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

These instructions are the final conclusion to the post

UPS/FedEx Brokerage Fees – avoid scam

and are right for you if:

  • You ordered some goods from US into Canada by UPS and they are on the way
  • Going to import some goods from US into Canada by UPS
  • Already received your package and did not pay anything to the driver. It means that UPS will send you brokerage fees invoice several weeks/months later, or send information right to collection agency
  • Driver showed you collect-on-delivery (C.O.D.) invoice which was ~half of the item’s price and you refused to pay at the door

There are two conditions necessary for the procedure of self clearance at Canada customs:

  • Your shipment’s value for duty is less than $1600 CAD
  • You have one of the local CBSA (Canada customs) offices nearby. You may find the list of offices across Canada here: Directory of CBSA Offices where Courier Low Value Shipments Program clearances are performed.

Here is the procedure of self clearing (confirmed by CBSA main office and proven many times in practice):

  • Wait while your package comes to the local UPS warehouse (where you live). You will see status in the shipment’s tracking information on UPS website. If you don’t track, so just wait for the first delivery attempt and refuse to pay at the door
  • Call UPS at toll free number 1-800-742-5877, press “3” to be connected to the billing department (or other prompt by the system), and ask customer service representative to send you shipment’s invoice. Some of the representatives call it commercial invoice. Just ask for “commercial invoice” associated with your tracking number. They can send it by e-mail or fax. Please make sure they got your address correctly – ask to spell it back. They will send it right away in .zip archive to your e-mail. Shipment’s invoice has the Unique Shipment Identifier Number needed by CBSA as well. This is how it looks like (click on image to enlarge):

UPS Shipment/Commercial Invoice

  • Find out what is the address of your local UPS warehouse where your package is being held. Call and ask UPS if you can’t figure out. CBSA may ask for this information during self clear. For GTA (if you see “Concord” in the tracking information) the address as of Nov. 2010 is:

UPS Center

2900 Steels ave. W,

Concord, ON, L4K 3S2

phone: 800-742-5877

  • Take your shipment’s invoice, address of UPS warehouse, money to pay taxes and photo ID to the nearest CBSA office. Please take the reply from main CBSA office with instructions about self clear process for the case if officers in your local office are not aware with the proper procedure. You may find their reply at UPS/FedEx Brokerage Fees – avoid scam – section almost at the bottom of the post, just between solid grey lines. Last time I visited CBSA office in Brampton at the following address:

CBSA Brampton: office 480

197 Country Court Blvd.,

Brampton, ON, L6W 4P3

office hours: 8:30 – 16:30, Mon – Fri

!! – recently address has been changed to:

5425 Dixie Rd.

  • Present your shipment’s invoice to customs officer and he will do clearance for you. After paying applicable taxes and duties to the cashier you will be provided with CBSA B15 form – Casual Goods Accounting Document, which confirms that you paid all the taxes to Canada customs. B15 form looks like this:

CBSA B15 Casual Goods Accounting Document

  • Call UPS and ask how to provide them with B15 form (proof that you paid taxes) in order to waive brokerage fee invoice. They will give you fax number. Please make sure that you put your tracking number of the cover page. As of Nov 2010 CBSA B15 form should be sent here:

UPS Brokerage Department

fax number: 1-770-990-1724

  • After that UPS Brokerage Department should process your B15 form and waive C.O.D. charges. It may take 1-5 days. You may also try to speed up the process by calling UPS and informing them that you already paid taxes to CBSA and sent receipt to the brokerage department. Ask UPS to schedule delivery.

You are done!

I have not done it with FedEx or other couriers, but procedure should be very similar.

459 thoughts on “How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee”

  1. Hi Ben,
    UPS guy misinformed you if you have not implicitly agreed to clear it by UPS on your behalf. You still can clear it yourself. Please follow instructions.
    Thanks,
    Trueler

  2. Hey i just refused the package at the door and told them i would self clear the package. Then the UPS guy said because its already cleared I would have to pay the brokerage? I sent the package back to their warehouse for now. Please HELP

  3. Hello,

    This is my recent experience with FedEx, hope it helps.

    My package from Sweden was shipped with FedEx International Economy and after 2 days in transit, I received a voicemail from FedEx notifying me of a duties/taxes charge of $20.66. My package valued at $72, so clearly brokerage fees were levied, which was surprising as I thought brokerage fees are inclusive when you ship with FedEx International Economy or the other faster methods.

    I called the 1-800-GoFedEx number to inquire how much of the $20.66 is duties/taxes and how much is brokerage. The representative, although courteous, was useless to say the least. I was transferred to a representative in Canada for further assistance after expressing my desire for self clearance.

    Steve, the Canadian rep., told me of the $20.66, $9.36 are taxes and $11.30 are brokerage fees. After telling Steve I’d like to self clear the package, he proceeded to marking my package as self clearance and explained the next steps. As he didn’t have the commercial invoice, which was not ready at the time since the package was still in transit, he said someone from their customs clearance department (or something like that) would be in contact with me once the package arrives in Canada and if I don’t hear anything within 2 days, just call them back.

