and delivered to you one or maximum 2 days later. Usually it takes 6 days from California to Toronto (I ordered stuff from there several times). “Package data processed by brokerage waiting for clearance” just means that electronic data about your shipment was sent to the port of entry – Windsor. Actually there were no any brokerage services involved yet.

    Alternatively, you may ask seller to send you commercial/shipment’s invoice which they have already sent to UPS along with your shipment. You will have an idea of what is the value for duty specified.

    Hope it will be helpful.


  • Marie

    Thanks for sharing this information with us. It gets really ridiculous when you pay shipping to the vendor, brokerage fees to UPS/Fedex AND taxes on top of it all, sometimes costing you double the original price of the goods!

  • Harold Brochmann

    I have just received a hearing aid from China.

    They charged me $50 shipping. Enough, for something that weighs maybe 150 grams, but that’s not the issue.

    UPS have presented me with this bill:
    Import Freight $113.20 (I thought that’s what the $50 was for)
    Intl Extended Destination Surcharge $30
    Fuel surcharge $18.62 (Fuel for what?)
    Total Shipping Charges $161.62

    Note that there are no duty or taxes (medical device for personal use)

  • Trueler

    Hi Harold,

    It is indeed outrageous. I was sure (and still sure) that at least “fuel surcharge” is definitely part of delivery charges.

    I have only two explanations:
    - UPS made some error and wrongly issued additional charges for you
    - Seller wanted to give you “better deal” and paid only some necessary delivery charge leaving the rest on addressee. Most likely you would not want to buy from that place knowing that delivery cost $211.62


  • Michael

    I just wanted to thank you for this great site because thanks to it, I’ve managed to beat UPS at their stupid brokerage game.
    I had one of their yellow tickets on my door, saying there was almost $40 due in brokerage on a package. I called to check to see what the breakdown was, and the cost of shipping the package was $20, the contents were valued at $45 (although they are free samples, so essentially have no cost) and they wanted $5.82 in taxes and the remaining $34 was their brokerage fee. They gave me the usual runaround, and I gave up. I went online, found your site and called back. Things changed a lot.
    I told them I wanted to clear the package myself. They said I would have to go to Montreal, and I said no I wouldn’t – I could go to St Stephen in NB (which is still 90 minutes away, but anything to make sure they don’t get the money…). They said I would need the package, and I said no. They started to get frustrated and told me they would not charge the brokerage this time and only the taxes – $5.82 – and suggested I use a different courier company in the future. I said I’d be happy to and I’d have the money waiting tomorrow for the delivery guy.
    I’m now in the process of counting out the pennies from my change jar to give a big bag of coins to the UPS man; I hope he counts it…
    Thanks for the great advice, and I would suggest that everyone is persistant, tell UPS that you want to clear the package by yourself and wait for them to cave. Information = power!

  • Trueler

    Thanks Michael for sharing your experience!

  • Trusted

    TNT Express

    Ordered some stuff from china and decided to give TNT a try since i had heard UPS/fedex/DHL overcharge for brokerage fees..

    Was relieved when I talked to the TNT customer rep over the phone and he said “The system does not show that I have to pay anything”… great i thought..

    A month later I receive a call from someone at TNT telling me I owe them $28.25 … this makes things worst because i ended up ordering another package through TNT believing their lies that they do not charge brokerage frees or that i did not owe any brokerage fees to them

    I was wondering if someone could clear up the following issues for me:

    1) They never supplied me with an invoice at the time of delivery
    2) Lied to me over the phone that I did not owe them anything
    3) I was never given any option to chose or refuse TNT brokerage at anytime
    4) No invoice was supplied to me at the time of delivery
    5) My packing slip does not show any duties being paid
    6) My parcel was labeled “Trade sample worth no commercial value”

    Can i still self-clear the item ?
    Anyone with any ideas regarding this??

  • James


    Luckily, I stumbled upon this before my order was shipped!
    I bought an iMac on ebay the other day

    I have informed the seller that I wanted the tracking number of the item in order to call UPS and inform them of the CBSA “pick-up.”

    I will call them outlining that I wish to clear my items through the local CBSA office. (This being in Ottawa)
    If I get refusal I should write down his/her name, time and phone number I called in.

    What should I go upon doing after this? I’m guessing that if they refuse my “rights” so to speak, of clearing it myself that I should (when shipment arrives) take down the Courier’s name, shipment invoice, ID number, and where the package is being held.

    Then what?
    I need to make sure I know before it arrives.
    Any help is appreciated.

    Thank you so much, this link is great.

    - James

  • Trueler

    Hi James,

    Please take a look at this article as well for more detailed recommendations and how required documents look like:

    How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee

    If you will still have specific questions, I will try to answer them after.


  • tristan

    Here is a below communication between myself and the CBSA, I’m not sure what you got from them Trueler but this is what I got. I didn’t mention if the goods were personal or commercial but this is what I got.

    From: Tristan Flynn
    Received: 2/21/11 4:10:44 PM EST
    Subject: Importing to Canada from US


    Can you please tell me if I have to be at the port of entry in order to clear my own shipments through customs? I have been informed by UPS that I cannot clear my items at the CBSA office in Halifax because the port of entry for my items is Montreal. I have found a detailed website in which the creator says the CBSA have confirmed this is incorrect. The Website is

    I import stuff dog toys that are less than 500$ in value per shipment.

    Can you please provide the steps required to clear my items? I am sick and tired of paying hundreds of dollars to UPS to clear customs, I want to do it myself.

    Thank you

    Tristan Flynn to me
    show details 5:49 PM (18 hours ago)

    Unfortunately the information provided by UPS is correct. For a parcel to be self-cleared, it must be done from a CBSA office located in the same city.

    If you cannot pick up your parcel in person, you may designate a person who can clear the parcel for you provided they have been provided with written authorization from you giving your permission for them to do so. If you decide to have a delegate clear the parcel, please make sure that the person picking up the parcel has government-issued photo identification to confirm their identity.

    If you need more assistance, please contact the Border Information Service (BIS) at 1-800-461-9999. If calling from outside of Canada, you can reach us at 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064
    (long-distance charges will apply). If you call during regular Canadian business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time Monday to Friday, except holidays), you can speak directly to an agent by pressing “0″ at any time.

    Thank you for contacting the CBSA.



    Canada Border Services Agency

    Ottawa, Ontario

    K1A 0L8

  • Trueler

    Hi Tristan,

    Probably CBSA misunderstood your question or just replied in a hurry without proper research – it took 3 days for reply to you. I got my reply in about a month with a call back from CBSA.

    Actually the question to CBSA should be “how to pay taxes for imported goods”. Clearance itself is definitely done at the port of entry – it is inspection of the goods (if needed) and release to the courier to move further in transit. According to CLVS taxes can be paid by importer later on (it is called accounting process). It was not my invention. Accounting process is described in the documents located at CBSA website. There are Manifests related to CLVS program, one of them is here:

    Other supporting documents are here:

    When UPS did not honor these procedures for the first time, I made an investigation through many documents and sent a request to CBSA in order to confirm. After that I successfully paid taxes for my shipment at a local CBSA office without going to the port of entry. CBSA provided me with B15 form (receipt of paid taxes) which I’ve sent to UPS in order to waive brokerage fees. You may see the proofs of the process I’ve done here:

    How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee

    There are also successful cases of paying taxes directly to CBSA without brokerage fees reported by other importers in comments.

    People just call it “self-clearance”. However the proper name is “accounting for imported goods”, or “paying duties and taxes”. Note that “clearance” involves inspection and release of the goods by Canada Customs officers at the port of entry (brokerage services are absolutely not involved in this process).

    What I got from CBSA is posted in this article.

    The main idea is the following. Brokerage fees are not regulated by the Government and can be about half of the total price of your shipment. That is why CBSA allows to pay duties and taxes at any local CBSA office in order to avoid outrageous brokerage fees.

    I hope it clarifies things.


  • Linda M


    Thank you so much for all the excellent info and for digging deep on this one. After all is said and done though, I would like to know what is the easiest, cheapest, and most pain free way to import/ship LVS items which are non-restricted into Canada? Or are we stuck with UPS for all our US shopping?

    Thanks so much.

  • Trueler

    Hi Linda,

    You are definitely free to choose any delivery option offered by seller, you are not stuck with UPS. It is your choice (if seller provides some options, of course).

    There are several criteria that affect decision in each particular case:

    - How long delivery takes. It can be from several days up to several weeks, or even over a month
    - Availability and usefulness of tracking information
    - Convenience of paying taxes for imported goods into Canada
    - Cost of shipment
    - Risk of package being lost on its way
    - Delivery to your home or pick-up at some location
    - Reliability of projected delivery date
    - Risk of shipment being damaged
    - Responsibility of the courier in case of loss, damage, or delay
    - Customer service for resolving any unexpected issues

    It depends on your current needs and the type of your shipment which courier company to choose.

    In my case I ordered heavy stuff (auto parts) from US West Coast to Toronto several times. I’ve chosen UPS because another option was ~30% more expensive, I got stuff delivered by UPS in 6 days, I always knew where my stuff were located, I knew how to pay taxes directly to CBSA and avoid any brokerage fees and successfully done that.

    If it happens that another option is cheaper than UPS and you don’t need your package to be delivered fast, and don’t care about tracking, and have some kind of purchase protection it is worth to choose another delivery option.

    I hope this helps. Let me know if other questions. Feel free to share your concerns.


  • Peter

    I also ordered some electronics from the U.S. and the seller used UPS as their Currier. I paid $23 in shipping and thought that was going to be it. a week later i get a notice that an attemp was made but nobody was home to pay $46 for brokerage fees and taxes WTF!!!! I was pissed
    that is almost $70 (23 shipping + 36brokerage + 13 taxes) I would have to pay UPS for an item that cost $100, a total rip off.

    I called the 1800 and they confirmed i would have to pay the additional fees before I can get my package.
    So i had the package re-directed to their warehouse In Ottawa

    UPS. 2281 Stevenage Dr, Hawthorne
    Ottawa Ontario|K1G 3W1
    T: 613.736.6910

    {TRICK – GOOGLE UPS+ your local area code 613 Ottawa, 403 Calgary, 416 Toronto etc.. you get the picture for local UPS phone numbers and addresses}

    I plan to go to UPS tomorrow and get the information i need to clear the package MYSELF at Ottawa’s local CSBA office
    Hopefully i can do this at the Ottawa Airport which is close by the UPS warehouse

    BUT in the mean time I am sooooooo MAD that i got creative!!!
    I am a graphic designer and a creative thinker so I took an official UPS sales brochure and re-formatted it so it looks like an Official Information letter advising customers of their rights and options when it comes to paying Brokerage fees and i plan to put it up at as many UPS store as possible

    i advise you to do the same
    if you have illustrator you can change the addresses to reflect the information in your city or you can leave your comments and i will be happy to update the info for you

    Also English is not my strong point so if you feel that some of the wording needs to be changes let me know
    BUT try NOT to make it too wordy, keep it simple so it looks like and official info letter.

    I hope you all get a kick out of it

    here is the link

  • Silen

    Hi Trueler,

    Thank you for your guide, unfortunately I was not able to avoid UPS robbery using that. I did exactly as it describe in the guide:
    - call to UPS and receive shipment’s invoice has the Unique Shipment Identifier Number (that cost me several hours of phone/email conversations).
    - came to Brampton CBSA office to pay custom due & taxes, bring all documents and the letter.
    - CBSA stuff (I talk with several officers) refuse this documents, told that this office doesn’t deal with UPS at all and finally send me to Pearson location (6500 Silverd Dart Dr.) where they told I may try to receive that “manifest” (from UPS office located there) and probably pay taxes/custom due.

    They ignore the mails as it isn’t an official document, told me that they never perform clearance (collect due/taxes) for UPS parcels at that location.

    So I give up as I need that stuff early next week. Any way thank you for your guide hope at least some people will able to avoid pay UPS for nothing.


  • Trueler

    Hi Silen,

    CBSA officers in Brampton accepted taxes for UPS shipment from myself and issued B15 form! They just gave you incorrect information!

    Feel free to file a complaint with CBSA.


  • Fred

    I’ve read the first half of the comments on this blog and there is a fair amount of misinformation.

    Understand that customs clearance can be a fairly complicated process and I 100% guarantee that neither the UPS reps you speak to NOR the CBSA officers know the answers to all your questions off-hand.

    First big hint: the courier LVS program means “low value” which I’m certain everyone knows by now. Generally this means any shipment >$20 and <$1600. However, the term is somewhat misleading read the first paragraph of the oft referenced D17-4-0. Any goods that require CFIA, NRCAN, etc info are NOT considered LVS, regardless of value. Any goods the officer wished manifested (paragraph 20) are NOT LVS. I suspect some of the trouble people are having is due to this fact.

    In these cases you MUST be present at the port of entry to self-clear. Or retain the services of a broker.

    The USIN (accurately the "cargo control number" that somebody was trying to discover is assigned by the COURIER. D17-4-0, paragraph 11 describes why you cannot be given one for LVS goods. Of course, I cannot think of a reason that the CBSA would require this info for self-clearance purposes. The commercial invoice should be enough. Please note that a commercial invoice and a bill of sale are completely different and not interchangeable.

    I couldn't read everything in once sitting, so I may have noted something which was already covered. If you have a specific question feel free. I am a broker and not a courier, so some of the minutiae of the CLVS program is outside my expertise.

  • Trueler

    Hi Fred,

    You are a broker, but not familiar with CLVS program. Why did you comment without enough expertise?

    I see that you complicated things a lot in your post… and somewhere misleading…

    First paragraph of D17-4-0 does not tell anything about “goods that require CFIA, NRCAN, etc.” Please explain acronyms next time if they were not used here before. We are not talking about controlled, prohibited or regulated goods here – it is a different topic. We talk about regular stuff to be imported from US into Canada like some electronics, auto parts, clothes, etc… Not weapons, fireworks, alcohol, tobacco, plants, food, and so on…

    Did anyone having trouble with paying taxes at CBSA imported restricted goods? Fred, I believe your suspicion is wrong, because people usually understand that something is restricted, and sellers won’t ship any kind of food, plants, alcohol across US-Canada border.

    Paragraph 11 of D17-4-0 tells that cargo/release list must be presented to the CBSA by the courier before or as soon as the shipments arrive in Canada. It absolutely does not tell why unique shipment ID number “can not be given for LVS goods”. Moreover “USID” must be provided by the courier to the importer. Usually it can be found on shipment’s/commercial invoice, on the package itself, or at when logged in. It is pretty easy to get. CBSA requires it because it is the unique shipment identifier number which is being assigned to the shipment.

    Please be more accurate with the information you provide and do not complicate things.


  • Fred

    The other government departments include but are not limited to the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), NRCAN (Natural Resources Canada), and Transport Canada. The OGD series of D-memos is here:

    When those departments require additional paperwork for release (such as for tires, food items, etc) the shipment may not qualify as LVS and a different set of rules apply. You may be surprised at which types of goods are regulated. I know it may be meaningless to you in this form, but here:

    The reference to paragraph 11 referred to no cargo control numbers being assigned to low value shipments. I was under the impression someone was trying to obtain one. Upon re-reading and based on my understanding of the UPS shipment ID leads me to believe that is in fact what the CBSA wants. I will verify that– for my own interest if nothing else.

    You seem a little hostile and if you have no interest in reading my posts I suppose I do not need to compose them. As far as it goes you have a reasonable grasp on clearing your own shipments.


    PS: Waiting until the shipment gets to the door to indicate you’d like to assign a broker besides the courier is what raises their ire. At that point not only was it a waste for them to pay someone to clear it, they have to pay a second person to “unclear” it to avoid the duplicate entry. You can simply call ahead and things should be smoother.

  • Trueler

    Hi Fred,

    I did not want to be hostile, sorry about that. Some of your information is indeed interesting. But most of the things you are talking about make me thing that you are not just a broker, but a broker from UPS brokerage department, because your advices complicate things a lot and self-clearance process won’t be possible if people follow them. For example:

    - Unique shipment ID number is required by CBSA and is easy to get. Cargo control number is not mentioned in their instructions, so it just does not matter.

    - If people call ahead to advise UPS in the intention to self clear, UPS simply does not allow it at all, they just block the shipment at the port of entry. So it is important to wait until shipment is in a local warehouse. Moreover, as I understand, nothing is done by UPS brokerage department at the port of entry if everything is ok with the shipment (in most cases it is), so there is absolutely no double work! If UPS will allow self-clearance and will assist with it in future, I would definitely call ahead. But this is not the case now unfortunately. It’s a UPS choice.

    - People usually import with couriers unregulated goods.

    And about paragraph 11. I think I see what you meant. But cargo control and release documents and cargo/release lists (which are used for LVS) both have numbers (I believe). And CBSA officers could call it the same – “cargo control number”. I agree, that it indeed sophisticates things from CBSA side.


  • Dave


    I just purchased a new set of cymbals on eBay. The Buy It Now Price was $899 USD, and the listing advertised UPS Standard Shipping to Canada for $45.50 USD. UPS tried to deliver the cymbals to my apartment in Kingston Ontario today while I was at work, and left a slip saying that there is a COD brokerage fee of $196.64 (!).

    After doing some Googling, I found that there is a CBSA office in Kingston. I have my Paypal/eBay invoice, and the slip that I got today has a 12-digit ‘InfoNotice No.’ and a 6-digit number in the comments section. I believe that my purchase falls into the LVS category, as it was less than $1600 CAD.

    I apologize, as I know that there are quite detailed instructions here on this site; but I wanted to ask what else I will need to bring with to the CBSA office if I intend to self clear? Also, will this be in my best interest (that is, cost less than the $200 brokerage fee for a $900 purchase)?

    Thanks in advance for both your help and for maintaining such an informative site.


  • Trueler

    Hi Dave,

    For $900 purchase Ontario HST (13%) is $117, you’ll have to pay it anyways. So, the brokerage fee itself is ~ $80. It’s up to you to decide if possible hassle to avoid it and pay taxes directly to CBSA worth $80.

    You need to get shipment’s/commercial invoice from UPS which describes the goods, value for duty, and unique shipment ID number.


  • Dave

    Thanks for your quick reply, Trueler.

    In this case, there is a UPS Store that’s not a 5 minute drive from the CBSA office. This CBSA office is not listed on this site as one that deals with LVS program clearances – do you know if that means that I’ll have to drive to another office that is on the list?

    Although it amounts to a small percentage of the item’s original cost, it is the principle of the thing. I would rather not pay $80 for nothing to a shady American company if I can avoid it. I can think of better things to do with $80.


  • Trueler

    Hi Dave,

    I think it is worth to try the closest CBSA office first, because even offices listed as LVS, sometimes refuse to accept taxes.


  • Marco

    Hi guys,

    I have a question for you. What happens if I purchase my parts from a local shop here in Montreal but they have the item shipped from the states to me by UPS ?

    I already paid shipping/taxes on the item here in Montreal. Last time I did this with FedEx I had nothing to pay but with UPS I’m kinda scared to pay more. My shop here told me that if I ever pay something that I should contact them and they will pay back what I paid and they will collect the money from UPS after.

    Is this possible ?

    I hate UPS !

  • Trueler

    Hi Macro,

    Just make sure that you have a promise in written from the shop to pay back any invoice from UPS related to your shipment. It depends on what kind of agreement the shop has with UPS. Probably it will be straightforward and shipment will be delivered to your doors with no problems and no C.O.D. invoices. Please let us know! It is interesting.


  • Marco

    Hi again,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Now the package is still in the US but they added the following:

    Lachine, QC, Canada 23/03/2011 8:06 Package data processed by brokerage Waiting for clearance

    As I said the package is still in Salt Lake City in the States.

    And here’s the message from my shop :
    That price is correct, the universal maximum discount policy from Cobb is that I have to advertise at MSRP of 595, though I can sell it for less via PM’s etc. At 595 on our site however to Canada, it will cover the brokerage and whatnot.

    The part where he told me, he would pay me back if I have any charges from UPS was on the phone. He told that he was able to collect it back from UPS.

    I’ll keep you guys updated. I said to the local shop that I was buying through them to avoid shipping surprise.

  • Trueler

    Thanks Macro for update!

  • Student


    I received a package from Chicago in December without any notice or charge, but in February 15 I received an invoice from Fedex and today I received a last statement asking meto pay.

    I call them today and I said I havent designated them as my broker, the CS told me they had the right if I didnt inform them before the shipment, and told me that I must pay because they would send me to a recovery agency.

    How could I know if the shipment has been already cleared? Can I still clear the shipment by myself. I dont have any number, I just only have the invoice.

    I think I am in the same situation as Jim


  • Trueler

    Hi Student,

    I’m sorry that it happened. It is called robbery.

    FedEx already paid taxes on your behalf to Canada customs in the end of January during consolidation, so unfortunately there is no way to pay taxes again to CBSA – they will not accept it because taxes already paid…

    There us not too much you can do. BUT! You may try contacting FedEx and explain that you had absolutely no idea that you’ll have to pay outrageous brokerage fees on top of the taxes. Ask them for three things:

    - Paper (law or instructions) which clearly state that they have a right to act as your broker without your confidence with unrestricted brokerage fees to be paid
    - Receipt from CBSA that taxes have been paid by FedEx to CBSA. You definitely have a right to get it. For example if you will travel to US and take the contents of your package with you, on the return way you will be asked by Canada customs to pay taxes for it. If you show them receipt – no questions
    - The reason why they’ve sent an invoice only in two months when it is already to late for self-clearance

    If they won’t provide answer to any of this questions – continue to dispute it with them, or with supervisor.

    And one more thing. Importers do NOT have to inform courier about intention to self-clear BEFORE the shipment. It’s a lie!

    I hope this helps. Otherwise, next time you will know what to do – pay taxes directly to CBSA right after you receive your package, don’t wait for an invoice.

    Please let us know if you have any luck with waiving your brokerage fee in this situation.


  • Marco


    I just called home because I saw my package as delivered and guess what ? I paid 140$ of brokeage.

    I already paid taxes on the item I can’t believe I am paying 140$ for UPS services that’s totally bullshit. I will have to call them to know what are thoses charges and if they tell me it’s taxes and customs etc.. I will be very pissed off.

    I’m calling them right away.

  • Fred

    Permission to account for casual goods:

    Marco: If a local shop has something drop-shipped to you it’s a bit of a toss-up. If the vendor accurately prepared the commercial invoice listing the local shop you are using as the importer of record–with you merely as the consignee of the package–you will see no charges.

    Very likely the vendor did this incorrectly and listed YOU as the importer of record. The courier/broker has no reason to question the invoice, so they will clear it on your behalf and stick either stick a cod tag on there or send you an invoice.

    When dealing with a vendor in the US you could try(depending on which courier being used) having them ship the goods DDP (Delivered Duty Paid, alternatively F/D–free domicile). This means the vendor will charge you the duty/tax and brokerage/shipping ahead of time, and will then pay the entirety of the courier’s bill.

  • Trueler

    I think the best advice for Macro is just to ask that shop to reimburse $140 because they promised. It is the easiest way and hassle free.


  • Paul Yanasee

    Hi Trueler,

    After reading your article (btw thank you) So I went to the Brampton Customs office the other day to self clear a ups shipment and they are now closed! I really didnt want to pay UPS close to 50 bucks in brokerage charges.

    I really didnt want to search for a mississauga customs office and take a bus from sheridan college. So I went on google and searched around for customs brokers …

    Trueler’s note: the rest of the comment has been removed because it appears to be a shill… Brampton office is not closed. It has been relocated (see the post for details)

    PS: The best customs broker is CBSA. They save you the maximum you can!

  • S

    New changes to the CBSA location that you have put in there:

    197 County Court Blvd. location is closed the door notice now refers to another location:

    5425 Dixie Rd

    The officer initially wanted a waybill. However I explaned to him that the waybill is on the package that is being shipped to me. Basically, I explaned to him that if I let UPS pay the duty for me (which he initially understand that to be the situation), I’ll be chared brokerage. However if I pay the duty myself, I’ll will not charge me brokerage fees. He then proceed to write up the B15. Faxed the document over to UPS waiting for the truck to get back to the depot before PU. Thanks for listing out the procedures.

  • Trueler

    Thanks a lot for this information!

  • rbob

    Great information… I too hate paying UPS brokerage fees! I’ve been burned too many times by them.

    But this is just a note for some of you that don’t want to self clear (because of extra time or too far a trip to CBSA). You can and are legally entitled to use a third party broker to clear your UPS and FedEX shipments. Of course UPS etal… don’t like to tell you this! Do your research… I did only a little research and found several discount brokers who are charging at least 75% less than UPS Brokerage services!

  • mike

    Thanks a lot Trueler for such a great research, I wish I knew about self-clearing before Christmas:)
    One thing that is still not clear to me is how to handle the self-clearance when courier sends you an invoice (instead of cod)? In my experience couriers always send you an invoice a month or so later:(

  • Trueler

    You are welcome Mike.

    The case when courier sends you an invoice is even simpler. You have absolutely no risk that courier will send it back to the port of entry.

    When your item arrives without C.O.D., just take it and say “thanks”. Call the courier and ask how much you owe them in brokerage fees and taxes. Now you can do the process: obtain shipment’s invoice, etc… At your local CBSA office it is even simpler. Just tell them “Shipment is in my trunk, I have an invoice with goods details, and want to pay taxes”. CBSA may ask if you already paid taxes – no, the courier is going to pay them only by the end of next month – you want to do it yourself. The same thing happened to me. CBSA accepted taxes, issued B15, and I faxed it to UPS in order to waive future invoice.


  • Mike

    That sounds easy:) I’ll give it a shot next month. Thank you for quick reply!


  • Frostiex

    I am soooo tempted to clear myself in calgary. Is it too late now that tha package has already been attempted for delivery? I am so sick of UPS’s exorbent amount of fees for clearing an item. $5 on top of duty and taxes are fair. It should not go up base on the price of the item.
    To me that is double dipping, they charge the shipper shippig fees and then clearing fees form the recieving end. Do they even remeber the reason WHY the shipper pays the postage to begine with?

  • Trueler

    Hi Frostiex,

    UPS pays duties and taxes to CBSA at the end of the next month after shipment has been released at the port of entry. So, I think it is not too late in your case.


  • Fred

    Frostiex: I’m not sure how you can suggest it is “fair” for a broker to clear shipments at a loss. They would not be a very good broker. That’s like suggesting it’s “unfair” for the telephone company to charge for internet access.

    There are a lot of posts here confusing the role of the courier with the broker and a lot of anger born of ignorance.

    The courier that charges the carriage fees does not even necessarily know which broker is going to be used, so they can’t really charge the shipper for brokerage.

  • Trueler

    Hey Fred and Everyone,

    1) Shipment’s clearing is an extremely easy and fast process especially for a courier company with brokerage department. By shipment’s clearing in this statement I mean paying taxes for personal shipment with a value below $1600. It requires from brokers only to pay money to CBSA by the end of the next month after shipment. That’s it. Nothing else.

    2) It definitely does not worth 50% or more of the total item’s price. It does not even worth $5. There are thousands of shipments going through the border, and it may be done as an automated process.

    3) UPS brokerage fee is just a hidden part of the delivery price and nothing more. This is not the cost of actual brokerage services. UPS definitely knows how much of the brokerage fee they are going to charge when the shipper sends the package.

    There are a lot of 3rd party unfair brokers popping up frequently offering brokerage services for courier shipments for lower price than UPS/FedEx/TNT or whoever asks. They describe how difficult it is to clear your shipment, that it requires a lot of paperwork, etc… They don’t tell you that it is in fact a very easy and straightforward job


  • Fred

    Trueler: How long does it take a rater to rate a shipment? Assuming 1 tariff classification code, no OGD requirements?

    How much does a rater get paid, on average?

    How long did the shipment take to dispatch?

    How much does the dispatcher get paid?

    How much does it cost–ballpark–to submit a shipment EDI? I mean the fee just for transmitting the info.

    Don’t even bother taking into account the training involved or the technical infrastructure required for communication. Forget the resources needed to maintain records of every transaction for 7 years. Ignore the software licensing costs (thousands of dollars per PC per year). Assume there is no need to bring any brokerage support employees into the picture. That you don’t need to do anything as complicated as a temporary entry, a refund/correction or CFIA clearance. Since we are dealing with personals/couriers only there is no need to worry about consignment or acquiring POA.

    If you say it costs less than $5 or that the process can be automated then you flat-out have no clue what you are talking about.

    You can have your shipment delivered by UPS and cleared by Fedex if you please. The brokerage has NOTHING to do with the delivery cost, period. Brokerage fees are subject to the requirements for the particular goods being shipped, the amount of duty/tax owed, the exchange rate, etc.

    There are a lot of brokers available, though many will not clear personal shipments:

  • Trueler

    Fred, you are broker. It is a major part of your job to complicate things in customer’s eyes. I understand this.

    My role is to give people accurate information to understand what the “brokerage fee” is and how to avoid it. Here is more explanation:

    I’m paying international delivery rate to the courier for my shipment. It is courier’s responsibility to provide and transmit all the necessary documentation to Canada Customs at the port of entry – I’ve already paid for it.

    I’m paying taxes. It is Canada Customs responsibility to rate the goods based on shipment’s invoice.

    Brokerage services involve ONLY duty/taxes payment to CBSA on behalf of importer. That’s it. Nothing more. Does it worth even $5 CAD? $1 CAD? It should worth 0. Because customer has already paid for international delivery into Canada. There are taxes applied to most of the products. The courier knows about it, so the delivery rate must cover the procedure of paying taxes. It is very simple.

    - We have just figured out that “brokerage services” for personal shipments under LVS program cost zero.
    - Couriers charge importers with extremely high unexpected fees at the delivery time.

    => “brokerage fee” is just a HUGE hidden portion of delivery cost, and couriers do not tell you anything about it. In most cases it exceeds actual delivery cost paid initially.


  • Fred

    Hi Trueler:

    I’m not trying to confuse anyone. You are simply wrong on a number of points. Yes–clearing a shipment yourself as you’ve described is great for many people and they all thank-you for the walk-through. Telling them things that are false does not help anyone though. I’m not championing or selling anything.

    Canada customs does NOT rate the goods. They do not see the invoice at all in the great majority of cases. They may be helping/doing it for you when you show up at the office in person, but that is NOT how it works on any kind of large scale. The broker has to rate the shipment before the info is transmitted to the CBSA. That involves determining the tariff classification, GST rate, tariff treatment, etc, etc.

    Assuming a courier uses your system and simply folds the cost of brokerage into the shipping fees: what about the people who have actually decided to use a broker besides the courier’s in-house? They–and you–have that option. Suddenly they are paying brokerage twice. A large-scale customs brokerage is a massive operation and I promise you that it costs far more than $5 to clear each shipment; if brokerage fees were somehow eliminated the cost of international shipping would go up significantly.

    Again: if you don’t like some particular courier’s brokerage fees simply DO NOT use them. Even if you are unable to clear yourself you may use ANY BROKER that has the ability to clear for the port in question and is willing to have you as a client.

    The problem arises when 99.99% of casual importers do not arrange for clearance when they are supposed to. To that end couriers are allowed by the CBSA to assign their own broker. The alternative is that every personal shipment be held in bonded warehouses at the border until brokerage can be arranged.

    You keep repeating that the only thing brokerage involves is paying duty which is BLATANTLY FALSE. I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion at all.

  • Trueler

    Hey Fred,

    I don’t want to be rude, but you sound like all those UPS representatives who tried to make obstacles by lying to the importers wishing to self-clear :)

    There are a lot of incorrect statements in your last post as well. You definitely have an interest to keep customs brokerage business alive because you are a broker. That’s why you are trying to show that shipment’s clearing procedure is extremely difficult and expensive.

    Just a couple of examples where you misinform people:

    - “Brokerage services” indeed involve only paying duties and taxes on behalf of importer. You are saying that it is “blatantly false”. If no taxes due, there is no brokerage fee. Even UPS website confirms this.

    - You promise that it costs far more than $5 to clear each shipment. It can’t be true at all. Canada Post, for example, charges $5-$8 brokerage fee. But their delivery cost is usually higher than UPS, and delivery time is much longer.

    - etc…

    Fred, you are willing to get more clients. But you have chosen the wrong way. After all the incorrect statements from you showing that customs clearance is very sophisticated procedure requiring a lot of expertise and therefore extremely expensive, people will not trust you at all.

    Just say the truth: “I wanna earn money and can pay taxes to CBSA on behalf of you if you don’t want to do it yourself. It will cost you $50 per shipment because I need to earn my crust, not because it is a difficult and expensive procedure”. And people who understand that the brokerage fee from the courier companies is a total BS, will more likely use your services.

    But now you and many other brokers behave unfair by misinforming people. I would not recommend anyone to use customs brokerage services, because they may just rip-off importers even more than UPS and FedEx


  • Fred

    Hi Trueler:

    I’m not here to “get clients”. Unfortunately if your only rebuttal is to call me a liar than I guess there is no help for you.

    Luckily your ignorance about international shipping is ultimately what keeps me in work. The technical aspect of clearing a shipment is actually rather easy despite the knowledge required. Most of what I do actually involves acting as a resource for clients and ensuring they remain compliant.

    I would like to see a link to a broker (UPS or any broker) that does not charge brokerage on duty-free/GST exempt shipments. Generally brokerage fees are based on the shipment value or specific negotiated rates for high-volume importers.

  • Trueler


    as you can see, I provided proofs that your statements are incorrect.

    Well.. You are here to promote customs brokerage business if you prefer this wording rather than “get clients”.

    UPS charges brokerage fee based on “value for duty” – you may find it on their website. I have received shipments with zero value for duty several times delivered by UPS without any invoices.


  • Fred

    “Value for Duty” is simply a term that means the value (in Canadian dollars) that is used to determine the duty applicable on the shipment.

    The same as “Value for Currency Conversion” is the value in whatever currency the invoice indicates and “Duty Paid Value” or “Value for Tax” is the amount on which GST is paid. Duty Paid Value is the VFD + the duty amount.

    As an example: If you had imported a book today and the shipper declared the value at $100 USD. The VCC is $100. The VFD is VCC*0.9658 [today's exchange] = $96.58 CAD. Books are duty-free MFN, so the duty is $0. That means the DPV is also $96.58.

    Any shipment under $20 VFD (for example the $0 VFD you are suggesting) is “remissioned” and no duty/tax apply. It is true that UPS does not charge anything for such shipments.

    You have provided no proof of anything and I know that you don’t have any or there would be no debate. I have no reason to muddy the waters. My business is in clearing shipments for commercial importers only–which are usually far in excess of the $1600 CAD upper limit of LVS. I have a number of years, however, clearing personals for a courier company and know the process of rating them rather intimately.

  • Trueler


    Please find obvious proofs that at least couple of your statements were incorrect here:

    Why do you continue to misinform people? Or have you just confused yourself?

    In your last post you treated duty and taxes as the same thing. However they are in fact different. Most of the goods imported from US into Canada are duty free, but not tax free. FYI: Books are subject to HST

    You have demonstrated too much of incompetence. Initially I thought you are here to provide valuable information and may be help answering the questions.

    The bad thing is that such incompetent “brokers” are working at UPS!

    Refer to the experience of B Smith to see how UPS tried to charge $182 (taxes + brokerage fee) on the tax exempt item:

    The guy cleared the shipment himself and paid $0.

    My advise to everyone: if your have a local CBSA office in a reasonable distance, pay taxes yourself. No one can save you on brokerage fees as much as you can do yourself, none of the brokers. Do not give your money to unfair customs brokerage businesses who claim that shipment’s clearing is an extremely difficult and expensive procedure!


  • Fred

    Hi Trueler:

    The exact tax rate on books depends on which province you live in, because books are not PST exempt in every province as they are in Ontario.

    I just didn’t take my example far enough for your liking apparently. You pay GST on the DPV of the goods. In this case 0.05 * 96.58 = $4.83 CAD, assuming the destination is Ontario or Alberta.

    You are merely making vague assertions that I am lying and that brokerage is some sort of massive conspiracy between every import broker and the government of Canada to screw the innocent importer out of their hard-earned money.

    Providing info is why I cam here. I’m not sure what your game is anymore, but I can tell at least you have a huge chip on your shoulder regarding being told you are wrong.

  • Trueler

    Fred, I don’t see you providing info to help importers. The reason you are here is obviously different.

    If you do see anything wrong here, please let me know what exactly. I will revisit questionable statements and make corrections if necessary. Please provide proofs that statements you refer to are incorrect.

    Information and advises I provide here are indeed helpful to people importing goods into Canada. Thanks to importers who succeeded in self-clearance for their persistence dealing with the couriers and local CBSA offices! Thanks to all who at least tried!

    “… brokerage is some sort of massive conspiracy between every import broker and the government of Canada to screw the innocent importer out of their hard-earned money …” – haha) It’s not my words ;) But the fact is the fact: It is not in the interests of the Government of Canada, import brokers, or courier companies to make importation of goods an easy, cheap and pain-free process. I understand Canadian Government. It is great to support local manufacturers! But please understand casual importers as well: many goods are cheaper in US than in Canada, even taking into account shipping and taxes. Sometimes it is very hard or impossible to find necessary stuff here in Canada.

    Officially the Government of Canada has confirmed that paying duties and taxes for imported goods is a relatively simple and cost-free process. However now it still involves too much of a hassle in many cases unfortunately. We need to spread information about paying taxes in any local CBSA office more and more. If every importer will do this, UPS/FedEx/… will have to give up and make the process really simple!


  • Krzysztof

    I had a $150 worth of motorcycle parts shipped to me from North Carolina via UPS. The brokerage fees were just over $98… I called UPS and got the invoice emailed to me. I printed it out and I took it to the CBSA offices at Pearson. First time I went to terminal 1 and they told me that I need to go somwehere else (gateway-something?) They gave me a number, but nobody answered the phone there. Today I tried again, this time at terminal 3. The CBSA officer (I have his number) told me that:
    - that office only serves travelers, and my case is “commercial”,
    - that he needs to see the package,
    - that UPS has their own brokers,
    - that I should have told the sender to do something different if I didn’t want to pay the UPS fees.
    I’m not having any luck dealing with these guys. What else can I do?

  • Trueler

    Hi Krzysztof,

    CBSA office in Brampton which relocated from 197 Country Court Blvd to 5425 Dixie Rd. (according to one of the importers) was able to help. CBSA at Person (terminal one) should be able to help as well. Did you show them instructions from CBSA Ottawa? They gave you incorrect information and just sent you to another place because they just didn’t want to do anything for you. Your shipment is personal, not commercial. They should not want to see the package, because it has already been released by the customs officers at the port of entry. UPS has their own brokers, but you are allowed not to use them and pay taxes yourself. You don’t have to say the sender something different in order to pay taxes yourself. If you have not looked at another post with experience of other importers, you may find it helpful as well:

    I hope you will be persistent with CBSA and will manage to pay applicable taxes yourself and not paying a penny to UPS.


  • George

    Hi Trueler,
    Just received a pillow that I bought on Ebay
    $123 + (shipping)$27 +$51 brokerage fee.

    Is there anything to do after I already paid to the UPS delivery guy ?

    Second question

    All the orders from on-line Apple store shipped by UPS,
    you pay cost+HST – shipping is free, is there a chance that they going to charge an additional Brokarage Fee for MacBook pro ?


  • Trueler

    Hi George,

    I think even if you pay taxes by yourself to CBSA, UPS will not refund you for that brokerage fee, just because they don’t want to. You may try to call them and ask if they already paid taxes to CBSA on behalf of you. Note that they should pay it by the end of the next month after shipment according to CLVS program, i.e. by June 24. I bet that they have not paid it yet, but they will tell you that they did! In this case you are allowed to request a receipt from them that taxes have been paid for your shipment directly to CBSA. UPS must provide it to importer. If they confirm that thay have not paid it yet, so tell that you are going to pay it yourself, ask for shipment invoice, etc. Let’s see what they do.

    For your second question. If you pay HST during purchase, so I think the store is located in Canada. Is it? So, there will be absolutely no brokerage fee. However, who knows what UPS will do?…


  • George

    Wow that was Fast !!!
    Thank you very much

  • George

    BTW dear Trueler, how exactly it’s going to help me if the didn’t payed taxes ?

  • Trueler

    Hi George,

    If UPS have not paid taxes yet, tell them that you are going to do it yourself (of course if you want, have time, and ready for a possible hassle) and will provide them with B15 form which is a receipt for paid duties and taxes to CBSA. Then UPS will have to issue a refund for brokerage fee and money for taxes you paid to the driver. But I have not heard if anyone successfully done this, and can’t guarantee that UPS will go for it. You need acknowledge from UPS that they will not remit taxes on your behalf to CBSA, because when I was paying at CBSA, they asked me if I already paid them to the courier.

    Detailed instructions on how to pay taxes at a local CBSA office are given here:

    Please also refer to comments with other importers’ experience.


  • Chris

    I have some automotive parts waiting to be delivered tomorrow from UPS with a 77.61 brokerage fee charge on 174.10 of parts. Unfortunatly my most local CBSA office and their hours are not so convenient for me. Is their anyway to do it another way ?

    Or am I kinda screwed this time and chalk this one up to experience for next time ?

    Thanks very much

  • Trueler

    Hi Chris,

    Unfortunately I’m not aware of another alternative now other than showing up in person at CBSA (at least I have not heard about anyone’s experience). I’m sorry.

    I’m wondering why our Government does not make it easy for importers to pay duties and taxes… It would be very convenient if customers pay taxes for imported goods when filing tax return. And it is not hard to implement. Just adding couple additional lines.


