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.

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

  • saz

    Hi Trueler,

    Just called UPS to ask them for the invoice and shipping # and I am told there is no need to self clear as the shipper takes care of everything. I confirmed with the person on the other line if I should be expecting an invoice in the mail and replied in the -ve. She said shipper takes care of everything.

    So I guess I don’t have to CBSA and self clear my package. :)

    Thanks for all your help,

    Saz

  • Trueler

    Hi Saz,

    You are welcome. It is good for you :)

    Just one more advice. When you receive your package, just ask them to confirm that you don’t have to pay anything. Send them a message through contact form (on UPS website), so you will have written reply with confirmation that you don’t owe anything. There are some cases when people do not receive invoices from UPS, but receive a notice from collection agency half a year later that brokerage fees owed.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • JoeS

    Why would one need id at the CBSA office?
    It shouldn’t matter who pays the tax and duty
    so long as its paid,right.
    Then produce the proof to UPS that payment was made.

  • Trueler

    Hi JoeS,

    It is because personal shipments can only be cleared by importer or broker. ID proves that you are importer.

  • BDub

    Hi Trueler,

    Thanks for your time and effort in creating this INVALUABLE resource. God knows how many times I’ve been screwed by UPS in the past with their outrageous brokerage fees.

    I’m contacting you now because of their latest “scam” against my girlfriend and I, and I have two questions at the end. I just thought I’d fill you in with the story first:

    Three weeks ago, my girlfriend took a trip to NYC (we live in Toronto), and she purchased a jacket for me as a gift. When she crossed the border, she did declare the jacket along with all her other purchases. We never try to lie or cheat to customs, as we have heard too many horror stories.

    When she presented the gift to me, we found that the size was a bit too big, and I tried on a smaller size at a local store with the same jacket and it fit better. The store owner in NYC was kind enough to do a size exchange for us as long as we paid for shipping back and forth. I was not doing the contact with the store owner – my girlfriend was. She did not think to ask what shipping method they would ship by, and they ended up sending via UPS Ground.

    Several days later, I received a knock on the door, and this $280USD jacket arrived with a $60 brokerage fee on it plus $37 for HST, totally $97. This is nuts, especially for a jacket that’s already crossed the border twice (this would be the third time.)

    Lots of arguing with UPS over this issue across twenty some-odd calls, but UPS was finally “willing” to negate the $37 HST since this item is technically a “warranty exchange item”, and shouldn’t have sales tax applied to it again, but they ended up charging me an additional $15 for a ridiculous “re-write fee” as a re-declaration of the shipment, and they would not budge on the brokerage fee. That comes to a savings of $22, but I was still not satisfied with having to pay $75 for something that I can clear myself (thanks to your helpful blog.)

    So… I’m going through the process and collecting data now, however, I’m stumped on the “Unique Shipment Identifier Number”. What is this number, and what does it look like? I have a copy of both the Commercial Invoice, as well as the sales return/exchange receipt, and I don’t think there is any such Unique Shipment Identifier Number located anywhere.

    There are fields listed for “Bill of Lading / Air Waybill No.”, “Invoice Number”, and “Purchase Order No.”, but those are not filled in.

    When I asked UPS what the “Unique Shipment Identifier Number” was, they just kept telling me to use the tracking number. Would that be okay?

    Secondly, this shipment was sent to my girlfriend’s name, but we share the same address. Would this be an issue when I go in to the CBSA to make payment and collect the B15? My photo ID has the same address… just the name is different.

    Thanks again for all your help, Trueler. You are a saviour! Nothing beats sticking it to the man!

    -Brian

  • BDub

    Hi Trueler,

    As a follow up on my above story, I called back to UPS shortly after typing the above comment, and tried asking for the Shipment ID Number again.

    At first, the rep had no idea what I was referring to when I specifically asked for “the Unique Shipment Identifier Number.” However, when I said “I need the Shipment ID Number… it’s an internal number that UPS uses that’s different from the tracking number”, that’s when he knew what I referred to and was a bit more compliant.

    At first, he politely asked “may I ask what you need this for?”
    I truthfully responded “I’m going to self-clear my shipment through customs”.
    He then put me on hold, and when he came back, he politely provided me with the number.

    It looks like that’s all I need to go forward with clearing this with the CBSA office in Brampton.

    I’m just worried because my girlfriend’s name is on the shipment, but my photo ID’s address matches the shipment. Unfortunately, I’m in a bit of a rush because it will be 5 days as of this coming Thursday, so I need to give a shot at this anyways. I’ll report back what my experience was.