    The following day, FedEx left another voicemail notifying me that they received my request for self clearance and that I should contact 1-844-248-1049 (M-F, 0800-1630) for more information and instructions. I called on Monday, chose Option 1 for something like customs/taxes/duties/ inquiries, Heather, the representative, said when the package arrives into Canada, they will have the commercial invoice ready for me to bring to CBSA office to pay the taxes, then bring the B15 form (taxes/duties payment receipt) to the warehouse where the package would be held to pick it up. She took down my email address to send the invoice to.

    Almost immediately after I ended the call with Heather, Dana, a representative from the same department called me to give me the same information and instructions. I guess they must have had Dana assigned to my package. Luckily she called because my email address failed to save into the system, perhaps it hadn’t gone through yet since Dana called right after I ended my previous call. Anyway, she said she will send me the commercial invoice the following morning when it touches down onto Canadian soil.

    As promised, Dana sent me the commercial invoice along with direction to the CBSA office at YYZ. I went into the office with the invoice and ID, paid the $9.36 in taxes and got my B15 form. The customs officer was actually confused at first since he was expecting a different invoice, but he came to realize that my package was already cleared by FedEx and all I needed was to pay the taxes and the B15 form. Then I drove to FedEx Don Mills warehouse (tracking showed my package was held at here and must be picked up within 5 business days), showed them my ID, gave them the form, they made a copy, and released the package to me. If I am not mistaken, the B15 allows FedEx/UPS/whatever couriers to get the taxes/duties they paid on our unbeknownst behalf back from CBSA. So if UPS ever tells you you can’t self clear the package once it’s in Canada because they’ve already cleared the package and paid taxes/duties on the it for you, it’s horsesh*t.

    Unlike UPS, FedEx seems to accommodate clients better. When I went through this with UPS, they kept giving me a run-around regardless of how nice and patient I was. However, FedEx was quick to respond to my request and provided me with everything that I need along with instructions. My tip to everyone is just to be patient and courteous to whoever answers your calls, maybe not UPS as you may need to be firm.

    Just remember to read ALL of Trueler’s helpful post and that you have a legal right to self clearance of shipments. You do NOT need to go to Windsor to self clear your package with UPS. Read the comments, there are many who’ve posted their experience when they went through this process with UPS, myself included. Good luck!

  4. Hi B,

    You should be able to self-clear the package yourself in GTA. It’s incorrect information from UPS that you must go to the port of entry in order to do so. They are telling it to everyone…

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  5. Hi Trueler,

    I have a package delivering from US that has been confiscated at the Windsor, ON port. I discovered it was confiscated because the shipper did not write the correct value of the package. I realize this is because I specifically asked about shipping and custom costs when I first inquired about purchasing the products (wooden furniture), and he assured me there would be no custom and duty charges so that I would be sold on the products.

    Anyway, I have been told by UPS to go back to the shipper and ask him to send the correct invoice to imagingfredricton@ups.com. I have done that and am waiting for this new invoice to be processed.

    In the meantime, I was told that to self-clear this package, I must go directly to the Windsor, ON port in person to do so. Otherwise, I have no choice but to let UPS clear the package on my behalf. Is this correct?

    I am in the GTA so I prefer not having to drive all the way to Windsor to clear my items. I am wondering if I allow for UPS to clear the items for me, am I committed to the brokerage fee? Am I still able to refuse the package at the door and self-clear the products?

    Thank you

  6. Would like to inform you all of an email address that you can send your B-15 form to instead of faxing it in.

    UPS Canada Brokerage: imagingfredericton@ups.com

    I got a confirmation email that mine had been received and that, “This is an incoming e-mail service only; no response will be generated”

  7. We recently purchased an item from the U.S. We didn’t get a choice of courier to deliver the product and we are not aware of the brokerage fees. The shipper used UPS. The slip from UPS indicated COD charge $90.00. We called UPS and tried to negotiate a lower fee as over half of the $90 was their brokerage fee. They indicated that’s a set price and they would not budge. The item cost $150 usd. We read this website and followed the instructions and paid only $25 to have the item self-cleared. Thank you for your instructions above, they are perfect and worked! Just an FYI – there is no CBSA office in Kitchener, we had to go to the office at the Breslau airport. They were very friendly and helpful and it was worth the drive and we still saved money. If UPS monitors these posts, you should know, we would have paid a reasonable price to have you take care of the paperwork but you were not willing to negotiate and half the price of the shipped item is ridiculous.

  8. I received a package via DHL which is currently being held at a local DHL facility in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I live.

    I called DHL and told them I wanted to self-clear the package, but they said you cant do that once delivery attempts have been made.

    They said if I want to self clear I would have to go to Hamilton, Ontario.

    I dont know if they are being truthful

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