  • Chad

    Afternoon Trueler,

    I found your website after searching about the dreaded import problems that I have experienced in the past.

    I have purchased 4 aluminum rims down in florida… I am working on having them picked up and delivered to me here in Canada. From what I can tell the nearest CBSA office is at the Hamilton Internation Airport…

    So do I just need to inform UPS/FedEx that I want to self clear the package? Nothing has been shipped yet so I am trying to nip this in the bud…


  • Trueler

    Hi Chad,

    If you inform UPS/FedEx that you want to self clear the package, there is a very big chance (almost 100%) that they will hold your shipment at the port of entry until you pay them brokerage fee and taxes with a credit card by phone, or at least agree to pay it at the delivery/pickup time.


  • Andre

    LVSinfo, can you explain exactly what you do all the time with Fedex when they don’t charge you on delivery? I have a Fedex Ground package on the way. Do I need to call Fedex for additional paperwork before or after delivery? Or do I just make do with the paperwork I get with my shipment? And it is just the case that I need to beat them to the B15 form and fax it to them before they try to charge me?

  • Andre

    Anyone else have any experience clearing a Fedex Ground package left without them having charged brokerage fees?

    It’s too bad this site doesn’t let you subscribe to a thread, so that you get a notice by e-mail when new replies are posted.

  • Mike

    Follow up on this post: April 27,2011
    I’d like to thank you again, Trueler! Your help is much appreciated! I did save over $60 in brokerage charges($54 for brokerage+taxes), which is about 25% of the shipment cost.
    The process was a bit of a hassle as expected.
    The package arrived with the $92 COD tag ($30 for duties/taxes, the rest – brokerage). I refused it and started to collect the necessary documents.
    I had to go to CBSA office on Britannia Rd twice as one officer was insisting on getting a cargo control document or manifest, although he realized that it’s almost impossible to get it for LVS. So I went back the next day during business hours (first time I went there at 11pm and there were only 3 officers there) and insisted that officer read the reply from CBSA Ottawa. When she asked about the manifest I told her that it’s impossible to get it as low value shipments are submitted to CBSA for clearance(by the carrier) as a huge list of packages. This list get assigned a transaction ID and CBSA officer chooses what packages to inspect. Apparently UPS won’t give out this list to us. She agreed, took my paperwork and prepared the B15 form!:)
    On the other side, UPS was trying to create as many obstacles as they possibly can. Reps told me a few times that my package was shipped back to Windsor(it was at Mississauga warehouse all the time), clerk at the warehouse told me he can’t waive the brokerage charges when I came to pick-up the package. He called the 1800 number to get authorization to waive COD tag, but wasn’t given one(total BS). I then called 1800 myself and passed the phone to the clerk, so that rep on the phone could provide him with this authorization #.
    Not to mention that I’ve been told numerous times that self-clearance isn’t possible as well as that I cannot obtain a commercial invoice or they cannot email it to me and so on.
    To wrap it up:
    1. I still believe that in general CBSA officers aren’t familiar with the self-clearance procedure for CLVS program. So it’s just a matter of whether or not you get lucky that day:)))
    2. Insist on your rights. Use reply from CBSA Ottawa along with the CLVS Memorandum
    3. The Unique shipment identifier number is the transaction ID that appears in your COD invoice (carrier must provide it by law). Although in my case the officer tried to enter it in the system and nothing showed up(?)
    4. As Blair suggested here using the contact form on UPS web-site can save you some nerves and airtime.

    good luck,

  • Trueler

    Thanks Mike for detailed update!


  • Steven


    How long did the whole process take? Because the way I see it is if I have to take a whole day off work just to get self clearance done saving the $50 and losing $200 from work just doesn’t make sense. Plus the cost of gas to the customs office….just wondering how long it took as I am considering doing it myself on the next ups shipment im getting.

  • Trueler


    If you care only about the profit, it is probably better for you to forget about self-clearance and just pay brokerage fee, if you think the hassle will exceed your possible income. It’s a matter of choice :)

    The idea is to use the self-clearance approach as often as possible, and by as many importers as possible, and not paying a penny to those robbers. If a lot of importers will use this, then local CBSA offices and UPS/FedEx/… will understand the rules and will have to follow them without making any obstacles. Any help in achieving this is much appreciated!


  • Mike

    I’ve spent about around 20 minutes in CBSA office(I had to go there twice, so it’s 2×20 min). Once I faxed B15 to UPS they processed it the next business day(the rep told me it takes 1-2 business days) and I went to pick it up the day after.
    I live and work fairly close to the CBSA and UPS warehouse, so I just drove there during lunch time.
    Also the CBSA office on Britannia is open 24/7!

    Here’s the timeline:
    Monday: called and emailed UPS to get commercial invoice. Went to CBSA (at night), but couldn’t clear the package.
    Tuesday: went to CBSA again and cleared the package, faxed B15 to UPS.
    Wednesday: called UPS to confirm that the COD tag is waived
    Thursday: picked up my package.

    What I’m not sure about is whether or not it’s possible to reschedule the delivery once you provide them with B15. UPS rep told me that the driver doesn’t have an authorization to remove the tag. So I decided to pick it up myself(I didn’t want to wait another day or two:)


  • Martin

    We ordered dishes, total of 700$ roughly. My wife called CBSA, was told You got to go pick it up where UPS tells you to. She called UPS, was told it’s only in Fort Erie you can pick it up. For 70$, I figured it was not too bad to pay the brokerage and just get the dishes. That was last week. Today I called UPS to check the story calmly, and I hit a lady that told me that all I would have needed to do was :
    -get my track number.
    -call UPS, inform them of self-clearance
    -go to local CSBA office: fill out the paper work.
    -Shipment will get to your house once CBSA sned fax to Fort Erie.
    Sounds too god to be true? We’ll know next time we got to deal with all that!
    Thanks for the webpage.

  • Trueler

    This is the less expected thing which could be heard from UPS representative :)

  • Michelle

    Hi there,

    Many thanks for the help you’re giving to so many! I know it must take a lot of time for you to reply to everyone on here. I feel badly adding to the stack, but I’d sure appreciate your help!

    I have a shipment on its way from the US. I’ve already contacted UPS and received the commercial invoice with the shipping ID on it. Do I need to take anything else with me to the CBSA office? Some people in the comments have talked about manifests, and whether or not it’s possible to obtain one. What should I do about that?

    Secondly, when do I go to the office? Do I keep my eyes glued to the tracking status and run over the day it gets to my city? Can I go before it gets here? Or do I need to actually wait until it’s come to my door and I’ve refused the package?

    Thanks again so much,


  • Trueler

    Hi Michelle,

    You need to take photo ID and money to pay taxes as well :) You should also know the address of the UPS warehouse where your shipment will be held right before delivery. CBSA may ask this, but they have not asked me when I was there.

    Manifest is not required – this is the information I got from CBSA via e-mail. I advise you to print that reply (it is in this post in “How to pay duties and taxes for imported goods” section) and take with you to the local CBSA office. Officers asked me for the manifest in the beginning, but then carefully read the reply, discussed between each other and processed my tax payment and issued B15. It was in Brampton office near Toronto.

    It is a requirement by CBSA that you can pay taxes at the office only when goods are arrived at the local courier’s warehouse. It means that the package has been successfully released by Canada Customs at the port of entry. You don’t have to wait until it comes to your door, just wait until it reaches your local UPS warehouse. If it comes to your door with a C.O.D. invoice, don’t just say “I refuse it”, because they will send it back. Tell that you are going to dispute C.O.D. charges, so they will keep it in the warehouse. If there won’t be any invoice, just take your package and go to CBSA office to pay taxes. In this case you may call UPS to figure out how much you owe them for this shipment.

    I hope it helps.


  • Stella

    Hi Trueler

    I’ve just received a package from the U.S. via UPS grounds and paid the outrageous brokerage fee. I’ve contacted UPS to see if I can do the paper work myself and have the brokerage fee refunded. I was told that the driver will have to come pick up the package and I’ll have to go to Windsor(the port of entry) to collect the package myself. I live in Mississauga and apparently the port of entry via grounds is either Windsor or Fort Erie and for air is Hamilton or Pearson. I’ve contacted CBSA and confirmed that I’d have to go to port of entry to pay the tax.

    Have I been misinformed? I’d appreciate any suggestions.

    Thanks so much,

  • Trueler

    Hi Stella,

    Yes, you’ve definitely been misinformed by both – UPS and CBSA representatives. I’m not sure that CBSA will accept taxes after you already paid to UPS… When I was doing self-clearance, they asked me.


  • Tina

    Hi Trueler,

    I bought two pair of shoes from Spain for my Wedding. The seller use UPS as the shipping comany. I wasn’t at home today, and I got the UPS yellow sticker on my door, and said I need to paid $170 for the brokerage fee. I feel so sad now, how can I avoid the brokerage fee and what kind of information and document I need to do the self clearing? I’m totally broke now due to all the bills for the wedding, I really don’t want to spend more on the brokerage fee. Please help, many many thanks.


  • Trueler

    Hi Tina,

    Please refer to this post for detailed instructions:

    There are also useful comments.

    If you have more specific questions, I would try to help.


  • barry

    Unique shipment identifier number- trueler, is this number on the invoice?

    I see something that says Shipmet ID in the upper right hand box .

    Thanks – and again, where can I go in Toronto to clear it?

  • Trueler

    Hey barry,

    Yes, Shipment ID on the invoice should be that number. Mine was there as well.


  • Neff

    I received a package from US for 21 dollars and UPS Charged me 23.30 as COD. I called them and they told me I could not self clear. So I made the payment and collected my package. But today reading this forum , I realised that UPS misguided me. So now is there any way I can dispute my charges with UPS. REQUESTING HELP, THANKS

  • Trueler

    Hi Neff,

    CBSA will most likely not accept taxes from you because you’ve already paid to UPS. However you may try because UPS has not remitted taxes to the Government yet – they do it by the end of the next month after shipment.


  • Maurine

    Hi Trueler,

    I have order 2 parcels (vitamins) form the US. The first one arrived few days ago. The a value is $194.60. UPS is asking $50.63 Brokerage COD. I’m reluctant to pay this, but I probably will have to. However, I am waiting on the second parcel of a value of $344. And I’m worry on how much UPS is going to charge me. I got my tracking #, invoice & shipping #. My husband went to CBSA here in Calgary. They asked for the manifest or cargo #. I called Jessica at UPS this afternoon at about 3pm at 1800 233-8133 (mandarin) to get the cargo #. First time she gave me an example # because when I went on UPS website it could not retrieve the #. I called again and was able to get another # (8156-0504-00). My husband & I went back to CBSA after work. CBSA said that the 6 last digits are missing. The agent asked to get a copy of the manifest. I will have to call back UPS but I know that they probably will not accept to send me a copy. Could you help with this please. Thanks.

  • Trueler

    Hi Maurine,

    CBSA is asking you what you are not able to get from UPS. And this is the Government organization. How is this called?!

    Manifest is not required, CBSA should not ask for this because importer physically can’t get it because UPS does not provide it. Moreover CBSA do not have a right to ask importer for manifest because it violates instructions to self clear outlined in CBSA memoranda and in the reply from CBSA Ottawa which I published in this post.


  • cass

    $40 items and UPS $25 COD are you kidding. I just purchased $1200 exhaust and $164 cod by UPS. Both items are from the USA. Why isn’t there a lawsuit against UPS ! I’m sure a large law firm could make millions taking UPS to court for this scam.

  • SD

    Just wanted to post some info from someone who has worked at UPS.

    Every package that gets a COD is pulled aside and there is a person that slaps a COD tag and bill onto the package. This is done right at the sorting facility at the port of entry which is in Fort Erie, Windsor, etc. The actual paper work and taxes/brokerage fees are prepared ahead of time before the package even enters Canada.

    CBSA would come in and open random packages for inspection. This is not tied into the brokerage process at all. So if UPS tells you that a package has to be sent back to port to clear it they are simply lying.

    Oh and after seeing how UPS handles packages I wouldn’t ship anything with them ever again.

    Occasionally I do ship UPS and used this procedure to clear the packages. Most of the time I am successful but occasionally you would get some moron at CBSA office that doesn’t know the law and would demand that you bring in a UPS manifest even though all the required info is provided on the commercial invoice.

    What I do is call UPS with your tracking number. Use option 3. Then simply request a copy of the commercial invoice. They should email it to you in a zip file right away. DO NOT inform them that you want to clear the package yourself. Most of the time the guy on the phone doesn’t know wtf is going and will try to convince you that it will need to be sent back, can’t be done, etc. Don’t be mad at him, he just doesn’t know any better because he was trained incorrectly to begin with.

    Once you have your commercial invoice, it should have all the required info on it. Waybill number, Shipment ID, etc. Take that to the CBSA office and tell them that you are there to pay duty owed on a package coming into Canada by UPS. Present them with a document along with ID. If they know what the law, they will clear it. If not, ask them to check their procedure and mention the memos listed here. After you pay duty they will give you a B15 form with a stamp on it. You will need to fax that to the UPS fax number which UPS likes to change frequently. Probably to make the process more difficult. I am in Ontario so the number I had to use was a 519 number. With your fax, include a note that you are refusing to use UPS’es brokerage services and clearing the package yourself through CBSA. This is the only time you need to do this because you have it in writing and it goes to the office where they deal with this stuff on daily basis. Those guys will know what to do next.

    From there on it’s a waiting game. UPS will probably try to deliver the package and make you pay COD. Refuse the package first time then call them and ask to hold for pickup.

    After that keep calling UPS and asking if they pulled COD off the package. Don’t explain your reasons to the guy on the phone, they will give you more BS. Just tell them they are suppose to make adjustments on it. I actually ended up going to the UPS warehouse where the package was being held along with a B15 form. The person there ended up calling the brokerage department and they cleared the package on the spot.

  • Bianca

    Well, I received my packages from UPS about a month ago.

    A month later they sent me two letters regarding my brokerage fees…Is this their new way of making customers pay now? You get your package, then they send you your ‘statements’ for your fees? Since I’ve already received my packages, I can’t do the whole self clear now obviously…..

    Sigh, this sucks.

  • Trueler

    Hi Bianca,

    Unfortunately this is how UPS works: total rip-off! Their managers who invented this trick with late invoices must be prosecuted by law!

  • unhappy

    I had an item shipped through ups, read this thread previously so when ups phoned me to ask about a broker i said i would like to clear it myself. They said no problem, they would email me the forms to take to my local customs office. I asked if there was any time line that I needed to go down to the office and bring in the paperwork and pay the duty, etc., and was told as long as it was within 24 hours there was no problem. I down and did that, got my item shipped, thought it was taken care of.

    Months later, i receive an invoice for “in bond” fee??? Called ups and they told me that it was because there was no broker assigned when the package got to the border there was a fee for that. Was also told that the fee was for the paperwork that had to be done because of this, and that ups takes a hit because of this too, some sort of penalty. Then was told that the fee was for the item having to travel to my local warehouse and be held in bond till it was cleared. I am now awaiting a call back from the ups freight coordinator i originally dealt with for him to “explain the reason for the fee.” 3 different reasons were given to me for this additional fee! What can I do?

  • Maureen

    READ AHEAD – This turns into a Happy Story!! :)
    Many years ago I made a decision NOT to have anything shipped to me from the US to Canada as I too had been violated by unsolicited, aggressive border brokers allowed to charge unreasonable fees for forwarding my taxes to the Canadian Government.

    Recently I broke down and did order something that I could not obtain in any other way. I was very worried until I found your site – so I would like to thank you Trueler for creating a place to discuss how to “avoid” the excessive brokerage fees levied on goods shipped into Canada.

    I was all ready for a “fight” with FedEx and to my great relief it was a fantastic experience. I had missed having the package delivered – so I went to their pick-up site at 215 Lakeshore Avenue in Toronto. I called ahead so I knew the fee would be $23.82 (on a shipment valued at $96.29 CAD & shipping and handling of $24.99) and decided that for the $11.30 broker’s fee it was worth my while not to have to go to Pearson Airport to pay $12.52 in taxes.

    While I was picking up my parcel I commented that it was OK this time but if the next time my shipment was worth more I would consider going to pay my own taxes to avoid paying the broker’s fees. The clerk informed me that I could certainly do my own “self-clearance” and that it was easy – all I had to do was let the vendor know at the shipping end and they would fill in their forms accordingly – and then once it arrived they would inform me and I could go do my own self-clearance. But he said – “Why would you do that if the fee would be the same – $11.30 brokers’ fee for any shipment – regardless of amount. Why would you go through that hassle for $11.30 for any shipment valued at no more than $1,600.00.” I had to agree!

    So it looks to me like FedEx is providing a more than reasonable service and not charging exorbitant fees like UPS is doing. It was a seamless, enjoyable experience. Knowing this I will only use FedEx in the future.

    Additional note: I just called FedEx (to double-check) and was told the same information that the clerk told me and additionally the agent informed me – unsolicited – that if I was a frequent shipper – even if I only ship twice a year – it might be worth my while to get a FedEx account tied to a credit card number and they then would WAIVE ALL BROKERS’ FEES. No kidding! At this point I am over the top impressed with FedEx. If you want to check it out yourself their number (from Canada) is 1-800-463-3339. Happy shipping!!

  • Maureen

    To Trueler — correction to my last note. The FedEx location I went to was at 215 Lakeshore Blvd. E (NOT Avenue). Thanks!

  • fawkes

    Thanks for all the information posted on this site and in the comments (for both threads).

    I have just ordering a package as a birthday gift where the only shipping option is UPS, so we’ll see how the self-clearing works in Calgary in the next couple weeks.


  • Bianca

    How do I pay anyway? Do I mail them a cheque? I don’t think these are payable at the banks right?

  • MonsieurCanon

    A lot of people are not aware that if you use the expedited or express shipping the UPS customs brokerage is included in the shipping cost. This is from their website: “Enjoy free customs clearance on UPS Express and UPS Expedited shipments.” In most cases you come out ahead even though the shipping costs more. Also, you get the merchandise faster, theoretically (we all know UPS is prone to FU). Of course, you still have to pay any duties and/or taxes owing. A lot of the larger US companies that I deal with won’t offer UPS standard shipping into Canada as an option; I suppose it has proven to be too much of a headache with customers balking at paying the often exorbitant brokerage fees and the items being returned. I think Fedex may be the same, although I don’t often ship with them.

  • Trueler

    Hi unhappy,

    Continue to call them until they waive the fee, because it’s just a robbery… they don’t even know what this fee is…


  • Trueler

    Hi Maureen,

    Thanks for information. Seems like it’s a new thing from FedEx. They used to send late invoices with high brokerage fees. If anyone else experienced the same good experience, please share.


  • Trueler

    Hi Bianca,

    You pay in person at any local CBSA office.


  • Trueler


    It’s often happening that expedited or express is much more expensive than standard. Definitely if it’s the same price, or 5-10 dollars more it’s worth to ship with expedited.

    In my cases expedited was $200-300 more expensive than standard.


  • Fahad

    Hey Trueler,

    Just wanted to say great great job on this whole thing. Not only have you posted something very very useful, but you have also tried replying to every1′s comment, which was not only extremely informative (as a rebuttal and/or insight) but it shows that you really want to help people! Good stuff!

    With that said, if i do run into high fees, i will take these steps BUT

    BUT people need to realize that there are ways to skip this entire process altogether.

    Customs and UPS solely depend on info given by the sender to create these numbers.

    Now obviously you can’t ask big companies with automatied shipping processes this, BUT you can ask individual sellers (eBay sellers for example)…. So, whenever I buy an Item off eBay that is about more than $50 i always MAKE SURE the seller does 3 important things .. (1) send item as GIFT (2) VALUE item @ UNDER $40 and (3) do NOT ATTACH an invoice/reciipt.

    By taking these procautons i have never had to pay any taxes/duties/customs etc. But I have been screed over by large companies that dont do these special requests. BUT thanks to you Trueler, i know how bout to dodge the fees with ur steps if it ever happens.

    SO, with that said, thanks again for the heads up, you’re doing a great job, and i’ll message you if i need you!


  • James

    Hi Trueler,

    I greatly appreciate the effort that you’re putting into this, and hope that self clearing only gets easier.

    I called and spoke to a CBSA officer through the 800 number this morning, just to check if I could self-clear at the local airport CBSA office. He was less than encouraging. He claimed to be aware of your website, and the info there, but questioned the legitimacy and authority behind the note from CBSA that you posted. His claim was that this was under discussion in Ottawa, and that there wasn’t a ruling that carried authority, so any attempt to self-clear would be left basically to the whim of the CBSA officer that I deal with. He also claimed that CBSA could still demand that I clear where the parcel was physically present, which sounds an awful lot like the UPS lie. I think it might be helpful if you could post a few more specifics with the note from CBSA. Perhaps including the CBSA officer’s ID number or something like that that would allow CBSA people to verify the legitimacy of the note without inviting spam?

    Thanks again,


  • Trueler

    Hi James,

    CBSA people can verify procedure with Senior Program Advisor for the Courier LVS Program.


  • Brent

    UPS Agent Name: Ron
    Phone #: 1-800-PICKUPS phone number (press option 3 to get brokerage services).
    Just told me that I had to go to the port of entry to clear a package. Reporting him to you so you can forward to CBSA.

  • marcia

    Interesting reading. Just letting you know that I was told by a UPS supervisor that I could NOT self clear. That the package was in Fort Erie. That UPS would NOT send the package to Pearson for me at all. And if I wanted to self clear that I have to go to Fort Erie.
    And that was an hour ago.
    After I spoke to Canada Customs and verified this procedure.
    And after i explained it to the supervisor.
    I was told that the Fort Erie office would contact me.
    i hate UPS with a passion for this run around.

  • Justin

    Hi Trueler,

    As so many others have already said, I thank you for your efforts on this matter. I am in the process of creating an online petition for delivery to the Canadian Parliament asking them to insist that UPS be straight-forward with customers regarding their options. I have also asked the RCMP to investigate. The emailed response (the RCMP officer forwarded it to me) from UPS to the RCMP investigator stated:

    Dear Cst. XXXXX XXXXXX,

    UPS Customer Service employees are aware that customers are able to declare their own goods, and pay any taxes directly to the CBSA. However, in order for the carrier to release the goods for delivery, they must be physically cleared at a port of entry by a licensed broker, like UPS, or by the importer themselves. If the importer chooses to pay the charges directly to the CBSA, they must physically present themselves at the port of entry.

    In this case, the customer paid the taxes at the local customs office, but was unable to go physically to the port of entry (Vancouver). In order for UPS to release the goods, we had to pay on his behalf to the port of entry. The customer wanted to provide his receipt as proof, however customs requires the importer to present themselves physically, and not via fax.

    Since the importer paid the taxes and UPS paid the taxes, only the importer can claim the overpayment from the CBSC.

    This process can seem very confusing to a first time importer. We have apologized to Mr. Wiltshire and adjusted his invoice as a goodwill gesture. Unfortunately, the adjustment was not completed in full, and it resulted in an outstanding balance in error. This has since been corrected.

    Please contact me if you have any further questions.

    Thank you

    Sigrid Walters
    CSC Manager

    Ph: 506-877-4802
    Atlas: 275-4802
    Fax: 506-877-4915

    These claims are patently false, as you have made abundantly clear. Mr Walters has lied to an investigating RCMP officer. I need proof, though, that he is lying. Are you able to provide me with a copy of the letter CBSA sent to you so that I may submit it to the investigating officer as evidence that CBSA does not require my presence at the port of entry?



  • Curtis

    In inclusion , do we need our presence at the port of entry ?
    In my case, UPS charged me brokerage fee $40 for used snowboard bindings which I bought from Ebay at only $51 !

  • Trueler

    Hi Curtis,

    No, we don’t need presence at the port of entry. Local CBSA office should do this.


  • Justin

    Hi Trueler,

    I still haven’t heard back from you regarding my request for a copy of the letter CBSA sent to you. I realize that you posted part of it above the ‘Comments’ section, but I need the full thing in order to pass it on to the RCMP. If you still have a digital copy of it, could you please email it to me so I can do so?


  • Trueler

    Hi Justin,

    You may treat this letter (published in the article) as a full thing and pass it on to the RCMP. Only information related to my particular case has been omitted here.


  • Scott

    Just wanted to thank you for the info you’ve provided on this site. On a $100 cellphone bought on E-bay, I called UPS and found that I was facing a COD charge of around $59. I tried to tell them that I wanted to self clear, but they told me that it was impossible because they had already cleared it. So, with the Unique identifier and a copy of the Invoice that UPS provided (separate phone call – didn’t tell them why I wanted it) I went to the CBSA office near the airport (Ottawa) and one of the officers there new exactly what I needed and after paying my $13 tax (no duty on cellphones) I had my B-15 form ready to go.

    A little while after I got home, the UPS guy showed up with my phone and I don’t know if I just got a really good driver, or if they’re being instructed to just accept it, I gave him a copy of the B-15 and after he saw that it was a stamped receipt for the taxes, he handed me my phone.

    Never could have done it without the info you provided.

    Thanks again,


  • Trueler

    Thanks Scott for sharing your experience. I’m very glad that this info helps people!


  • Linda

    Hi Trueler,

    Thank you for all your work investigating how to self-clear a shipment. Having read through all the blogs I was able to learn from everyone’s frustrating experiences and self-cleared my package from UPS without a problem.

    I waited for UPS’s first attempt of delivery, took the sticker off my front door that they left and called UPS to tell them I will pick my item up at the warehouse myself.

    Then I called UPS, selecting option 3, and asked for a copy of the commercial invoice (as instructed from one of your blogs). I DID NOT inform them that I want to self-clear the package. I ensured that they had recorded my email address correctly and received the commercial
    invoice within minutes.

    I proceeded to my local CBSA office with the original sales receipt of item (picture of item was on there, which seemed helpful at CBSA office), the commercial invoice, UPS tracking summary (showing it was being held at UPS warehouse) as well as UPS sticker from my front door
    and my ID. The customs officer asked for the “UPS manifest” which I didn’t have but I showed her the UPS tracking summary as well as the sticker from my door which was sufficient. Within 10 minutes she had all of the above papers stamped and dated and gave me the B15 form and
    I proceeded to pay the GST at the CBSA office. Then I faxed the commercial invoice, original sales receipt and B15 form to the “UPS Rating Department” (506)447-3706 in New Brunswick where they are to make rate adjustments to my package. Make sure to include your UPS tracking # on fax coversheet. Normally this takes 1-5 days to adjust,
    however, another blog I read said he went to collect his package the next day, so I thought I’d try that.

    The next day I took all of the above paperwork to the UPS warehouse including the UPS sticker from my door. The fellow went to retrieve my package and when he was ready to collect the brokerage fees, I handed him all the paperwork. He took it to an international broker in the
    back and a few minutes later said everything looked good. I did ask for all my paperwork back so that I have back-up incase I should have any issues with this at a later date, as I’ve read some of you had surprise bills months later. He scanned my package and sent me on my way.

    I was armed and ready for a big confrontation with CBSA as well as UPS by printing off “how to self-clear” as well as some steps from some blogs of yours, but thanks to all the digging you’ve done and the shared experiences of others, I had everything I needed for a smooth transaction.

    Doing this involved a fair bit of driving and researching but well worth saving approximately $47.00 in brokerage fees this time. Thanks again to you and everyone who has shared their experiences. I’m telling everyone about your website to help save others $$.


  • Sunnie

    Hello Trueler,

    I am located in Salem, Oregon and my UPS driver just told me that we have to pay for a brokerage fee ($33.75) for an item shipped from Canada to us. I have worked for the company I am with for 8 years and have never been requested to pay a brokerage fee directly to the driver (we do get packages from Canada often). What do I do in this case for a package from Canada to the USA?


  • Trueler

    Hello Sunnie,

    I have not heard about this before. Do you know what this brokerage fee is related to? For example, in Canada UPS charge it when they pay sales taxes to the Government on the importer’s behalf (i.e. brokerage services).

    As far as I know, there is no sales tax in Oregon, right? So, I think it might be some mistake from UPS side. Maybe call them to figure out?


  • Greg Lynn

    UPS and Canadian customs appear to be in silent collusion on this whole scenario. I am in the process of getting a shipment back and its been a nightmare.

    1. Shipped Oct 27 UPS Grd Std to Canada from U.S. from a UPS Facility customer counter. Was not told brokerage fees were not included nor what they might be for recipient.
    2. Recipient called the next day and told brokerage fees would be $67! on a $340 declared used iPhone.
    3. Called UPS and demanded a package intercept. Package was still in the U.S. enroute to Illinois. Demanded it to be stopped in U.S. UPS will not guarantee this can be done?!!
    4. Package arrives 11/2 at destination delivery hub before my request to stop the package is acknowledged, even though the package was physically scanned in IL after my request to intercept was processed.
    5. UPS online tracking lies, says recipient refused shipment, shows evidence of back and forth movement for a delivery attempt. UPS chat rep says its in Toronto for return processing.
    6. UPS demands $31 ship fee to return my package, more $ than to ship to Canada in first place!
    7. Pay the fee 11/3 yet it will be 5-8 business days still before UPS ships it back with a tracking number

    Bottom line: outright scam. UPS purposely makes it so packages cannot or will not be intercepted before they cross the border. Then they hide behind more so behind process and bureaucracy in addition to lying to recipients about any ability to self-broker or clear items. Canadian customs obviously allows this activity to continue, as does the US Customs and US Commerce office.

    I will be pursuing this issue on principal with local, State and Federal agencies and disputing my original ship and return ship charges on the basis of misrepresentation of shipment and brokerage fees.

    DO NOT USE UPS. My Canadian co-workers tell me (too late) to use Fedex or USPS, though they say USPS may get lost.

  • Robert

    Hi Trueler,
    Great guide. I went through this process myself about a year ago and had a $60 bill from UPS turn into $12 import tax paid directly to CBSA.

    Today however things seem to have changed.
    I ordered $109 worth of clothing from the U.S. UPS wants to charge $39 plus tax for the brokerage.
    I called them up and asked them to hold the package at the depot while I self clear. They didn’t resist this at all and gave me a street address, but no mention of what city. Having gone through this before, I assumed it was the address for the local (Ottawa) CBSA office. A quick check on google, after getting off the phone, tells me this is the port of entry in Windsor!

    My next call was to CBSA directly, asking for a local address where I can self clear. The CBSA agent told me that I must go to the port of entry to self clear, and no other office will do. At this point I was a bit confused and very annoyed, and didn’t think to get her name.

    Defeated, I called UPS back to say I won’t be self clearing after all. This time I did get a name: Catherine, fromt he Canadian UPS customer service line, spoke to her at 2pm EST today.
    She claims that importers have always had to go to the port of entry to self clear (which I know not to be the case, but by not I don’t see any other avenues of argument, and honestly I just want my order).

    Everyone was polite, and I’ll be picking up the package on Monday, but I’m angry and convinced there’s some misinformation going on here. The story coming from CBSA has changed dramatically sometime in the last year.

  • sheila

    I am so dissatisfied myself. I sent 4 pairs of shoes for my brother in- law and his wife for their birthdays. Got them cheap from the outlet mall here in the US. The total cost for all four shoes was 55 USD. They ended up paying 53 dollars for brokerage and tax. I wasn’t ask from my end here to declare amount for the items sent. Upon receiving the package, we found out that UPS has declared that the value of the package was 100 USD. This is outrageous and deceitful. Lesson learned never again use UPS!

  • Richard

    Hey, i am having a package shipped to me. Its ups expedited. I called and asked for COD price and while i dont want to disclose specifics, its ~15% of what i payed for the item(the total COD price). The item is purely american made of all american parts, so its covered then i guess under nafta. BTW im in GTA ontario, so i assume i would pay just HST if i self clear (13%), so really its only 2% difference then for me to self clear, or is self clear cheaper than HST?

  • Trueler

    Hi Richard,

    In any case you have to pay HST. Expedited service shipping fee already includes brokerage fee, so UPS should charge only taxes in COD bill.


  • Richard

    thank you very much for your super fast answer.
    I assumed…
    COD FEE (4.25)
    Invoice Integrity Fee(4.00)
    HST (price * 1.13)
    Bond Fee (HST * .027)

    Probably tax on the fees also, lol
    = What i pay at the door

    Sound about right? b/c the number with that calculation comes something like that, give or take a few bucks.

    So does it make sense at that point to drive out to pearson to clear myself, when really the only additional costs will be the COD,Integrity Fee (WTF is this), and bond fee. Since most people have a problem with the brokerage which is already included in the shipping?

    Not sure if i should just do this out of principle, since it will cost me more long run with time and gas to clear it. Not to mention the first step of getting the commercial invoice took me half a day. BTW they dont take cash either at the door.

  • Trueler

    Richard, have you already paid for delivery? If so, the charge at the door should be 13% (HST) of the price. Expedited service should not have any additional fees (that’s why it is more expensive). At CBSA you will pay the same 13%.

  • Richard

    I havent paid for anything yet, first attempt was made, but i wasnt home. But i called to get them to send me the commercial invoice, and i asked them the total charges, also it was on the sticker they left. Its approx 15% of the total purchase price, not 13%, so i assumed the other costs above the 13% was the bond fee, COD fee, and the invoice fee.

  • Trueler

    There is a difference between “UPS Ground” and “UPS Expedited”. “UPS Ground” shipping fee is cheaper than “Expedited” – it is the price which sender pays to UPS when shipping your goods. When sending by “Expedited”, receiver pays only HST, no other fees. With “Ground” receiver pays HST + brokerage fee + other fees. In my cases “Expedited” option was much more expensive than “Ground” even taking into account all the hidden fees. So, I always choose “Ground” and pay taxes by myself at CBSA.

    It is strange that it is 15% in your case, since your method of shipping is “UPS Expedited”, it should be 13%. Maybe UPS changed the rules and added fees on top of high “Expedited” rate…

    It’s up to you if you want trying to self clear :) Honestly, in this case I probably wouldn’t. Just call UPS and ask what the heck are there fees on top of “UPS Expedited” which used to include all the fees.


  • Mar


  • Carson

    Thanks for this. I’ve ordered many Items from the US and have never had any problems. Today I have a problem. It is slightly different from what I’ve read I think.
    I ordered an upscale shoulder bag for my wife in Sept and the shipper used FedEx ground. Item arrived at my post office and I picked it up there. No charges. I wasn’t expecting any.
    Today, 2 months later, I received a bill from FedEx requesting duty, taxes, brokerage, etc. did I agree to this when I picked up the pkg? I may have signed for it but only did so when I knew there wasn’t going to be any charge.
    I live a little less than two hours from the us border in interior bc but don’t have a local border agency office besides that.

  • Trueler

    Hi Carson,

    Unfortunately this is how FedEx work. Even if local border agency was close to you, now it is indeed too late to self clear, because FedEx already remitted taxes to the Government (it happens in 1-2 months after crossing the border).

    FedEx knows this and purposely send invoice only in two months. It is called robbery because it is. They don’t give a chance to self clear.

    Try to call them and dispute, inform that you could self-clear package, tell that you were not aware that there were additional hidden charges to expect. Agree to pay only taxes. I hope it will work…


  • SaturnWind

    Here’s what you do people:
    You give UPS the check. You take your package. Then call your bank, cancel the check, and contact your local CBSA office and pay the tax.

    Upon ordering 102$ package with a 25.82$ Shipping Fee, I was handed a 58.83$ bill upon delivery. Nowhere in my order information did it say anything about COD. That’s 84.65$ shipping on a 100$ order! ~85%!

    If I didn’t give them the check, they wouldn’t have given me the package.
    So give them the check, then login to your bank and cancel it.

  • Karl

    Hi Trueler,

    I’m wondering if the procedure has changed – can you email me the original document from CBSA?

    I’m in Edmonton and have an item coming via UPS, and I wasn’t given the option of selecting a carrier – the shipper just chose one for me. I called UPS to verify brokerage fees, and I was told if I pre-pay it would be $13.00 (plus the GST on the item). Considering the local CBSA office is an hour away, I feel this is reasonable. However, if it turns out the UPS rep was lying about the total fees, I’d like to have all the information ready to self-clear. Can you send me the original letter you got from CBSA?


  • Trueler

    Hi Karl,

    Original document is the same as in the section “How to pay duties and taxes for imported goods”. Just copy it into doc and take to CBSA.


  • leanne


    I bought an item from from California for $139 US (on its way to toronto) and it was shipped through UPS on december 29. i just found out about brokerage and other fees that i will have to pay at the door. i had thought that i paid for shipping already since the seller charged $40 for shipping? what was that for if i have to pay so much still? How can i avoid some of these extra fees?


  • leanne

    also i forgot to mention, that i am not able to go outside toronto because i don’t have a car. and is giving them a void check a good idea or will it just come back and bite me?

  • Mr. M

    Folks… UPS has hit a new low… enjoy (or not)…

    I’m currently considering legal action against UPS. I have asked them for self-clearance. They were very slow and seemingly hesitant. I called many times and it wasn’t right until about the third time. The second agent actually lied and told me that self-clearance was not possible (lie). Luckily, not all UPS agents were complete idiots but it did takes some pushing and knowledge gained from this site.

    When the package was finally ready for self-clearance, I took time out of my schedule to visit CBSA at the Ottawa airport (140 Thad Johnson, Ottawa, Ontario K1V 0R4) and prepare the B3 and pay the taxes.

    Now 1 month after I cleared my package and picked it up, UPS sends me an invoice for the same absurd amount. They still want to charge me the same brokerage and fees and taxes and they claim to have paid the taxes for me! Very funny UPS! :)

    The best part is that in the UPS system it is documented that I initiated the self-clearance process. The UPS agent and UPS supervisor both told me this over the phone. In that case, I clearly should not have to pay UPS anything since I rejected their brokerage service and fees and opted to prepare the B3 myself and pay taxes myself. This is my choice and they can’t charge me for preparing a B3 for me when I clearly said no!

    The bogus reason they still claim I owe them brokerage, fees and taxes on-top of taxes is they say they filed the B3 first! In other words they beat me to the B3 even after I called to ask to self-clear! The package was shipped on the 24th. I initiated the self-clearance on the 26th. UPS claims they filed B3 on 31st. I started my B3 on the 31st but due to some problems at CBSA, had to return to complete the B3 and get the packages cleared. I didn’t know it was a race between myself and UPS to file the B3 first… like filing patent!

    This company has completely brain-washed its employees to the point where they don’t even feel bad about scamming people. The christmas season is comming soon and I have a feeling UPS stock prices are going to surge…. not because of good business practices but by scamming families, older men and women and others expecting gifts who will be stuck with a 50% brokerage & fees bill at their door C.O.D!!

    After reading hundreds of complaints about UPS (Canada) on the internet I think it’s time a class-action suit is filed against UPS and we put and end to the tax on-top of tax on-top of tax that UPS fraudulently charges. The best way to describe what they do is hostage taking. Really! They hold your pacakage hostage until you pay up, despite paying for shipping in full. Sounds like something that only happens in Columbia but in reality is happening in our own backyard.

    Even after self-clearing, they sleezly try to find ways to bill you anyway. To be honest, when I got the invoice in the mail 1 month later I wasn’t that surprised That’s just the kind of company UPS is!! A bunch of criminals!

    So Monday I plan to go to back to the CBSA office and let them know I have my B3 and UPS is trying to charge me fees anyway. I’ll file a complaint against UPS if I can in writing. I just finished filing a complaint against UPS with the better business bureau tonight, and sending an email to newspapers and the CBC. At this point, I’m considering litigation… if it makes the world a better place… then its worth the trouble

  • Mr. M

    First of all, I encourage you to avoid UPS as I am doing and tell others. Since you have already shipped with UPS hopefully this information will help you and others.

    You should be able to self-clear at locations in Toronto or around the GTA. See this website.

    UPS is required to give you the address of the local UPS warehouse where the package is being held (when you request self-clearance) and they will also give you the address of the nearest CBSA office. You can double check this by checking the website of calling the CBSA phone support line. CBSA agents have always been very helpful and polite.

    When you want to self-clear you should DO SO AS SOON AS THE ITEM HAS BEEN SHIPPED by calling UPS 1-800-PICK-UPS. This will prevent UPS from trying to charge anyway in the case where you call after the pacakage has crossed the border.

    Also, it appears you need to hurry to the CBSA office and clear the package as fast as possible or UPS may try to claim they filed a B3, paid taxes and released the item before you. All lies but you can avoid by acting quickly. (See my story above)

    Once you get to the CBSA office.. you should expect the agents to be helpful and polite. Tell them you are self-clearing and it is your first time filing a B3.

    1. When filing a B3, you will need the commercial invoice, shipping tracking number or other shipping ID. The item has to be at the local UPS warehouse associated with the CBSA office. You need the commercial invoice with item description to determine the category of items (a code that UPS, CBSA and the government use to track goods called a harmonizing code I believe). The good news is the commercial invoice sometimes has all these codes near the line items. The shipper might have done this for you if they are used to shipping across the border.

    2. Split line items in countries of origin. They will need to be entered by country of origin so put all items from one country in a list of its own. Pretty simple so far.

    3. To save time, if you can organize your items (already sorted by country) into a small number of categories this will help a lot. Trust me! So if you are importing many different values of capacitors (electronics parts) from Japan then you can file them all under code 8532240092 with country of origin being Japan. The computer will help you find the code or you can look in the book at CBSA. Pretty simple though.