    Do you know how long it generally takes for the brokerage invoice to be waived once I’ve faxed in the completed B15?

    Thanks again,
    Brian

  • Trueler

    Hi Brian,

    In order to get the “Unique Shipment Identifier Number” you may create an account at UPS website and login. When you put in your tracking number you will see one or more numbers in the “Reference Number(s):” section. One of them should be “Unique Shipment Identifier Number”. It is usually a combination of 11 digits and letters. You may print this page.

    If commercial invoice has specification of goods, you are good to go. Take a note of UPS warehouse address in Toronto, CBSA may ask for this as well.

    I don’t have an answer to your second question, if you can clear package for your girlfriend. Since it is the same address on your photo ID, it may work. But I can’t guarantee. Sorry about this.

    I don’t understand why you should pay anything. Jacket already crossed border with your girlfriend. She paid taxes or it was in the personal amount limit. You do not have to pay taxes twice. The only reason of going to CBSA is to get a confirmation (B15 form) that all the applicable duties and taxes paid. So you will need to present them with return/exchange receipt.

    The thing that UPS still tries to charge brokerage fee + “re-write” fee is very strange. Brokerage services are used to pay taxes to Canada Customs on behalf of importers (accounting process). You do not have to pay taxes in this case, so no brokerage fees should be applied. For example, when you receive a gift sent with UPS, you do not pay brokerage fee.

    I think it is worth trying to call UPS one more time and tell that it was exchange and accounting for the package is not required. It is just exchange, you did not buy anything. You already paid for delivery. Why you should pay for some services that you did not requested? Tell them about it. Ask for supervisor and explain.

    Let me know if it was helpful.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Hi Brian,

    This is for your second message.

    It is good that UPS provided you with Shipment’s ID.

    When you fax B15 back to UPS brokerage department, you may call them and notify about it, so they will act faster. At the same time you may ask when invoice will be waived. I think it should not take more than a day, probably several hours. They can redirect you to the brokerage department who receives the fax.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • BDub

    Hi Trueler,

    Thank you for your responses.

    CBSA did ask me if I knew where the shipment was being held, although, they did not write that down anywhere on the B15.

    I was fully successful in getting the item cleared at Brampton CBSA. They said that they could not assess a shipment with a value of “$0″, despite this being an exchange, but the officer I dealt with did me a supposed favor by re-declaring the jacket value to just $100, given the situation with it being an exchange. This meant I would just pay $13 HST on it. Their justification was that because my girlfriend did not have to pay anything on the initial import (she was waived, despite being over her exemption limit), that this was “better than paying the $97 that UPS wants.” I don’t really see the justification in that, but they have a point there – I would rather pay them the $13 HST and 110km worth of travel across the 407 than to pay UPS another penny.

    I’m fine with that and have no real complaints, although, I think that in a proper technical sense, I still shouldn’t have to pay anything to the CBSA as this was still a warranty exchange, as I’ve never had to pay anything to the CBSA in the past for exchanges.

    At this point, I just want this to be over with, without having to pay an exorbitant amount to UPS, so I will settle with $13.

    I’m glad that I am not the only one in thinking that UPS charging me such excessive brokerage fees on an exchange item is ridiculous. You are right, their job as the broker, is to collect on behalf of CBSA. Their job is also to do the paperwork to file importations through the CBSA, but I still can not see the justification of charging $60 to broker an exchange item that has already cleared customs and technically, no money needs to be collected on behalf of the CBSA. It’s quite ridiculous, and the brokerage representatives that I spoke to on the phone somehow tried to justify the charge by saying “it still costs money to file the paperwork to the CBSA.” I suppose the $60 they’re charging still costs me less than the 1.5 hours it took me to drive to the CBSA, the 110km (round trip) I’ll have to pay to 407 ETR, plus gas, plus wear & tear on my vehicle… but that doesn’t make it right either.

    The “re-write fee” is even stupider, and it almost makes me boil with rage. They’re the ones who decided to not declare the shipment as a warranty replacement, why do I need to pay for their stupidity? Most humans, if they read “item exchange” on the commercial invoice, would that not equate to “warranty replacement?” Instead, they tell me that because it was not specifically written as “warranty replacement”, they would not honor it as such. Absolutely ridiculous.

    As a correction to your statement:
    “For example, when you receive a gift sent with UPS, you do not pay brokerage fee.”