    4. Enter each all items, grouped by code, for each country into the computer or manually on the B3 form in pen. If you entered the items on the computer, you will be able to print the B3 form pages at the end.

    5. Enter the quantity and cost for each code (do this for each country). The computer makes this simple and will ask you for all the neccessary info. The quantity and code is used to calculate how much tax is due.

    6. CBSA agents will use your B3 to prepare your release forms (this may take a few minutes so bring you smart phone or ipad)

    7. After the CBSA agents have prepared the release forms. They will stamp one.

    8. Pay the GST/HST calculated by you (if you completed the B3 manually) or the computer. Credit card, debit and cash are accepted as far as I know.

    9. Take your forms (including the stamped one) to the UPS. Present the release forms and they will give you your package.

    10. Smile you’re done! (Hopefully this tutorial will help anyone trying to self-clear for the first time!)

    11. Pray UPS won’t invoice you anyway (1 month later as I am experiencing!)

    Good luck and in the future… dont use UPS! :)

  • Samuel


    I just called UPS. I told them I want the “commercial invoice” to do the self-clearing my self. They says no problem but I absolutely need to present the documents (B15 form) at the warehouse in Montreal. They said I cannot simply send the B15 form by fax. I also call CBSA and they told me the same thing. I can pay taxes and do all the paper work locally but I NEED to present the documents by myself (or an other person) directly in Montreal.

    Any suggestions?

  • Trueler

    Hi Samuel,

    Your job is to pay taxes and get a proof from CBSA. It’s a problem of UPS that they don’t want to accept it by fax. You provide them a proof – they must release goods to you.

    Seems like another invention from UPS to rip-off customers.


  • Steve

    I was living down in the US under a work visa for 4 months and shipped some of my personal items home to myself via UPS (shipped on December 2, 2011). I declared the value of the items on the original shipment, and when I came across the border in Montreal (on December 16th, 2011) I claimed the items under my personal exemption of $750CAD. I received an E-24 form and was told by the border agent that when UPS delivers my items, they may require me to pay fees. She told me to just give them this form and I will not have to pay any fees.

    Well, after I get through customs and to the gate of my next flight, I receive a call from UPS stating that I need to fax them the E-24 form by 11:00PM that night (December 16th, 2011) in order for my items to be released and get to me before Christmas. I leave the gate and walk 30 minutes to find a fax machine at the airport and fax the E-24 form off to them. I get a confirmation report that the fax was received at 5:54PM.

    Jump to Monday, December 19th, 2011. I receive a call from UPS stating that they never received the fax. Now they want me to scan the E-24 form and e-mail to them. I spoke with someone by the name of Joyce (Trueler, if you need her full name I can give it to you via e-mail). So I state that I received a confirmation that the fax was indeed received, restated the fax number to her which she confirmed, but she still claimed they never received it. I give them the benefit of the doubt and scan the form and e-mail it to her. She says she will get back to me tomorrow to let me know that the package has been released.

    Jump to today, still have not heard anything back from this one Joyce, so I write her another e-mail inquiring about the status of my package, and stating that I fully expect UPS to raise the priority on my package appropriately in order to honor their original statement that the package will be delivered before Christmas (this is standard, good quality customer service practice).

    Finally, 6 hours after I send the e-mail I get another call from UPS. This time it is another representative by the name of Milly (again, I can provide her full name if you require Trueler). She states that the faxed copy (thus confirming that I knew they had received it…) as well as the scanned copy of the E-24 form are not good enough, and that they require me to mail the original to them. She continues to tell me that it is being held by customs and because I do not live in Montreal, I have to authorize UPS to clear it and I also have to mail the original E-24 form. I tell her that it has already been claimed at the border, and that if I need to clear it I should be able to clear it myself at a local CBSA office. I ask her to e-mail the details and this is what she e-mails instead:

    “If you have the form E-24 (personal exemption form) from customs, your pkg is considered as personal effects which customs want you to clear yourself. Since you do not live in Montreal, UPS can clear it for you provided you send me a note stating:

    I authorize UPS to prepare documents for customs. State the reason and period of your stay in the USA and please sign the letter of authorization.

    I also need a copy of the invoice for the items.

    The E-24 is required in original by customs, so please post it to: (Address removed)”

    I write back stating that I require the information so that I can clear these items myself at my local CBSA office in Newfoundland, and that I do not authorize UPS to prepare any documentation for this because they charge ridiculous fees. She finally sends me the information/documentation which they have on my package and states that because I have an E-24 form there will be no fees…however, I still have to pay to mail the original to them…and on top of this it will take weeks for it to reach them in the mail (thus a solid month before I receive my items). Better still, what happens if the original gets lost in the mail?! Then what do I do?

    I cannot describe my frustration and my anger right now. I am at a loss about what to do. I have called CBSA, but their offices are closed. When I was shipping the package, I was told that because I am only shipping personal items to myself, it would not be held up at customs, and I would not have to pay any brokerage fees or taxes. Now it has been over 3 weeks since I shipped my items and it seems as if I will never receive them!

    Trueler, can you please e-mail me and provide me with the contact information for who you spoke with at the CBSA so I can get this resolved.


  • Steph

    So basically, I ordered a product off, found out that there would be import charges (after purchasing the product and doing some investigation) and came across your website on how to avoid such fees. However, I am pretty angry at Folica for their poor customer service, and wanted to return it, so within the hour i contacted them to return the product. they did not get back to me till 3 days later and informed me that i could not return it because it had already been shipped on tuesday morning. well… i contacted ups to return to sender and they said they could only do it with a return authorization (something folica wasnt willing to do because they said if i returned to sender, they would mark it as abandoned and i wouldnt get the product + would have to pay customs fee and pay for the product itself with nothing to show for it). I finally got folica and ups on the line at the same time and told them that since ups had posession of the package, folica needed to provide them with the return authorization and get it sent back to them. it was all agreed upon, a rep from folica provided them with the info.. and a few hours later i noticed it was still moving within the network. when i called ups, they said they would be calling folica the next day… but till then, they couldnt hold the package even though the rep i’d talked to earlier said they could. it is a huge rip off, and now, apparently, its being held for customs. if it goes through customs, i dont know how to get my money back from folica… what do i do??? any suggestions??? please help!!

  • Anthony R

    I am an IT guy at a company and I ordered some toner cartridges for one of our printers. They were about $550 and the driver came yesterday with a $66 brokerage fee. I didn’t want to pay it so I sent him away, but after doing some reading unfortunately I don’t have the time to deal with this BS. I’d have to drive to the airport to clear my item, then drive to the UPS warehouse to pick up my package. That’s at least 3 or 4 hours of my day, probably more. Anyway, I’m getting the run around for UPS and CBSA on what forms I need as well. What a perfect scam; I’m forced to just pay the damn thing now.

    I can’t believe, after so many years, they are still getting away with this. I got bit by this UPS brokerage fee over 10 years ago, I ordered a $150 remote control airplane from Ebay and had a COD of $55 at the door.

  • Alexa

    Can’t even get the invoice from UPS.

    I shipped a package to myself from California to Toronto with an item valued at $200. Arrived at my door with $23 in taxes and over $50 in brokerage fees! I refused delivery and called UPS immediately, got the COD dept (before I had read your article) and the lady told me I should contact the UPS store I had shipped it from and make them pay the brokerage because they failed to inform me of the charge. Needless to say, that did not go so well.

    So then we came across your article and decided to self clear. 2nd call to UPS COD and they told me they could not email the invoice, only fax. Like most of the non-office world, I don’t have fax. I had her give me all the info that was on the invoice over the phone but figured I still needed the actual paper in hand from CBSA.

    3rd phone call to UPS COD. This time I said nothing about self-clearing, gave her the shipment ID number, and asked to be emailed the invoice. She told me she could only fax. I said I had been emailed invoices before so she put me on hold to “request an email”. When she came back, she told me that the invoice “was not uploaded into their system yet” and that it would take 7 business days. Conveniently, UPS would only hold my package for 5 business days. Arguing that was to no avail.

    So I am having the package re-delivered so I can make a copy of the invoice when it comes to the door.

    Another thing – I tried looking up the 5425 Dixie Rd CBSA location you went on the list of offices providing CLVS services and it was not on there. Instead there is office 497 on Airport Rd. This office also says something to the effect that they only deal with “vista clients”. Not sure why that would be… did they change? The Dixie Rd office does exist (office 480) but does not provide CLVS services according to the website. I am in TO so I will go anywhere that is nearby but I don’t want to run around to different offices.

    Damn UPS.

    Thanks for the help!

  • Dre

    In regards to the Fed Ex cod, Fed ex does charge a 10 fee to release the package from customs. This is always included in the breakdown of charges that is delivered with the package. If you got a package and signed for it without paying the charges that is Fed Ex’s fault not yours. I am not familiar with how Fed Ex ground operates but you should always be told if you have charges before your packages arrive not 4 weeks later after you already have it in your possession. When shipping there is a option to use your own broker when shipping with Fed Ex, it has to be communicated to the shipper. When shipping always include a commercial invoice!

  • M

    Hi Trueler.
    I went to the CBSA office at Pearson Intl. and advised the CBSA clerk I had the ‘Commercial Invoice’ and address of the UPS warehouse where the goods were being held, he refused to issue me the B15 advising me I must obtain the ‘Cargo Control Documents’ from the UPS warehouse and that he “does this sort of all the time”. It was Sunday afternoon, so I headed to the other side of the Airport and being Sunday of course UPS was closed. I immediately went back and went to another clerk this time advising him that the ‘Cargo Control Documents’ would not be issued to me but that I had the ‘Commercial invoice’, he too was reluctant. I showed him the official response from CBSA in Ottawa from my phone and he spoke with his supervisor which advised him to issue me the B15 since the goods were being held in a non-bonded warehouse.

    At this time I witnessed something quite appalling between the two different CBSA agents, a verbal argument broke out in front of me between the first and second agents I went to. The first agent advised him the ‘Cargo control documents’ would not be released to me, including the manifesto. At this point the second agent advised him he must comply with the policy and not make up his own, the first agent that refused: his reply to this was “I don’t like this guy!” right in front of me. I could not believe the argument kept escalating between the two, the [elderly] second agent was coaching the younger [first] officer. It’s unfortunate that our tax dollars are paying for their salaries and the reason he did not want to assist me was because: he didn’t ‘like this guy!’ not to mention his lack of knowledge with the procedure.

    My take from all this is that you have to be diligent and calm during your request, request to speak to a supervisor if need be, as some of the agents themselves are not aware of the policy and procedure regarding this whole ordeal or are just blatantly reluctant to assist you.

  • EK

    I just had the same problem and called and pleaded my case with UPS. The first time the agent was useless. The second call was about the details if I refuse the shipment. They transferred me to another agent who agreed to drop the charges based on the fact that this was a personal shipment and we weren’t told about any brokerage fees upfront. So I have saved the $45 and learned a lesson about using UPS for such shipments in the future.

  • Michele

    Hello Trueler,

    Thought I would share a recent UPS experience.

    I ordered a small cleaning appliance from the US. UPS tried to deliver it yesterday but I was not home. They left their little yellow tag on my door with a $37.97 brokerage fee screaming at me. I thought it was a mistake or a misprint because the item I ordered cost $39.89. I called UPS this morning and discovered that amount was correct. So, I did what I always do when I need answers and googled “UPS brokerage fees” and found your website. Thank you for this valuable information. I read the info and called UPS to tell them I would like the parcel sent back to their warehouse in Richmond and that I would like to self clear with CBSA. The first agent I spoke to was a little confused because he indicated that the parcel is already being delivered and was scheduled for delivery today. Sort of making it sound like it was too late. I just stood my ground, kept repeating myself and said that I would like to self clear with the CBSA and the parcel needs to go back to the warehouse. He transfered me to the brokerage department. The man I spoke to in the brokerage department was very polite and totally understood what I wanted to do. I asked for the shipping invoice/unique shipping ID # to be emailed to me, but he said that their department would forward that info to the CBSA for me and someone will call me tomorrow to let me know it was there. Wow, I didn’t expect that. Are they going to charge me for that service? The only 2 issues about this whole thing is they are going to hold my parcel for another 5 business days so it is not available for pickup until Feb 1st and I have to drive from New Westminster to Richmond which is about a 1 hour round trip. For me this is more about the whole principle of the matter. I refuse to pay this fee even though it is going to be a bit inconveinient for me. Now my only concern is once I go to the CBSA and pay the applicable taxes then go to the UPS warehouse to get my parcel are they still going to try to charge the “brokerage fees” or “bond fees” or a “forwarding the shipping invoice fee” or “I don’t like your face fee” or “I’m having a bad day fee”.

    I will give you an update I guess a week from now to let you know how things go.

    Anyway, thank you again for providing this information. I will check out the other info on this website. Oh, I also contacted the company that I ordered from to tell them about the outrageous fees UPS was going to charge me. I suggested that they either tell their customers about UPS’ high fees or that a person can self clear through the CBSA. I also suggested using other shipping companies. Basically I told them that if I had not looked into this issue and paid the fee I would have felt ripped off, even though it’s not their fault, and would not order from them again. I will not order from a company who uses UPS.

    Thanks again.


  • Tara

    I was scammed not only once but THREE times by UPS.

    The first time when I was importing from the states, I was totally unaware of the charges that UPS had administered until I actually received my package. The goods themselves were worth a total of $380.00 and UPS wanted 135.00 for delivery charges. Now this completely boggled me because I have ordered from the states on numerous occasions and have NEVER had to pay such bogus charges.
    So I contacted their customer care center two different times trying to get my charges reimbursed, but I had no such luck.

    So about 3 weeks later I placed an order again with this American company and contacted the CBSA as well as UPS to inquire whether or not I could clear my own packages. The first CBSA agent I spoke to said I could do it, and gave me instructions on how to go about doing it. Then I called UPS, and the first UPS agent I spoke to said I could not. So I hung up and called again. The second time I got an agent who said I COULD clear them myself at my local customs office. So then I called CBSA one more time to clarify, just in case. And this second CBSA agent said I had to go the port of entry. So this ticked me off, because clearly the customs office wasn’t informing their employees of this procedure. So I called one more time, and that third agent told me it was possible, and that the other agent was misinformed and apologized. So I called UPS back one more time to tell them I was going to clear the items myself at my local customs office. The agent gave me instructions on what to do and said to contact UPS once the items were cleared by me. So I waited until the package came in to the port of entry (in Winnipeg) and called UPS to ask to get the paper work. The agent I spoke to said they don’t fax or email those papers to the receiver (me) and that I would have to go to Winnipeg. I WAS SO FURIOUS THAT I HUNG UP. So I waited for the package to be delivered to my home, only to find that they charged me $32.00, which I was totally fine with, considering the packed was $400.00.

    The third time I ordered from this company, I called UPS and told them that I wanted to clear the package myself. I talked to 3 different agents, and they all said I couldn’t. I explained to them that I have talked to my CBSA office, and they told me that it was possible for me to do. One agent said that the CBSA doesn’t know of UPS’s policies and procedures, so they shouldn’t be advising people that they can do this.

    SO I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO AT THIS POINT. The company I order from is to support my small business, and I have looked at other wholesale suppliers, and they all ship with UPS regardless. So in the end, I’m screwed.

    Can you do anything to help me?

  • Keith

    I ordered brakes from that was supposed to be sent via USPS but ended up being shipped UPS. I was expecting the worst so I started researching how to avoid brokerage fees and came across this site. THANK YOU! UPS was charging me $147 for taxes, brokerage and service fees. I followed the procedure from this website, went to UPS Stevenage in Ottawa and asked for the manifest. They gave me a copy of the UPS sticker with barcode and other information, but not the manifest. The woman at UPS was helpful but not 100% sure what we were doing. I then went to CBSA on Thad Johnson at the airport. The CBSA officer also wasn’t sure what I was doing, thought I was a commercial car part seller and at first he wanted my ownerships for the cars that I bought parts for. I explained I work for the public service and I am not a business, it’s for personal use. Then he understood what I was doing and said he would provide me with a B-15 form. I paid the taxes $68 at the office and brought the B-15 back to UPS Stevanage. The woman released the packages to me after I showed her the B-15. She said the COD charges were cleared from the system. Thanks again for this information! 1 hour of my time and I saved almost $80 in UPS fees!

  • No2UPSBrokerage

    I want to thank everybody for their great advice and I also want to share my success story from yesterday. To start off, it doesn’t need to take very long, and B, keep UPS out of the loop as long as possible. Be nice, act unsure on what to do(even though you know perfectly), and be firm but tactful.

    Here is what I did in Toronto, it looks long, but it only took 3 calls and 2 hours of my time.

    1. I watched my tracking number and waited until my item had departed from the point of entry(Windsor) before the first call. I had my wife call and sound a little confused asking for “a shipping or commercial, or whatever you guys(UPS) call it, invoice” to be emailed. If they ask, she wanted it for her husband’s accounting purposes and claimed she’s done it before(it wasn’t necessary for us). The “Commercial Invoice” was in my spam folder(private domain) 15 minutes later.

    2. Morning of delivery, I call and ask if there was a COD, to check if I should even bother with taking it further. They said $140 on my $300 item. Say thanks and hang up, don’t divulge any more info.

    3. Wait for delivery guy to come, sound surprised and tell him to hold it at the warehouse because you don’t have money with you, and will go pick it up no later than 4-5 days. GET A COPY OF THE COD INVOICE, he wouldn’t provide his, but allowed me to photocopy it. Also take note of the “SHP#:” on the sticker with a barcode on the box. You can also get this # on the tracking page if you sign up at

    4. Wait for tracking to say “being held at warehouse” etc etc, mine updated 1/2hr after the driver left.

    5. Call UPS again. Explain that the driver came, there was an unreasonable COD, so you told him to hold it until you call UPS. Then ask what you can do to dispute the charge.
    The guy explained why they charge brokerage and said it’s part of process. I said it was not fair, and I don’t want to pay 40% tax, “what options do I have?” He told me I can self clear it, but I need to go to point of entry, which is Windsor. I asked him if he was sure, I asked if I can pay locally, he said no, you must go to point of entry to self clear. I didn’t argue and simply asked for the number for customs so I can speak to them myself. I explained I will call back with my decision when I get an answer from “customs”.

    6. You need to prints of the following items to be safe.
    -Commercial Invoice
    -COD Invoice(customs guy used this for my B15)
    -Payment receipt(My emailed Paypal receipt)
    -Entire tracking page from UPS, showing that the item is being held in warehouse.
    -CBSA reponse(customs agent didn’t even look at it, looked like he’d seen it before)
    -A page with warehouse address (2900 Steeles), Waybill#(on Commercial Invoice), Shipping ID#, and Tracking #.

    7. Don’t call CBSA, I want straight to CBSA Office (2720 Britannia Rd. East).
    I explained I need a B15 because I want to self-clear a package that I am having couriered from the states. I want to pay the taxes. I handed him all my papers explaining I tried to get a manifest as well, but UPS said they can’t give me one because of Low Value program, they import all the items in a big group, and they can’t provide unique info to me. The guy asked a few questions about what I was importing, punched a few things in is computer, he used the “transaction #” on the COD Invoice as the reference. I paid $36 in tax and received a blue receipt aka B15.

    8. I went straight to concord warehouse at 7:20(just before close). Said I want to pick up a package being held, but they need to waive COD, because I paid taxes myself at customs and didn’t use UPS’ brokerage service. They guy went in the back asking questions. Another guy came out and said everything is okay, but they don’t have confirmation of payment on their system so they can’t release it until the system updates showing payment made. I said customs guy told me I can go straight to warehouse(as he did). I was suggested to call UPS.

    9. I called UPS, explained I’m at the warehouse, I have my B15, can they waive COD? The guy explained that they need to see a confirmation from customs (electronically) that payment was made and I’d have to wait till that happened. I agreed but asked if there was any way to expedite the process, ie can I fax or email the b15? etc etc. He put me on hold for 12 minutes while talking to a supervisor since he wasn’t too sure about the process. When he came back to the line, he told me to hand my phone to the clerk so he can provide them with a COD waive code. End of story.

    Some phone call were just to manipulate the situation, just in case UPS keeps comments. They provided me with CBSA tel#. My argument would have been that I called and they told me to go to local office, no need to go to point of entry. etc etc. The less they know, the less they will try to give you the runaround.

    Also, keep your B15 and ask for the COD waive code from in case they want to bill you down the road, as I’m doing.

    Good luck, and never get UPS standard or ground mail. Expedited has always been okay, but pricey.

  • Michele

    Just an update on my UPS situation from January 25/12.

    UPS tried to deliver the parcel 2 more times even though I told them I would self clear! (I suspect they were hoping I would cave-in and just pay the fee since the parcel was right in front of me). Of course I didn’t cave-in, the parcel was sent back to Richmond, I drove to their warehouse, waited for the paper-work and took it to Canada Customs. The customs officer did NOT charge me any duty or taxes. He said “Just bring this (document) back to UPS and get your parcel” and that was it.
    So yes, there was some driving around and time spent on my part but well worth not paying $37.97 in brokerage fees on a $38.95 parcel.

    Next time, I will let the shipping company know ahead of time that I will self clear. Easypeasy

  • Matt

    Let me say first off that I am very, very, tremendously appreciative of the information and discussion provided on this site!

    Having said that, I am somewhat surprised there has been no mention (that I could see?) of the class action law suit in progress and currently before the courts in Ontario against UPS (see also: It is my understanding that UPS is appealing the judge’s decision [that the case can be considered a class action suit, free to proceed], and that as of today, no further hearing has yet been held, nor has a decision on such an appeal been rendered. The wheels of justice turn very slowly sometimes ;-)

    Further, with all the mention of CTV, I am surprised no one (again, from what I could see on this site) has thought to contact CBC television’s “Marketplace” programme ( They absolutely LOVE stories like this and it’s way easy to contact them (

    Finally, not to inject too much politics into this, but nothing will really change until people start complaining consistently and loudly to the Minister in charge of the CBSA (currently Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, reachable at… whose overall effectiveness is an open question (IMHO) within a government whose effectiveness is in the same state (IMHO).

    For UPS to be encouraged to do business more transparently when it comes to their customs-brokerage practices, the CBSA would have to beef up (and then actually enforce) regulations REQUIRING these companies to publish for customers, up-front, their options about self-clearance, and be unable, by law, to withhold, obfuscate or outright hide such obscure details as their unique, internal waybill code they seem so reluctant to provide up front and yet which seems to give them a reason to stall, prevaricate (if peoples’ experiences as related on this site are any indication!) and then charge $$$ for what seem like unnecessary services.

    Thank you again Trueler for an invaluable resource. Canadians owe you a debt of gratitude for your efforts!

  • Trueler

    Thanks Matt!

  • bob

    I’m wondering if all of these brokerage fees are not Mafia
    infiltration of the delivery system with kickbacked blessings of our politicians. I have limited my purchases to Canada if possible.(But there are many Canadian companies that overcharge and even seem to be morons)Notably a tool company out west that seemed to be unwilling to sell to Quebec(real tool company) I ended up purchasing the 2000$ plasma cutter in Quebec after weeks of trying to track down the item. I guess if we stop purchasing from US online stores and the US economy is hindered by boycotting US purchases from Canada something might come of all of this abusive practice.

  • d

    Wow… something has changed. I just got off the phone with the local UPS warehouse and the women on the phone was very helpful. I asked for the price of the brokerage fee about $80.00 on a thousand dollar item. I already paid $100.00 for shipping… after she told me the price I said no I am going to self clear and without skipping a beat she said o.k. She will send the necessary papers over to the customs port office and someone at customs will call once they have the paper work ready to pick up. She took my name and number. She was very polite and accommodating. I was ready for a fight but had a nice conversation instead. Very professional. I will post a follow up as to how the rest goes.

    If she had said $20.00 or something reasonable I would gladly have them drop it off here. But for $80.00 It’s not worth it. UPS just drop your “brokerage fees” and i’m sure your profits will benefit.

    P.S I am in Winnipeg.

  • Cliff

    Success Story.
    Location: Kitchener, ON

    Day 1:
    1) Arrived home to a notice on the door for a $43.88 COD charge (The goods I ordered were valued at $71.94 (61% tax/brokerage fee… )

    2) Googled “UPS Brokerage Fee” as the charge was completely unexpected. I knew I had to pay GST on goods imported from the US, this number just seemed absurd. I wanted to know what it was, and if it existed because i did something wrong.
    I found this site.

    The $34 dollar difference between the GST and the total fee wasn’t worth my time… but the situation intrigued me – and the adventure followed.

    3) Called UPS, asking them to hold the package at the warehouse. I also asked for a copy of the commercial as I planned to clear the goods myself. I was told that this could only be done at the port of entry. All the same I asked the invoice to be emailed to me as I did not have a fax machine. I was told that they could not email me a copy of the commercial invoice “it had to be faxed”.

    I asked if I could get it printed out at my local UPS store. She said she did not know. I asked if I could have the number for the local branch, to see if they could help me out – i explained that the website listed all branch numbers as this global number. She explained that she could not provide/did not have the branch numbers and that I would have to go there and ask them.

    4) Two hours later I phoned the global number again and asked for a copy of my commercial invoice to be emailed to me: no problem. The second operator was extremely friendly.

    Day 2:
    I arrived at the CBSA office at the Kitchener Airport. Parking: $3.00
    The CBSA office is inside the main terminal.

    The officer there was extremely helpful and knew exactly what I was after. 10 minutes later I had a B15 in hand. (They accept debit or exact change). She explained that she does this frequently for people, and that I would simply have to phone UPS and fax them my B15. ($9.31)

    It had sounded like other people had paved the way for me – and that I should have no problems going forward. I underestimated UPS phone service.

    2) Called UPS to fax them my B15.
    This was a fascinating situation. I explained that I had gone to the CBSA office and paid the taxes on my goods, and that I wanted to fax them the B15 as proof of the payment.

    She said that the only way I could pay the GST was if they shipped the package back to Port Erie (which is the states side port i believe) and I would have to arrive there in person to pay the GST ($9.31).

    I told here that I had already paid the GST, and that I wanted to provide them with proof of payment. I was told that was not possible. I asked her for an email address to which I could provide documentation from the CBSA that showed that I could pay for the GST at a local branch, even if it was just a customer support email address. She said that no such email addresses existed.

    I took her name and employee number, thanked her for her time.

    3) Went to the UPS Warehouse. (65 Trillium Park Pl)
    I figured I might have more success dealing with someone in person.

    I provided them with the door slip for the package, explained that there was a COD brokerage charge on the package, but that I had proof that i had paid the GST myself and therefore i shouldn’t have to pay the taxes again or the associated brokerage fee.

    The girl at the counter was friendly but had not run into the situation before. She went to the back to speak with her supervisor, who i believe in turn got the “Business Manager.”

    This gentlemen was extremely friendly and helpful. I explained my situation to him, and that I had already paid the GST on the goods that were imported. He asked if I had proof that I had paid the GST, he asked for a “B3″ form. (Not sure if this is different/the same as a B15, or how they vary)

    He was very surprised when I gave him the B15. He said in the 20 years he’s been there I’m the first person to hand him the document. He took a photocopy of the B15 and of my customer’s invoice, and of the printout i had from this website (including the instructional email from the CBSA office in Ottawa).

    He was sympathetic to my situation, but asked that if I plan to clear goods myself in the future that I should call UPS before the goods cross the boarder. They would then hold them at the border until payment was cleared, and then continue with shipping. I think this is a very realistic request. We don’t like it when we get surprise brokerage fees, I doubt UPS likes it when they have to sort out Tax/Duty payments on goods that are now paid twice.

    I certainly plan to make the phone call in the future, and encourage you all to do the same.

    That being said, the manager did say that I would likely still get an invoice for the brokerage fee. He gave me a copy of his card, and told me to give him a call if the invoice did show up and things went sideways on me. They gave me the package and set me free.

    Final Thoughts
    The biggest hurdle I found is the variation you receive in customer support over the phone. The difference between operators is kindly described as inconsistent. I had zero issues with the CBSA office, though perhaps dealing with a different officer would be a different situation again.

    Sorry for the novel. I just hadn’t seen anything listed specifically about people using the Kitchener CBSA, so I thought I’d plug that gap. Be nice to the Kitchener UPS folks though, they are very good people. (65 Trillium Park Pl)


  • Trueler

    Thanks a lot Cliff for sharing experience! I think it would be helpful to other importers. UPS representatives do behave differently. Usually instead of arguing it does worth to call again.

    One thing thought. One of the requirement to self-clear is that the goods must have already been cleared by the customs at the port of entry, i.e. CBSA there may ask to inspect goods. If it’s OK, CBSA releases goods to the courier. Payment of taxes is NOT required at that time!

    We’ve seen a lot of cases when shipment has not arrived to the local warehouse and people called UPS inquiring about self clearance. In this case UPS just told that they will hold shipment at the port of entry until importer shows up there in person…


  • Cliff

    When is payment due?

  • Trueler

    Payment due is by the end of the month following after shipment crosses border.

  • Cliff

    Two questions I guess:

    1) do you have a source for that 30 day number? I was bouncing around the CBSA website, and most of the information seems to apply to commercial importing.

    2) Is UPS allowed to hold the parcel for those 30 days until proof of tax is paid? ie. if the tax does not get paid on imported goods, does the government contact the courier or the importer?

    Intuitively, it would make sense that they would contact the importer. ie. Shouldn’t UPS just hand me my package and it would be my responsibility to pay the taxes within thirty days?

  • Trueler

    Hi Cliff,

    1) It is stated in CBSA Memorandum D17-4-0:

    Accounting for Released Goods

    24. … Accounting for these goods is due by the 24th day of the month following the month in which the goods were released, with the payment of the duties and taxes due by the end of that month…

    It means that UPS does not pay anything to CBSA at the port of entry. When they say to the customer that taxes already been paid, it is just incorrect information…

    2) Basically UPS promises to CBSA at the port of entry that taxes will be paid, so the Government does not contact anyone. If importer does not pay taxes to CBSA or to UPS, they send shipment back or destroy it, depending on instructions from the seller, I guess. Usually UPS holds a shipment for 5 days, but if customer contact them and ask to dispute brokerage fees, they should hold it for a longer time until situation is resolved.


  • Barbara

    Thanks to your website, I think I’ve managed to avoid a $40 UPS brokerage fee on a $80 item I ordered from the US. I got a call from UPS saying my package was being held in customs in Vancouver and I would need to pay them this fee to get it released. I gave them my credit card number but then decided to do a google search to see why this was happening. I found your site and based on the info you provided, I called them back (got the same agent) and said I wanted to self clear at my local customs office in Victoria. She said I couldn’t – that I must clear it in person at the point of entry into Canada, which was Vancouver. This requires a full day of time to take the ferry over and back. So I agreed to pay since the cost of travel and time wasted would be more than the $40. I hung up and then looked for Canada Customs site. I got a number and called. The agent that answered talked to her supervisor and also took it upon herself to contact Victoria customs office. She informed me that I could indeed self clear the package in Victoria and UPS was required to give me the paperwork to do this. So, I called UPS back a third time. I got a different agent this time,and told her that I’d just talked to Canada Customs and I told her what they told me. She said “no problem, I’ll make a note not to process your credit card payment and to send your package to Victoria.” When I mentioned that apparently there WAS a problem, according to another agent, she became somewhat evasive. She wouldn’t admit that they were wrong, just said that she would write in the file that I had gotten “permission” from CC to self clear. Like I needed “permission”! I thought this was very “creative” on her part. :-)

    I reminded her that I would need the paperwork and that CC said UPS was required to give me that documentation. She took my fax number and said I could expect the paperwork later that day. No paperwork ever came, but the package arrived at my door a couple days later, delivered by a UPS driver. There was no charge. (

    Once before, a UPS driver demanded I pay a hefty brokerage fee when he showed up at my door with something I ordered, and would not leave the package until I paid up. This time, at least, they called before delivery to get my credit card info. Perhaps too many packages were being returned?)

    I haven’t gotten my credit card statement yet to see if there is a charge there or not. There shouldn’t be since the UPS agent read me what she wrote in my file – not to process my credit card payment. I’m presuming that there won’t be. But if there is, I’m going to go back to Canada Customs with a complaint and follow through on getting whatever they charge refunded by UPS.

    I’m very glad I found your site, proud of myself for standing my ground with UPS, and I’m telling my friends and acquaintances what happened so that if the same thing happens to them, they know what to do. As it turns out, I own a magazine that is published throughout Western Canada. We run a monthly column on Scams, written by the Better Business Bureau. I’m going to ask them to look into this and write this up as advice for our readers. Hopefully UPS will change the way they handle their brokerage charges if enough pressure is brought to bear. Their agents need to inform customers of their true options and rights. I felt like I was being purposely mislead and bullied into paying the fee by the first agent I spoke to. The second agent sounded like she knew the game was up, but wasn’t going to admit it. But this isn’t the upfront kind of business dealings one would expect from a legitimate company.

    The bad thing is that I am now leary about ordering from the US. I needed to purchase some items more recently and when one of the companies said they shipped with UPS and that packages would need to clear customs, I found a different company from whom to purchase that used USPS. So US businesses should know that using UPS is problematic and UPS should be aware that they’re going to lose business over this.

    I did notify the seller through an Amazon review about the shipping problem to Canada. Hopefully they will change shippers.

    I’ll post again if I am, indeed, charged on my credit card after all this.

  • Tom M.


    This past fall I ordered a Christmas present for my partner off of eBay, which was shipped with Fed-Ex. The parcel was delivered to her house on December 5th with no request for duty, taxes, or fees of any kind; my assumption was that the original shipping fee must have included everything. However, today — nearly 3 months later!– I received a bill from Fed-Ex stating that I owe them $50 — $30 of which is for their nonsense “brokerage fees.”

    I suppose my question would be whether anyone knows if I can still refuse to pay the fee after the shipment has been delivered? That is, would I still be able to contact Canada Border Services and pay myself and tell Fed-Ex to take a hike with the brokerage fees? Any information regarding my situation would be immensely appreciated!

    (On a side note, I am extremely excited to see that people are taking this issue into their own hands; I have long bemoaned the outrageous brokerage fees of UPS but more or less acquiesced up until now. Power to the people!!)

  • Gabe

    Wow!? This is a seriously corrupt company and I can’t believe I’m going to have to go through this too now after ordering parts from eBay because I was just made aware of a $67 brokerage fee, well at least I’m armed to the teeth with info, thanks to everyone on here who took the time.

  • Cliff

    Just to follow up from above.

    I had previously payed the taxes on my imported goods, and received my parcel from the warehouse. ~1 month ago now.

    Yesterday, however, I received an invoice in the mail for the amount of 42.88.

    On the invoice they had the contact info for:
    UPS Canada
    77 Foundry St.
    Moncton, NB
    E1C 5H7
    1 888 520 9090

    I phoned the number, got a person directly (no automated secretary). Originally, when I provided her with the Account No from the invoice, she gave me the value of 42.88. But when I had explained that I had payed the taxes directly to the CBSA office, and provided the proof at the warehouse – I guess she looked closer at the invoice?

    In any case, she told me the outstanding balance was 0 dollars. And that the invoice had been sent on March 18th before the account was updated and when the amount was still owed.

    I find that surprising considering that I had paid the balance on the 22nd of February, and provided proof on the 23rd of February. But either way, everything seems to be buttoned up.


  • Elina

    could anyone advise me where I should search for the closest CBSA office? I tried on their official web-site but not sure if I can self clear in any office…
    Or, maybe, more particular question: Did anyone from Montreal self clear? Where? If at Trudheau, is there a free parking next to the CBSA office (because parking at the airport will cost as a brokage fee)…

  • Mostro

    Finally some news coverage!!!

    Also, UPS has admitted that self-clear is an option outside of port-of-entry!!

  • Luke M

    Hi all,

    I had to comment to share my experience with self-clearing in Calgary. It couldn’t have been easier! My package came to the door while I wasn’t home, and I called the UPS # to make sure they didn’t try to deliver it again. This process was automated, and then I put myself through to an agent. I asked her for an electronic copy of my shipment invoice, and she sounded slightly confused, and offered a copy of the commercial invoice. This sounded like what I needed, and she offered to either fax it or email it. I asked for an email, and she sent me the right document in about two minutes. So far, so good!

    The next day, I took my commercial invoice to the CBSA office in the northeast. I told the lady there that I wanted to self-clear a package from UPS, and she said, “Oh, to avoid the brokerage fee? Sure, have a seat while I do up the form”. I paid my taxes and duty and went on my way, spending a total of maybe 10 minutes in the office. Later that day, I went to the UPS warehouse on Aero Drive. The lady spotted my form out of the corner of my eye and said, “I see you cleared this already.” Again, zero fuss. I had my package and was on my way!

    It seems that CBSA and UPS must be getting used to the self-clearing process; no one was confused or stand-offish at my requests, and everyone knew exactly what was going on. For the sake of sending UPS the message that I wouldn’t tolerate their exorbitant fee, I found self-clearing to be well worth it. It does take some time, however. You have to call UPS, then go to two offices that aren’t all that close together. But if you have some free time and/or find the cost of the time less than the monetary cost, this process no longer seems to be the nightmare that some have described.

    Thanks to Trueler and the people who shared information on this forum! You were all so helpful!

  • Mike Le

    Guys Guys, you’re doing it all wrong. Let UPS clear the item for you don’t say anything yet, once they show up send it back. Then ask them to prepare the paper so you clear it yourself, then ask them to deliver the item to your after you clear it. Do this a couple of times and you go to the border. After that they will just wave the brokerage fee, TRUST me on this. Here is the reason.

    UPS has automated clearance for “personal” package that requires them only about 5 minutes or so of paperwork per package no matter how big or small. Then there is the UPS driver drive the package to you, then he has to bring the item back (UPS already do not like this already). Then they have to revert the clearance and make the paper work for you to clear. This is a 1 hour process believe it or not. Then once you clear you give them the paper. Don’t grab the item then, just ask their guy to deliver it. So in total for ground shipment where you pay $16 or so. they spend about 1.3 hours for you on clearance. The driver etc so that’s a big lost to them.

    Lets beat them in their own game, I’ve done it.

  • Jason

    I just have to say thank-you for all the information, you helped give me the courage to stand up for my rights and it worked for the best.

    Stuck to my guns and didn’t let up. After hours of the runaround UPS tried to tell me I would have to go the port of entry to broker my package and I told them they were lying (Which they were. You do NOT have to go to point of entry to broker your shipment, don’t believe them if they say you do) and that I was unimpressed by their manipulative tactics to try to sucker me into paying their exorbitant fees (they wanted $84.13 to broker my $395.00 item.). I mentioned the fact that they have two class action lawsuits filed against them for said tactics in the last decade and told her that if the driver comes to my house I will send him away, take my invoice to the CBSA, ask for my B15 and go to the warehouse to pick up my goods.
    The woman changed her tone, apologized for any aggravation I may have endured, exemplified me from the charges and cheerily ended what was otherwise a heated phone conversation with a “have a great day”! (not before I asked her for her name and employee number of course ;) )
    So, the next time you order UPS ground and they want to try to illicitly (yes, what they try to do is illegal) impose their ridiculous brokerage fees upon you, remember that it is your legal right that you can clear it yourself at your nearest CBSA free of charge. You will still have to pay your taxes but we all know they help grease the gears on the rudder and keep the boat afloat right?
    Total charges for brokerage fees + taxes quoted to me yesterday: $84.13.
    Total charges after standing up for my rights and refusing to budge: PRICELESS.

    (lol, I couldn’t resist. Actually the total charges afterwards is $19.61, I saved $64.52!! Yay me!)

    (Also, it was not easy for me to get the invoice. I phoned them 6 times and every time they told me they could not give me an invoice because I was the consignee and not the shipper. I woke up this morning to find it waiting in my email inbox)

  • kurt08

    Is it possible to get the invoice from the shipper?

  • kurt08

    Hi Trueler,

    Just got a shipment ID number from seller. She provided me a picture of a “Shipment Receipt”

    On it is the:

    Tracking number = 1Z580XXXXXXXXXXXXX = 18 digits
    Shipment ID = MAUVX92XXXXXX = 13 digits

    Plus info like weight, value, etc…

    Is this the number CBSA needs for me to fill out form B15???


  • Mary

    Your website is so informative! I just purchased an item from ebay and like many others UPS was the selected delivery service. The fee is quite high.

    As you suggested,I contacted ebay however the supervisor I spoke with told me she could not send me the shipment invoice as the request had to come from the seller?

    Any thoughts?


  • Mary

    Sorry, the previous post should read “I contacted UPS however the supervisor I spoke with told me she could not send me the shipment invoice”

  • Hrun

    Hi Trueler,

    Thank you very much for your invaluable info. I wanted to give a couple of comments as I was doing this procedure this week.
    It took 4 calls to UPS to get the commercial invoice and they were “black & white”: the 1st & the 3rd rep were trying to persuade me that I either have to go to Windsor or I just won’t be able to do it myself. The 2nd & the 4th on the other hand had no problem helping me, other than they emailed the invoice in .tiff which for me wasn’t a problem but not everyone has Photoshop.
    As people mentioned here, I could just ask the seller for this invoice & not spend time calling UPS.
    The most important lesson from CBSA office on Dixie Rd is that you should NEVER MENTION “CLEARANCE”, just tell them you want to pay tax & get the B15 form. They consider that the package is already cleared in the port-of-entry, so they can’t clear it again (this was told by a senior officer). They also said that if I need to do this again I should only go to either Pearson airport or the VISTA office at 6500 Silverdart Drive since at Dixie Rd they only deal with cargo trucks.
    Right after getting the B15, I picked up the parcel at the UPS warehouse, they just made a copy of my B15, didn’t ask for any brokerage fee, everything was pretty quick. We’ll see if I’d still get their invoice in the mail.
    Saved myself over $40 thanks to your website.

  • Devin

    Just wanted to give a quick account of my attempt.

    I phoned UPS and stated that I’d like to get my Cargo Control documentation so that I could self clear my order. The person I was dealing with said they couldn’t give me the number but would fill out the notification of intent to self clear. It all sounded very promising, no arguments, no “you can’t self clear”.
    However, I live on Vancouver island, and although I have a CBSA office just minutes away, there is not a UPS warehouse here.
    Bottom line, it seems I could have easily self cleared, but then I would have to get to the Richmond UPS warehouse to pick up my order. Very cost and time prohibitive.

    Thanks for the information Trueler, I’ll spread the word for sure.

  • Hubie

    Purolator (who delivers for UPS in my area) showed up at my door two weeks ago looking for 61.00$ brokerage fees for something I ordered, and payed for along with the shipping. So I declined it as advised. I kept a copy of the shipping invoice with all the pertinent info. I called UPS and notified them of my intentions to self clear. They said I couldn’t, and left a note on my file. I then went to the ottawa airport CBSA office at 140 Thad Johnson rd and paid the HST, and was given a B-15 form and receipt.

    I went to purolator with the B-15 form and they told me they would not release the package to me unless UPS “pulled the tag” and sent them some kind of number. So I called UPS, several times, and spoke to several people, and all of them said I cannot self clear, and they want me to pay the brokerage fee or they will send it back to windsor ontario! I advised them over and over again that I legally can self clear, and it does not have to be at the point of entry. I have no clue what I can do now to get them to co-operate. How can I proceed to claim my package 5 minutes away from my house?!

    I had calle dthe cbsa office in Ottawa prior to going there to see what I all needed. had all the p[aper work in order, and got my B-15 and paid the tax. But when UPS started giving me a hard time, I called the Ottawa cbsa office and another lady told me that I should have never gotten the b-15 form with out a piece of paper that was like a carbon copy that they should have stamped (their mistake). So she did some digging and told me to call ups and get them to “pull the tag”.

    UPS even asked me to fax a copy of the b-15 form to their Frederickton office, to show proof I paid the HST, but they claim that it was them (UPS) who “cleared” the package at the point of entry (windsor Ont) and I will have to somehow get refunded the money I paid for HST and still pay the brokerage.

  • Bradley Tucker

    I am going to try this when my package arrives but one question, when you refuse the package do you tell the person delivering and call the center because if you don’t tell the person that you are self clearing and refuse the shipment wouldn’t it get shipped back to the shipper or do you tell the driver and call the center? I help thanks

  • Brent

    I am about to do this. I too was slapped with a $4o charge on A $50 item from a US retailer! This is such a ridiculous scam. More people need to know about this. I am going to take this to the local media for sure. Thanks to everyone for the info and tips.

    Will let you know how it goes!

  • Peter

    Hi Trueler,

    I just got off the phone with CBSA (called their 800 number) just to clarify my understanding of self-clearing. What the person said was fairly consistent with the process outlined at the top section of this page. She did say one thing that I felt contradicted the official CBSA response you received (outlined between the 2 grey lines near the top): she said I HAVE to contact the courier company first and inform them of my intent to self-clear. She was quite emphatic about this point. If I’ve read the official CBSA response from above correctly, it says that contacting the courier company prior to receiving my shipment is just one of two options. Because of this confusion, I have several questions:

    1)Are the 2 options identified in the official CBSA response still valid?
    2)Has anyone else had the same response when contacting CBSA?

    My preference is to NOT contact UPS prior to the shipment because I don’t want to give them a reason to screw me around with their FUD tactics. I’d much rather go with the second option (refuse delivery when the shipment arrives).

  • Philippe

    Hello folks, as Elina above, I am near Montréal. Tommorow or about in two days I will receive my brand new gaming computer bought on Ebay. Total cost with shipping: 1 100,00$CAN. I’ve had long conversations with the seller and he was quite unaware of any additional charges althought he sold over 200 computers before, and so was the girl at his UPS store. To get this clear, I bought it from Houston Texas for 980,00$ with a shipment of 120,00$ throught Standart Ground. Yet this is a lot for me, considering I doesn’t work a lot and it took me a while to accumulate it. That said, im glab I checked around on my old good friend “google” and ended here with such great information. But im wondering, should I pay the bill when the guy from UPS arrive here or return it. Anyway, I am tracking this and will give furter updates with my good!

  • Frederic

    What if someone in my house already paid the fee. Is there a way to get it back?

  • Pete

    SUCCESS: This is a report from Calgary in order to fine-tune the process.

    1) Register on for a free login. This is solely to get the Unique Shipment Identification Number. Once you enter tracking #, you will see reference number on the screen. It looks like this 41X7VVVN3AL. [2 minutes]

    2) Once package leaves Winnipeg bound to Calgary (point of entry for AB,SK,MB) call UPS 1-800-742-5877 ext. 3. Give them tracking # and ask for “commercial invoice” to be emailed. Anyone says no is lying. Hang-up and call again. Do not mention a single word about self-clearing anything (see footnotes) [3 minutes]

    3) Once package is in town (day before delivery), go to CBSA on 2588 27st NE (near Costco/Sunridge mall), walk through only door that looks like warehouse door, grab a number (even if there is no one else in line) and walk up to the counter. Explain you have inbound package and would like to pay taxes and obtain B15 form. They accept credit cards including AMEX. Bring the following. [5 minutes]

    a. Commercial Invoice
    b. Tracking # and Unique Shipment Identification Number
    c. ID (driver’s license, etc.)

    4) CBSA to UPS isn’t a bad drive. I’d go there and drop off B15 right away. You can try to give this to driver (unproven) or go pick it up after 5:30PM ish. I dropped mine off yesterday and package is on vehicle today so I will see how it plays out. People at the 22 Aero are getting familiar with the procedure. When I went there yesterday, the Asian guy made copy and left it for back office. (he’s there every afternoon until 7PM closing)

    Step 2) It is advised from other reports that you mention intent to self-clear. This is theoretically correct however majority of UPS agents are lying or misleading on their 1-800 number. They are leading you to believe package has to go back to Winnipeg/Vancouver/Fort Erie and you have to present yourself there. This is blatant lie and therefore our countermeasure is going to be keeping them in the dark until the last minute. I escalated this to supervisor and she said I could drop off B15 at the 22 Aero (letting them know of conversation being taped may of helped). I asked how come every single agent I talked to lies/misunderstands and she apologized and said it will be looked into (I don’t care if they do. So many of us are tired of being told of lies on that line. Avoid talking to them more than you need to at all costs.)

    Step3) It appears package has to be in town in order for CBSA to issue you a B15 form. This may not always be the case. They also prepared B15 with 1Z tracking # in my case, however just to be safe bring the USIN as well.

    Step4) It appears we used to be able to fax this form to 1-770-990-1724. However latest trend seems to be they are making us to go to their warehouse to drop off B15. When I asked to confirm fax number, all agents said there is no such way to fax this.

    If someday UPS brokerage decides to become a more ethical business, procedures above could be adjusted. Until then, do not bother talking to anyone on the 1-800 number because more often than not you will hear following:
    1) No sir you cannot clear package yourself
    2) Package will have to go back to Winnipeg/Vancouver/Fort Erie and you have to present yourself
    3) We can’t email you commercial invoice, only fax
    4) No we did not receive B15 form in fax

  • Joy

    Thanks for all these valuable information! I am expecting a shipment from the US and the tracking now says “held in warehouse” even it was supposed to deliver to me last Friday, and toay is Monday. A UPS staff called me Friday asking a receipt of the item and said will clear for me and now I only need to wait for the custom to release the item, so I did what i was told right away, but now it has a new line saying “Fredericton, NB, Canada 04/27/2012 4:31 P.M. Power of attorney documentation is missing and is required for clearance” I called the ups lady again and she said all I can do is wait, so I am wondering what’s going on and the status hasn’t changed at all even I provided the receipt. Now I worry the high brokerage fee and even the package will never arrive! What should I do, and what’s the turnaround time for “held in warehouse”? Please help.

  • Everyone here needs to check out . They will save you alot of money on UPS, FedEx & other courier company shipments into Canada.

  • Littleguy

    After reading the instructions – I ordered a shipment from the US – value of approx $50 USD – picked FEDEX ground shipping.

    They delivered the package last week – no monies paid – so now I am expecting an invoice from FEDEX for HST and brokerage fee. To avoid this, I take all the paper work from the package down to the Mississauga office 4525 Dixie Rd. and get refused by the Customs officer because the “package has already been released by customs” and I cannot pay the taxes now – too late for that was basically his response to me.

    Anyone else experienced this happening? Any help would be much appreciated.

  • Marie

    Thanks for this posting. I ordered a small lego package from the US. The declared value was $49.90, UPS charged me $29.70 Brokerage Fee, $3.56 Brokerage GST plus $5.99 GST. The UPS website says I should have only been charged $19.45 for a package worth $50. The $50 item cost me $20 shipping, plus $40 in fees. I will never order from a company that uses UPS again. That is insane.

  • Nicholas Swindale

    Here is my experience with UPS in Vancouver:

    A small parcel with goods worth about $50 and a shipping cost of roughly $50 arrived from the USA at my house and we were asked to pay a further $39 before delivery. I refused, discovered the information on this website (thank you!), phoned UPS and told them I was refusing to pay the charges and would do the paperwork myself. They accepted this as a routine request. Next morning UPS phoned me (!) and told me I could come and collect the necessary paperwork myself. Today I drove to the UPS warehouse. It took them about 10 minutes to fill out the forms (presumably a second set as the parcel had already left the warehouse on its first delivery attempt) and they even gave me a map showing where the Canadian Border Service Agency office was located – about a 2 minute drive away. I went there, got the form stamped (no charges), went back to UPS and picked up my package. The staff were helpful and seemed used to customers self-clearing deliveries this way.

    UPS says the brokerage charge (or ‘entry preparation charge’) is $19.45 for goods worth $40 – $100 delivered by ‘Standard Service’. I don’t know what the extra $19 was for (they asked for $39). It seemed pretty obvious from my experience that the amount of work required for most packages to clear customs is minimal – 5 to 10 minutes per package perhaps, or less, if done efficiently.

    The brokerage charge is excessive.

    The actual charge you will be asked to pay is understated on the UBS web site

    It is wrong that it should be prorated with the value of the goods as the paperwork is surely the same

    The customer is given no notice of the charge in advance and is in a very bad position to refuse to pay with the goods just in sight

    Looks like a scam to me and I hope class action lawsuits and public pressure from sites like this will help to change it.

    For those in Vancouver who want to do the same:

    The UPS warehouse is at 5960 Ferguson Rd. just to the North of the airport – take the Templeton Rd turn off from Grant McConachie Way (the main road to the airport) and it is on your left after about a mile.

    The CBSA office is on Miller Rd., which runs parallel and to the South of Grant McConachie Way.

    You need to tell the delivery person you are refusing to pay, then phone UPS and tell them you are refusing the charges. You also need the tracking number of the package, which you can get on-line. Beyond this, and doing some driving, I didn’t have to do any actual paperwork myself.

    Thankfully, UPS seems to have accepted that they do not have a right to force you to pay ‘brokerage’ charges. I see that as an admission that they are also unjust. The next step is to get UPS (and other companies) to abolish them altogether.

  • Pete

    Calgary Success #3,#4,#5
    I did more shopping online and shipped all on the UPS. Because all items arrived few days apart, I only made one trip to CBSA. I told UPS to hold first two at warehouse and waited for the last package so I can combine trips.

    Confirmed: MANIFEST is NOT needed. Agents in Calgary are now aware that UPS refuses to give such document and is given an instruction to clear with invoice and tracking # only. They mentioend this is a cash grab by UPS.

    Up to date instructions for clearing: May14
    Following is quickest way I found. This instruction gets updated as I learn.

    1) Get an invoice either from seller(preferred) or UPS.
    2) Once package is in town (day before delivery), go to CBSA on 2588 27st NE. Explain you have inbound package and would like to pay taxes and obtain B15 form. Bring the following.

    a. Invoice
    b. 1Z Tracking #
    c. ID (driver’s license, etc.)

    Note: it helps if you have correct HS code for items on invoice. Person I dealt with at CBSA was appreciative of homework I’ve done.

    3. three ways to do this
    a) try to give B15 to driver (may not work)
    b) go to warehouse (22 Aero) after around 5:30PM
    c) fax it to UPS to waive COD then reschedule delivery

    Happy shopping.

  • Chris

    These fuckers at UPS are charging absorbant customs and broker fees!!!! From inside sources… there’s a class action lawsuit going on in Vancouver! Apparently, they’re NOT ALLOWED TO CLEAR A PACKAGE WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT!!!

    e.g.- of their scam: I paid $20.03 for a product – they charged me $22 for broker/custom fees and taxes! Absolutely ridiculous!!!! CLEAR YOUR OWN PACKAGES through your local CBSA office!

  • Clark

    I must really have bad luck as I went down to the CBSA office in Calgary with my commercial Invoice (emailed by UPS very quickly), Tracking # and Unique Shipment Identification Number, HS code and personal ID. The lady at the desk said I need to have the manifest and the commercial invoice, and also the email invoice from the sender. I said that the invoice she had in her hand was a commercial invoice from UPS and that if she wants more I really don’t know what else to provide. She said she had not really looked at what I had handed her. Anyways I am heading over to UPS for the manifest, heading home to print out the email-invoice from the sender, then driving back to CBSA, and then hopefully returning to UPS with the B15 form.

  • Lindsay

    My husband got a pkg a month ago, i arranged for a pick-up because i wouldnt be home, she gave me a bunch of excuses and said it cant be left on my door step without a signature and it wouldnt(and hadnt been) at the UPS pick-up when scheduled. Anyways came home and it was sitting on my front step and about a week ago i got an invoice in the mail saying i owe them $120 for brokerage now what? do i pay it? its been a month or more and i may have kept the slip from the package but unsure right at the moment but reading all this ino makes me really not want to pay it…

  • Victor

    Hello i think i was ripped off by UPS i send a packaged worth $140 inside when they deliver the packaged they are asking $44.46 for broker charge fee so my wife pay this coz they don’t give the packaged,and i called the ups they said they cant do anything about this or refund,any suggestion?Pls advise..Thanks

  • Andrew

    Hi folks great info here.

    I’m currently living in NJ USA and just finished school. I will be moving back to Edmonton Alberta and have a bunch of personal items from my apartment that I want to ship back home with UPS. I have in the past had horrible experiences with UPS brokerage and do not want a repeat. I realise that I can enter the customs value as $1 but I will likely still face the bond fees for each box that is shipped (and believe it or not shipping about 9 boxes ~20lb each measuring 13″x13″x16″ will cost only $180 for all of them!! so it’s a pretty good price for shipping it’s just the hidden fees that concern me.) When I talked to the UPS rep on the phone earlier today he said that when I fill out the shipping forms to make “free domicile” and then I can just select my own broker… anyone know what this means?

    Also anyone have any experience with clearing their own packages in Edmonton??


  • Shawn

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m in the process of clearing my own package with a courier shipping my package to me in Edmonton. I ordered some clothes from the UK and I paid a total of $205 (cad) for the items. I was sent a notice to pay the duties before the package even made it to Canada ($94 duties, taxes, and brokerage fee). I emailed the company to ask why they were so high. Response was that duties were 18% plus GST plus $20 brokerage fee. My math added this up to be $69, not $94. On the phone they changed lowered the price to $86, saying that the $94 was just an initial estimate of the fees. Later that day I sent an email requesting the Bill of Lading, Commercial invoice, Unique shipment ID, bonded warehouse location. I also included some references to the CBSA website and that preforming brokerage services without my approval is illegal. I got the requested information this morning and they are awaiting my clearance of my goods.

    Side Note: I bought the goods that were on sale 25%. This was not reflected on the commercial invoice I received so if I left this to the broker I would have been charged extra duties because they would have taxed me on $256 instead of $205, which I paid for the goods. (I’ve been poking around the CBSA website quite a bit the past few days).

    My next step is to just locate the nearest CBSA office. It seems like the one at the city centre airport is no longer there. I’m wondering if I would be able to get a B15 form completed at the sufferance warehouse inside the city. Other than that I’ll have to go to the Int’l airport and get it done there. I estimate I’ll only pay about $47 for duties and taxes. That’s a lot better than the $94 I would have paid.

    TLDR: I’m only going to have to pay $47 instead of $94 once I find a CBSA office and complete the B15 form.

    I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  • Mr. M

    Please keep us updated on the class action suit against UPS. I will gladly join.

    In my opinion, Fedex should be included since they are even sneakier than UPS since they don’t tell you about the charges at the door, but then send you a bill for brokerage & fees 1 months later.

    Lets do whatever it takes to get everyone compensated for the 50% hidden fees + time + suffering that everyone is experiencing due to UPS and Fedex.

    Please keep us informed of the proceedings started by Ryan Wright and Julia Zislin.

    Does anyone have contact information for the plaintiffs or the lawyers?

    What about the status about the class action suit?

  • Pete

    Clark I hope all CBSA agents get the procedure correct soon. I went there during the day and I encountered at least 3 different agents who knew how to clear it with invoice only. Not even commercial invoice but any invoice.

    Contact Ottawa and let them know local office didn’t know the procedure. They should send a memo when enough complaints are received.

  • Al Saeed

    UPS wanted me to pay 60 dollars in brokerage fees on a shipment that was worth $200. I called UPS about this and they told me I had no choice or find my own broker. Long story short, the broker cleared my shipment for a brokerage fee of $16.00, I don’t know how UPS justifies such a huge fee, but it is ridiculous. The broker ( has a brokerage rate comparison chart that you guys can check out to see what UPS would charge and what a typical custom broker would charge.

    Don’t make the mistake many have made – hope that helps!

  • Donovan

    Andrew, why ship with UPS in the first place? There is no good reason to do so. Ship your package with USPS (United States Postal Service) and Canada Post will handle the delivery on this end. That is basically what everyone ends up doing on future deliveries because dicking around with UPS and CBSA is always going to be a lot more effort, even if you succeed.

  • Pete

    Donovan, some sellers don’t offer options of USPS. Also depending on what the rates are it is sometimes worth it to go with UPS then do the work.

  • Gary

    UPS is the Devil. Having the same issues as everyone else. The customs office states plainly what is needed. They even gave me the form that UPS faxes to the customers saying they have a package that requires clearance. Customs said this was what they needed.
    - Invoice
    - Manifest
    - ID
    When I contacted UPS however, they stated as expected that I have to go to the port to self clear. I am in SK, my port is in BC. Idiots. So after talking with 3 agents, having them put even more notes on the file, attempting to tell me to refuse (no one’s home in the day to do so) and that the shipment would have to go back to the port, a helpful one said to call them in a day to get the manifest. They said it’s not available until the package gets back to the port. Lying bastards. Anyhow, I will smash through their hoops and say piss off to any other UPS shipments. Did anyone hear about that class action suit against UPS for these brokerage fees. Check it out.

  • cindy

    I watched the video from global TV Calgary and CTV Calgary. It says to ask the shipper/seller to stick a note on the package saying, “Customer will self clear”.

    Should I do this??? I ask because I called UPS customs department and they said I can self clear and they will fax the documentation to CBSA, then call the bonded warehouse in Richmond, BC to wave customs broker fees.

    However, 1) it sounds like she is trying to trap me. Like they will do the work for me. At no point did she say I had to go to local CBSA to get a B15.

    2) They were paid to ship this heavy and large item (digital piano) to my house, not for me to pick up at a warehouse!

    If I put the note on, will that just guarentee that they will leave it at the warehouse? Or give them a headsup what I intend to do?

    I have to decide whether to put this note on at the shipper soon. Once the piano is not backorders (as soon as today/tomorrow) it will ship.


  • Patrick Toal

    Alas, I have another negative experience to report.

    I am typing this from my car as I sit in the parking lot in front of the CBSA office at 2720 Britania Rd (@Pearson Airport). I am waiting for a call back from the CBSA, so I can go back into the CBSA and get my B-15.

    When I went in this morning, I was told by the CBSA officer AND the Superintendant that I would have to go to Windsor to clear my package. I tried to convince them that this was not required, but I did not bring a copy of D17-4-0 with me, and they weren’t going to budge. It’s never a good idea to piss off a CBSA agent, so I just asked for the Superintendant’s name and badge number. and left.

    I then spent an hour on the phone with a very nice fellow from the CBSA phone support line who confirmed that I should be able to get my B-15 here. He made several calls, finally calling the local office, and is now waiting for a call back from the superintendant. He said he would try to get back to me in 15 minutes or so. Hopefully, I will be able to sort this out without offending too many people and without having to wait too long.

    Will update when I resolve this issue.


  • Patrick Toal

    Update #1: CBSA Agent hasn’t called back yet, so I thought I’d walk in and discuss it again. The agent I spoke to this time said that the Superintendant was trying to sort this out, and get the “right” interpretation of the law. I can understand that… I wouldn’t want to get in trouble for doing something wrong on the job. It is a shame, though, that this isn’t communicated clearly to the local offices. It appears each one is left to deal with this on a case by case basis. According to the person I just spoke with, he said (I am paraphrasing): “what if I choose to inspect the package? It’s in Windsor. I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to pay me to go to Windsor to inspect it”.

    So I gave him my commercial invoice and my copy of the manifest (that UPS freely emailed to me with no trouble).

    While I was writing this, I got a call back from the agent I spoke to on te phone. He states that somehow, the item was “not in the LVS programme” based on some number in the manifest. He said he was going to call someone he knew in Ottawa.

    So… It looks like this process is more difficult than I expected. As a matter if principle, I am not going to let the issue drop, though. I look at this as an issue bigger than me and I am willing to make some personal sacrifices for the good of the many.

    For now, I have to get back to work. But I will keep following up on this and update until it is resolved.


  • Patrick Toal

    Update #3:
    Just got a call back from CBSA. Two individuals, one from the call-centre and another fellow from Ottawa. They asked me a number of questions to determine the status of the package, where it was located, etc. I told them that the following entry was in the UPS tracking system: ” RELEASED BY CLEARING AGENCY. NOW IN-TRANSIT FOR DELIVERY”. That satisfied them. They then told me that they weren’t sure exactly why the customs agents in Toronto wouldn’t give me the B-15. As far as CBSA is concerned, they already released the package and at this point they only want to receive their duty/taxes. So they will call the folks at Pearson and get them to do the paperwork. I will get another call to let me know when I can go get this done.

    Hopefully, I won’t have to argue any more with UPS, once I get the B-15….

  • Pete

    Calgary Update
    I just came back from UPS Calgary warehouse (22 Aero). I had twenty minutes of constructive chat with 3 CSR as well as Cindy W. from back office. I recieved a bill for one of packages I cleared on my own last month and I was at FedEx to pickup other stuff. I decided to drop by and see what’s up with the double billing.

    After going through B15 I provided to them, it became clear that I did clear packages myself and paid all taxes. CBSA did two shipments on single page of B15 and they listed only one 1Z number which is where the confusion came from.

    For the future if you have B15 form in Calgary, you can fax it to 403-648-3308.

    If you get a bill after you got the pacakge, Fredericton UPS brokerage fax # is (506) 447-3612. This is where you fax B15 to with tracking# on each page.

  • Patrick Toal

    Followup #4. :)

    I was informed this morning by the CBSA Superintendent that the “reason” for the confusion over this item is that UPS gave me a manifest that had a Cargo Control No. that indicated it wasn’t part of the Courier LVS programme. Apparently, because I called UPS before a delivery attempt, they held the package in Windsor, put it in a status of “CLEARS OWN – HOLD”. They also generated a new unique Cargo Control No. and that’s where things started to go wrong. The local CBSA office refused to let me pay duties / taxes, because they believed it was not a LVS. (also, I think there was some ignorance on their part as to the details of the Courier LVS programme and the ability of the individual to pay duties / taxes at a CBSA office that wasn’t the port of entry).

    One minor, yet significant point that’s important here: CBSA had _already_ cleared the package before UPS threw the wrench in the machine by holding the package. So that means that CBSA either inspected, or chose not to inspect the package and released it into the country. At this point, it has been imported. The only outstanding issue is the accounting of duties / taxes. If I had called UPS _before_ CBSA had cleared it, I’m not sure what would have happened, but I fear it would have been an uglier situation.

    I am off to the CBSA office at YYZ again today, with the Superintendent’s assurance that they will let me pay duties / taxes on the item and give me my B-15 form.

    One final comment: I had an e-mail conversation with someone at UPS about this. The individual indicated she had done this process before and this is the first time she’d heard of someone having a problem like this. Also, though, she seemed unfamiliar with the details of how the Courier LVS programme works. For example, she claimed that she couldn’t have the package moved to the local warehouse, because it hadn’t been “cleared” yet and UPS wasn’t a “bonded carrier”. Er… Um… Okay. :)

  • Patrick Toal

    Update #5:

    Went into the office at 2720 Britannia this morning, paid the HST on my package and got my B-15. E-mailed it to UPS, who has released my item.

    The customs agent I spoke to said this is the first time in his 12 years as an agent that he’s ever seen anyone clear an item that was not in a local (YYZ) warehouse. As far as he knew, it couldn’t be done. I left him a printed copy of this blog entry, in the hope that word might get around and the next person to try to do this won’t have to go through this much pain and suffering. :)

  • Patrick Toal

    Update #6:

    UPS driver attempted delivery today. Parcel came with a “COD tag”. Wouldn’t release it to me. Called UPS 1-800 number and spoke to a very nice person who confirmed that it should not have gone out with the COD tag. She has called over to the delivery centre and asked them to send an “urgent page” to the driver to remove the tag and re-deliver today. I have to say this was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting the truck to go back to the warehouse today and I would have to wait until tomorrow for this to get sorted out.

    As an aside… The folks at UPS must be getting the message. On my $140 item, the brokerage charge was only $14.25 +HST. Still more expensive than Canada Post / Purolator, but much more reasonable than I expected. And the customer support folks have been very helpful and pleasant.

  • Pete

    UPS fuckers lying again

    I called 1-800 ext.3 to clarify the procedure again. They are supposed to explain to us the correct procedure to clear on our own. Both of agents I got on the line said “I CANNOT CLEAR GROUND PACKAGE ANYWHERE BUT IN WINNIPEG (Port of entry)”. I immediately fired off email to CBSA and will wait for their reply. I am going to see the end of world with this. I am trying to get hold of Michael Valee who did interview with CTV and said I can do htis.

  • Pete

    Patrick, what is UPS brokerage email to email b15 back? I’d like to keep it so I can just email them and tell them to remove COD before delivery.

    “The individual indicated she had done this process before and this is the first time she’d heard of someone having a problem like this”

    This appears to be UPS internal policy to deny the problems. I called them 5 times to ask same thing and each one of them say same thing and one claimed “I worked here for 8 years and it cannot be done”.

  • Pete

    I got reply from Michel (VP Customs & Trade Compliance at UPS). While he doesn’t deny we can’t do this, he is keeping is vague and there is no timeline on when they will fully implement procedure. It was said six weeks from February and now it is well past that. When anyone calls 1-800 number, no one should be told lies. I am so pissed off about this along with other things they do.

    Patrick, from your experience would you say keeping them in the dark until it leaves first point of entry (Windsor, Winnipeg or Vancouver) is the best? This is what I figured from my experience although UPS insist they need to know it is self-clear.

  • Gary

    I have received a manifest from UPS, B-15 from Customs. Paid duties, faxed info from customs office, home and work 3x to UPS. They received it however Customs did not stamp the Ups cargo manifest (although a completed B15 was provided). The ups agent now says i need a stamped manifest. Called Customs to inquire on the validity of this claim. They said that the B15 is sufficient as they will only complete the B-15 if they are satisfied the shipment is not prohibited or does not require permits. So I called UPS back and Emphatically stated that they have all the paperwork and that in my previous conversation with Customs, the completed B-15 is sufficient. I stated that unless the response is “Yes sir, we will be delivering your package this week” that i will be venting on a supervisor. I buttered up the agent a bit by telling her that it’s not her fault. She put in a request to have the package released. We’ll see….

  • Gary

    Nope, called back a day later and it’s still not released. The agent said they needed the manifest stamped. I didn’t engage in conversation, I just said I needed to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor said that the stamped B-15 was all that was needed. I faxed the info to them again. They said the package would be delivered in 1 to 2 business days. I am officially pissed off. Btw, if the agent doesn’t comply the first time you call, ask for a supervisor. they seem to know a bit more about the right procedure,

  • Pete

    This is why I don’t bother with 1-800 brokerage. Same thing happened to me. I demanded to speak to supervisor and she started spelling out correct answers. After this they accepted B15 Faxed as proof. We should start writing agent’s ID and name so we can complile incompetent ones on that line.

    I suspect this is their tactic. If we don’t pay for their “added” service, package will be delayed. I suspect this could fall under either competition bereau. Already called Alberta government consumer line and reported it.

  • Graham

    Hi Trueler, I will not bore you with all the details, suffice to say my complaints are the same the hundreds above. I am taking a different course of action. I am pointing out the the USA’s international trade administration ( ) that Americans buying mail order from Canada are allowed $200 duty free, but Canadians buying mail order from USA are only allowed $20 duty free. The ITA is a section of the US Dept of Commerce and they take complaints about trade barriers, and difficulties in exporting to foreign countries. If I can get them to press Canada to raise the $20 limit to match the $200 US limit, a lot of the financial extortion suffered by Canadians at the hands of UPS Fedex and Canada Post will disappear. Following is the text of my letter. I cut and pasted it from the correctly formatted word document original. If the formatting is too unreadable, I can forward you the word document to publish on your excellent website.
    I will let you know when I hear back from them.
    Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade,
    Francisco J. Sánchez
    International Trade Administration
    Office of the Under Secretary
    Mail Stop 3850
    U.S. Department of Commerce
    Washington, DC 20230

    Dear Under Secretary Sánchez,
    re: Does the difference between the US $200 and the Canadian $20 duty free limits on mail order imports constitute an unfair trade barrier?
    The current situation regarding low value mail order goods between Canada and the USA is that USA waives all duties and taxes on shipments valued at $200 or less but Canada waives all duties and taxes on shipments valued on only $20 or less.
    The Canadian government wants to collect 12% tax (part federal part provincial) on mail order imports from the USA.. This on its own, is acceptable, however the Canadian Government accepts or even encourages exorbitant handling fees to collect this tax. Canada Post charges a flat $8.50 handling fee to collect the tax. UPS or Fedex charge handling fees of $15 to $19 on a package valued as little as $30 for example.
    A recent $33 shipment of an automobile part to me, via UPS, was marked up 70% . I was charged $19 in fees to collect $3.96 taxes. Making an addition $23.00 on top of the selling price, not even including the shipping costs.
    A $21 package received via Canada Post would cost an additional $11.02 (52%) made up of an $8.50 fee to collect $2.52 tax.
    So you see, any mail order purchases from $20 to $100 made by Canadians from the USA, are marked up so exorbitantly(50% – 90%) , it is simply not worth making the purchase.
    I suspect the reasons behind my being charged $19 to collect $3.96 tax, is not about the tax money, it is about setting up an undercover trade barrier. The consequences of this barrier are that hundreds of millions of dollars of mail order trade from Canada to the USA are supressed. (possibly even a $1 billion a year).
    Currently Canada sits with a yearly $3.8 Billion dollar trade surplus with the USA. I would like to send a few dollars of that surplus back to the USA, by buying some goods by mail order. However due to the unrealistic $20 limit on the Canadian Postal Limits Remission Order, I and millions of other Canadians are curtailing from making mail order purchases from the USA.
    So anything you can do to encourage Canada to play fair in cross border trade by increasing their $20 duty free postal limit to match the $200 USA limit would be appreciated by people on both sides of the border.
    yours truly……

  • cody

    Hi Trueler
    I thought I had completed the proper procedure as laid out by this site and info from comments which did work but…. I have run into a problem a month after the package has been picked up by me. As it turns out UPS miss placed records of my taxes paid and now requires me to pay the taxes again to them stating there is no way for UPS to collect taxes back from the government. They state I need to pay UPS the taxes that are still attached to my account and then fill out a B2G form and recover taxes from the government as the taxes have now been paid twice. After talking in circles the agent states if I don’t pay the outstanding taxes they send it to collections. The only option they gave was to credit me with the outstanding amount for sending a shipment only and not to receive one. This option is useless to me as I never ship anything that requires a courier. This outstanding may have been taken care of within thirty days but conveniently for them it is past the thirty days and they state their hands are tied. So is this the only option now to pay UPS the taxes and recover the second taxes paid to the government by UPS??? It seems to me that they could bluff me as a way of getting me in the end to pay the brokerage fee as the taxes and the brokerage fee in this case are almost the same value. And this is what I mean, I paid the taxes ($59.69) to government as they would have on my behalf and removed the brokerage fee ($60.00) but now stating they paid taxes as well I have to square the account with UPS the same amount as the forgiven brokerage fee!!Any thoughts?? Hi Trueler
    I thought I had completed the proper procedure as laid out by this site and info from comments which did work but…. I have run into a problem, a month after the package has been picked up by me. As it turns out UPS miss placed records of my taxes paid and now requires me to pay the taxes again to them stating there is no way for UPS to collect taxes back from the government. They state I need to pay UPS the taxes that are still attached to my account and then fill out a B2G form and recover taxes from the government as the taxes have now been paid twice. After talking in circles the agent states if I don’t pay the outstanding taxes they send it to collections. The only option they gave was to credit me with the outstanding amount for sending a shipment only and not to receive one. This option is useless to me as I never ship anything that requires a courier. This outstanding may have been taken care of within thirty days but conveniently for them it is past the thirty days and they state their hands are tied. So is this the only option now to pay UPS the taxes and recover the second taxes paid to the government by UPS??? It seems to me that they could bluff me as a way of getting me in the end to pay the brokerage fee as the taxes and the brokerage fee in this case are almost the same value. And this is what I mean, I paid the taxes ($59.69) to government as they would have on my behalf and removed the brokerage fee ($60.00) but now stating they paid taxes as well I have to square the account with UPS the same amount as the forgiven brokerage fee!! Now this if this is the case and they are trying to recover money lost in a roundabout way all who are using this procedure would have to confirm that their account is zeroed before thirty day expires. Any thoughts anyone????

  • Lidia

    tis sounds REALLY fishy to me. You aloready paid the government, and I’m sure you can get proof of it, like areceipt. If UPS was stupid enough to pay the taxes as well, then that’s on them. But I really think they are bluffing you, because once you’ve paid the government, there will be a record on file that it has laready been paid… it would be impossible to pay it twice as it would show up as PAID in their system. I would just tell them to go fly a kite :)

  • Lidia

    also, UPS should be dealing with the government about getting their taxes back, NOT you… it’s not YOUR fault they didn’t do their job and look into it. Again, it’s on them, you have nothing more to do with it. tell them to work it out on their own with the government. not your problem anymore.

  • Lidia

    I am very confused… I have been reading through these posts, and it seems like I need to get a whole bunch of numbers and forms. Here are the things I’ve taken note of:

    Unique shipment identifier number
    shipment’s invoice
    shipping manifest
    HS code (what is this by the way?)
    commercial invoice
    bill of lading
    B-15 form

    what is all that stuff? is some if it the same thing? out of all that stuff, what do i need in order to self clear??
    I ordered a package and it was picked up by UPs on June 21st. It is not in transit. I called UPS and they gave me the unique shipment identifier number pretty easily. I told them i wanted to self clear. I am in Regina, SK. Right now the status of my package says “Package data processed by brokerage. Waiting for clearance.” So i called UPS right away to ask why they are still attempting to clear the package for me since i already gave them notice of my intention to self clear a few days ago. The supervisor informed me that there are several notes that i intend to self clear and tha tmy package would be held until i pay the taxes/duties. i need to get this package by friday (it’s an anniversary gift for my husband). they informed me that they would get the resolution centre to call me back onmonday (tomorrow) to inform me on proper self-clearing procedure. so should i call them back and “pretend” that i no longer wish to self clear? because i am worried they are going to hold my package until i email the b-15 and then i won’t get it in time for our anniversary. would it work if i just go to my local CBSA office tomorrow mornign right when they open, give them my invoice (which has each item and it’s value, including shipping cost, etc), also give them the tracking number and the unique shipment identifier number. if i give them all that, then can i pay for the taxes and such? then they should give me a b-15, right? SOOO, if i call UPS and tell tehm i no longer wish to self clear (just so they continue to deliver my package on time), then couldn’t i just show them my receipt at the door and tak emy package? cuz i was thinking if they refuse to give me the package, i would just grab it and slam the door in their face, LOL! my husband is a very large guy so i don’t think they would try to muscle me or him ;) anyhow, since the taxes/duties will have already been paid, i would just need to email them the b-15, no harm done really. also, i am thinking that if i pay the taxes BEFORE they get a chance to do it, then won’t i show up in their system? so then they wouldn’t be able to act as my broker. am i making any sense here? LOL. what do you suggest i do? anyone? any thoughts??

  • Lidia

    by the way, the package in in Winnipeg Manitoba, only one province away… maybe i have enough time to deal with all this??

  • Lidia

    Calgary ran a story on CTV about all this, here is the link:

    I have already contacted CTV here in Regina as well. If we all band together and get this story to run on every local new station, maybe these courier companies will stop cheating people out of their money :)

  • John Roberts

    Wow! What a long litany of the same problem. Here is yet another example.

    I was already aware that we would be charged extra fees by UPS when I ordered a package from WonderGel in Utah. In the comment field I said:

    “UPS is unreliable to our location and frequently charges duty and handling that is unnecessary. If there is an option to ship by USPS please let me know as I would prefer it.”

    The fact that WonderGel ignored this comment and shipped UPS is partly my fault as I did not EXPLICITLY tell them not to ship via UPS, but the fact that they ignored it and since then have refused to take any responsibility for the mess, nor to change their policies, is the subject of an entirely separate matter that you can read about on if you want.

    Anyway, back to UPS…

    They wanted $40 COD on an item that cost US$52. This apparently included $6 in taxes and $33 in brokerage fees. When I called their agent I pointed out that no duty was payable on this item, and asked what service they provided to justify the brokerage fee. She gave me a long song and dance about the handling, audit, paperwork etc. and when she was finished I simply pointed out that their computer sent an electronic message to the CBSA computer and no human intervention was needed. She then offered to reduce the fee by $15 as a “goodwill” gesture. I took it, as at that point WonderGel was refusing to accept the product back and refund our purchase – they insisted that we still had to pay the $32 shipping. Faced with paying $32 to get nothing, or paying an additional $25 to get our item, I went with the latter.

    Self-clearance is not an option for me, as I live on Denman Island. To rub salt into my wounds, UPS shipped the item to Campbell River and then PUT IT IN THE MAIL! I just got it today, 20 days after ordering.

    I’ve simply decided not to use UPS ever again. If I want to buy something from the US I will ask the vendor to ship USPS (which is quick and cheap, in my experience) or simply do without. If the vendor tells me they only ship UPS, I will explain to them that they are losing my business for that reason.

    I have tried using an analogy with UPS and WonderGel but they are oblivious -

    “You walk into a store and buy something, and pay at the counter. As you attempt to leave, the doorman stops you and says that he cannot open the door unless you pay him a steep fee. Indignant, you return to the sales counter to return your item and get a refund. But the clerk tells you that there is a restocking fee.”

    Would you stand for this?

  • Gary

    June 21st. My package was delivered. The driver wanted to collect but rescanned the package and it was marked at zero owing. Mother F. it only took 17 days for this to be resolved.

  • Gary

    Lidia, I’m also in Regina. You are a bit luckier as UPS is using Winnipeg for the port of entry. If it’s still there, great. You will need The shipping manifest, commercial invoice and tracking number for customs at the airport (schmirler ave). After you present these docs, the customs agents will look up the correct code and rate of duty for your package. They may offer to fax the info to UPS for you so have a correct fax number ready. Faxing it to the port may be slow. Fax it to a brokerage supervisor or even better, email it. That way, there is a paper trail (figuratively speaking). The process of receiving your docs and changing the shipment back to delivery may be the time delay that breaks the deal. If they can’t have it resolved by Thursday, you definitely won’t have it by Friday.
    I thought about your grab and slam method too but i thought the police would be even less informed about self-clear than Ups.
    All i can say is to get your stamped B-15, write the tracking number on it and email it to someone in authority at UPS with the ability to clear your package.
    If you need another testimonial for the tv spot, my email is awesomegary at hotmail dot com.

  • Lidia


    oh man i sur ehope i an get this all sorted in time for our anniversary :/

    the CTV video clip from calagry, the guy did the grab and walk out method, and he got charges put on him by UPS, but if they tried to do that here, i don’t think it would work because I would have already paid the duties, etc. I figure if the duties and taxes are paid, the package is as good as mine, and i have every legal right to take it, in fact, them keeping it is illegal and an act of “theft”. i figure if i just grab it and then figure out the paperwork later, then i will still have it in time. hopefully. we’ll see… i will keep you updated :)

  • Lidia

    p.s. do you know what fax number i should send it to, and what email? i will probably fax it AND email it, but it would be nice to do so to a higher up so that it gets dealt with faster.