    This is incorrect. When you receive a gift, you DO pay taxes, and as such, brokerage fees would be levied. Exemptions ONLY occur if the value is BELOW $60, and the package is declared as a gift. Likewise, if the package is declared as $20 or less (doesn’t matter if it’s declared as a gift or not), then it will be auto exempt from taxes and fees as well. It doesn’t seem to be worth it to do the paperwork to collect $1 in GST in that case.

    But I digress…

    Following your steps to give UPS a call to find out where to fax the B15, I just spoke to “Mary” in the brokerage department, December 6th, 17:44 EST, who told me that I can not clear personal shipments the way that I want to do it, and that in order to do so, the shipment would have to be sent BACK to Fort Erie, where I would then need to present myself to pick it up.

    I argued with her, saying that the CBSA officer stated that I am allowed to self clear my personal shipments and pay any duty/taxes owing at an office other than where the goods are being held, and that refusing me to do otherwise would be illegal.

    She then requested to put me on hold while she figured this out, and she was gone for about… 10 minutes. When she came back, she said that I could try the following which *may* work, but without any guarantee from her. She said she would have to put in the request to transfer the shipment back to Fort Erie, and in the meantime, I could fax my B15 to the Fort Erie brokerage at 1-905-994-5368 and we would have to wait to hear back from Fort Erie.

    What is in Fort Erie? I’m totally confused as to why it has to go back to Fort Erie. Why does it need to go back there?

    They must be making this confusing on purpose, just to dismay anybody who wants to attempt this magical method of self-clearance…

    What can I do at this point?

    Regards,
    Brian

  • BDub

    Okay, I just called UPS again to get clarification on the Fort Erie issue.

    First off, back to my previous message, I got the brokerage specialists name wrong. It is “Anne”, not “Mary.”

    I just spoke to “Sonia”, call ending Dec 7, 2010, 18:42 EST, who said that because the original port of entry is Fort Erie, once we get this “clear zone” (self clearing), then I would have to pick up the package at Fort Erie, as UPS would not longer carry the shipment to their warehouse in Concorde.

    She also gave me a different fax number to send the B15 to, which is the brokerage group in Fredericton, NB – this number matches the numbers posted elsewhere on your blog: 1-770-990-1722.

    I told to her that the CBSA officer stated that I was allowed to clear shipments at an office other than where the goods are being held, and she said I was correct with that, but that UPS would HAVE to send the shipment back to the port of entry (Fort Erie, in this case) to release the shipment to me in person.

    She also began to refer to separate “clearing papers”, that would indicate the shipment could then be turned over to UPS, but that would have to be taken care of internally with the CBSA.

    I’m not sure where to go from this point. I feel like I’m stonewalled on this.

    -Brian

  • Trueler

    Hi Brian,

    UPS should not send your package to Fort Erie! It is a total lie from them. You already paid taxes and have confirmation – B15 form. Send it by fax to the brokerage department and call UPS and ask them to waive brokerage fee and schedule delivery to your home. Again they should not send package to Fort Erie, don’t allow them to do so. Ask for supervisor, don’t hang up until they do what you need. If they do send it back – call CBSA and complain that you paid taxes, provided proof to UPS, but they do not release shipment to you.

    I hope this will help.

    Thanks for update.

    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Regarding gifts…

    If it is really a gift, so in most of the cases you won’t be required to pay taxes and brokerage fees in spite of the insurance value which sender provides to UPS when shipping. This is usually applied to shipments sent from residential addresses.

    If it is a “gift” (marked as a “gift” by some US store), so it may be taxed and brokerage fee applied according to any of the UPS instructions, or taxes and fees may be waived if the value is below some allowance. However it is illegal, and customs officers can inspect any package when it crosses Canadian border and re-qualify it at least.

  • BDub

    Just wanted to post an update:
    Yesterday morning, I’d had my girlfriend fax the completed B15 form to UPS Brokerage in Fredericton. I called them 45 minutes later to see if it had been received, but was notified I should wait approximately 24 hours for any changes to appear in the system, which I was fine with.

    When I got home late last night, I checked the tracking again, only to find this status:

    “RECEIVER STATED THEY DID NOT ORDER AND REFUSED THIS DELIVERY / UNDELIVERABLE INTERNATIONAL SHIPMENT. UPS IS OBTAINING FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS OR APPROVAL FOR RETURN SHIPMENT.”

    At no point, did I refuse the shipment, so I tried calling UPS right away, but the Canadian offices had already closed for the day.

    This morning, at 9am, I gave them a call again, and I spoke to Kathy, who explained the status as due to the representatives having limited possibilities on what they can change status’ too. As such, they may not accurately represent exact progress.