  • cody

    TO Lidia:

    I agree but…. if they send me to collections this messes with credit ratings and the like. Would anyone know where I could find out if UPS is telling the truth about their ability to get the taxes back on their own? And does anyone have any advice navigating collection agents? I have all proof and documents to show that all taxes are paid. Plus try to get your package from UPS when you don’t pay the fees owing!! Not happening! When I pointed this out to the agent that I spoke to, she could not explain how I was able to take possession of my shipment unless if fact I had paid all owing fees.

  • Gary

    You’ll have to get the number and email from a supervisor at ups. Yet another hoop to jump through

  • Andy

    After reading about a dozen various online blogs and the posts on this site and other sites, as well as the D memorandums on the CBSA’s site, I have personally come to the conclusion that most of the confusion comes from what (You or I) “the importer” is specifically asking for. eg.. when you advise that you want to “self clear” your shipment they (UPS and other couriers as well as some CBSA agents) will tell you that you must go to the point of entry as that is where the shipments actually clear before being allowed to travel inland, so they are correct in this info.
    Whereas if you mention that you want to “account for your own goods” at your local CBSA office, this is a whole different procedure that takes place after the goods “clear” customs. At least this is the info that was given to me when I phoned the local CBSA office in Kitchener. To make sure I understood the agent correctly, I did ask him twice, “clearing or self-clear” and “accounting for the imported goods” for LVS casual goods are 2 separate procedures. Therefore when my shipment “clears” the border with the courier, all that is needed to be done by me is “account” for the goods and pay any duties and taxes to the local CBSA. You will of course need the required documentation mentioned earlier to account for your goods.

    To avoid additional grief, DO NOT have the goods marked “self-clear” or anything for that matter from the seller and DO NOT tell the courier of you intentions to “account” for the goods until you see the package is either arrived at your local couriers depot or the shipment is marked out for delivery. When the driver shows up with the COD tag, tell him there is a discrepancy with the amount of the COD and you will clear this up with the couriers before you have the shipment redelivered. If you happen to have a copier ask the courier if you can make a photocopy of the commercial invoice, it will be in a plastic type of zip-lock bag stuck on your shipment, tell him you need it just to make a copy to see what the amount owing to them is calculated on, or something creative like that. Just be nice and polite, after all the drivers are just doing their job. If it says COD then the driver has to collect the amount before he can give you the package, he’s just following rules and doesn’t want to lose his job.

    Take your all your required paperwork to the local CBSA office, tell them you are there to account for your goods (pay applicable duties and taxes) again DON’T mention “self-clear” as they have already been “cleared” at customs, you just want to pay the duties and taxes owing, and they will issue you the illusive “B-15″ form. Follow the directions mentioned in all the earlier posts to get this form to your couriers. Then phone the couriers and make sure they lift or remove the COD tag for your package……..

    Enjoy brokerage free shopping on all your LVS casual goods.


    So in summary I think people that wish to avoid the outrageous brokers fees charged by couriers and pay their own taxes, they must “NOT” mention that they want to “self-clear” their shipment but rather “account for their own duties and taxes” on their casual goods.


  • dk

    I too had the unplesant experience of the EXORBITANT BROKAGE FEES charged by UPS — which led me to this blog.

    However ,I have to agree with the previous statement by Andy. There seems to be a confusion of terminology being used which is probably causing some of the frustration.

    From my understanding and what Andy mentioned , *self clearing* is just that— YOU have to be at the point of entry to complete the *self clear* of goods. So , if you contact UPS to say YOU want to *self clear* the goods then technically they would be correct in saying this has to be done at the point of entry where customs processes clearing of goods.

    Instead , everyone should be focusing on * accounting for payment of duties and taxes * personally.

    Call it a techincallity or purely semantics , I believe these two differences in terminology is what UPS uses to dissuade folks from completing this on their own. Afterall , we know it’s an additional income they can make and they really don’t wish to give that up willingly.

    Once the proper distinction is clearly made that you wish to personally * acount for duty and taxes * then the courier is obligated to provide the necessary documentation to do so.
    Also, at which time this also confirms that you are not permitting the courier to act as your broker.

    In a nut shell , the courier is paid to transport the goods to the receiving address. If coming from outside of Canada, the goods must pass through a designated *point of entry* for Customs officials to *clear* the item for entry and travel inland — the couriers have nothing to do with *clearing goods*.

    Specific couriers and the wharehouses like UPS are bonded and are required by Customs to not release the goods until duties and taxes are collected and submitted to the govenment — which basically is the final step in *clearing of goods *.

    Two ways this can be completed :

    1) have the courier pay duties and taxes on your behalf. This means the courier company will now charge the ridiculious fees to be reimbursed for those tax and duty amounts.

    2) Opt to pay the duty and taxes yourself. Once paid and the official receipt form B15 is stamped is all that’s need as proof Customs has *cleared* the goods to be released by the courier.

    Side note —

    I believe if the courier is not contacted that you will personally * account for duty and taxes * payment they will accept this as being authorization , by you , to act as your broker.
    In a manner of speaking — it’s like * Negative Option Billing *

    In some cases the goods may be delivered , even without a COD , signing for the delivery and have the invoice sent at a later date. In this situation ,once you sign for the delivery you also unknowningly authorize the courier to become your broker. In which case you really have no recourse but to accept the additional charges.

    2 cents worth

  • Andy

    To dk:
    Awesome follow up to my post. You’ve hit it spot on. As you also mentioned I do believe it’s the terminology that we are using that confuses them all. We say we want to “self-clear” or “clear” our goods, when in fact we want to “account” for our cleared goods at the CBSA office. I also totally agree with your “side note”, all of it, especially the “Negative Option Billing” analogy. The important thing to remember is not to sign anything from the courier until you have accounted for your goods with the CBSA and have been issued the B15. Fax the B15 to your couriers brokerage dept, and have them remove or lift the COD tag from your shipment, then ask them to reschedule your shipment for delivery. Again dk as you also stated, “the courier is paid to transport the goods to the receiving address” not the border or their in-bond warehouse, but the receivers address. So don’t let the couriers make you think you have to jump through hoops and obstacles to receive your goods. The shipping that has been charged to you by the seller is NOT to just the Canadian border, but to the receivers or importers address.

    In closing, dk you have provided more than your 2 cents worth IMHO.
    Trueler, kudos to your original post and methods for receiving your shipment without outrageous brokerage fees, the only thing I would do different is change the terminology used of “clear” or “self=clear” to “account” which should clearly clarify what your intentions are.


  • Andy

    I had an afterthought after my last post that I would be willing to put to the test and hopefully help end us from paying outrageous brokerage fees. I currently have goods ordered from a US supplier, the goods are valued at $200.00 and because they are for my personal and not commercial use, they would fall under the importation of LVS casual goods. Now because they are also manufactured in the USA, there should be no duties on these goods as per the NAFTA agreement. So I will ask the shipper/seller to make a note on his commercial invoice and any other documentation that accompanies my package to read: “Importer to “Account” for Goods”. Let’s see where this gets me? … lol

    I will follow up on here after I complete all the required steps to account for my goods, educate any couriers or CBSA agents along the way with legal published material and have received my package in my hands.


  • kjm

    I had a parcel come from England (long story short- it seems that only Europe has sportbike centrestand parts) and told the driver I was going to self-clear. He clarified “so you’re refusing the COD then?” to which I said yes I am intending to self-clear customs and account for duty and taxes myself. So he smiled and wrote on the package “refused COD” and walked away. I called UPS and the computer told me the package was being sent back to the sender because COD was refused.
    As I said, these parts are only available in Europe and the vendors there only want to send via courier. Same with some flexible curtain rods I had also ordered, only available in Europe and they had to send via courier because the package length was 2.5m (Royal Mail limitation of 1.5m).

    Anyway I asked the UPS clerk on the phone if there was any way to self-clear, he said he could have the package sent back to the port of entry and would I be able to deal with it in Calgary? I live in Calgary, so luckily (this time) it will be no problem. But the driver was very canny to keep the electronic invoice away from my grasp to obtain a copy, which I gather is all I would need to “self clear”. I even told him I intend to pay the duty and GST myself at the border services agency, he still deliberately interpreted that as “refused COD” – which means, return to sender.

    But while I had the clerk on the phone, and because others had mentioned to notify UPS before they deliver if you intend to self-clear customs, he let me know that the second parcel is leaving London England tonight, will arrive in Kentucky tomorrow, and will arrive at the “port of entry” on the day after, at which time I could call UPS back for the invoice / manifesto / whatever to be e-mailed. So the clerk may or may not know which port of entry UPS has chosen, but since I divulged that I intend to self-clear / account for duty and taxes, UPS may decide to use the port of entry at Winnipeg or some other fool place. I guess I will find out in a couple days..

    By the way my motorcycle parts cost 33 Euro, so I guess that’s about $42 Canadian for value, GST should be about $2.10 or so (UPS was paid 27 Euro for delivery, which should be ample). UPS wanted to charge $12.61 Cdn for brokerage and tax, but that’s still $10.51 for customs clearance whereas Canada Post would only charge $5, therefore, I will waste the time to self-clear. Plus as I said I am hoping to delay a couple days until the second parcel arrives, and deal with both at the same time.

    Actually, another thing I want to do is try faxing those B15 forms to the Calgary fax number 403-648-3308 – does that mean that UPS would still have to deliver to my door? Because if so I would love to get the same driver once again and have him put my parcel into my hand, with no brokerage fee collection.

  • Eve

    I do not work for UPS but I use them. UPS is a for profit company. If you use them or Fedex to clear your shipment into Canada, they will provide that service and they will charge you. This is not a scam but a service. People can become more knowledgeable and clear the shipment themselves or at least set up a prepaid account with UPS to avoid the bond and COD fee’s.

  • Pete

    Two posters above: that’s what I’ve been doing I left them in the dark until it was in Calgary.

    Fax is 506-447-3612

  • dk

    Andy — thanks for reminding me of forgetting to thank Truler for all the effort and posting his findings — thanks Truler !

    Also, interesting idea! Please post if this does indeed make things easier.

    Eve — you are correct in that the couriers are providing the service and charging for it — and yes, they are *for profit* companies.
    No argument here!

    However, when they aren’t forthcoming in providing information they are obligated to or misleading people — well let’s just say — that’s just downright dirty business.

  • Eve

    dk, I agree, UPS is not that helpful even when my company is paying them. We pay UPS around 1500 to 2,000 USD a week.
    I have not found Fedex to be any more helpful and they cost more. DHL is another option. I do not know if they cost less. I think the best defence is for the customer to be knowledgeable. Most of my customers do not set up a UPS account even when I tell them to and just let UPS deliver COD, even when I tell them they will be charged for that.

  • pw

    Hi all, thanks for all these useful information. I bought a used iphone4s from a seller on ebay in USA. Now I’m preparing to fight against the UPS for the brokerage fee. :)
    The seller used to live in Canada, and he bought the phone in Canada, then he moved to USA and sold the phone on ebay. So my question is, do I need to pay the HST or other taxes for this phone? Cause it’s a used one and he had paid taxes to Canada when he bought it, it seems to be double charged if I paid taxes again. Will it help if I go to CBSA and explain this? Have anyone encountered with the same problem? Any reply will be appreciated.

  • Jay

    Thanks for the information. I purchased some electronics on ebay that were shipped to Canada from the US. On the first delivery attempt I was shocked when I received a bill for $83.12. When I looked into this further, I came across this information and decided that it was worth a try.

    I called UPS and like everyone else was told much the same lies. First I was told that I couldn’t self-clear because this only applies to certain goods like clothing. Then I was told that if I wanted to self-clear it would have to be shipped back to Vancouver and I would have to do so in person. Regardless, I was able to obtain the commercial invoice.

    I went to the CBSA office in Calgary. The agent there was very helpful. She wasn’t sure how to proceed without the shipping manifest but another agent overheard our conversation and knew about this immediately. She had saw this on the news:

    They immediately took my payment. For electronics, I just had to pay the GST, $18.25 (much better than $83.12) and I got the B-15 form.

    I called UPS. Once I told them I had the B-15 they became much more responsive. I was given the fax number and was told that it would be processed within 24 hours, if not the same day.

    In the meantime, the driver came for the second delivery attempt. I had to refuse the delivery as I would not pay the COD. I told him that I hoped to have this resolved within 24 hours by the next delivery attempt.

    I called the next morning and confirmed that they received the B15 and that they had waived the COD. The agent confirmed that this information had been passed along so I should be able to received my shipment.

    Keeping my fingers crossed, I should receive my shipment today.

    Here is another interesting read:

    It is really amazing what a little research can do.

    Thanks again!

  • Ty

    There seems to be a difference here between personal and commercial shipments. With that being said, if you notice UPS that you are going to clear your own shipment, will they hold the package at the port of entry or will the package continue to your local warehouse because they’re bonded? It seems to me that as long as the package is held local to the CBSA office you intend to visit, you’re good to go. However, UPS/Fedex make it seem as though your package will be held in a distant warehouse across the country.

  • pw

    London(ON) – success
    Firstly I want to thank you all for providing these useful information.
    Since it seems on one in London shares this kind of experience, I want to write something. Sorry for my poor English.
    I have a package shipped by UPS standard from USA on July 5. I had no idea about the brokerage fee until it was on the way to Canada. I found this website and learned what to do.
    I called UPS for the commercial invoice, and to my surprise, it was very smooth, no cheating, no arguing, and I went to the local CBSA office at London international airport. They didn’t need the USIN # or any other number. (and I even doubt if the commercial invoice is needed, because UPS lost my commercial invoice before my package came into Canada and they just wrote down the addresses of mine and the shipper, and the title of things contained in the package, without any other details) They just called someone to check there was a shipment for me as I described. And I paid the GST (13%) and got the B15 form.
    Everything went smoothly until then. Then I went to the UPS costumer center (60 midpark road) where the package was held, they said they can’t handle this thing, I should call UPS and fax the B15 form to them. So I went back and tried to call UPS. The real trouble started then. I called like 10 to 20 times, each time different operator gave me different answers, just kept lying, lying, and lying. There was once an operator said she could waive the brokerage fee, but still asked me to pay for the taxes, I said I had paid to the CBSA, she said since they paid earlier than me, I should go to the CBSA for a refund. Of course I won’t accept this. Finally one nice operator handled this without any argue. It’s really different between different operators. Finally I got my package without any charge.
    I think there is one thing to be noticed, don’t insist on the words “clear”, “self-clear”, “clearance”, just use “pay taxes”. If you told them you want to do the clearance by yourself, they will say that you have to go to the port of entry……. and we are not sure if they are lying about this.
    Although I got my package finally without the brokerage fee, I’m really tired of arguing with them. I will not use UPS anymore.

  • Marina

    Hi all,

    My story is turning to be very time-consuming. I followed advice to account for my customs; paid them in Mississauga CBSA office and provided copies of the B15 form and copies of the receipts at UPS on Steeles to receive my package. I received the package after a long discussion over the phone with UPS accountant. However, 3 weeks later UPS sent me a bill for 47 dollars requesting to pay UPS directly – taxes only, they didn’t mention their 57 dollars brokerage fee. I refused to pay and sent them again the copies of b15, my credit card statement with the CBSA payment record.
    But now I’ve received a letter from collection agency requested to pay the $47 within 10 days. Don’t know what to do.. I already paid the taxes of $47; now UPS is forcing me to pay them twice through collection agency.

    Will appreciate any advice.
    Thank you.

  • Marina

    I just wanted to update the information re: UPS placing my customs amount as un-paid debt to the collection agency. It turns out it was a mistake on UPS end and they promised to correct it immediately and close the file. And by the way – RMS (which is a collection agency that UPS had been sending my information to) has also confirmed that they have sent the information back to UPS after I sent RMS b15 copy. So UPS can’t do anything really if you self-clear and have b15 form available. So don’t pay their outrageous brokerage fees and clear your packages by yourself – you will save lots of money.

  • Andy

    Marina, it is good to see that by asking to “account” for your goods, you were not given the run around that most people get when asking to “clear” their goods and being told that you have to go to the point of entry or the border to perform the “Self-Clear” process that really does take place at the point of entry.

    Now as promised to “dk” and “Trueler” here are my tried and tested findings on the process for “Accounting” for your LVS casual goods.

    You may want to make a coffee, tea, or beverage before reading my novel… I do apologize for the length of my post to follow but it is the process I went through by asking to “Account” for my goods and not mentioning “clear” or “Clear-Own” in any step of my process.

    I have cut and pasted my post below as I had also posted this on a similar site and did not want to re-type the whole post, just a few small edited changes.

    The Final Process of “Accounting” for your goods after they have “Cleared” the border with the courier company you are using.

    Well as promised here is my update on my LVS shipment. Yesterday morning (July 24) I was curious as to how far along my shipment was and when FedEx was going to phone me regarding the comment the shipper had put on the commercial invoice instructing that “Importer to Account for Goods” So when I went to FedEx’s website to track my shipment, it was in their Ohio hub enroute from Calif. The site said that estimated delivery would be July 25 (Yesterday) and that the shipment was on schedule for delivery. So I phoned FedEx and asked them if they wouldn’t mind faxing me a copy of the commercial invoice but not mentioning why or what I needed it for. They said “sure no problems you should receive that shortly”, that call was made around 10am (July 24). By 2pm I had still yet to receive the commercial invoice so I called them again requesting the CI for the second time and they said “Oh you didn’t get that already” to which I replied “No, and the fax machine is right beside my desk”, again they told me that I would receive it shortly and reconfirmed my fax #.
    Well by 5pm I had still to receive a copy from them, so I called them for the 3rd time and made the request again. This time they informed me that the CI for FedEx ground shipments is not available as it travels with the shipment and they don’t have any way of sending me a copy of it, unless they were to physically remove it from the package fax me a copy and then place it back with my shipment before it could continue delivery. I told them they should have made me aware of that info the first time I called. Their response was that the agents I spoke to at FedEx should have known that…. I told them not to worry about it and thanked them for their time. All along I didn’t really need a copy from them as I had the seller email me a copy of it before my shipment left CA. I just wanted to see if FedEx would comply with my request, which they obviously didn’t.

    Also last night (July 24) before I went to bed I tracked my goods again and seen that they were at the Cambridge, ON FedEx facility, I knew this was the last hub before delivering the goods, so I printed a copy of the info showing the 4 tracking numbers of my shipment.

    This morning (July 25) when I woke up and tracked the shipment before leaving the house to run some errands, the status was “out for delivery”. I informed my daughter that if FedEx was to show up, to NOT sign for anything and tell them your father was not home and to re-deliver again tomorrow when he would be home. In the meantime I had with me a copy of the CI that the seller/shipper had sent me, the tracking info that I had printed last night stating that the goods were at the Cambridge facility, as well as a copy of the Memorandum D17-4-0.

    I was now off to the CBSA office located at the Kitchener Airport to attempt to account for my goods and hopefully get the B15 form. The Kitchener Airport is about 20 mins from where I live, well I wasn’t even gone 10 mins from home when my daughter called me on my cell and said that FedEx had just left the house and had left my 4 packages there, the driver told her that no signature was required so she could leave the packages with my daughter. Of course my daughter was somewhat confused and said Ok leave them here but my dad had said to re-deliver them tomorrow. The driver told her I`m here now and nothing else is needed for this shipment. I told my daughter not to worry about it and continued on my way to the Airport. I got there, paid $3.00 parking for 1 hour and headed to the CBSA office. There were 2 others there sitting down and 1 other person at the wicket. When the person at the wicket left the CBSA agent said `yes Sir, can I help you, I immediately pointed to the 2 sitting down and said that they were here before me. The agent said that they were already being assisted by other agents. So I stepped up to the wicket and told her I was here to “account” for my goods that were shipping to me from the USA. She asked me for my paper work (all I handed her was the CI and the the printout with the 4 tracking numbers on it, no cargo manifest, and no Unique Shipment Identification Number, and no ID as I had forgotten my wallet in the car, but was prepared to get it if needed), She also asked where the goods were being held and I told her when I had last checked they were still at the FedEx facility at 42 Raglan Place in Cambridge, she said OK give me a few minutes… she went back to her desk and started filling out papers. I chatted up the 2 people sitting down and asked them how long they had been waiting, the guy said that he was there about 15 minutes already and that he was paying for taxes on an Imported vehicle. The lady sitting a few seats over from him said that she also had only been there 15 mins and that she was accounting for imported commercial goods. Before I could even ask them any more questions or take a seat, I heard from over my shoulder, “OK sir everything is in order and your taxes owing are $24.10″. She explained to me that because the goods were manufactured in the US there was no duties due and that I just had to pay the HST on the converted amount from US to Cdn, currency. As quick as I could hand her $24.10 she was stamping the form she had in her hands, and pushing it out through the wicket for me. I said is there anything else I need to do now, she said “yes just fax the form I gave you to the FedEx brokerage dept. and they will release your goods”. I walked away with the hugest smile on my face that you would have thought I had just found money…lol

    Honest to god, it took me longer to type this than it did to account for my goods. When I got back into my car and checked the time on the paid parking tag, it had taken me less than 15 minutes to get the B15 form. I also looked over the form wondering what she used to reference as the USIN that everyone seems to have a hard time getting from the courier. The only box that I could see on the form that had any type of reference number was the FedEx tracking number on package 1 of 4. No other shipping ID # on the form. (So I gather the tracking # can be used as well, or it may technically be a USIN# as it is only uniquely identifies that package).

    When I got home I phoned FedEx to ask them if there were any charges owing to them for the shipment and their reply was if the driver didn’t ask for any money that there was none owing. I said that I found that hard to believe as the shipment was over the basic exemption amount of $20. So I asked her if she wouldn’t mind connecting me with their brokerage dept. She said she could do that but they would more than likely tell me the same thing. I replied that’s OK I just wanted to make sure, and she connected me to FedEx Trade Network.

    When the FTN agent came on the phone I gave her my tracking number and told her I had a shipment left at my house with no bill for taxes. Her reply was Oh maybe you got lucky and you didn’t get assessed for taxes…. (my ass) I told her I would like to hold while she was sure of this. After about 5 mins she came back on the phone and said your correct Mr. xxxxxxxx, there are taxes owing but not to worry as they would be sending me a bill for that. As long as I have received my goods in satisfactory condition I didn’t need to worry about anything else until the bill arrives. (If you do noting at this point, believe me you worries will start when you see the bill, and it will probably be to late to account for them yourself depending how long it has been since receiving your shipment) I said that I would like to pay for the bill now if possible, she said that “all the paper work was not complete at this time and it would be easier if they just mailed me the bill”… (my ass again) I asked how could you not have that calculated already if you have the commercial invoice there you must know what I owe?
    She said “OK you will have to give me a few more minutes”, I said I can wait….. must have been 10 more mins, and when she came back on the phone, the first thing she said is “are you still there Mr. xxxxxxx?” I replied, “where else would I be?” she said “I was afraid that I had taken to long and that you may have hung up?” I said “no chance of that happening, and then getting a bill in a few weeks asking for my first born”… she said “your first what?” I said no worries, how much is the bill going to be for? She said “well it will be for the taxes that are still owing on the shipment”, I said “I know that, I’m just curious as to what other charges or fees will show up on the bill”, she said “the taxes owing are $24.10″… I said OK and…. then she said I had to hold again for a minute… 3 more minutes go by and she comes back on the phone and has the nerve to ask me if there was anything else she could help me with… I kept my cool and said “yes the remaining charges please”… she then said I was lucky the goods were manufactured in the US as there would be no duties on my order, I said “Oh wow lucky me”…. she said “there would be a small fee of $5.85 and the brokerage fee for taking care of all the paperwork required by the government and clearing the package through customs on my behalf”… so again I asked her “and the brokerage fee is”??? she said “the brokerage is calculated on the value of the shipment and that was an additional $28.50, so everything would cost less that $60.00″. “Would that be all today Mr. xxxxxxx?” This next question is what I think took her of her chair, I said “just one more thing, can I please have the fax # to your brokerage dept?” she immediately replied “What do you need that for? I said “I need it to fax you the B15 form I am holding in my hands.” She said “you mean to tell me you have wasted all my time asking me all your questions just to tell me you have already paid the taxes?” I replied “Yes, and it took you longer to give me the info that I’m sure you had sitting in front of you all along after I provided you the tracking #, than it took the CBSA agent to complete all those forms you mentioned and issue me the B15 form. She said “well Mr. xxxxxxx, you have yourself a wonderful day,” I said I will have a wonderful day right after you provide me with the fax # …… Hello?….Hello?…… Hellllllloooooooo? I was shocked, she had hung up on me! ….. lmao

    I think I will call back now and just ask for the fax#.

    Trueler, I am so sorry for writing a small novel, and would not be offended if you felt that you needed to edit it.

    On a last note though, I would seriously suggest that if you went through your post and subbed out the term “clear” or “self-clear” with “Account” I don’t think the process would be confusing then, to either the CBSA agent or the courier company. Even on the top of my B15 form is says “Casual Goods Accounting Document” and not clearing document, so we may as well call the process by what it is.

    So please remember fellow Canadians, if you sign for the goods from the courier before accounting for them yourself, you have also signed away your rights to do so, and they have your signature to prove that you agreed with their terms and conditions.

    Kinda of reminds me of an old business saying: “What the large print giveth, the fine print taketh away”

    I hope my experience and interpretation of “Clearing” vs “Accounting” clears this vague area of terminology. If you notify them you want to clear your own shipment, get ready for a trip to the border, If you notify them you are looking to “Account” for your own goods, get ready for a trip to your local CBSA office that offers accounting for your LVS shipments.

    Andy :)

  • Pete

    Andy, can you please get this fax # for us? I posted UPS fax# above for others to send their B15 to. I have inbound Fed Ground and need to get B15 to them.

    I usually push shipper to send me copy of CI and don’t bother getting from M0rons.

  • Andy

    Pete, I agree, why even bother trying to get a copy of the CI from the couriers? When it is provided by the shipper as they are the ones that prepare it to begin with.

    For my FedEx Ground shipment that was received at the Mississauga facility before being transferred to the Cambridge facility for delivery I had to Fax the B15 form to the Attention of Cheryl Vant @ (905)362-0105. When asked I was told no cover letter was required but to make sure Cheryl’s name was marked as the Attn: to person.


    ps.. I can’t stress enough to all those people out there encountering problems, the sooner us importers forget that we ever heard the words “clear”,”self-clear” or “clear-own” the faster you will get your goods without headaches or grief. People need to start asking to “Account for Goods” which means one thing and one thing only, “paying for your own duties and taxes” without the use of someone acting as your broker. :)

  • Eddy

    UPS still scams on customs, and it’s now August 2012. Obviously they don’t care how nasty they are. If they can steal money from 98% of customers they’re super happy, like pigs in s–t.

  • Will

    Pretty much all the commentary here seems to be in regards to goods that are non-perishable (my assumption). Anyone have experience bringing wine into Canada from the US. Wine carries more of an urgency relating to delivery time and proper storage if couriers end up jacking customers around by dragging their heels delaying delievery… just wondering!

  • Carlson

    Hi everyone,

    I just recieved my parcel from UPS today (U.S. -> CAD). The delivery man just left the package at my door and didn’t even bother knocking on my door to collect COD/applicable fees. I am not sure what I should do now.


  • Jonathan

    I think UPS is smartening up to all this.

    Only today did I come across this when I was sent multiple invoices in the mail today from UPS. I thought it would be a confirmation of previous ones I paid, but instead found each one to be asking for more money. It seems that regardless of me giving my credit card information when it was delivered to my door, more than a month later I am getting invoices for shipping I thought I paid at the door. It was in examining the two invoices I noticed how they were so different in both the bond fee being charged, and for other charges that I didn’t understand. With all the added fees they both got jacked up to close to $50 each.

    Sadly for me out in Nova Scotia, I am 100 kms away from the closest CBSA office. In a world connected, I don’t understand why we can’t just call these places and give our CC and have the form faxed to show we paid it.. or emailed for that matter. Why do we physically have to go down to their offices like it’s 1980?

    This isn’t the 1st time I got these invoices. It seems as though it has become standard practice. Recently I received invoices for shipments dating back 3 months. I don’t think any of my payments are being processed and instead are being carried over 1-3 months later in these invoices along with all the fees.

    If I got these invoices already, can I still go to the CBSA office and pay the taxes using these invoices that UPS sent me? I happen to be going into town tomorrow so if this is possible, might be worth it to save $50.

    Thanks for your help!

  • Suzanne

    Hi everyone,

    I’m not really expecting a reply from the original author here, after all it’s been years since the original article was posted and ages since his last reply, but maybe someone else here can please help:)

    In Edmonton is the only place to go the international airport? It sounds like Calgary folks can go to a mall ( Lucky !), and the airport here is not close and I will probably have to pay for parking.


  • Lloyd

    Since Fedex gives no C.O.D., do you just accept the order at the door, sign for it and take the invoice to the CBSA office to account for it right away?

  • Andy

    You still have time to account (pay duties & taxes) for your goods. Even though couriers lead you to believe they have already paid these taxes, they haven’t. Not until the 24th of the following month. As long as your goods were not signed for at the door. Signing for you goods also authorizes the courier to act as your broker. Take the Commercial Invoice off the package and head down to your local CBSA office. When you get there inform the agent that you would like to account for the goods you received. They will fill out a B15 form charge you the applicable taxes and give you the form. Take the form and phone UPS and ask them for their brokerage Dept’s Fax number. Fax them the B15 form showing you have paid all applicable duties and taxes. You need to act fast on this before they actually submit the taxes, which again like I mentioned they do not actually submit the taxes until the 24th of the following month. Don’t buy into their lies and excuses that they have already paid them. Sounds like UPS is playing the game that FedEx uses, by leaving the package and send you a surprise invoice weeks or months later.
    Good luck and keep us posted how this works out for you.

    Unfortunately because of how long its been since you have received your shipments there is nothing you can really do about this now, as they have already submitted the taxes on your behalf and have already acted as your agent. Also weather you were charged COD charges at the door or not, once anyone receiving a shipment via courier signs for the shipment when they receive it, they have already unknowingly signed away their right to account for the goods.

    What importers need to realize is that, if their goods do in fact require a signature to receive them as some insured shipments need a signature so the shipper also has Proof of Delivery, then they need to get a copy of the commercial invoice from the couriers (but I prefer asking the shipper for the copy of the commercial invoice, as it is much easier than listening the the lies of the couriers) take the copy of the commercial invoice to the CBSA office account for your goods, then phone and ask the couriers for their brokerage Dept’s fax number, fax the B15 form to them and asks them to lift the COD tag from the shipment and reschedule delivery to you. At least then if they still make you sign for it as proof of delivery, you already have proof if needed later on should they spring a surprise invoice on you down the road that you had already accounted for your goods prior to receiving your goods.


  • Cory

    Thanks for the info. Went the the CBSA office at YXU, showed my invoice and the tracking number, paid my taxes. Getting a run around from UPS, but should have package soon with nothing owing to them. The CBSA faxed them the copies, but of coarse they “didn’t receive anything from the CBSA”.

    Faxed the stamped paperwork myself, the Brokerage Office fax number is 506-877-4916. Make your fax subject “Attention: CRT”.

    Here is an interesting CTV story on the same;

    Thanks Trueler!

  • Mary B

    I have 2 experiences with UPS . Both were for personal use medical equipment from the US which are duty/tax free. The first time (2010) I paid the erroneous taxes and brokerage fees ($150) COD and immediately called UPS to strenuously object. They relented and said they would issue a refund. When the refund came 3 weeks later it was minus a hefty brokerage fee, but I had run out of steam by then.

    Today another delivery, same erroneous COD but this time I refused delivery. I call UPS again and the CS rep said they would discount the $60 by $10 dollars but the brokerage fee (for what?) could not be discounted. Huh?

    I demanded a supervisor who agreed to pull the COD ticket in it’s entirety. I was on the phone for 35 minutes. I usually request shippers use USPS with no hassles. I won’t forget again.

    I cannot believe UPS has not been censured for these usurious practices. How can the legions of people on here make that happen.

  • Andy

    Unfortunately were somewhat at the mercy of the couriers with their lies and misinformation. Up till now I have had 2 LVS orders arrive from the US. One from FedEx and another from UPS, (you can read my posting earlier in this blog) both shipments I was able to avoid paying Brokerage Fees. Just follow what to say and what NOT to say, and no one should ever have to pay brokerage fees on LVS shipments again.


    Pete, how did you make out with your FedEx shipment?
    Cory, Good to hear you avoided the brokerage fees. :)
    Carlson, did you account for your shipment and avoid the fees?
    Suzanne, Hopefully someone from Edmonton will take time to answer your question.

  • Pete

    Andy, I got the package, went to CBSA and faxed B15 to the fax #. It has been a month and I have not seen any invoice coming to mail yet. I’m hoping they got the message as I clearly states tracking # on the B15 when faxed in.

    For everyone else here are FAX numbers again

    UPS Brokerage (506)447-3612
    FEDEX Brokerage (905)362-0105

    Fedex differs from UPS in a sense that they just drop off package without signature. Just go to CBSA on the same day and get it done, then fax B15. There is no proof you received package so Fedex cannot argue you have accepted it and agreed to pay in the future.

    UPS do not release package without signature and COD paid. Do not sign anything, just tell them you will go pick it up at depot (safest). You can change this to redelivery at any time by calling the 1800 number so don’t say anything like “refuse” so it doesn’t get sent back.

  • Francois Labelle

    UPS…Fedex…more psychopath corporations gouging their customers with insane fees…I just got a parcel and they charged me $29 plus GST on a $98 purchase…after paying $102 for the shipping! I which I would have known about this site before!

  • Pete

    This time I have an inbound express from LAX, and I was planning on paying UPS since express includes brokerage fee (but still has other fees).

    I called to make prepayment to save COD and Bond fee and amount I was told on ~$90 item was $27.62 [$10BOND+$4.50/line+$4.50/line+$4.25COD+$4.37TAX]

    Why am I paying bond fee in fact while you haven’t advanced me any money to pay government? (you pay them next month, remember?). This is a box of cables and network jacks. How many lines of description are there that you have to charge me another $9?

    Adding to the bad experience, package is already late. It sat at ONT until 3AM (picked up before cut-off) and totally missed flight to WorldPort. As of Friday afternoon, website still shows it will be here today (kiss my ass). I called 1-800# and I mentioned package didn’t get to the Worldport last night. Agent assures she cannot comment on any routing or how package will get here but it will get here today(kiss my ass).

    Back to brokerage, I expect it to be on truck Monday. I will be making a visit to CBSA to get this done and save bogus fee of $19. I will also be calling them to get redund on $40 shipping fee.

    Fun times.

  • Abie

    Hello I called UPS several days ago and gave them my tracking number telling them I will clear the package myself. The lady on the phone even told me to call UPS and ask them if my forms are ready today. However, today I received the delivery notice and there’s a COD on it because I wasn’t home. I got a brokerage COD due $18.95 on a $65 item. So basically UPS cleared the item even tho I told them that I will do it myself… What should I do???

  • Shawn

    Hi there, I was just wondering if anybody had experience self clearing their packages in or around the Markham area.

    I just called BIS to ask about self-clearing a package at the Buttonville CBSA Office, but when asked about self-clearing, the operator mentioned that it is only possible at the port of entry.

    Now I’m stuck with a ridiculous fee almost $18 for a package that cost me $55.

  • Shawn

    Sigh. Nevermind, Buttonville CBSA isn’t even for CLVS clearance and the nearest office that is, is Pearson Airport which is a good 40 minutes away.

    Screw it, paying the stupid $17 fee and staying away from FedEx/UPS next time.

    Just going to live with EMS or SAL shipping from now on I guess.

  • William

    Hello. I didn’t have time to read all the 2 year’s of postings but read enough to see folks now winning this battle. Thats’ great. My story, not quite. I paid UPS brokerage fees a year ago, on a brand new item from a retailer, which didn’t out work for me. Now, I am returning still new item to NY retailer for refund, less restocking charge of course, are these brokerage fees refundable? Aa all? Taxes/duties? Is it UPS, CNSA, or both that I persue? Any helpful advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

  • FYI – UPS and FedEX (but mostly UPS) are well aware of the fact that they are doing something legally and morally wrong; its Canada’s God damned governments apathy that allows these scumbags to continue. Don’t waste your time informing them of new procedures. They probably know about them before anyone in the public domain does. These companies are unilaterally and without exception greedy pieces of crap. However, as a Canadian I feel compelled to ask: do US citizens get charged a ridiculous brokerage fee if they buy things from Canada? Because I can’t find ANY instances of this happening to US citizens … And yes, I am very much suggesting that UPS and FedEX subsidize their shitty companies by ‘taxing’ only Canadians.

  • mike

    thanks for the great resource!
    I’ll add my $0.02 to it for everyone..

    found an awesome deal on some fittings i need for a project at home.. Product + UPS + insane fee was still going to be better than any where else, so i jumped on it.. the vendor actually called me to make sure i was ok with UPS as shipping to Canada was going to kill me on duty / brokerage..

    I didn’t have anything to lose, i get a deal even with the extra fees, and a friggen awesome deal if the suggestions here work out for me..

    on Monday this week, i started getting calls from UPS. leaving messages that i need to provide broker information for the package to clear.. finally one of the ladies got a hold of me this morning.. I tell her that i was going to be accounting for the goods myself at the CBSA offices.. she said “impossible”, spoke to her supervisor (who was actually very pleasant).. she told me I’d have to go to Windsor ON to clear it in person and that she’d give me whatever paperwork i needed.. then she told me the total fees were going to be like $7. for $7 it’s not worth the headache for me.. so i told them to do what the needed to do..

    get a call back 10mins later while sitting in traffic (from the supervisor) saying she made a mistake, it was going to be $40.. for $40 i’m going to the CBSA office.. i told her that, she told me that I’ll end up needing to go to Windsor for this.. instead of getting frustrated with her, i thanked her and asked her to call me back in a couple hours when i’ve had a chance to sort out real work stuff..

    i took 20 mins (most of the time was due to construction at the CBSA site on Dixie Rd Mississauga) handed the agent my invoice and print out from the ups site.. he was going on about the outrageous fees they charge.. ultimately walked out with my B15 after paying $6 in tax.

    when i got back to the office i called UPS to get a fax # to send it to.. they gentleman was adamant that they don’t take the B15 forms, not through fax/email/in person. that it’s all handled by the broker at the port of entry..

    as he’s going on with his spiel, the original supervisor called me back and asked what my deal was.. told her I’ve got all paperwork, just need to know a fax # to send it to.. which she quickly provided.

    so i guess it all worked out for me…
    if you’re going to use the Dixie Rd office, it sucks getting there from anywhere north of the 401 due to construction.

  • Pete

    With numerous shipments taken care of now I’m getting more competent at doing this myself.

    If they start telling me bogus information of going to port of entry, I just tell them. “Oh ok, I will just do it myself and email B15″. All of sudden goodwill credit of $10 appears and sometimes I accept it depending on the total amount.

    You do not need to bother with them if they are not nice to you or not being truthful on the phone. You have not entered into any contractual agreement of using their brokerage until you pay them the COD and sign it! They do not like changing this last minute as it is double work but until they start playing fairly, I don’t give a $hit if it means triple work for them.

  • Nelson

    I tried this and at YVR Vancouver’s CBSA’s office. It seems that the CBSA agents won’t do this unless you get the B15 from the UPS warehouse. In addition to the Shipping invoice with the shipping invoice I was told by two CBSA agents to get a B15 self clearance reference page from the UPS warehouse where my parcel was being held after clearing the border.

    As my package had not arrived in Canada yet, this was not possible.

    The crazy thing is that it took me six calls to the 1-800-PICKUPS number with six different agents to get the shipping document.

    The CBSA agents at YVR would not let me clear my package as it had not arrived and because I was missing the self clearance reference page from UPS. They said that I needed the self clearance reference page from UPS and the shipping invoice with the above mentioned information to clear my own package.

  • Cynthia

    Thanks for a great resource. I spoke to a UPS agent named Patty in New Brunswick this morning, who repeated all the lies that you have detailed above. I had to go to port of entry to clear it, I couldn’t clear it myself because it was not something I had owned for years and years (LOL) and various others. I finally told her I would speak to CBSA myself because I thought she had been misinformed by her employer. I then called CBSA and talked to an agent who confirmed everything that you have said on this site. I will take all the paperwork to my local CBSA office, pay the taxes and duty, and they will contact UPS with clearance paperwork. It is totally worth saving $60. I called UPS and they have sent me the commercial invoice, so I have everything I need to clear customs. THANK YOU for paving the way for the rest of us.

    I hope that UPS will learn to tell the truth, but I am not holding my breath for it.

  • Cynthia

    I went to clear my goods today. It was not as straightforward as I thought. First of all, in Ottawa do NOT go to the airport terminal–go to the Commercial Goods building, which is right beside the Fedex terminal. The CBSA agents initially told me that I had to have the goods in hand in order to clear them, but I had called CBSA myself yesterday and been told that I could indeed clear the goods even if they were at another port of entry. So the agents themselves did not have a complete and consistent protocol for this. However they did in the end take my taxes and duties, and give me the documentation I needed. A note for others taking this action: get the commercial invoice AND the manifest for your shipment. The commercial invoice may not actually list the goods being imported (mine didn’t), but I had the invoice from my vendor, so they accepted that as a description of the goods. It was a lot of bother, but totally worth it to save $100 in excessive brokerage fees.

  • Nelson

    Success! Thank you for this website. It seems that UPS in Vancouver at least, has a new procedure where you get a form from them called a self clearing form. You get that from them when the package arrives in addition to the shipping invoice and you take it to CBSA. (You can get them to e-mail or fax it to you before you go.)

    Then CBSA stamps your B15 and writes you courier shipping number on it and you fax it back to UPS or bring it to them and you can either pick up your package from UPS or have them deliver it.

  • Gus

    Here’s a way to save on FEDEx Brokerage fee or what they call “Advancement Fee”

    1) Signup for a FedEx Account (free)
    2) Add your credit card number to the account

    This will allow FedEx to charge your credit card directly for any taxes/duties owing to the government instead of FedEx paying on your behalf and charging your $10 for the “Advancement Fee” plus brokerage for the service.

    1) Buy item online and ship via Fedex as usual
    2a) Once your have Fedex tracking number you call FedEx and tell them you have an account with them and findout if there will be taxes owning, if so, pay via your credit card on file


    2b) Accept item and pay the taxes owing plus $10 advancement fee then call fedex for “invoice adjustment” citing your have an account with them with credit card on file so waive the $10 fee.

    NOTE: I once tried to be “smart” and ask the shipper to directly bill my FedEx account so that I could save the hassle of calling into Fedex to waive the $10 advancement fee. The shipper is a business and gets much better shipping rates so when I got the invoice i ended up paying a lot more for the same shipping service which was more than the $10 advancement fee I was trying to save!

  • JS

    Just cleared a UPS shipment in the Vancouver BC area today. Thanks for the info. Both UPS warehouse, and CBSA are around the airport in Richmond.

    It was mostly accurate except for a few details.

    I tried to have the commercial invoice sent to me by email but was not successful. I had to visit the warehouse in person to get it printed. Does anyone know if simply the package number and an email invoice printout is sufficient to get a B-15 stamped (Mike, sept 19 seemed to have some success with that)?

    The B-15 form I was given looks different from the picture above. It’s a one-page blue document. I wasn’t allowed to fax it back to the warehouse either, I had to bring it back in person. Did that, and picked up my package on site.

    The C.O.D. fee was $45 on a $94 package. Not sure the savings were worth my time, but it felt good to have this surprise fee waived.

  • Andrew

    Hi, I thought I’d leave the details of my recent experience for those who live in Calgary as well. I followed the directions/instructions from this site. Here’s what I did:

    1. Contacted seller to get Commercial Invoice
    2. Contacted UPS call centre to have Commercial Invoice e-mailed to me (did not tell them why and they never asked)
    3. Waited till package arrived in Calgary and was out for delivery
    4. Went to CSBA office in NE near Costco
    5. They advised me that I needed a manifest or airway bill invoice. I informed them that I didn’t think that was necessary. They said UPS should be able to fax it over. BTW, the agent at CSBA was super helpful through the entire process!! She called local UPS office (403-648-3327) and spoke with Sheila. Sheila confirmed that I did not need manifest as item was out for delivery.
    6. Customs agent processed my B15, I then paid the taxes (only $50 on a $1000 mac pro computer) and then she stamped it for me. She said she always stamps the B15 form now because UPS made someone return once because it wasn’t stamped, even though it doesn’t need to be.
    7. I took my B15 to the UPS warehouse on 22 Aero drive at 5:30pm. They said the item was out for delivery still but called the driver. They said they’d call when driver was on his way back. At 6pm they called and said driver would be back by 6:30pm. I arrived back there at 6:30pm. This time it was the manager that took my B15, the previous UPS agent would have just processed my B15 and given me the item had it been there. When I had returned the second time my item was already sitting out front where the agents are. Anyway, the manager said I couldn’t take delivery of the item because the international office was closed and they needed to process the B15. I told him, I already paid the taxes on this item and there was nothing to process. He tried this line on me once more and I didn’t budge…I just politely told him, I’ve already paid the taxes and accounted for my goods and all he needed to do was release the item to me. He then went into the back for a few minutes and then came back out and came back out and never mentioned anything further about the international office not being open. He then got me to sign for the package which I was hesitant to do but I confirmed with him that the COD had been taken off. I also got him to photocopy my B15 form in case they ever try to bill me anyway.
    8. All in all a fairly smooth process and I saved myself $90 as UPS wanted to charge me $140 for brokerage charges!

    Thank you to all of you in Calgary who have posted on how to make this as easy and seamless as possible!!

    - Andrew

  • joe

    Some clarification of some of the info on this site.
    According to documents as part of the Class Action Lawsuit in Ontario against UPS, they pay duties and taxes to CBSA for shipments delivered on the 15th of the month following delivery.

    It’s quite possible other freight forwarders pay on a different date. So, for example it might be the 21st every month for someone other than UPS.

    In UPS’s case, depending on when they deliver to you, this means they have the money for HST/GST/PST and any duties or tariffs due for between 15 and 45 days before they actually remit it to CBSA.

    The documentation you need from your shipper is critical to smooth importation. CBSA says it can be “in any form” and by that they mean faxed invoice, printed eMail, etc but it must have the correct details to be really useful to you.

    Item quantity, cost per item, item description, country of origin, quantity shipped, and subtotal per item, currency for pricing, total amount paid. Shipping charges and any other fees related to the order should be included as a line item and appear as part of the total.
    Widget, USA, $22 each, 10 shipped, total $220
    Shipping and handling $10
    Total $230 USD

    If you can get your shipper to include this kind of information in any kind of invoice format including an eMail to you, print that out, and you will have a simpler experience at CBSA.

    The other thing to keep in mind is CBSA employees are sticklers for details … it’s part of their job. On the other hand, they have no interest in delaying a simple consumer purchase.

    This brings up a seeming contradiction in the experience you will have at CBSA. They cannot possibly examine every shipment closely, but any shipment they do look at may require that level of detail since it’s their job to cross their T’s and dot their i’s.

    This causes confusion as each experience trying to settle and get delivery may be drastically different. Do not dwell on this; it’s normal. Be calm and polite, but persistent.

    So, they will clear some shipments that lack details, but love it when the details are present, as it removes an incentive to deny you or throw up barriers to payment of your importation bill.

    By getting detailed info you remove a barrier to having them quickly approve importation since technically they’re required to get these details in every shipment.

  • Hi Trueler!
    I’m on a different end of this. I’m in the US (New York)and have a small business run out of my house producing & selling youth sports instructional dvds. Amazon (US) is a huge part of my business. They encouraged me to offer my products to I had to sign in the contract that I was responsible for all duty and brokerage fees. I got wallopped on my initial order. As bad as business is, I’m trying to open up different venues. Is there anyway I can avoid these fees from down here?


  • Harry

    O.K., I’ve never written a review before, but this one has me so p***ed off that I’ve got to get it off my chest.
    Firstly, I’m a senior citizen – not that that should matter, but just to let you know I’ve been around for a while, so it’s not like I’m a habitual complainer.
    I early August my sister asked me to oder a Kennedy dollar pendant off the U.S. website. She wanted me to order it because I have a paypal account.
    The pendant is $19.95 and the shipping cost was $21.95 for a total of $41.90 USD – which I paid via my Paypal acct.
    The pendant came a week later in the mail, nothing was asked for and all was well or so I thought.
    The package was very small (probably 3′” x 2″ x 1″.
    Today Oct 24th (over 2 months later), I receive an invoice from UPS Canada for $89.15 ($78.20 for freight and $10.95 for fuel surcharge) for delivery of the pendant. Remember that I already paid $21.95 for shipping to
    I call the UPS Canada number to question what the invoice was for. They claim that the shipper checked off that that the buyer was responsible for shipping – and if I don’t pay, the amount due will go to collection.
    They told me that it was up to me to resolve it with the shipper.
    I called and they tell me that they can’t do anything and that the UPS Canada charge is probably the amount required to ship it from the border to my home (which is approx 100KM from the border).
    There were no customs brokerage or duties or taxes on the invoice, so the charge is only for “Freight” and fuel surcharge.
    Obviously my conversations with both UPS Canada and was much longer than I can go into here in an attempt to get them to help me.
    I feel totally ripped off and there’s not much I appear to ba able to do to get the charge reversed.
    It feels like extortion insofar as if I don’t pay, it could affect my credit rating.
    Anyone out there have a similar experience?

  • Charles

    I had a similar situation where ups wanted hostage and extortion money for my package. $60+ CAD. Driver was very helpful (really nice guy). Told me to call the 1 -800 number and scream the loudest. I wasn’t expecting much, but was pleasantly suprised that they waived the “brokerage” after 30 minutes of argument.

    Out of frustration and disgust and searched the web on how to avoid the broker fees and I found these posts,I and was shocked that I wasn’t the only one caught up in ups disputes. I will do things differently in the next packages coming in from other countries. I learned a fair amount pertaining to my rights .

    I can’t understand why this information is not more widely known to the average international shopper.

    Thanks to all that shared their stories of success. I will learn from them

    Thank you


  • Mark

    I have an idea
    Why don’t each of us send an registered letter to UPS head office something like this:

    This letter is to inform you that you are not authorized to take possession of my property for any reason.
    Should any UPS employee take possession of my property in the future, that property will be considered to have purchased from me by UPS. UPS will be invoiced for %150
    of any prepaid cost.

    If they received thousands of such letters, they would have to give a serious re-think to what they are doing.

    any thoughts on this?

  • Shawn Christopher

    Hey Andy ,
    I ordered some supplements from America a week ago and got a knock at my door .
    When I paid for the item , I paid 132.99 which included 26.21 for UPS delivery .
    Well when I opened the door , UPS was asking for 70.14 which I refused to pay .
    I asked them for the C.O.D paper but they refused to give me any of the information .
    It’s a sticky situation because the package is for my girl and she’s at work most of the day . Let me know if this sounds right . I’m going to get her to call UPS and request I’m guessing the B-15 , once receive the B-15 , find an CBSA office in Vancouver Area . Sit down with them with the information , hopefully pay it there . They said they’ll redeliver it tomorrow but I should just go to the warehouse in RIchmond and give the B-15 regardless of anything they have to tell me .. or her . I would probably be able to get her to change the name on the package to mine so I can deal with it . But does this sound about right

  • Elle L

    Thanks Harry for your post. I feel your pain.
    Yesterday, I came home to a package that I bought from a cake decorating store in the US. The total value was $220. I had to prepaid $45 dollars for shipping. GST and duty amounts to $15. These are the charge that I consent to pay. I did consent to paying for $97 worth of bond and brokerage fee from UPS.

    I called and complained and that said that because I didn’t know, they will discount me $10. WTF?

    I called again and was more generous and offered me another $10. I told them that I was offered $40 yesterday and the agent said, “Well you should’ve taking the offer yesterday”. I’m thinking I am so mad now, I will call I ended up getting my husband to cancel the credit card that he charged the transition on. Maybe it won’t go through yet and then they can send me a bill in person or send me to collection. I don’t want their $20 discount. It’s all or nothing. This is now more about the principle of being extorted or violation of rights.

    For all I care, if the visa is cancelled, they will not get anything including the legit $15 in tax and duty.

  • Megha

    Thank you for all your valuable comments and knowledge.

    I live in GTA and am expected to receive my delivery today from UPS. I will not be home, but my mom will be. After reading all these comments, I have informed my mother to not accept the package and tell the driver that the person who this package is for is not home, she will pick it up herself.

    Once the driver leaves, my mom will call me and let me know. I will then call UPS and CBSA and try all these tactics.

    However I had a question. My order is not originally being shipped from USA. It is being shipped from India, and was sent to Germany, then USA, and then Canada.

    Will UPS tell me that I will have to pay brokerage fee because my package traveled so much? Or is UPS only concerned from items crossing from USA to Canada? What can I tell them if they use that excuse against me?

  • relm4

    Is the maximum value you can self clear still $1600.00 CDN ?

  • Megha

    It is only worth $65 CDN. They are charging me $30 brokerage fee on it.

  • Just wanted to mention that UPS, while exorbitant, doesn’t seem to be the worst of the bunch. At least they (usually) ask for the payment up front when they deliver the package – I recently had something ordered from Europe, arrived a week later delivered by Canada Post.

    Over a month later, a bill from TNT Express shows up for $30 (the item cost $50). I had never had any dealings whatsoever with TNT – didn’t even know they existed! I guess the German company shipped with them, but since they don’t have any real presence in Canada, they just got it across the border, and then passed it on to Canada post to do the delivery.

    I’m wondering if this can be contested now – it’s been over a month since the delivery, so probably too late to self-clear. But the company should absolutely not be doing things on my behalf without any kind of agreement between me and the company! It’s quite ludicrous. I can’t imagine this sort of behaviour is legal.

    I’m tempted to send them a bill for ‘a dance performed on your behalf’, for the exact same amount. Seems it would be just as valid as what they sent me!

  • Megha

    Ok I just called UPS and asked told them straight up that I want to clear the item myself and I need the manifest document. The lady asked for my email address, sent it out while I was still on the phone with her, and then provided me with all the necessary information I needed to clear the item myself, such as letting me know where I would need to go, which documents I would need to present, and which document (b-15 form) I would need to fax back. She provided me the fax number as well. After she gave me all this information, I received her email and I let her know that the document I received has all the information.

    She was really nice, I didnt even need to argue and explain anything to her, I just let her know I want to clear the item myself, and she was at it.

    I will go to the CBSA office in 2 days to clear the item, hopefully they dont give me any trouble now. I will update how that goes.

  • Alex K.

    I successfully self-cleared a parcel with UPS in Toronto.
    Follow the procedure.

    What to get from a seller:
    - Contact a seller to get Commercial Invoice after you get a notification that a parcel was shipped.

    What to get from UPS:
    - create an account on UPS website, login, and track your shipment: you will see three Reference Number, the

    last is ussually Unique shipment identifier number.
    - call to UPS and do the next:
    1. tell them you want to pickup a parcel by yourself. Ask where the package is being held (address of UPS

    facility). Don’t tell them about self-clearance – they freak out from that word, and also they don’t need to

    know that you are going to self-clear.
    2. ask for the Unique shipment identifier number (to confirm you got the right number from the web-site).

    Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
    Toronto Lester Pearson Airport (works 24/7):
    2720 Britannia Road East
    Toronto ON L4W 2P7

    Google Map:

    1. Tell them you want to self-clear a parcel.
    2. Give them Commercial Invoice, addres of UPS facility, and Unique shipment identifier number.
    3. Some officers are new, and they don’t know the procedure of self-clearance for goods bellow $1600. Ask

    them to confirm everything with other officers or kindly ask them to clarify it with the main CBSA office by

    4. Make sure they stamp B15 when you pay taxes and duties. UPS will ask for the stamp.

    At home
    Send B15 to UPS brokerage center by e-mail, and ask them to reply to confirm that they procesed B15, and you

    can go and pickup you parcel.
    phone: 1 (800) 742-5877
    1 (506) 447-3705
    Fax: 1 (506) 447-3706

    - call to UPS customer center and confirm that you can come and pickup your parcel.

  • Alex K.

    By the way.
    Self-clearance was not worth of going through.
    I bought clothes for $80, and payed $35 for delivery on top of that. UPS charged me extra $38 for C.O.D.: $13 taxes, $15 duties, $10 UPS brokerage. As you see, UPS charged only $10 for brokerage, and rest went to our government. The next time I’ll call to UPS and ask for the breakdown of C.O.D. – if it’s again $10, than it’s worth of paying $10 than going through the procedure, I wrote above. That procedure took be so much time and efforts.

  • Megha

    I didnt proof read, so apologies for spelling and grammer errors.

    So I went to the CBSA office in Mississauga with the commercial invoice of my first package (I had 2 coming at different times). They started asking me for the manifest and I said UPS gave me this document when I asked for the manifest, but CBSA said this document is just an invoice, we need the manifest or cargo print. So I called up UPS again right then and told them CBSA is asking for a manifest, and by law you guys need to give me it if I’m asking for it.

    The UPS representative started telling me how my package does not have a manifest document because it is a low value item, so its in the LVS program or so, and all CBSA would need is the commercial invoice to clear my goods. I told CBSA this is what UPS is telling me, and CBSA started saying there must be one. I was on the phone with UPS for 30 mins, while still in the CBSA office, trying to get them to fax me the manifest. Finally I requested to speak to the supervisor, soon as she came on the phone, all she asked me was “Ma’me, are you at the CBSA office?” I said yes and she said “May I please speak to the officer, just incase we are not aware of the policies, I want to just double check with the officer.”. I asked the officer to speak the the UPS supervisor. He was on the phone with her for less than a min, and all he said was “yes..yes…oh…yes…okay”.

    He gave me my phone back and started filling out the B-15 form with the commercial invoice. He didnt even say anything about the manifest after that, and I was out of there in 10 mins after paying my taxes of 7.93$, on my 65$ item.

    I took the B-15 form to UPS where my package was held (I didnt fax it), and the young girl and guy there were so helpful. I gave them the form and they brought my package out in a min and handed it over to me. She told me to make sure I fax the B-15 form to the head office soon as I can, and I said I surely will. Then I asked them if this package has a manifest document with it, and the girl said yes it does. I then told them how when I called UPS they said it doesnt because of the LVS program and whatnot, and they both rolled their eyes saying “ya we get that alot, next time just come here and ask us for it, we will print it out for you”.

    I discussed with both of them that your company (UPS) was charging me 32$ for something I bought that has a value of 65$. Whereas I only had to pay 7.93$ for it. They both started laughing and said yeaa this company has its ways of making money, we only work here, we dont agree with it either. The guy showed me that the 7.93$ I paid in taxes, UPS wouldve charged me 11$ for taxes, 8$ for duty, and then ontop of that the brokerage fee of 32$. He told me its a good thing I went to CBSA, he would recommend everyone to do so, but since he works there he cant tell the customers that. The girl didnt even know about all this. She knew about the B-15 form, and if anyone brings it in, what she is to do, but she didnt know about how UPS robs people to this extent. She started asking me details of where to go to pay taxes and stuff. LOL

    Then somehow, it came up that my 2nd package has also arrived and they have it. I didnt want to go all the way back to Mississauga to get another B-15 form for it, so I asked the guy how much do I have to pay for it. He told me the bill says about 40$ brokerage fee, plus 11$ taxes and 8$ duty, totaling 58$. My item only cost 52$. I told them to keep the package with them, while I go get another B-15 form. As I was leaving, the girl asked me if I wanted her to print the manifest document for that package. So I took the manifest and headed back to CBSA.

    Once I get there, I told the officer that this time, I have brought the manifest!!! He takes a look at it, and says this doesnt havent all the information we need, infact the commercial invoice that you brought in earlier would have been good enough, and the office is closing in 2 mins so if I dont get the invoice in 2 mins, he wouldnt be able to help me. I look at the time and it was only 3:57 pm, and told him how the office closes at 4:30 pm, not 4. He said well we need to do paperwork afterwards too so we stop taking customers at 4. Im like but the hours outside say 4:30, which is for customers, and he started giving me attitude. At this point I was gonna blow up at his face. Somehow I stayed calm and I called UPS and asked them to fax me the commercial invoice as soon as possible, and I gave the fax number of the CBSA office. They received the fax within a minute and started filling out the B-15 form, I paid taxes of 6.76$ and I was out of there in 15 mins. Kinda felt happy that I kept the officer working till 4:15, whereas he was probably thinking of leaving by 4:15 LOL

    I went back to the UPS office where my package was being held, this time around the young girl and guy who were working there earlier were done their shifts. It was friday night so the UPS office was packed!!! Took me an hour and a half just to get to the frontdesk and give them my tracking number. Then they made me wait another 40 mins to bring my package out. Finally they asked me to come to the front to get my package, and pay the COD of 58$ (40+11+8). I presented the B-15 where I paid the taxes of 6.96$, and they started saying that we will need to call our head office to confirm if you paid.

    At this point, I started worrying, because I hadnt faxed the B-15 form to the head office. I just didnt have the time. They called the head office and told me how they did not received any fax, obviously, so they cannot release my package to me unless I pay 58$. I called UPS and asked to speak to a supervisor and requested her to allow the UPS agents to release my package as its friday night, and I need my package next morning. I will fax the B-15 form first thing in the morning tomorrow. She just wouldnt budge. But I kept asking her again and again to the point where I got annoying lol. She asked me to give the phone to the agent, she spoke with him, and asked him about tbe B-15 form. He confirmed it that I do have one, and it is stamped. She then aallowed him to release my package to me without paying the 58$, and whatever outstanding charges there will be, will be billed to my house. The agent asked me if that was okay, and I said yes, I have proof I paid, I just didnt get a chance to fax it. I will do that tomorrow, and everything will be good. He finally released my package to me.

    I just faxed both B-15 forms to the head office today morning. Hopefully I’m not billed for anything now.

    It was a bit of a hassle, especially because I had to do the procedure twice in 1 day, but all in all, it worked! UPS didnt trouble me much, except for the fact that they wouldnt release my package to me just because I didnt fax the B-15 form, but that was my fault too. It worked the first time, so I thought it was okay to just present the form and fax it later. So just a suggestion, make sure you fax the form to the head office, before you go pick up your package.

    CBSA was actually a pain in the arse for me. They were a bit elderly too, like in their 50′s-60′s so I didnt want to be rude with them, but they annoyed the hell outta me!

  • CalTak

    Thanks for all the information. I live in Edmonton and was faced with a similar situation of being billed $47.76 for a items valued at $91.00. I had already paid almost $30 in shipping costs. After reading these posts I contacted UPS and indicated I would like to self clear my items. The lady was very friendly and said she would email me the necessary documents. When I attended the CBSA office it tuns out they did not include the commercial manifest. I contacted UPS again and the lady I spoke to did not seem to know what that was. She said it was not scanned in and she could not send it. I told her that did not help me and what was she going to do to satisfy my concerns. Magically she was able to waive the brokerage fee and said I would only have to pay the taxes and duty when I picked up the package. It turned out that $41.76 was the fee. In the end I only had to pay $6.00. It is appalling that UPS continues to gouge the consumer and so many of us blindly pay these extortionists. It took me an hour of time and a few bucks in gas to save $41.00

  • I would like to let everyone know there is a service out there I have been using for a while now called “ClearSmart Online Customs Clearance”, they are able to dramatically reduce the cost of UPS, FedEx and other courier import fees, like brokerage and C.O.D. Just call your courier company prior to your next shipment & let them know ClearSmart is now acting as your customs broker. It will save you hundreds each year if you buy stuff outside of the country.

    This discount clearance service is only for Canadians by the way.

  • Patrick

    My ordeal with UPS – SCAM by courier company is true!

    UPS agents gave me conflicting instructions, from I could do my self clearance to I could not do my self clearance. The most frustration is that among about 10 UPS agents I had spoken to, only one was able or willing to provide me a fax number to fax my E24 form (personal exemption declaration issued by CBSA) to UPS. It appears to me that the agents located in Canada are knowledgeable but unhelpful (one tried to trick me paying the fees upfront and claim back (I would end up paying UPS the brokerage fee) and the agents out side Canada are less knowledgeable but very helpful

    Jan 7: The first agent took my request for self clearance and phone numbers. She could not provide me a fax number but told me to wait for calls from UPS for instruction to fax in my Form E24 to UPS.

    Jan 10: The worst agent, is a manager or supervisor named Mary (ext 2308) located in New Brunswick. She portrayed to be very helpful, told me that it was too late to do my self clearance because their broker already assessed a charge of around $168 on my $700 shipment, she suggested that I pay first and claim back from CBSA later. But she did not tell me that I would end up paying UPS the brokerage fees of around $90! My shipment is exempted under E24 form. How dishonest the UPS manager is! I did not give up, called again an hour later (see below)

    Jan 10: The best agent, named Nadin (outside Canada) gave me the fax number, told me to notify UPS after faxing in the E24 form. The charge on my shipment will be reversed and the package would be re-scheduled for delivery free of charge.

    Jan 11: E24 was faxed to UPS, the agent on my follow up call told me that self clearance request was only entered into UPS system a day ago (some agent must have altered the data on my file) and told me that Port will call me within 24 hours. I am still waiting and waiting…..

  • Razaz

    I got a package from Saudi Arabia. My family sent it from there to San Francisco, CA. I found a paper that it says ” We coud not leave the package because you owe a C.O.D. amount of $225.15 for Brokerage fee” I didn’t understand what is it because my parents already payed. I don’t understand why I have to pay if it’s already paid. What can I do to avoid paying $225? I don’t know what to do…

  • kelly

    Hi I just received an order from the states for 300 and had to pay 120 on top although shipping was FREE! All taxes and brokerage fees. The fed ex guy delivering item told me that next time i should claim my parcel as gifts and they cannot charge brokerage fees? I have been online with fedex as he suggested and cannot see any info on this….help…..should i go about the above process or is there an easier way as he indicated

  • Peter

    I made an order costing $48.98 and the shipping and handling is 23.99. I have since received an email requiring my phone number and informing me of the UPS brokerage and import taxes. I answered the email and cancelled the order and hope I am not too late. I have read many of the posts and find them very helpful. I doubt if any will make any difference to UPS. I am surprised that no one has mentioned or written to the provincial Minister of Consumer Affairs or the Federal Minister. If there is enough complaints there ( especially at election time) perhaps UPS might change their ways. That’s where my complaint is going.

  • ArM

    Please submit a consumer complaint to the minister of consumer affairs

    You should indicate
    * UPS has not published any guidance on how to self clear
    * what problems UPS introduced when you indicated that you wanted to self clear

  • Lesley

    Thanks Truler for the advice in this thread! I just started a small business and found the perfect packaging for my product from a company in NY. They have an exclusive agreement with UPS for shipping and refused to send any other way. My first shipment arrived with a hefty brokerage fee that increased the cost of my packaging by a whopping 60%! Last week I needed to order more and found this blog. Armed with the information above, I waited until I saw that my shipment had crossed the border then went to the CBSA office at the Hamilton,On airport. I had called UPS and received a copy by email of the waybill.
    The officers at the Hamilton CBSA were extremely kind and helpful! Even gave me the CRA 800# to call when I did not have the import license # I needed to pay even less tax (as I am a business). Needless to say that I would have paid approx $200 on a $321 shipment, in the end I paid $16.24!
    My advice to all, wether you just ordered something off eBay for yourself or you are a small business and can’t afford hire a large customs broker, is to follow the advice above.

  • Cari

    Wow. Great information to know but it may be too late. I ordered a First Communion Dress for my daughter from China thinking I was getting a high quality gown for a fraction of the price but when I saw the COD fee I nearly passed out! An order of $260 CDN cost me almost $100 from FedEx. When I researched the reasoning for this insane price (wondering how custom/duty/taxes could be so high) I came across your website.
    Now this morning I paid for this via credit card with FedEx in order to receive my pkg. Is it too late now that I have paid the invoice to change the delivery process and hopfully save myself maybe $60 dollars??

    Looking forward to your reply,

  • Jean

    Hi All,

    I wish I would have known about this earlier. I just received a bill from a Brokerage company for $32.36 for product that cost $48.11. I already received the package several weeks ago. Just wondering if its too late to self clear the package now that I have received my package, even though I didnt sign for it. I had it shipped to my work and the mail room signed for it. I willing to go do a self clearance now that i see how much UPS want to screw me with this Brokerage fee. The tax is only $2.41.


  • Ryan

    Morning All,

    Thanks for all the info you provide.
    I ordered something from amazon (but sold by other company) and worth a little over 100, and by self calculation I will end up paying like approx 50 extra or more.

    So I just called them this morning and the guy answers the phone was nice and he did something in their system, and ask my phone number said UPS will call me back in 24 hours with instruction on how to do the self clear.

    I get up like 7:30 in the morning to do this so I was kinda of in my sleep while doing this…….

    So just wondering is manifest still required?
    and I saw ppl mention Unique shipment identifier number, my guess is, that’s not the tracking number is it?

    Well, anyway I am waiting for UPS to call and will report back when this is done.

    God, Montreal is snowing in the morning :(, go back to sleep.

  • Laura

    Hi There,
    I just stumbled upon this site trying to find out what “Package data processed by brokerage Waiting for clearance” meant in my tracking history, and am appalled at UPS’s business practices! When I ordered my item, I was asked to confirm that I may have to pay taxes and/or duties to get my shipment. No mention of brokerage fees – I chose UPS as it was $20 to ship, whereas USPS was $35. Now when I go to UPS’s website, it says brokerage fees for an item with a $50 value will be about $20. Highway robbery! That’s DOUBLE the shipping fees I agreed to when I purchased the item, and nearly the cost of the item itself all together. Even if I clear the item myself, which I definitely intend to do, I paid UPS to deliver to my door. I am not receiving the service I paid for if I have to run around YVR going to Customs and then to UPS. Absolutely ridiculous. I will let you all know how it goes.

    Worth noting, I order items from the states about once every couple of months, often through UPS. I’ve never been charged duty, even though it sometimes seems I should have, and never been charged a brokerage fee by any company. I will definitely be asking UPS about the complete lack of consistency in this.

  • Kariagekun

    Thank you so much for this guide! I followed your guide and it seems both CBSA and UPS Canada are very helpful with this.

    I ordered a car part which cost $50 and UPS wanted $40 for brokerage fee + tax.

    Once I received the first delivery attempt message, I called UPS and asked the package to be put on hold at their warehouse.

    I was having difficulty with UPS, but that’s because my Vonage phone was connecting the 1-800 number to UPS in USA. They have no clues about this. (The easiest way to tell if you’re connected to UPS in USA is that they have Spanish language as an option and there’s no option to contact brokerage department).

    After using a different phone, I was able to be connected to UPS in Canada and pressed 3 to be connected to Brokerage department. I then asked for the invoice associated with my tracking number and the person faxed it right away. I also emailed UPS (while I was having problem calling UPS with Vonage) regarding the invoice and they also emailed it to me the next day.

    I went to CBSA in Kitchener-Waterloo Airport and the person there was very helpful and she really understand what is this all about. I paid $6 for the tax and received the B15 form. The agent was also offered me if the form wanted to be fax on CBSA behalf, unfortunately, I don’t have the fax number at the time.

    I then called UPS (pressed number 3) and asked for the fax number where B15 form should be sent. They give me 506-447-3706 to fax the form.

    I waited 1 business day, and called UPS (again pressed number 3) and they confirmed they have the form and they dropped the C.O.D charge on my package.

    I will be going to UPS warehouse and pick up the package.

  • LOL

    I told UPS to give me the package, to send me the bill which eventually ended up in the trash!

    Never heard from UPS again and never used UPS for international shipping again.

  • Eric

    I encountered a problem with UPS. I purchased goods when I was in the USA. I had them shipped via UPS after leaving to my address in Canada, as they were large and bulky. I declared these goods at the airport, as unaccompanied good acquired abroad. Canada customs provide me a declaration form (if I recall correctly E24, which indicated that no taxes were due). UPS attempted delivery with a COD bill for brokerage and taxes. I called UPS, had to escalate to a supervisor who asked me to fax the customs form to UPS. UPS subsequently removed the COD and delivered the package. About a week later UPS called me and asked me to pay the COD bill, they said they should not have released the package. I explained things to them. The did not bend in their request for me to pay. They subsequently sent me a bill which I threw away. Now they call and leave me messages asking me to pay them. I feel they are wrong. I declared the shipment, sent them the documentation, now they want more money. Any suggestions?

  • customs....

    Hey Guys, Just want to explain something a little more. I work for FedEx Express (not the same as ground) we have our own in-house brokerage. We DO NOT charge a brokerage fee for shipments entering Canada from where ever. If you do not have a FedEx Express account # (which can be obtained by calling 800-463-3339 & linking the account to your credit card) there is a 10$+tax(11.50) fee that is applied. this fee is an advancement fee. The only other charges that you will see are the ones we give to Revenue Canada (duties & atxes) All lvs shipments (2500$ and less, it changed about 2-3 months ago) are put on delivery. Shipments with a value of less than 60$CAD will be billed for duties & taxes at a later date. For shipments over 60$CAD we have a dept that calls the clients in advance to let them know the amount that is payable on delivery. This is when the 10$ fee is applied. If you have the account the duties & taxes will be applied to that account. Anyone can call to open an account! All shipments that enter the country are subject to duties(if applicable) & taxes. Take note….that for casual importations….and the Country of Origin (not the same as where the shipment was sent from, but where the goods were made) is USA or Mexico, NAFTA is applicable without actually having the form. Not the same for commerical shipments. Anyone can call 800-463-3339 & ask to be transfered to the customs dept. Each port of entry (where our planes land) has a customs dept ie, Calgary, Edmonton, Van, Mirabel (MTL), Ottawa….& we will help with any problems!!!

  • elizabeth

    Hello everyone my name is Elizabeth,my mouth is full of testimony. i never believe this could have happen but Dr.anunu restored my my husband love me more than ever.
    my husband left me and the kids for 2 years, i did everything humanly possible to get him back i prayed i even fasted nothing work out.
    i was s0 diver stated i was left with nothing no money to pay for kids up keep. no job my life was tearing apart. till when i head that he was trying to get married to another lady in Italy,Rome..i quickly rush and email Dr.anunu for help and i was skeptical because i don’t really believe he can bring him back to me because its too long we have contacted each other,we only comment on each other status on Facebook and when ever he come online he has never talk anything about coming back to me,now i really believe that there is Magic and Dr.anunu is a really God sent and has Magic because all these things is still like a dream to me,Dr.anunu told me in the first mail that everything will be fine,i called him and he assure me,i have so many doubt but now am happy,i can’t believe it my husband broke up with his Italian lady and he is now coming back to me and he can’t even explain how everything goes, all he said to me was that he want me back,i am really happy and i cried so much because it was just like i am born a new and am really happy and my entire family are happy for me but they never know whats the secret behind this…i want you all divorce lady or single mother to please contact this man for help and everything will be fine i really guarantee you..i have tell all my friends who are in unhappy relationship and they have seen solution in few days ago…if you want to contact him you can reach him through ( that is where you can get to him and i assure you it gonna work fine with you and you will be happy
    i am out of .words am just happy and i will be happy forever because i can never have any problem having Dr anunu.

  • trav

    I’m sick and tired of dealing with UPS. I never use them, but some people use them to ship to me. Other than their brokerage fee scam, lying about attempted delivery, etc, everything about their company makes it the worst company I’ve ever dealt with.

    With the brokerage fee scam, mentioned here as illegal by CBSA, shouldn’t there be a class action suit? They are stealing millions of dollars from Canadians.

  • Customs

    Hi there,
    I also work for Fedex Express and wanted to clarify a couple of things. @Cari; the Duties on clothing made in China is approx 20%, ($52 on $260) the tax is 12% ($31.20) and our fee is $10. So even if you took the time and effort to self clear, your cost would have been $84 as opposed to $94 that you paid to Fedex. You also would have had to come down to the station, retrieved the documents, taken those documents to CBSA (well before 4pm when they close) and then bring those stamped documents back to us. The majority of Fedex customers that are given this option choose Fedex to clear for them, and have the package delivered to their door, with no fuss.
    Also the story at the very top of the page regarding the shipment cleared in Calgary:
    Your shipment originally came in as what’s called an LVS shipment, this is a type of entry (most shipments under $2500CAD). Once you choose self-clearance, this removes it from the LVS program and now a formal-entry is needed. A Cargo Control Document / Manifest is required to have this shipment formally cleared through CBSA, they were absolutely correct in requesting this. UPS is horrible and they were absolutely WRONG in denying you this form. In fact, a co-worker had the misfortune of having something shipped through UPS from the US. She knows the procedures and was still given the run-around by UPS Customer Service, was was beyond annoyed. I don’t know how they stay in business anymore.
    I don’t know what else to tell customers other than never ship UPS for international shipments into Canada. I know I never would!

  • Customs

    How much was the value of your goods? The E24 form, I believe, is only good for the amount of your exemption. And only good for items you have purchased while away, not for your personal luggage. If the value of the goods were above the Personal Exemption amount, say $700, then you can still be charged duties and taxes on the remaining amount. If determined that these were your own personal effects/luggage, then you should have self-cleared.
    If I were you and you were within your Personal Exemption for items purchased while abroad, I would make sure I have a copy of the E24 and keep contacting supervisors at UPS, keep explaining the situation.
    I don’t know how much your bill is for, but you don’t want to continue to be harassed by UPS when you have done nothing wrong.

  • Samantha

    All of this advice was really helpful, and now, although the responses are myriad, I feel obligated to share my experience as well.

    I am located in Vancouver and one thing I cannot stress enough is that UPS will give you the run around, and not everyone within the Canadian border services agency knows what they are talking about.

    I ordered a turntable from the states and chose to ship ups thinking I was saving myself some money. They wanted to charge me about 160 dollars (half being taxes and half being the brokerage charges) I wasn’t home to pay for the parcel and another member of my house told them to come back. I came across this post on accident when i was looking for a way to calculate the fees they were charging me and boy am i glad i did. I followed the aforementioned steps, got what i thought i needed from ups and was off cbsa. Although I was eventually successful the problems I encountered were as follows.

    **********UPS employes must be well trained to only release documentation to you if you use the correct name and inform them its illegal for them to retain it from you. They will probably tell you once you have told them you want to self clear to wait for “the port” to contact you within 24, although they did you can call them and ask them for the information beforehand. They might tell you they do not have access to documents as of yet, but stay on the phone and tell them its illegal for them to withhold that information from you and you want to speak with someone who can release this to you if they cannot, repeat this until they give in.

    I called CBSA to corfirm a location I could self clear at, the agent on the phone directed me to a downtown location, When I got there they informed me they could not assist me at that location. WHEN YOU CALL SBSA ASKED TO BE TRANSFERED BY TELEPHONE TO THE LOCATION YOU HAVE BEEN DIRECTED TO GO TO SO THAT YOU CAN CONFIRM WITH THE PEOPLE WORKING THERE THEY WILL BE ABLE TO ASSIST YOU.************

    All in all it was a bit of a pain in the ass! but im really glad i was able to save a little bit of money! I could understand a 5 or 10 dollar brokerage fee, but and amount equal to the amount i was paying in customs?….. please!
    Thanks to everyone who has posted here, I found all of your stories and advice helpful!

  • Butch Bouchard

    I have had my share of arguments with UPS and I quit using them all together. I live near Montréal and I am only 30 minutes from Lacolle QC border(Champlain N.Y.). What I am about to share with you has saved me hundreds of $$$ in the past couple of years. I am a good eBay user and I buy all kinds of stuff from my Harley motorcycle tires to my Kenmore fridge water filters.

    All eBay users know that when you buy on eBay shipping is very often free to the lower 48 states and when you look at the cost of shipping to Canada it is almost all of the time very expensive so expensive that, it discourages you to buy what would be an tremendous deal. Well here is my trick…

    There is a warehouse in Champlain N.Y. that is called “FREEPORT FORWARDING” their web site is http://WWW.FREEPORTFORWARDING.COM they are 1/2 mile from Lacolle QC/Champlain N.Y. border, exit #43 off of I87.

    What you do is register with them(free) and have your stuff shipped to the warehouse in Champlain N.Y., they will hold the packages for you until you go get them. All they charge is $3 for boxes or packages under 2 pounds, $5 for parcels 2 to 69 pounds so forth and so on. If you go on their web site all info needed is there.

    I have ordered tires for my Harley from Chaparal with free shipping in the states, I saved over $100 on the cost of the tires, declared my purchases coming back in Canada, paid GST and PST, that I would have paid anyway had I purchased my tires in Canada. Saves over $100. all I did was drive 30 miles back and forth, spent $10 gas and I had a good time. I even fullup my gas tank and saved even more. That is only a small example of my savings cause I have purchased many many things that I wait for not being in a hurry to have, picked them all in one trip, paid the small warehouse fees, declared my purchases at the Canadian border and saved a bundle in shipping.

    What is fun with all of this is that I don’t have to deal with STUPID UPS and their durty expensive unfair fees.

  • Butch Bouchard

    If you don’t live near Montréal but close enough to any USA border and if you search around your area I am sure there are other similar businesses that offer same type of services as Freeport Forwarding does.

  • I came to this site because the eBay seller sent my purchase by UPS and I didn’t know and I had to manage with my problem now that it was delivered to my home and that I had refused delivery. That was last friday the 17th of may. Because of the long week-end I had to wait until this morning to contact UPS. Well, just got in touch with UPS for follow-up with my parcel. On the UPS site it said on the 17th I did not accept C.O.D. charges, witch is wright, and refused delivery.

    I Just now finished talking with U.P.S. dailed 1-800-742-5877 #3 and talked to a lady that absolutely refused to lower the cost of their brokerage fees. I then started to talk about self clearing and proceeded to ask for a copy of the commercial invoice but again I tried to tell her that if they would lower the fees I would, maybee, accept them as clearing agents. Again she said a BIG no and she asked me if I wanted to proceed with my self clearing proceedures, I then asked to speek to her superviser, she said it would be the same because it is normal proceedures and fees that were applied to my delevery, I kept on asking to speek to her supervisor and she asked me to wait that she would put him on the phone. After 3 minutes she came back offering me to cut the cost of the brokerage fees by about 60%, I then accepted the offer. Instead oh paying $34.14 I paid $14.14 they cut $20. The fight was worth the money.

  • Eric

    The value of my goods was less than the personal exemption so I did not owe any duties. Canada customs used the E24 form as a self declaration form. I did not owe any tax or duties and fulfilled all requirements for Canada Customs. The E24 form was stamped by Canada Customs, Faxed to UPS, package released by UPS after removal of COD, then delivered to me. About 2 weeks after delivery in February UPS sent me an invoice then started harassing phone calls asking for their money trying to say they made a mistake and should not have released my package. I tried explaining “their mistake” to them with no success. I have ignored UPS to this point 3 months later. I suspect they will try sending this “illegal bill” to collections.

  • Cheryl

    I am in the process of getting my parcel and getting them to release the c.o.d from my package this blog really helps i really appreciate it! I posted on UPS’s fb page letting them know how angry and upset i Am. and i’ve just emailed the city tv news in Toronto and see if they can intestate a little on this. Because this brokerage fee is just plain outrageous!!

  • David

    I bought some silver bullion ( there are no taxes or duty fees on importing bullion ) and ups charged me $67 brokerage fee on a $750 purchase when it came across the border into Canada from the US , I paid the fee and called ups to argue it, they offered to refund me $30 of it.

    Can they charge me a brokerage fee for something that has no taxes or duty?

    Can I self clear the item after it has been delivered?

    Can I get the remaining $37 back from ups ?

  • george

    What I don’t understand is why don’t they charge
    us 100% of the value of the item.Surely we will pay.?
    I paid $143 for shipping 14 lbs from Ohio to B.C.
    And they want $44 brokerage on an $85 item.
    Robbery is what it is.
    If it was sent via USPS they would be no fee.
    Forget UPS.

  • Heute Kim

    Hi all.
    Im facing this filthy ugly UPS Scam in Taiwan now.
    I ordered 166$US of nutritional supplement + 80$US shipment from USA to Taiwan. and they are asking me to pay 70US$ to clear my customs.
    I checked how much of tax that I have to pay through Taiwanese customs website. and its only 12$US for the tax.
    my shipment status showing its still in “import scan” seccsion. my package could deliveried at this moment as it scheduled, if agreed to pay them the brokerage service charge.
    Im dealing with the customs to clear the customs myself at this moment.
    thank you so much for sharing your experience. It help me so much.
    lets let the world know how ugry they are!

  • Joe

    Hi all,

    Trueler, thank you very much for this post, I am so glad I found your website before I accepted my most recent packaged.
    I have two watches being shipped to me in Ontario from California and UPS was trying to charge me $161 for duties, taxes and brokerage fees. I followed your steps, and must say that everyone that I spoke to from UPS and CBSA was very friendly and knowledgeable about self clearing a package. All said and done, I was able to get my B-15 form and only had to pay $29!

    Once again,

    Thank you

  • mtah

    Ikea canada uses Fed-Ex to get the furniture you order online to come from quebec to toronto, once it gets to toronto you as a consumer are dealing with the Lazy ass-drivers of fed ex and their fake attempts when tracking your shipment, no card is left at the door you wait all day and because the driver does not feel like delivering in the hot day that it is … he punches some bullshit into their system the night before , “an attempt was made at 1pm the next day , no one available or business closed” clearly , you call customer support bullshit is bigger than the driver’s we will try to get him to come back today.. or the next business day.. so all 2 days you sit home from 9am-5pm till this bullshit business gets it together… do your self a favour ask ikea or any business you order from online to ask for a reliable small business who wants your business for shipment.. fed-ex toronto sucks.

  • Crystal


    Does anyone know more information or updates on fees and how to avoid them for FedEx? What I’ve read here is that they are only charging $10 and it’s more convenient to just pay the fees.

    Also I thought before that if my package was written off as a gift, no duties/taxes would apply, now as I read the CBSA website, it says only packages under $60 and written off as a gift are expemted from duties/taxes. Does anyone know more about this?


  • Murray B from Edmonton

    I stopped using the Brown courier years ago. They have a horrible damage rate and always overcharge for brokerage.

    Other couriers do usually charge a fee for brokerage but it is usually quite small.

    Now I just use the mail and wait a few extra days. It is the simplest and least expensive solution.

  • Tom Joyce

    I live in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.
    Ordered 9 lbs of pure ground chicory from Arco Coffee, 2206 Winter Street, Superior WI US 54880.
    9 lbs of pure ground chicory cost: $35.67.
    UPS shipping cost was: $33.06.
    UPS Brokerage Fee plus GST was: $28.61.

    I was told by UPS clerk the brokerage cost wouldn’t be very much. It ended up being 80.2% of the cost of the coffee.

  • Jes

    I agree with all here who have had bad experiences with private courier services particularly UPS as I have often felt robbed by this rogue company and since then I have been very alert in telling sellers to please ship by their post offices both in the US as well as overseas.

    Now Canada customs has been holding package. NOT GUNS, NOT DRUGS, NOT PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION, NOT REPTILES THAT KILL KIDS or WILD ANIMALS FOR PETS or ANY HAZARDOUS MATERIALS (all these pass through the customs undetected) but a simple package of “EYE-DROPS” that I so desperately need is still sitting at the customs for what? What Investigation? They are probably going to charge me a bomb and release the package when the product expires. Just who the hell will reimburse me for that? This is the height of wickedness towards its own citizens.

    May God burn the flesh of wicked ones with His fire and grind their bones to dust… So may it be, I pray.

  • Guimei Yang

    I just ordered three salon chairs which cost $118.00 each. Salon chairs plus shipping was about $620. When UPS delivered the chairs they said we needed to pay $650 brokerage fees. When I complained they said the Canadian government wants $650 for taxes which isn’t true. I was also overcharged by $100 for the chairs and shipping. We are requesting a refund.

  • Christian

    Soo great news…

    So today I received 2 packages one worth 400$ and were requesting 120$ of brokerage, and the other 66$ and 40$ of brokerage. So this mornings disputed and then I called ups asking for a commercial invoice in which they gladly told me that they sent my order or whatever to another person who will then deal with the commercial invoice and that it may take up to 24hours. So I call again a couple hours later, and same thing 24hours. So finally by mid after noon I get an email from them but only receive one of the invoices. Note: I emailed them the night before requesting an invoice for both, but the info number for one the packages was not entered in the system so it was not found. So after receiving the first email, I quickly call ups, as the cbsa office will close in an hour and a half, and ask about the package with the info notice, and the guy on the phone for some odd reason had athority to send the invoice himself rather than getting another person to do it. So get all the paper work printed, left with just the 2 invoices and my ID, and get to cbsa where the woman just took the papers, asked If I knew where the shipment is and told her that they were still on of their trucks. So she says alright, gets me the paper stamped, and DONE. Afterwards I go to the ups warehouse a couple doors down, and talked to a man who photocopied the papers and said that he’ll try and get me the packages tomorrow with all COD’s voided. Paid only 60$ for taxes and what not instead of 160$

  • Carl

    So, it appears that UPS really is a scam. I ordered a $150 keyboard from the U.S. They charged me a hefty $35 “international shipping” fee to Canada. Then when UPS showed up, they wanted another $53!!! The GST was only about $10, while their brokerage fee was $40! This means my total shipping cost for a $150 keyboard would be $88! Luckily I wasn’t in the office at the time, so they were not able to collect. I phoned up UPS to complain–fortunately I got a receptive agent. She said she “could tell by the tone of my voice” that I was quite upset, so she offered to do a “one time only” discount for goodwill. At first she offered to knock $20 off, but when I pressed she upped it to $30 off. A $10 brokerage fee I can take, but their regular fees are a ripoff. I urge everyone to always make sure to check ahead of time which courier is used by the retailer and refuse to order if it’s UPS.

  • JC

    Okay, I am supposed to receive a package by the end of the day (Aug. 29, 2013) (as per UPS tracking notification) coming from the Philippines, and the shipping service is UPS Worldwide Express Saver. The items are (5) different videoke song chips that costs me $340 Canadian and it’s for personal use.

    Here is the current status of the package:

    Winnipeg, MB, Canada 08/29/2013 8:08 Import Scan
    08/29/2013 7:14 Arrival Scan
    08/29/2013 7:14 Package data processed by brokerage Waiting for clearance / Receiver’s customs broker has been assigned The shipment is now released to move in transit

    Reading all your posts here makes me wonder if UPS will charge me big amount on brokerage fee. But I have also read on UPS website that UPS offers free routine customs clearance of UPS Worldwide Express Saver…Does this mean the brokerage fee?

    I hope someone would be able to reply on this post before UPS arrives. I would really appreciate your input. And I thank Trueler for posting this very informative article which I just came across today — it would really help a lot of people here in Canada. Thank you so much…….

  • Ryan

    To JC,

    I am wondering how much fee did you end up paying with your Order from Philippines, as I did make a similar transaction and wanted to know if i should just cancel the transaction if the fee too expensive. Hoping you read this.

  • Ryan

    To the Mod, Would it be possible to relay my message to JC since email is required to response to a comment, can there be some way to send the message, this is a long shot, it would help me if i get some feedback.. thanks

  • Serena Jones

    This is currently happening to me. My Aunt in Florida sent me a anniversary gift. The contents is worth approx. $54 USD. They are trying to charge me $45 in brokerage fees in order to obtain my gift. First they said it’s because my Aunt put the value of the contents at over $100 (total lie she never was even asked how much the contents were worth). The second time I called they said it’s because she dropped it off at the UPS store which is considered a business so that’s why I’m being charged. If I need to pay the GST on the gift that’s fine….a whole whopping $3!!! But not $45!! I have half a mind to tell them to ship it back to my Aunt on their dime and my family will just pick it up for me when they visit in December! What a scam!!!!

  • Miranda Owen

    Hello Admin,

    Can you please get in touch. I would like to publish few relevant theme based content at your site “trueler”.
    Any specific guidelines you have?
    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Best Regards,
    Miranda Owen

  • Barry

    It takes a while to read through all the info and posts here. The posts I find the most interesting is the exchange between Trueler and Fred.

    re Fred: You keep repeating that the only thing brokerage involves is paying duty which is BLATANTLY FALSE. I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion at all.

    re Trueler: – “Brokerage services” indeed involve only paying duties and taxes on behalf of importer. You are saying that it is “blatantly false”. If no taxes due, there is no brokerage fee. Even UPS website confirms this.

    I think this point is key. If there is actually more work involved for the Courier bring items from the USA to Canada then there should be a fee for that. Myself, I’ve paid these fees before and find them way too high. To combat this I would wait to purchase items until I was close to a border and have the items shipped to a US address that I set up through Kinek Point. Note: shipping fees were a lot less this way too. Having brought the items through the border myself I have to say it was pretty easy. Just declared everything and paid taxes. That was it. Very easy…

    I’m not near the border as often anymore and that is what brought me to this site. I’m in Halifax and I noticed in a previous post that an importer was told that the item would have to be cleared at the port of entry, Montreal. My fear is that if I contacted UPS ahead of time to tell them I wanted to clear the item myself there response would be: No problem… Meet us in Montreal:)

    If it is fact that broker fees being charged is only for the service of paying the taxes on the importers behalf then I have no issue to go down to the local CBSA and doing that myself. The office isn’t far. I think I might go buy something now to see how the process goes.

  • Corey

    For those in Edmonton Alberta there is hope, I successfully self-cleared a UPS shipment from the USA @ our international airport. It was a long hassle because of UPS’ incompetency, but long story short wait until the package crosses the border, then tell UPS you want to self-clear. They will e-mail you a document from the port of entry which contains the fax# and the contact who will handle your case, you must wait for this instruction email. You can get the commercial invoice from any agent on the phone regardless of them saying that’s not the document you need (it actually is, the phone wenches are morons) but you still need the number and person handling your case from the port of entry.
    Anyways, take the commercial invoice to the border guys, the lady that helped me out knew what she was doing.

  • Rocky

    I purchased 2 items from Fedex and a few weeks later they sent me a letter telling to pay brokerage fee.

    It’s a good thing I used my initials of my first name and my full last name.

    I didn’t pay the fees.

    Fedex sent to collections and they asked to pay.

    I crossed out the letter and sent back to collections saying that person no longer lives there.

    I never received any other letters again.

    No credit score damage, cuz I used my initials.

    If you have a very common name, then they will never find you, cuz they have no info on you. Collections can’t do crap cuz they don’t have your SIN.


  • Mark

    I just ordered an item from for $55 (it was out of stock with and it clearly states on my invoice that I have prepaid $11.15 for “Import Fees”. Does this not cover me for my duties and tariffs? What if this item comes via UPS and they still try to extort even more money from me? Do I simply state that I have already paid and then show them my invoice? Or is my only recourse to go to my nearest CBSA office to sign my paperwork and take care of this myself?

    This is a real rip off…I have had UPS do this to me in the past, but this time I have already made up my mind to ship the item back to if UPS tries to extort extra money out of me.

    I always liked using USPS because it usually took 5-7 days to arrive, and because UPS would always try to deliver the damn package 3 times, even though I was at work, by the time I would be available to pick up the item from their warehouse it would take an additional 4-5 days anyway.

  • Viet Pham

    I order a gaming keyboard, mouse & pad from California US and of those cost $124.99US on top of that I had to pay $30 for shipping and handling. UPS tried to deliver the package to my home while I was at work, therefore, they left 1st attempt notice and require a cheque for $62.09 for tax + brokerage fee. I was so outraged with this requirement so I googled to find out the heck of that COD and brokerage fee from UPS was. And I found this article from Trueler.

    I did exactly instruction from Trueler on the next day: Called UPS, provide the tracking number (or notice # from UPS), got the Commercial invoice faxed to me (luckily I have a fax machine, there were 2 emails I supposed to receive but did not get it). Anyway, the next day, I went to CBSA office at 5425 Dixie Rd. Mississauga paid for a total of $16.97 and received the B15 form.

    Next morning, I called UPS and inform them that I have got the B15 form and I would like to pickup my package… After verifying my order and transfer my call to 2 more departments, I was told that they will arange home delivery for me and I don’t have to pickup.

    I thought, they would hold my package for a few day before delivery to me, but instead they have delivery to me right on the next day

    I would like to thank Trueler for sharing this information. And I hope that if courier did not try to rip off us (and just charge a reasonable amount like “commission fee”)then would a least get some money and we don’t have to waste our time, gas and UPS get absolutely NOTHING!

    Finally, I think I owe Trueler (or this website) a donation :-)


  • Ray

    Hi, I purchased an item from stampla which was supposed to be shipped to BC, Canada. On the shipping the only option was UPS and the fee was $60 usd. I don’t even know what kind of service it is if its a express or standard service.

    I ordered it on Friday and on Monday it says it shipped.
    Since I asked to send any notifications to my email on my package. On Wednesday it sent me an email saying PACKAGE DATA PROCESSED BY BROKERAGE. WAITING FOR CLEARANCE
    which is why I looked it up on the internet and found this site.

    I have no idea when my package will get here and judging my some posts found online, if I have to pay more or I can pick the item up myself. It doesnt tell me where though.

    The item was $140 USD so im guessing I’d have to pay around 70 dollars extra which sounds bs to me.

    what should I do to avoid paying those extra fees? thanks.

  • Tay

    I had no idea UPS did this until it happened to me:

    item cost: $10
    shipping: $20
    surprise UPS brokerage fee: $23

    Yeah, the UPS fee is 230% more than the item. Return to sender.

  • Craig

    Glad to have come across this articular. I order some parts for my septic system from the US. Paid seller shipping and they shipped UPS.

    UPS doesn’t even deliver to my area so the pawn it off on Puralator, who also doesn’t come to my house but has a depot near by. I picked up the package didn’t have to pay anything. There was an invoice attached to the box for the brokerage fee and I thought forget that, they didn’t contact me an ask to clear it. They wanted $38 on a $60 item.

    Fast forward a couple months down the road and I get a letter from some collection agency. Wasn’t worried about credit issues because they don’t even have my full name SIN or anything. But I though well I should probably deal with this.

    I contacted UPS after I got a copy of the invoice from the collection agency. I explained that I think it would be fair to pay the tax but I am not going to pay for a inflated brokerage fee that I did not ask for them to broker it for me and I wasn’t even informed it was being done.

    The lady was pretty good, she waived the fees and I just paid the tax.

  • noah

    what about the disabled? we can’t just sashay off to the nearest cbsa – and rural people, are we denied the right that everyone else enjoys of ordering internationally?
    its just a bribe system, I been around the world and in some places customs could be cleared with a couple of porn magazines and a bottle of good whiskey
    nothing has changed, they want their cake and eat it too – its like going into a store and buying something and someone saying ‘wait, you have to pay another fee to take it to your car’ it is a human rights violation and should be stopped

  • Randal Oulton

    Now that Parliament has dealt with cell phone companies and contracts, and cable TV packages racket, perhaps it will turn its attention to this scam, because it really does hurt unsuspecting consumers. I’ve been caught by it more than I care to say and I would love Ottawa to legislate against it.

  • Peter M Dodge

    I realise this is an older article but seeing as it is the first Google hit for this issue I wanted to chip in some information I got from UPS. The agent I was in touch with was actually pretty helpfuly, mostly probably because I have a business account with them and they don’t generally try to strongarm businesses perhaps, though that’s just speculation. In either case, I actually don’t know what I stood to be charged, the sender had indicated that they’d pay. What I can add is this:

    I received a call with a callback number ( 1 888 520 9090 ) and a reference number. The reference number didn’t go into tracking.


    Not sure if this is new practice or old, or only occurred because I was a business, but I thought I’d put that out there as a FYI.

  • Subinoy Das

    I recently bought an item in ebay. It was shipped from Mississauga,ON, Canada to me at Troy, Michigan. It was shipped by FEDEX and I did not have to pay anything to Fedex while receiving the item. The item (mobile phone of $529.99) was not as promised and I had to return it. I shipped it to the seller via UPS ground and was charged $19.00 (approx). I was not mentioned anything about brokerage charge. UPS has now asked the seller to pay UPS brokerage charge of $80.00 approx. The seller has refused to pay it and has not accepted the item. Now it is held up in Windsor, ON, Canada.

    UPS is telling me they can attempt to deliver to the seller again, if I pay them approx $80.00 for that as the brokerage charge. If I want it back then I will have to approx $110.00 for return shipment.

    Please advice what I can do.

  • Howell Manaligod

    This is brilliant!!!

    I fell victim to this scam last summer when I ordered a set of lowering springs for my car from turnermotorsports. The value on the invoice is US210 and I paid UPS CAD78 for their so-called brokerage fee. I am just a few minutes drive from a CBSA office and I would have been able to clear my shipment with minimum hassle.

    Thanks a million mate..

  • Fiona

    Is there only one place, TORONTO LESTER B. PEARSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT to do self-clearing in Toronto? Or any CBSA location which offers LVS service? Please advise.
    Thank you.

  • yaman asaf

    I’ve had similar problems with ups before, I wish I came across this page before. currently I am having some problem with Fedex. tracking status shows:

    Arrived at FedEx location

    Clearance delay

    the clearance delay has already been more than two weeks. what does it mean by clearance delay? is it the same thing as brokerage processing? I talked to customer rep. and she said that she doesn’t know how much longer it will take. I wanted to complain but I need to know who is responsible for this delay, the courier or cbsa?

    the shipper has already charged me the tax and brokerage fee:
    Canada ON Sales Tax: $3.45
    International Brokerage Fee: $15.50
    International Customs Duty: $0.87

    I have no idea what customs duty means, I paid it anyways.
    I think it is a rip off, I should have probably refused to pay the seller brokerage fees, and cleared it myself.

    some ebay sellers also charge import fees which I think it includes brokerage fees, I wonder if I could ask these sellers to wave the import fees and let me do my own clearing of the item.

  • Nathan


    I am truly grateful of your articles! After receiving the call from UPS earlier today telling me their outrageous brokerage fees they told me that I could clear it myself but I am required to go to Winnipeg to get it cleared as this is the ‘port of entry’.(I am in Alberta) While on the phone I Googled if this was even legal and I found this website.

    I told them I would get back to them tomorrow about it as I began to research. I have learned a lot between this website and the CBSA website.

    I have sent an email to UPS requesting the ‘Commercial Invoice’ as well as an email to the CBSA telling them the situation and asking why I had to go to Winnipeg to clear the shipment when I have a CBSA office within a 15 minute drive from me.

    I hope to hear back from both of them tomorrow. Hopefully this will be fairly painless. I already work 28 hour days as it is, I don’t need another thing added to my plate.

    Again, thank you so much! And I will keep you posted on progress.

  • Nathan

    Continuing the last post. I called UPS today and again they wanted to clear my shipment for me.

    I immediately stopped them and told them No, I want to self clear my package. She told me I had to go to Winnipeg and asked if I was willing to do that. I told them no and immediately began telling them exactly what they were going to do using “CBSA” as much as possible to show authority.

    She put me on hold for a bit and then gave in and told me how to proceed to self clear my shipment in Alberta.

    I hope this is the end of it but I’m not holding my breath.

    Again thanks for all the help in this article!

  • Danny Low


    I bought approximately $1500 in art on a cruise in October which was sent by UPS from the art companies warehouse a few weeks later. I was out of Canada for 10 days and when I went through Canadian customs I declared the art and was given a B15 reference number and a couple of other forms. I was told to show the custom forms along with the B15 reference number to the UPS driver as proof that they were declared and that there would be no problems.

    A few week later the UPS driver showed up handed me the tubes and drove off on his merry way. No bill so I figured all was good. A week or so later I received a statement from UPS saying I owed them $336.21! $238.04 in GST/PST and the rest in brokerage fees. I immediately phoned UPS explained what I had done and asked why I was being charged for it. She explained how it worked and since I didn’t see the logic to it she asked if I hold the line while she talked to a manager to see what could be done. After that She asked what custom forms did I have so I told her and offered to fax them. Again I was asked to hold so she could to talk to her manager. Manager told her that even though I had the customs forms it didn’t matter and that I had to pay the bill. I told her since I declared everything with customs and that UPS went ahead and paid the taxes and brokerage fees why don’t they just ask customs to be reimbursed? She told me that I would have to pay them and they would send me a form to give to customs to be reimbursed the GST/PST. I told her that was unacceptable and after a couple of more hold the line manager consulting she came back with, as a good Will gesture on their part, they would wave the brokerage fees but I had to pay the taxes. I asked if I would be guaranteed to get the taxes back from customs and again she said as soon as payment was made they would send the forms out to me. To me that was a no, so I told her that because it was so close to Christmas I didn’t have the extra money and that MAYBE I would pay it in the new year…….I had no intentions of paying it.

    Well 4 months later I received a letter from a collection agency letter today. I called the number on the letter and got, ” thank you for calling UPS. All our agents are presently busy…”. So I hung up and called the number again and on the 3rd try it was the collection agency that answered. I explained the situation to her, she basically said the same as UPS, so I asked if I would be guaranteed to be reimbursed if I did pay? She then asked if I had an accountant and if I did I should consult him because since it was taxes I’d have to declare it on my income tax to be reimbursed and not by customs. So totally confused I told her that my taxes weren’t done yet and that I would talk to them once I received all my T4′s. She then told me I had until Thursday to consult and pay or they were going to send it out for collection.

    I realize after reading a lot of the stories here why they waived the brokerage fees but what I don’t understand is why they don’t recoup the taxes since it was kind of their mistake. If I do have to pay why does UPS say it’s customs that reimburses and the collection agency says it’s to be declared on my taxes!! Anyone know which one it really is?

    Thank you

  • Paul

    Thank you so much for this tip. I ordered something from the states and when it crossed the border one of the representatives from UPS contacted me asking for the invoice (the seller being overly considerate, documented my parcel for $15.00) as she told me whatever I’m ordering does not appear to be so. I of course emailed her a copy of my actual purchase of $280 and $313 with shipping. Since the implicit trust of the invoice appears to have been violated already I see bi reason to refuse as it would just cause further complications.

    Tracy Hunt advised me that this “higher value” item can not be self cleared. Again I saw no reason to argue with her over the phone as they still have my package and I’m no where near her to confront anything. I complied and I will take action later. When item arrived I happened to be unavailable and thus UPS made all three attempts. THE TOTAL CUSTOM AND DUTY CAME TO $96!!!! FOR A $280 ITEM!!! This was in my favor as this packaged is now safely held at the local Depot in Edmonton (11204-151 Street) I then proceeded to go see what’s going on and all I wanted was to obtain the UPS invoice for the C.O.D. The lady at the front desk, once realized my intentions to self clear the package laid her hands on my parcel and said that means I cannot pick up the item at this time. I had no problem with that as I knew exactly what I had to do (thanks to all you helpful people).

    I then proceeded to the Edmonton CBSA office (1727-35th Avenue East Room 100) which is all the way at the airport at the end of one of the runway in the middle of nowhere… And waited patiently as the officer did the paper work and lastly handed me my ticket: the B 15 form and he even broken it down for me how this item: made in China and imported to the US, plus sales tax, came up to $35!!!! Much better than $96! The officer instructed me to call UPS and perhaps forward this info. ups tels me (after several holds and so on) told me someone will call me within 24 hours and instruct me how to proceed. I was so impressed and went back to the UPS Depot the next day and swiftly picked up my package without paying a cent. It was the same lady and recognized me and she was pretty cool with it. Oh and by the way I got no calls back from UPS anyway. What a bunch of bullshit. Hope this further helps everyone!

  • bonnie cheung

    I called UPS today to get all the required info, thinking I need to poke and prod for half an hour and be sent on a run around. Nope. UPS said that I can freely self clear and good for me for doing it so i can save $44 on the brokerage fee. An agent will actually call ME to tell me what I need to do. Things have changed within 4 years of this article. Big thanks!

  • Gordon

    Good to see you made it out to the airport. I’m being charged $61.58 in brokerage and $15.84 in taxes but because the CBSA closes at 4:00 and YEG is 30+ minutes away from…anywhere, I’d lose more in income missing work to get there than the outrageous brokerage fees. That means UPS has me by the balls on this one.

  • Rob

    Last week, I received a package with $49.32 worth of goods from California to BC. Before I could pick it up, UPS required the C.O.D. payment of $5.92 in GST/PST, $29.70 in Brokerage Fees + $1.48 in GST on top of the Brokerage Fee. Out of principle, I’ve spent part of the last 4 days dealing with this $31.38 problem and come up with some advice for those shipping and receiving cross border.

    Rule #1: Don’t EVER use UPS when shipping to a individual (not a business address) in Canada. Not once. Never. UPS will waive the brokerage fee for a business, but always add it to the invoice for individuals or “new customers.”

    Rule #2: If Rule #1 is ignored, here’s what you can do. Be prepared to waste ~5 hours of your time to get these exorbitant fees waived. Don’t pickup the package – just take a photo of the UPS invoice at your UPS depot. Then call your local Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Explain your situation to a CBSA manager, get their email address and send them a copy of your UPS invoice. They will then call you back and take payment for the GST/PST only and send you a completed ‘B-15′ form. If you bug UPS enough, they may get around to sending you another form called “Casual LVS Self Accounting Procedures.” They will ask you to take it to the port of entry (1 per province) to get stamped ‘cleared’. Forget that. You will instead just email it on to your friendly, neighbourhood CBSA officer, who will stamp it and send it back to you. You’ll then have to email both completed forms to UPS and wait for them to accept them and take the Brokerage Fee off your account (this could take 24 hours). For good measure, you’ll probably want to take those same completed forms to your local UPS depot to pick up your package, but they won’t release the package to you until UPS tells them that the package is cleared for delivery. Oh yeah, you’ll have to do all that before they return the package back to the sender (5 days after arrival and 2 days after receiving the “Casual LVS…” form).

    Rule #3: To avoid dealing with Rule #2, don’t EVER use UPS. Stick to US Postal Service for US to Canada packages.

  • Jbutt

    People shipping UPS is a deal-breaker for me, the last 2 times I did it fully aware and did everything by the book to self-clear. Still took a month of phone calls and bullshit to finally get my package. They hate people who self clear and it wouldn’t surprise me if their staff are under instructions to make it as horrible and long as possible.

    The first time was a painting from Germany. The art company only shipped UPS and I already knew about their customs bullshit so I asked them to put a note on the package that I was going to self-clear. They couldn’t figure it out since it’s all a stupid automated system. It came to my house when I wasn’t home yet for some reason they just gave it to my landlord/parents despite being a different address and didn’t even ask for the COD. I never heard from them again and about 4 months later I get a call from a collections agency saying I owe UPS like $100. Fuck you. I called UPS and yelled at them and escalated, constantly saying I was going to self clear and if they wanted their COD extortion they shouldn’t have given me my package. Finally they relented and I was happy to pay them the taxes I owed, but not their bullshit fee.

    The next time it happened I had ordered like $30 worth of model train stuff from a company that once again ONLY used ups (why do companies do this shit? Give me a choice). It arrived, I told them I was going to self clear and to give me the paperwork so I can take it to the CBSA office. The driver argued with me saying the customs brokerage fee was simply the tax/duty and there’s no way to get around it. Once again I don’t know if the staff are just ignorant or told to lie. He left, refusing to give me anything. I had to call UPS over in Richmond and after being transferred about 3 times (despite calling the number on the UPS website for self-clearing) I got a lady telling me I had to come to the port of entry, no way around it and she refused to escalate saying that’s FEDERAL LAW. I told her on UPS’s own website they have a guide on self-clearing and I’m following it. She said “There’s no such thing as self-clearing, you mean ‘customs clear’ and you can only do that at the port of entry”

    Furious I called again, got someone else just following a scrip and kept escalating until I got a real human who wasn’t on a script. She actually knew what was up, faxed me the documents I needed. I marched over to CBSA, they helped me very quickly and the lady there also ranted at how fucked UPS was and even though they lost the class action suit and even though they keep telling UPS to stop fucking with people trying to self clear, they keep doing it. She even faxed it back to UPS for me because she told me they don’t tell you you have a 24h window to get your paperwork done or the whole package gets shipped back.

    I then called UPS again, since their instructions say to call to confirm. Suddenly the lady I was talking to earlier was on vacation and a new lady who was filling in for her has no idea about self-clearing and tells me I need to come to the port of entry. Finally she understands it, acts like I was confused not her, but sees that all my paperwork is in order. She specifically asks if I want the package delivered back to my door or at the local Victoria UPS office. I say my door, she says it will be there tomorrow.

    No package the next day, I’m tracking it and it says it’s in Victoria being delivered. By the end of the day the status is now going back to Vancouver. It reaches Vancouver, sits there over the weekend, then comes back to Victoria. Then there’s a message that it’s going back to Vancouver due to customs clearance. I have to phone again, escalate a million times, finally get an off-script human who tells me because I refused the COD at the door the package is flagged to return to Richmond, but in Richmond the package is flagged as cleared and ready to ship. She claims she’s fixed everything up and it is coming.

    A few days later there is a knock on the door, it’s a UPS guy. He has my package but won’t give it to me saying there’s a big customs brokerage fee on it. I calmly flip out, he calls his boss who says I have to pay, I calmly flip out some more and tell him the story and he hesitantly gives it to me while his boss calls Richmond to sort it out.

  • Smithd635

    Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. Im going to watch out for brussels. Ill be grateful if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers! ddeebfdafdadcded

  • Will

    I have a friend sending me a package from the US to Canada. He assumed he was doing me a favour and sent it UPS, unaware of this whole situation. Being that it is a personal item marked as a gift (albeit with a $100 value}, with UPS still try and railroad me with this? The package is apparently due to arrive in 2 days and I’m not at all looking forward to the possibility of these fees.

  • Melanie

    Wow, so many stories, I have one for you. I called UPS regarding my shipment from Ohio. She talked so fast and was all over the place that when I got off the phone with her I was so confused. I was told brokerage fees were $72, when I told her I was self clearing she said,”No wait I apologize your shipment is an exception. You can’t self clear since it is registered with customs.” What does that mean? I told her I would call her back. Need answers people!! First time ordering with UPS.

  • Anonymouse

    I’d like to share my experience here as well.

    I had some scuba equipment coming in from Italy and the seller shipped via FedEx. I was horrified to learn this because the eBay listing didn’t mention FedEx and simply “Standard International Shipping” which by my own folly I should have inquired about. Nevertheless, the package arrived here in Canada within two days and FedEx wanted $106 upfront for the package. Having only spent $365 on the equipment, I told the driver that I would be self-clearing. Later that day, I called the incompetent nitwits at FedEx to request the cargo control document (CCD)/manifest/commercial invoice but the idiot on the other line made up some BS about how I would not be able to get the documents due to confidential information apropos of the seller as well as the fact that the manifest could not be divulged until 5 days had passed after delivery. I knew the tool was spewing nonsense so I waited and called back a few hours later. The woman I spoke to this time still refused to send me the documents but did tell me that I should go in to the FedEx centre and get them myself. I wasn’t happy but given that the FedEx location and the CBSA office are a 5 minute drive from one another, I relented.
    Fast forward to today, I got in line at the FedEx location, grabbed the documents (I don’t see why the couldn’t email them to me as they were all printed off!!!), and made my way to the CBSA. Were it not for them being short-staffed and dealing with strange situations I would have been out of there in 10 minutes but alas I waited for 30 minutes before my number was called. The process was very simple and the CBSA officer was efficient. I ended up paying $18 in tax and went back to FedEx and slapped them in the face with my B15 and release form. Total cost, 1.5 hours of my time, about $5 in gas, and $18 in tax. Completely worth it!

    PS: Be firm and don’t relent if those incompetent troglodytes on the telephone refuse to send documentation by email or fax.

  • Melanie

    Update. UPS gave the shipment to Purolator to deliver. Today went to North Bay CBSA and paid $40 instead of $125. Posted the form B15, a little note to the driver, and commercial invoice to my front door. Got home and boxes were on my porch and documents taken. Might use UPS again now that I know how. Thanks for all your help everyone.

  • Daryl MacKay

    I don’t know if anyone has notice but there seems to be a conspiracy toward Canadians now. Both ebay and Amazon are charging us import charges at checkout. I’ve never seen this before. It looks like a new policy to me.

    It’s not just UPS anymore. I stopped buying from any US merchants who shipped via UPS a long time ago.

    Now it looks like more US companies are getting in on the game of dipping their hands in our pockets. US corporate greed I suppose.

    I’m pretty much to the point where I won’t be buying very much from the US any more. I’d rather give my money to a Canadian company.

  • carole bujold

    Well, this is so interesting! Thanks to all for the information and comments.

    I bought 2 bottles of shampoo at $20,99 ea. Total was $41.98.

    I was aware of the shipment fees of $23.99 which were high but I could live with that. Then I got an automated call for UPS (it sounded urgent) requesting the name of my broker and asking that I send an email to with the tracking number in the subject line. So I email the information and when UPS delivered the package there was a COD of $34.14.

    I refused the package and called UPS who did not seem surprised nor did they apologize for the outrageous brokerage fees.

    I called the company where I placed my order and they say they will refund my credit card but not the shipping cost of $23.99 that had already been paid to UPS.

    I won’t get my shampoo and I lost $23.99 in shipping but there’s no way I would have paid $34.14 for a $41.98 order.

    This is my last experience with UPS and the USA.

  • chuck

    ups-scs delivery charges 2X more than CTL. Compare your shipping co.

  • Patrick

    Daryl, I have not encountered the problem you are describing with Amazon (I shop on frequently).

    eBay’s new import charge scam is called the “Global Shipping Program” and they have been tricking their American sellers into using it (from what I can recall reading) by signing them up in a user agreement update and then giving them no option to opt out of the program altogether. Sellers can however opt out of the program by editing their listings afterward (not sure if they can do this beforehand), but eBay doesn’t make this particularly easy to do.

    I recently purchased an item on eBay and the USA seller was nice enough to alter the listing before I purchased the item so that it would be shipped USPS and not using the GSP. No way was I going to pay their 28% import charges instead of MAYBE getting hit with a 13% HST charge at most! They don’t even confirm the amount of the charges until you have already committed to buying! I wouldn’t touch “Commit to Buy” with a 10 foot stylus!

  • Ed

    I’m having a tough time dealing with DHL as well.

    I made a purchase online for ~$500 and paid an extra ~$25 for express shipping. I specifically made note to the seller to put “Self Declare” on the package at the time of payment. This was Friday.

    Now, I wasn’t confident that the shipper was going to do as I had asked, so I also called DHL the next Tuesday morning (Monday was a holiday) and talked to their brokerage department. They lady was rude and didn’t seem like she wanted to be on the phone. However, I continued to tell her that I want to self declare my package and that I do not want to pay for their brokerage service. She continued to type something into the computer then asked me for my email address. She said they will email me the manifest once they have it ready. Great!

    However, by the end of the day, I got concerned as I still haven’t received any emails. I called DHL again.

    The next agent proceeded to tell me that the package is already on the truck and should be delivered to me today (huh??). He then stated that there was a charge of $25 for the package. I asked for more details and the package was changed $10 for duties, $10 for brokerage and another $5 for processing. I asked him why the package was put through brokerage and he said he doesn’t know. I asked him to return the package and that I would self declare and he said it would take approx 2-3 days for the package to return to the depot/customs before I can self declare the package.

    Now, this has become a issue about principle. I’ve done my due diligence to contact the seller and the shipper that I will self declare the package. I paid the extra shipping fees to get the product delivered express. In the end, I end up having to wait for the package to be moved back and forth having more frustrations dealing with incompetent people.

  • Nvm

    Does ups only charge you those additional fees if items are over $20? Or has that changed? Does anyone know? Because i have a us amazon account and i was thinking of just making many tiny orders to avoid the bullsh*t.

  • Nik

    Here is another good one: Sold expensive shoes on ebay. Buyer stated that they did not fit and shipped them back with UPS and informed me about it later. I phoned UPS and they told me they want CAD$74 for broker’s services and no import tax. I informed them that would like to self-clear the parcel. The phoned me back after weekend and emailed me instructions and invoice. With these 2 papers and my buyers email indicating that the shoes did not fit I went to 1 Front St W in Toronto and took me only 5 minutes to get Casual Goods Accounting Document with stamp. Did not have to pay even a dollar.
    3 documents were scanned and emailed back to UPS brokers immediately and 3 hours later their driver shows up at the door with delivery. Unhappy both of us were: I refused to pay and he refused to give me the parcel.
    Phoned UPS immediately and they said my request has not been processed yet.
    I hope I will waste their time a bit by requesting to re-ship the parcel to me again after my request and email has been finally processed.
    My concern is: why there is brokerage fee and no import tax? They insist that they represent me in clearing the parcel. But why do you have to clear something when there is nothing to be cleared?
    What a scam!!!

  • Rony

    It look likes UPS change attitude . i called them today ,ready to get all sort of excuses why they cannot let me clear my package, i was surprised how cooperative the rep. was.
    i told her i want to self clear package bc i don’t wanna pay brokerage fees.
    She put me to hold for few minutes,then she said she cannot do it but someone from different department will call me within 24 hours . in less then 2 someone really called , confirmed that i wanna self clear package, asked for email and she sent me invoice with all info on it and one more sheet with all explanation what i need to do to clear the package. in the email she asked to send her copy of b15 back to her .
    and that was it.
    went to CBSA,he asked if i refused package and if i’m there voluntarily.i confirmed .he did some paper work,sent me to casher and after paying i got b15 form.
    very straight forward experience . absolutely no problems whatsoever.
    Glad i found this site. thank you very much!!!
    Good luck to everyone.

  • Shirley

    Make sure you keep copies of all your documents, people. I did self-brokerage in Richmond, BC in mid-July, and now I have a brokerage fee bill from UPS. I’ve called and emailed with documents. So far this problem is still not resolved. I was told I would get a reply one business day later, when they’ve gotten a chance to look into it, but it’s been several business days and I still have not gotten a reply.

    This is frustrating to say the least. UPS sure tried to make self-brokerage a pain in the ass at every turn. They just ignored “I will clear customs myself / UPS do not need to do brokerage” written into the shipping instuctions (the shipper even wrote it in two places – in the shipping instructions and in the second line of the address, so they couldn’t miss it).

    I called when the package was in Canada and got “oh, it’s already out for delivery, you have to tell it to the delivery guy.” Delivery never came, I’m 100% sure because I was home all day and I have security cameras. (But there was a “delivery attempt” in the tracking, I double-checked the surveillence footage in the time the delivery attempt was claimed to have been made. There was no delivery attempt.) I called again and was told they’ll call me back the next day when they have documents ready for me. The next day no call yet, so I called again (again) and was told to wait some more. The day after that I finally get a call back. Then I went and waited in line at the UPS office for my documents, then went to CBSA, then back to UPS again.

    I put up with all that waiting and now I still have to wait for them to sort out that I don’t owe them any money (I even provided them with copies of documents to prove it)?

    I’m going to be pissed if this ends up going to a collection agency and I get pestered by a collection agency because of the incompetence of UPS.

  • Shirley

    And I just wanted to add: truly the best way is to avoid using UPS in the first place. If a business only ships UPS, or does not make it clear which shipping service they use, let them know you would like to buy from them but not if the only shipping option is UPS. Some businesses would be willing to make alternate shipping arrangements for you to get your business.

  • Fred

    I went at the Lachine, QC facility, where my package is located, to ask for paperwork to do the brokerage by myself. I was told I had to call the cutomer service to do so. In the UPS parking lot, I called and had a friendly representative offer me 15$ off the brokerage fee. I refused and asked for the paperwork. I was asked my phone number which I gave out and was told I would be called back to go at Lachine get the paperwork when it’s ready. So far everything is fine. Then I get home and check my tracking number. My package was set at the very same time I was on the phone to “return to sender”. They lured me into thinking everything was fine to get the paperwork when on the other side they would screw me over against my consent. Since it was 20h30 when I checked the tracking, Lachine was closed so I chatted with UPS online. They placed an emergency request that will be treated by monday but they cannot change the status of the package. They admit that by monday my package will be more than likely sent back to the USA. I talked to a UPS international representative by phone (the only customer service still open at 20h30). She told me the same thing. They can change the status of your package against your consent to “return to sender” but they cannot act to interveine to stop this process, just send a notice to the facility that will be treated on monday. All of this mess, that’s criminal behavior to me.

  • Shirley

    Just adding that I did get a reply from UPS today after sending in one more email one business day ago. So the reply was relatively quick this time around. I wonder if the customer survey I filled out helped it along.

    You may disregard this invoice. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

    So at least that is resolved. You just have to keep on top of UPS and repeat yourself. Apparently that is part of the process?

    Here’s hoping it is actually resolved and I don’t end up hearing from a collection agency another month later.

  • MARY


  • Michael

    So, what’s the best way to hold UPS and FeEx responsible for brokerage fees fraud? I mean, when you meet a gangster with a knife, you use the same? I see no difference here.

  • Eli

    I sent a package USPS.

    It took over a month, We refunded a very unhappy customer over 300$

    He got the package 2 days later and had to pay 53$.

    Very disappointed


  • Cpt. Disgruntled

    Oh my goodness.
    First, let me add my thanks to Trueler for the information as well as the forum.
    I am writing as a small business owner. We make art studio furniture and direct ship it only. A customer in Canada wrote to ask if it were possible to purchase a single easel. I told him that it was, but because of the item’s weight and dimensions, it must be sent via a courier. I ship occasionally to Canada, and asked for his school’s customs broker info. He responded that his school was small, seldom imports, and has no brokerage contract. I spoke to UPS and got a quote of $67 to do the accounting for us. On a $400 item, neither of us was delighted with that, and I thought he would decline the sale.
    I probably spent a good six hours researching what a broker does before I stumbled on this site, and after reading and checking the Canada Border Services Agency info, I told my customer that it would cost him time and travel, but I was confident that between the two of us, he could get his easel cleared himself. He ordered it.
    Because of its awkward shape, his unassembled easel was packed in TWO CONTAINERS (a cardboard box and a sealed PVC tube). I drove 25 miles to collect the packages, then waited 30 minutes at the UPS center to ship it.
    I told the clerk that my customer was going to do his own GST accounting, and provided her with my NAFTA certificate of origin and commercial invoice. I also e-mailed those to my customer together with the tracking numbers.
    The easel reached the UPS warehouse in Lachine, where it languished. UPS made no effort to contact my customer. I tracked the shipment via the website, and told him he could go to the CBSA office to make payment of the tax (simple and small, as our easels are U.S.-made, and I’d provided the HS tariff classification.)
    I’d given my customer the CBSA office location identified as handling low-value shipment clearance, but he called the one closest to his work and found that even though the website didn’t show it, they would process his tax as well, so it’s worth checking if there’s an office near you.
    He took his documents there and hit a snag–I’m not sure if it was because we’d used his work address for the shipment, but he was asked for an IMPORTER NUMBER. CBSA gave him a phone number to call to get one, he did, and he made trip #2 to the office and paid the 5% GST on his easel.
    He didn’t report by what method (i.e., whether CBSA faxed it, he e-mailed it, or what), but UPS was provided a copy of his B15 and the next day, his easel arrived at his place of work.
    Or rather, HALF OF IT DID.
    The ninnies at the UPS shipping center–despite being provided with a single recipient, single address, single NAFTA CoO, and single invoice, neglected to indicate that these two packages constituted a single shipment. My customer likewise apparently neglected to clarify that there were two packages with two tracking numbers when he paid the GST.
    So now he’s got half an easel, CBSA says he needs to return (for a THIRD trip) to get the clearance extended to his second package, and UPS–after I spend half an hour on the phone with them–said they’d be happy to broker the second package for us, only now the fee (on HALF the original value) will be $75.
    I called UPS again this morning and spoke with a different agent (Brad), who initially suggested that we might be able to retroactively consolidate the shipment with a letter from me, but then reported that that would have to be done at CBSA. By my fatigued customer.
    I asked if, since the problem originated with the UPS inadequate labelling, they could do the brokerage, waive the fee, and *I* will re-pay the GST.
    GST’s $22, but I’d rather the Canadian government get $44 out of us than UPS any.
    So, my takeaways:
    I do think it was appropriate to advise UPS of the intent to self-account at shipment.
    If your shipment is more than one component, look to see that your shipper identifies it as one shipment.
    MAKE SURE RECIPIENTS UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY’RE RECEIVING!! Get clear identification of all components!
    If you get a sucky response from UPS, try, try again. The next agent may be far more reasonable.
    Especially on your first effort, this process can be frustrating, so do your research and ask for help. Check the CBSA website, and I’m losing track now, but try 1-800-461-9999 for help from them.
    And lastly, I sent this easel on 23 September, and as of 17 October, my customer still hasn’t gotten the second part.

  • jenn

    Can I self cleared even it’s a commercial invoice? And do I need to go to port of entry?

  • Joe

    I just recently went through the major headache of dealing with UPS and the local CBSA office to attempt to bypass the ridiculous brokerage fees. I run a small hobby business where I repair and manufacture custom audio cables (microphone, instrument etc.) for people and I was tired of being gouged at my door by the outrageous COD fees for my parts & supply shipments.

    I got the same lines that most of you were – that I would have to go to Winnipeg to clear the package myself etc. After UPS attempted delivery I refused to accept it and told them to hold it at the depot until I picked it up myself. UPS actually ended up being fairly courteous by calling me personally and telling me what I had to do in order to clear the package myself. Unfortunately it was the CBSA office that were bull-headed and belligerent. The less-than-friendly CBSA officer determined that my shipment was a commercial shipment and therefore I had to declare each item on my list (there were a lot) individually in order to clear them.

    When UPS called and told me I merely needed to acquire a B15 from the CBSA I figured that was simple enough – what I didn’t know was that B15′s are for personal packages only and not for commercial goods. When I attempted to acquire the B15 from the CBSA I had almost completed the process when the agent I dealt with yesterday noticed me and immediately stepped in and kiboshed the process by accusing me of trying to cheat the system by not declaring the goods as commercial and threatened to fine me. I didn’t know B15′s weren’t for commercial goods.

    After they finished explaining all the BS red-tape I would have to go through I had heard enough for one day, was completely flustered and frustrated so I just went to UPS, paid the stupid brokerage fees and went on my way.

    I’m sure there’s a way to properly clear your own goods, but this was a nightmare. A lot of driving back and forth to the airport (30 mins each way for me), belligerent and unpleasant CBSA officers to deal with who don’t give a damn about your plight and ignorant UPS drones who will send you on wild goose chases to hassle you into paying the fees out of sheer frustration. There’s a lot of money to be made in scamming people like this, and if you make the alternative enough of a pain in the ass I suppose people are far more likely to go along with it.

    I will never ship with UPS again. Ever.
    I advise most folks to do the same.
    Its a trap.

  • Onii-Sama

    OMG, UPS is one shady company!!!!Must Avoid and stop using them!!!!

    Here is what happened.

    My item
    Commercial shipment of $2895 USD.
    Ship From Irvine,CA,USA to Oakville,ON,Canada
    Items Toys (not toys for under 3 year old)

    I got a phone call by UPS on Nov, 29, 2014. They gave me their Unique shipment identifier number and a phone # for me to call them back. They need my info to clear custom.

    So I did and told them I want to clear custom myself. They refused and I said it is my right to do so and they went away for a while and came back and said, we will call you back to give you the instruction to clear the item yourself.

    They never did and I had to call back again after 2 days. They said that I cannot clear the item myself due to it is high value item. I told them I will call them back.

    I called Canada Border Agency Service (CBSA). I told them what happened and they said I have my right to do so but I have to present myself in person to Windsor, ON, Canada to clear it myself. The location is 3 hours drive away from me so there is no way. The person from CBSA said that she will call me back on Monday to confirm if there’s any other way to do it.

    2 days had past, and it is Monday today.

    I got a call back from the lady from CBSA. She said that she can not contact anyone at Windsor but I have to go there myself in person to clear custom.

    So now, I have no choice but to use UPS broker to clear it. I called them and I asked all their prices and stuffs to make sure they won’t rip me off again! They asked me for my info, company name, name and GST or Importer number. I do not have those 2 numbers so I said I will call them back. I had the call recorded because I know in fact that they are really really shady company, I must protect myself in some way.

    As I try to get my Importer number, I found another broker that is cheaper than UPS. They are on a site call, their company name is J.W Smith Broker Ltd. I ask them questions and prices and sound good and is much cheaper than UPS.

    I called UPS again and told them I would like to use my own Broker to clear the item. They said NO, they refused. They said I already “authorized” them to do so. I DID NOT “authorized” them to do so because they do not have all my information! It was an incomplete request!! I told them I had the call recorded and It is my right and freedom to choose another broker company to clear custom. They keep saying NO, I can’t. I asked for their supervisor and the lady kind of refuse but I insist. She finally did it and put me on hold for a while. She came back and said, there are no supervisors able to take my call now. She asked me to leave name and phone # for the “supervisor” to call me back, which I don’t think they will ever do.

    I called CBSA again and ask for the same person. She wasn’t there but she called me back after.

    She said that there is NOTHING CBSA can do. I asked her if there’s any way to report this. She went away for a while and gave me a contact of Canadian Society Of Custom Brokers (CSCB). I called them, they are not government agency. I told them what happened anyway and they suggest me to call CBSA back. I said I was refer by them…

    They told me sometimes items get “auto” clear. The broker can “go ahead” and do it first before the call me. May be that is why they keep refuse to let me do anything except to use UPS broker to they can rip me off!!!!!

    The lady in CBSB suggested me to call my own broker (J.W Smith Broker Ltd) and have THEM due with them.

    I called them and gave them my tracking # and Unique shipment identifier number. They said they will call them and deal with them.

    About 10 mins later, I got a call from them and they said everything is done, UPS will send them the paper work and there will be no extra charge by UPS.

    So, in conclusion.
    The Canadian Government/Border are actually have no control what so ever on any pirate shipping company like UPS and FedEx. They seems to be above the law and ripping us off everyday. Those laws or rules that are “suppose to” protect us are made in those companies favor.

    We can not clear custom for large value items but to go to where the located physically, in person or use broker.

    What is this? 1980? E-mail/phone/Fax does not work? No internet???

    That is the main reason I do not have my shipping center located in Canada or USA. I have my shipping center located in Hong Kong. This is a special case that must ship to Canada first. This is a Nightmare.

  • Eduardo

    Hi Trueler,

    I`ve found a trail bike in a Store in Canada with a good discount- being last year`s model. They will send me an invoice using UPS (their store partner).

    I do not know anything about US Customs taxes/fees rates, but I want to figure out wether US Customs would charge me for this NEW bike going through boarder (cost around $2.250 dollars). Chances are they will, so the only thing for me to do is to declare the actual price with discount in order to get a lower brookrage fee (instead of the retail 2014 price – $3200)? Also, could you inform me what fees would incur in this case?

    Also, if I order a small product from Taiwan for example that costs $250, would they tax it?


  • Joe

    I think with all the problems and headaches that UPS causes, its time for a nice success story.

    Today was my second attempt at clearing a package via CBSA personally to bypass the UPS brokerage charges. I went to the CBSA office to fill out the proper B3 form (since it was a commercial goods shipment). The snag I encountered came when I did not have the proper Carrier Code for the form. The border agent, who was much friendlier and more helpful than previous agents I’d encountered) instructed me to attain the shipping manifest from UPS first. So I drove down the road to the depot (in Calgary) and asked for a copy of the manifest. Snag number two – the package was out for delivery and the manifest was only accessible on the package itself… even though i’d called UPS two days prior and told them to hold it for pickup at the depot.

    Disappointed, I returned to the CBSA office to ask a few more questions just to be certain I had all my ducks in a row for a second attempt when the package had returned to the depot – which at this time I was assuming would be Monday the following week. The border agent asked if I’d had any luck with UPS to which I responded “no” and told her what had happened. Here’s where things started to turn around. She offered to fill out a one-time-only B15 form on my behalf and accept my payment on the duty charges. Quick and painless. $40 was a nice alternative to the ridiculous $125 UPS wanted to gouge me for.

    Now armed with my official B15 form I went home, planning to return later when the package had returned to the depot. After a less than helpful phonecall to UPS to ask about the status of the package I decided to just go there and wait. Having been told it would be back between 6pm and 8pm I figured 7:30 would be a good bet. Unfortunately I mistakenly forgot to take note of the fact that the depot closed at 7:00pm.

    I arrived at 7:05pm. As luck would have it, the fellow at the desk unlocked the door and let me in. The package hadn’t returned yet but they allowed me to wait. 7:45pm the delivery truck returned and I was given my package. Even better, they accepted the B15 form without any argument or hassle over me having to pay the additional brokerage fees.

    The system works people!
    Best of luck to all of you!

  • Astrid D

    I am livid ! I should have done my research prior to giving them my credit card information. I just paid $210 in brokerage fees for a $500 clothing item !!!
    I assume there’s nothing I can do after the fact…?

  • SamOttawa

    Success! Here’s my story.
    Went to CBSA office in Ottawa at 140 Thad Johnson ave.

    I gathered all the paperwork from UPS, I called UPS in 3 steps, first time to know who it was from. Second to get a copy of the commercial invoice, she emailed it instantly, very nice UPS lady. Third time to ask for Unique shipment Identification number, he wasn’t sure what I was talking about but after a minute he asked if I meant Shipment ID, I assumed it was what I was looking for (it was!), I also asked where the package was help he let me know it was on Moodie drive warehouse.

    Went to CBSA office, first the CSBA officer says I need a manifest, I told her that I didn’t think I needed it, she insisted and told me I needed to go see UPS to get it, but as she was pointing she mentioned they are located 10 doors away in the same building so I went to see UPS. The UPS lady was very nice, she looked it up and confirmed that I didn’t need themanifest, she contacted the CBSA office and told her that I didn’t need it because the package was already cleared. So that’s why you might need a manifest, it’s for if the package is not cleared (I assume).

    Went back to CBSA officer, she took my payment, stamped the commercial invoice PAID and gave me the B15, I went back to UPS 10 doors away in the same building and gave it to her, she called the headoffice asked for the package to be released for self-clearance grounds and reshipped.

    This was yesterday, she asked for it to be shipped today so I should be receiving it today.

    It was actually a very pleasant process, I didn’t need to argue with anyone (although UPS calls it a “shipment ID”, now I know, and a manifest is not required – because it already cleared when an attempt is made.) I willnever pay brockerage fees again, now I can use UPS again, I had stopped using it for years and avoided sales where UPS was the only shipper.

    Thanks for this info Trueler, saved me $30 and lots more in the near future.

  • SamOttawa

    This is where I found which CBSA office was the right one, Click Low Value Shipment Program to only display the CBSA offices that can help us self-clear our packages.

    The main directories:


  • Nathan

    My story so far:

    Purchased a $350 USD item from the US, seller shipped via UPS. The day it shipped, I called UPS to tell them I wanted to self-clear, and to ask about the process. They told me I had two options: 1) physically go to the border crossing in Vancouver (I’m in Victoria, so this would be a 5 hour trip with a ferry crossing), or 2) wait until the package arrives, inform the driver I want to do self-accounting, and send it back to the depot, then go to CBSA to pay the amount. However, they said #2 would not be possible if CBSA puts a “manifest” on the item, but that that isn’t likely.

    So, I waited for the item to arrive, make sure I made a copy of the waybill with the unique shipment ID, as well as the shipment invoice with the cost for duty. Went to my local CBSA office today. The officer there thought it was very strange that I didn’t have any other paperwork, as apparently there is a form UPS is supposed to send them. However, he did take my money for the taxes and gave me a stamped “B15″ form for the item.

    I took that to the UPS depot, but they refused to release the item, saying I needed to fax the form to their brokerage department, and gave me the phone number. I called the brokerage department, and was told that UPS had already paid the brokerage charges on the item, so there would be a COD. I explained that I had said all along I would self-clear, and in fact had already done so, so there should be no COD. They said they would call “the port” (not sure what they’re referring to here, but presumably the same depot I was just at) and ask them to contact me within 24 hours to tell me how to send them my documentation.

    And now I wait.

    I wonder how much of this entirely predictable gong show is an intentional barrier to protect their exorbitant brokerage fees, and how much is simple incompetence.

  • Nathan

    @SamOttawa – that’s odd; the Victoria CBSA office isn’t listed under their Low Value Shipments Program, but they were certainly able to give me the B15 form and collect my money.

  • Kevin

    I’m just going through this today. Actually cleared my package yesterday at the CBSA office in Halifax. Called UPS right away to get the fax number to fax the B15 and the UPS rep on the phone outright lied to me. Said he received the information from CBSA directly and that I didn’t need to fax the form. Also told me the COD was lifted. Driver shows up at my door today with a COD in the amount of $114 for a $249 item. Showed the driver the form and he took it and folded it up with some other papers. I followed him to the truck and told him I will be needing that form back. At first he wasn’t going to give it back but I asked him for his ID number and stood behind his truck so he couldn’t back out of the driveway. When he seen me dialling my cell he quickly handed me the paper and I moved out of the way. Anyway, long story short I called UPS and requested the package be held at the terminal for pick up. The brokerage department does require a copy of the B15 or they will not release the package. Hopefully Friday I will leave there with my package.

    It’s frustrating that these big corporations can get away with gouging and our government does nothing about it. We have rights in this country!!!!

    Maybe this should be escalated to Twitter or TV. I’m sure W5 would love to get there hands on this story.

  • Thomas Van Driel

    Geez! This UPS BS is still going on 4 years later???
    I just today refused to pay a $61.63 brokerage fee and to take delivery for $237 (incl. shipping) of goods shipped from Illinois. The driver told me it would be held in a warehouse here in Edmonton for a week. He gave me the warehouse address when I asked for it. Said nothing about alternatives like self-brokerage. Seller had even been asked NOT to send via UPS, but to use FEDEX instead. The latter hasn’t pulled this stunt on me yet!

  • Markus


    Thank you very much for setting this website up. My problem is not UPS though, but the CBSA officer at my local CBSA branch, who insists on sending me to the CBSA office at the port of entry.

    He says the code written on the documents that I received from UPS shows that I need to clear my personal (!) shipment in the CBSA office close to the port of entry. I’m located in downtown Vancouver, so instead of the CBSA office right around the corner (Main St) I would have to go to the CBSA office in Richmond! I don’t own a car, so that’s really not an option for me.

    I did show the CBSA officer your website but he insisted that I have to clear my personal shipment at the CBSA office close to the port of entry! Not only that, he also claims that for commercial (!?!) imports I would have been able to choose any CBSA of my liking!

    Would you be able to send me a copy of the original CBSA letter you have received by any chance? The one that states that “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”? That would be really super helpful!

    Thank you in advance and greetings from Vancouver,

  • Erik

    Hi Trueler,

    I just wanted to thank you for your guide. I ordered a set of textbooks from the US which cost $300, the USP delivery charge was $45, but I figured its worth it. Imagine the surprise when I get a call from UPS saying I need to pay an ADDITIONAL $80 brokerage fee. Luckily, I stumbled on your guide and informed UPS I intend to pay CBSA myself. Seriously, I cant thank you enough.

  • someone mad

    None of this is incompetince. From fees appearing when no other shipper charges them, the drivers specifically do not have phones so deliveries fail often, to then forcing me to drive to the airport to pick up my own package, this is a carefully crafted system to scam people out of as much money as possible.

    I order many many parts online. Only, and I do mean only UPS charges me extra once it is in their claws, and makes me drive an hour out of my way to pick up the package… and guess what, they’ve tried charging me extra for the pickup too.

    For all to read:
    FUCK YOU UPS!!!!

  • Tom

    Here is my frustration story…

    We occasionally ship product into Canada from a large wholesaler in Bristol, Rhode Island (USA).

    I just contacted the supplier to inquire about FedEx Ground freight charges associated with shipping (2 medium sized boxes 20 lbs each) to Montreal and was told it would cost $140 CAD.

    I also inquired about shipping the same order to a U.S. freight forwarding company located 5 km from the border in NY; the cost … $30 CAD!

    Evidently, crossing the border and going the additional 41 miles (66 km) to Montreal costs an additional $100 CAD!

    The trip from RI to the Canadian border in NY is roughly 340 miles…how can FedEx justify the additional shipping cost?

    When I called FedEx, the nice agent had no explanation.To cap it all off, he indicated that the brokerage fee for my order ($360 CAD) would be an additional $48 – duties/taxes not included.

    There are more items shipped cross the CAD/US border than ever before; much more than in pre-911 days. Canada imports 80% of its merchandise from the US.

    Additional security at the border is clearly evident. More paperwork, more scrutiny for sure; however, I seriously doubt that the percentage of goods being inspected by border security agents has increased substantially to warrant these additional (exorbitant) shipping charges by couriers.

    FedEx, UPS (all major carriers) are now gouging clients with cross border shipping charges. Apart from the FedEx/UPS brokerage SCAM, major courier companies are now inhibiting the free-flow of goods across the border by charging exorbitant cross-border rates.

    Write your MP today and thank them and their border security bureaucrats for erecting this barrier to FREE TRADE and for increasing product prices.

  • Adam C

    I purchased an item from a US retailer and it was shipped UPS Standard.
    I contacted UPS this Monday (Feb 9) after I tracked the package online and it indicated: “The receiver must pay the duties or taxes due on the package.” UPS told me that the brokerage fee was going to be $92 CAD. When I told them I wasn’t going to pay they told me that I could perform a self clearance instead. They told me what I needed to do and to contact them after the first delivery occurred to obtain the necessary documentation.
    Today (Feb. 13) I tracked the order online and it showed the following: “Receiver’s customs broker has been assigned. The shipment is now released to move in transit.”
    So I contacted UPS to explain to them that I was doing the self clearing and that UPS shouldn’t have done so. The CSR told me that they will reverse what they did and that I could clear it on my own. But before they did that I asked if they could just wave the fee seeing how it was already cleared and would help me out. And they did! They noted it as a good will gesture and all I had to do was pay for the taxes.
    Being courteous and polite on the phone with CSR always helps.

  • B Taylor

    Package arrived at door Feb 16, $208 in charges, 115.94 for Taxes (HST) and about $93 for brokerage fees… found this website, called UPS on the 16 they sent me all documents needed to self clear, Paid the taxes to CBSA, received the B-15 form and emailed that back to UPS. Though that was it, nope. They still wanted me to pay the Brokerage fee and taxes to them because they apparently have a lockout date which was conveniently Feb 10, the day the package arrived in my town. They brought it to the wrong address on the 10th and tagged it as wrong receiver. I found the driver on the 15 and had that corrected and they showed up on the 16th at my door. First attempt. I refused to pay the fees. So they say they paid CBSA the taxes on the 10th but they cannot prove it, they have no receipt, but I do, Lady last night fixed it and said I could pick it up today with no charges… Well, not a chance, still have to pay the taxes. They finally removed the Brokerage Fee yesterday and thought they removed the taxes yesterday but no such luck. Called CBSA about a refund Form B2G, they said they will not refund me the taxes because they nor I did anything wrong and the mistake was UPS’s fault and they should correct it. Still waiting on a reply… Also sent a few nasty posts to Twitter and got a reply from the and also waiting for a reply from the Social media customer support team…. screw UPS, never again. Not paying taxes twice, not happening

  • Brent

    Good day,

    I just received an invoice from FedEx for a parcel I had received in December. I have had many parcels come out of the states without any type of brokerage, this parcel was a value of $61.24 value and they are stating a $19.45 brokerage fee!!!!

    Am I done for because it was so long ago and I did not know about this at the time, or can something be done at this point???

    Appreciate the help!!

  • Tara


    I received a shipment from my cousin a couple of weeks ago and just received an invoice for the package today. The value of package was 1200 as my cousin is letting me borrow an item for my wedding day. FEDEX Paid $197 for taxes on my behalf and just sent me the invoice. I’m upset at the situation as I did not purchase anything. And therefore should not be charged tax.

    I’d appreciate any help. Thank you!

  • Aj

    I ordered a few hobby electronics stuff from a US retailer, items value approx $200, this morning UPS attempted to delivery but I wasn’t present at home, called UPS office they told there is COD receipt of $40.8 which the package, I asked for the details $26.8 was GST and rest in broker fee ($14) which I think is a fair deal I wont have to drive to CBSA or do any of the other stuff.

    UPS guy is expected to make another attempt tomorrow for delivery.

  • Jeff Richardson

    I ordered a lead acid battery from California. I noticed when I went to track it that it had flown over me here in TORONTO going from DETROIT to Fredricton where it sat waiting for some missing POWER OF ATTORNEY document which seemed way more serious than it needs to be. They probably hijack my shipment with that document THUS OWNING it themselves until I pay their fee. Then it get’s shipped to WINDSOR where it sits for several days awaiting CLEARANCE. I phone after 2 days to check and am given this rotten explanation about SELF-CLEARANCE not applying to music gear, even though it’s a battery. Makes sense. SO I said, let me check around for the best lowest brokerage fee. Instead I found your website and decided just to fight this hijacking. They quoted me for a $40 dollar u.s. item a $27 dollar cdn funds clearance fee + duties & taxes. I’m not even confident they’d notice it’s made in the usa with all usa parts and by a u.s. owned company. So I’m not even sure at this point that even though it’s supposed to be duty free, I’m thinking they still ring that up, yeah. What a rip off that whole order is.

    I’ve even got two more things from the same company just ordered thru ebay and on the way for about another $300 CDN funds & it cost 1 hundred fifty for the shipping, and only $150 to cover all 3 items, and at this point this $40 thing is gunna chew up $50 bucks. I’m sunk right there. game over. My stuff is gunna be sent back if I pay this outrageous fee, and I’ll either lose my stuff alltogether, or have to pay to send it back again pay the same shipping again and clear the package with the lying UPS again.

    crime does pay for these thieves, hey.

  • Peter M

    Please Help!

    Back in January I ordered a clothes drying rack worth $190 CDN from the US. It was delivered by UPS and they wanted $71. in COD charges. I didn’t expect the charges to be that much, so I refused the delivery. Two days later the UPS driver comes back with the delivery. I ask him what’s up, and I ask if the company I had bought the item from sent it back to me? He said no. I then ask him if there are any charges owing. He says no. I figure this is weird, but accepted the delivery and signed his manifest.

    Three weeks later I received an invoice from UPS billing me for $71.00 COD charges.

    I thought this must be a joke, there is no way they can get away with that. So I ignored the bill.

    Then yesterday, I received a letter from a collection agency trying to collect the $71.00.

    How can UPS get away with fraudulently getting me to sign for a package I had refused? The driver blatantly lied to me about no charges being owed. WTF? This is outright straight up fraud!

    Please help! What are my options? (besides letting them extort the money from me?)

    Thanks, anyone.

  • Dane

    This happens in the reverse. I ordered something from Canada into the US and I was caught with a brokerage fee too. I sent the package back and called the company I ordered it from and told them all about it.

    I just refused to pay and then was not around the other two times they tried to deliver it. I was not aware of this charge when I bought the items and it smacks of fraud. I told them to shove it.

    I will re-order and instruct the company NOT to use UPS or I will not purchase the item.

  • Nicole

    Hi there, I just ordered a shipment from the U.S. To Hamilton. To my surprise at the door is a notice saying I missed them and on the bottom showed 37.01 charge for C.O.D. This is not stated anywhere on my purchase or was I aware this even existed till reading and investigating.

    I have ordered things online before and never had this issue. Most likely through canada post.

    I don’t want to return and pay shipping to send back when I just paid to get it here. Plus I still want what I ordered.

    But I’m really upset and don’t want to pay something that adds 40 dollars on to my bill.

    I should add I paid 57 dollars for shipping with my order. That makes it 100 for shipping!!!!!! That’s crazy my order was only 200 that’s half the cost!!

    What should I do. The package is here already and ups is coming tomorrow to try and deliver again.

    Not only that but I don’t even have cheques and to get a money order cost 12 dollars.

    And I won’t even be home tomorrow???? Please advise anyone

  • KD

    I recently ordered something only which shipped from Hong Kong via Fedex. The value on the parcel is $50USD, which converts to about $62-63CAD. Fedex called me the other day and indicated I owed $13.62 in fees. When I asked the CSR what the breakdown was, she indicated to me $3.12 was for GST and $10.50 was Fedex’s fee to clear the package on my behalf.

    Since the package hadn’t reached Canada yet, I instructed the CSR I would clear my own package through customs. She left a note indicating I was going to clear my own package, and pick it up from the depot.

    I just checked tracking, and it seems like they cleared it through customs even though I told them not to. Has anyone encountered a situation where you told them not to clear the package, and they did anyway? I’m willing to pay the GST, but not the fee for their clearance service. Will Fedex waive the fee because I told them I would clear the package myself, or will I still need to clear the item before they release it to me?

  • KD

    I missed Fedex’s delivery attempt. I called them again, and this time the CSR told me they would waive the clearance fee of $10.50 since I requested to clear the item through customs on my own. All I have to pay is the GST, which works out to $3.12.

    The CSR also suggest I sign up for the Fedex Ship Manager account. He indicated it’s free to register, and there are no costs involved. Going forward, I won’t be subject to Fedex’s clearance fees either. I’ll just need to pay the customs fees.

  • LNButts

    Just did the above. Worked great.

    Bought some car parts online, totaling $250USD. COD fee was $90. Called UPS and asked for the commercial invoice to be emailed to me. Didn’t say anything about self clearing so the phone conversation took less than 2 minutes. Received the commercial invoice within 5 minutes. Took said invoice to the CBSA office (in person) and requested to self clear a package. Received the self-clearance receipt (the B15) within 10 minutes after having paid $24 GST on the items. I didn’t have to provide anything other than the commercial invoice (which has all the shipping and tracking info on it).

    When I called UPS to confirm my intent to self-clear was when they got confused. The person on the phone had no idea what I was trying to do. Instead of calling again and hoping to get someone who I could actually understand on the phone, I just went to the UPS warehouse. I presented my B15 to the UPS worker, who simply asked ‘does this waive the COD fee?’. To which I responded ‘yes, it does’.

    Walked out the door with the package and a spring in my step.

  • Richard Chute

    The UPS – string has been very informative and thanks to all who participated.
    I learned that the brokerage fees charged by UPS depend on the service provided. On a $700 US purchase – World wide Express Saver quoted shipping is $50.07 Ground $9.08. However based on the value of the package being sent the total cost including HST, brokerage and shipping ( NO DUTY) for the Saver is $178.24 of which brokerage fees is $10 and for Ground $209 of which brokerage is $82.05.
    So I will try the Saver and see what happens.

  • CanukistanSux

    I learned my lesson to avoid UPS long ago, if a shipment is sent by UPS, I will simply get my item somewhere else…

    However, yesterday I tried ordering from, an American seller; I looked everywhere for shipping method/company, it was no-where to be found… The shipping price seemed low enough to be USPS, so I ordered… Ooops, tracking notice etc in UPS. Package doesn’t appear to have actually shipped yet, so I’ll be attempting to cancel/change shipping method, otherwise I just won’t accept package…

    Bloody crooks, UPS…

    Is what you ordered absolutely necessary ‘now’? IF not, and it’s UPS return to sender/unopened/refuse…

  • Dalmazio

    In case anyone (or your local CBSA office or courier warehouse) needs the website which substantiates this information, here it is, under the section entitled “Accounting for your own shipment”

    Courier Low Value Shipment Program
    Importing goods for personal use

  • David

    CBSA play dumb when I go to their offices as if they’ve never heard of self clearance, they then send you to various offices and claim you need various forms. They’re crooks and are obviously in cahoots with UPS.

    This is after UPS said they forwarded my details to CBSA and CBSA failed to get back within the 24 hour period twice, so days later I’m still trying to clear my package. They really are scumbag criminals.


    We left 2 items at a family member’s home in Vermont. He mailed them to us using UPS and placed a value of $20 on it. We were charged more than half that – $12.71 for brokerage fees.

    Is UPS allowed to charge this for used items that are “Canadian Goods Returned?” We did not order anything. We just had an old jacket and a binder with some photocopies returned.

    They are Canadian goods with a value of $20 Canadian, but UPS converted this $20 amount to Canadian dollars and charged even more.

  • Andrew

    ^ Hey David… they are called government employees…

    Having my go at shipping soon and we’ll see how it all goes.

  • Seratone

    I truly admire the lengths people here have gone through to do what’s right. I worked with a contractor who was part of developing Fed EX’s version of the brokerage fee scam. I know it’s deliberate, and they they do everything it their power to incur as much administrative overhead as possible so people will just give up.

    I buy a lot of musical gear, often from the USA (often the item I’m looking for is simply not available in Canada) – quite often off Ebay. If the seller won’t honor using USPS and Canada Post I won’t buy from them. It’s as simple as that. At some point you have to abdicate and ask “How much is my time worth?” – also, when buying Musical gear (as with anything else really) there is some excitement waiting for your package to arrive. Spending hours in lines up and driving to CBSA offices isn’t something I want to sully my purchasing experience with. I notice some of these posts as well as those on Ron’s Blog are rife with anger and emotion. Life is too short for that crap….

  • Dara

    Upthread someone noted that they didn’t think DHL charges exorbitant “administration” fees to clear international parcels. They DO. Yesterday I received in Toronto a parcel valued at $155 CAD from England. Small clothing items from Marks & Spencer’s. To this amount was takes on almost $66 CAD in duties (17% duty they noted plus HST and a $14.25 DHL admin fee). I can’t figure out how they arrived at $66 but whatever it is about 43% of the total value of my parcel.

    I am going to find out what delivery service amazon uk and John Lewis use so I can notify those couriers in advance to have my parcel sent to the CBSA for my clearing.

    I won’t deal with couriers for international deliveries ever again.

  • tom kang

    i need your help.
    i bought a phone from shop blackberry canada and i decided to return it after 1 week of received. Good thing is that they have 30 days money back guaranteed program. So I called in to blackberry canada and followed instructions. After, I shipped by UPS with paid for my return shipping, when I check my tracking number, it says such like “awaiting for clearing agency review/ and released by a clearing agency” even they delayed one more day of shipping. And Yesterday it says” the receiver doesn’t accept C.O.D.s and refused the delivery./ we’ll contact the sender or receiver about this delivery”
    and today i received a call from ups and saying need to pay $32.**. but receiver does not want to pay that or I have to pay, even I told her its return shipping of my purchase.
    And I called blackberry canada and told them about this and they said they will investigate on this.

    Is this like UPS scam??
    What should I do and how Should I do….I need your help. PLZ..

  • Rita


    I ordered a jacket for my husband from Italy to US. I got a UPS slip saying that package required a COD of about $250. My husband had a bank check cut as requested and brought to the UPS facility to pick up the package but the worker that have it to him said that there was nothing due. At home we realized that the jacket was the wrong one and returned it via UPS the next day. Weeks later I start getting the $250 bill for customs. I don’t have the package! I sent it back. I called UPS and told them that. I even gave them the tracking # for the return. They’re still demanding payments due keep sending me bills with late fees. What do I do?

  • L. Young

    I have never been so furious as I when I received my $25 human hair wefts, and had to pay $22 in duty! So, to get even with these greedy people, I wrote a check, and as soon as the delivery man left, I called my bank and had the check payment stopped. I also wrote a letter to the courier and the customs office, to let them know why I had stopped payment on the check. I haven’t had this happen since, and I still order from China and tell the seller to put “Human Hair” on the documents. I found out that most of the time the customs people don’t even open the packages, they just go by what is written on the documents.

  • Rob

    I just got a $56 bill for a $117 product I bought out of the USA. I received the product last month, so I can’t even refuse delivery now because the bill just was received in the mail today. Do I have any options here? I’m assuming I can’t self clear the item anymore? 6 kids t-shirts shouldn’t cost so much for shipping

  • Emma Goldman

    Whoops – I forgot to look them up under their business name, which IS listed — I take it back!
    In the meantime, since I ordered my high-value item for my business, I am going ahead with obtaining an import/export number and clearing it myself which I can do apparently as a commercial shipment. Still horrid paperwork though…

  • Marc

    For anyone in a border city… I live in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario and there is a trucking company on the American side that allows deliveries to be made to their address for pickup. You can then drive across or get someone to drive across and pick up your package and clear it yourself as you normally would when going across the border.

    I used to work for a local delivery company and at that time they would do cross border pickups for a small fee of course + border tolls/taxes.

    They would cleay the item for you… no brokerage fees.

    If there is a Mailboxes Etc. outlet in your cross border city you might be able to ship to their office in the US. You’ll need to ship it in the name of the person who is picking it up as ID is required.

    Then you or the person picking it up can clear it at customs.

    I have not tried Mailboxes Etc. personally so please do some investigating.

    The trucking company said I just needed to first notify them of my intent to use their address so that they were aware of it’s expected arrival and that when the order was made tell the shipper to ship to “Your Name” CO/ “Shipping Company Name”

    Hope this helps anyone out there that may be having UPS issues.

  • Dave

    UPS wanted cod 75 bucks for taxes and bokerage fees on a 55 dollar item i bought that had 50 bucks shipping charges as well… and i was like WHAAAAAT?!

    UPS cannot collect brokerage fees/ the COD if you have cleared it yourself. They just submit the paperwork back of payment to the cbsa as proof of cleared purchase. So here is what i did and it worked…

    So Step 1 was i refused delivery and requested to hold until i return, they said they could hold it for 5 days.

    Step 2, I went to CBSA… There is one at my local international airport….i had my invoice, my gst number, some ID, the UPS tracking number and the B3 form filled out (not as completely as i thought but close)..

    in order to fill out a B3 form you must have a RB business number not just an RT…. however they informed me if its only a few items they can enter into the computer there on a B15-C form. They did it and i paid the tax….a whopping $3.86

    took my reciept and presented it to UPS as the goods were self cleared, they took a copy of it and handed me my package and said have a good day.

    Easy peasy lemon squeezy

  • Kevin

    Since posts are still being made..

    The first time I tried to self-clear a UPS shipment (I’m in Calgary), they told me if I wanted to self-clear, I would need to do it at the Port of Entry, Richmond, BC.. This was last summer.

    That was a fun adventure..

    Little more experienced now.. Also discovered, depending on the CBSA agent working, if you can do the paperwork after the shipment is local, or just somewhere in this country.

  • Samuel Adm

    This is outrageous. This company is a complete SCAM!
    I will not use them ever again and I know 2 big manifacturies that uses them ( my uncle and his partner ) and I will definitely make phone calls and block business with them. I rather support the couriers than these ass wipes.



    1) 12.07.2016 UPS attempts to deliver my parcel and since I wasn’t home that day the delivery man left a notice. On that notice UPS claims $CAD182.14 for brokerage customs taxes and duties and so on.
    2)I called UPS customer service to ask if I could clear customs and duties by myself. I received all the documentation regarding that matter.
    3) I went to the nearst CBSA office located in Montréal to clear the duties and taxes then I went to UPS head office in Montreal located in Lachine to hand the papers to the clerk at the reception dock. They told me that my package will be delivered the following day free of charge.

    4) 13.07.2016 : The following morning I called UPS again at 8:45 am to confirm that my package will be delivered without any charges. been told : YES SIR IT WILL.
    The delivery man showed up a 2nd time and insisted that I pay $CAD182.14. I tried to explain him my story and in the meanwhile he nodded and left.
    5) I called UPS again to know what was going on and that I wanted to filed a complaint. I was told that they’ll call me back within 1 hour. No one never did call me back that day.
    6) I faxed all the documents and filed a complaint via USPhelp E-mail.
    7) No one e-mailed me back
    8) I am afraid my parcel will be return to sender yet I’ve paid the duties and taxes for an item I’ll never be able to see. Outrageous. I consider this as a scam.

  • Scott

    I am being told by fedex that they will not allow self clearance on packages unless they are Toronto bound. They say that packages are cleared in the U.S. and therefore I MUST use fedex trade networks to clear the packages. They implied if CBSA knew it was fedex ground, and not some other fedex ship method that they would agree.

    My last two packages via UPS I have cleared myself without issue. So thanks for these guidelines

  • Kristen

    UPS is wanting $15 in brokerage fees on a package valued at $10 that I ordered with a coupon that made the package free. These contents are product samples made in the United States and, to my knowledge, are covered under NAFTA. UPS’s fee is 150% of the original (before coupon) value of my package. No thanks UPS, return to sender.

    Thanks Trueler for the article. I will definitely be self-clearing my parcels from now on!

  • Richard Kwan

    I made a shipment back to Vancouver from San Francisco using Fedex, I specifically written on the waybill that, as goods to follow, I have to clear custom myself. When the delivery guy ring my bell, I’m not at home and told them I have to clear custom myself, and the guy told me it was cleared already, and there is no custom entry fee to pay. When the finally deliver to me, I ask the guy again, and the answer is no. Six weeks later, today I receive an invoice for C$50.75 + tax brokerage fee …

    I’m going to dispute it with them but since it’s already six week, chances of a easy solution is slim, and I prepare to pick it up with BBB (better business bureau) in case it fail.

    BTW, I found they now put this in their waybill, which can be a trap to those who ship goods themselves, the term read “Fedex International Ground shipment will be cleared buy our in-house broker,. The shipper is responsible for clearance entry fees.”… and they didn’t collect it, give you and estimate, or tell you on the spot when you ship. I actually ask the girl about this issue and she said it’s Canadian side business, she don’t know, but I she didn’t aware that I, as shipper, has to pay anything except the shipping charge.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Follow us on Twitter:

If you think that helped you to save money, please consider some donation to support publishing and presence of this website in the Internet. Recently we experienced serious DDoS attack which took us down for several days...