    In any case, she did confirm that notes stated my fax had been received, indicating that I’d cleared the package myself, she agreed that I should not have to pay any brokerage fees if I’ve self cleared it, and that she would be putting in a request to stop any movement of the package back to the port of entry.

    While was not clear on whether the brokerage fees had been waived and sort of dodged the question a couple of times, she stated that she’d also scheduled the package to be re-delivered to the original delivery address with a request to confirm that brokerage fees are to be waived.

    We’re almost there… the light is at the end of the tunnel. Let’s see how this goes…

    Brian

  • Trueler

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks a lot for detailed update! I really hope they just deliver the package to you without any fees.

  • BDub

    Just another update, I waited it out to see if the delivery would really be re-scheduled to me and what would happen… and it made it at 6pm EST tonight.

    The driver rang the doorbell and said there was a COD of $97.17. The original amount that was owed.

    I told him “there shouldn’t be any C.O.D. remaining, as I’ve already cleared the package through customs and paid the taxes on it.”

    He made a call to the UPS brokerage department, and after a couple minutes of waiting for them to get back to him, they finally responded to him with some kind of an authorization number that he wrote on to his copy, tore off the second copy to give to me and handed me the package. End of story.

    So far so good. Hopefully an invoice doesn’t show up on my doorstep a couple months from now…

  • Trueler

    Hi Brian,

    Thanks for keeping us in loop and for sharing experience. I’m sorry for the hassle you experienced.

    Best Regards,
    Trueler

  • Sumit

    Hi Trueler,

    I have received a package at a UPS store in lewiston, NY through Amazon.com. Due to some reason i cannot drive and pick that up.
    Now the UPS store in lewiston is ready to ship it with if i can give them my credit card information and they said that i will have to pay the brokerage fee which will be $90 as it is a plasma TV.
    Can you suggest if I should deny the brokerage option before shipping and if they will let me do that. or i just let them ship and use the process as advised above.

    thanks

  • Trueler

    Hi Sumit,

    It is up to you. If Brampton CBSA office is close to you, it is definitely worth self-clearing. Ask UPS to ship it to the Toronto warehouse and tell that you will do self-clearance in Brampton office, so UPS won’t need your credit card. Ask UPS for shipment’s invoice and shipment ID number when ready. Tell UPS that CBSA does allow self-clearance in a local office. I’m referring to the Brampton office, because I successfully did self-clearance there and other people reported successful cases as well.

    If CBSA office is far from your place and you would like to avoid any kind of hassle, maybe it is worth to pay $90 of brokerage. Does it include taxes? There may be other fees as well: ask UPS for exact amount they are going to charge and ask for detailed invoice, if you decide to go this way.

    Let us know your decision.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Mike

    Is it possible to do the CBSA work via fax or email? I am 150 km from the nearest LVS office.

  • Trueler

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your question.

    Please call directly to CBSA in order to figure out if paperwork can be done via fax or e-mail.

    Toll-free CBSA telephone number (English): 1-800-461-9999

    Because the brokerage fees are unregulated, and you have a right to self clear, and the needed time and effort to put your rights into practice are not feasible (driving 300 km), CBSA will probably make a concession.

    BTW, where are you located?

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • jim

    I went to the 197 county court cbsa office, cbsa at this office have no clue how i can clear my ups shipment myself, they only do importers/commercial forms not form 15. I told them my ups shipment was held in concord and wanted to clear it in brampton. I showed them the shipment invoice that was declared by the shipper that ups emailed me they said you will need to get the manifest from ups which has the information where the package is held and what canada customs wrote down in the inspection. They also won’t clear the package at the brampton office they said I had to go to the toronto airport to clear it because they thought it was from air when I told them it was ground service and that they only do commercial clearances at this office not personal that I am requesting and that I need to get the manifest from ups. It’s very odd at the beginning cbsa wanted to deal with me but when I didn’t have the manifest and showed them the shipment invoice from the shipper they told me to go somewhere else.

  • Trueler

    Hi Jim,

    We know that several people (including myself) already successfully cleared shipments in Brampton office with shipment’s invoice.

    Yes, they asked for manifest myself as well, but when I showed instructions how to self clear – they just cleared my items with shipment’s invoice. Did you show them instructions?

    You already know where the package is being held and what Canada customs wrote down in the inspection – it has been released by customs and it is in Concord.

    Probably there was a new customs officer, so he was not aware of the proper procedures.

    Please call directly to CBSA, so they will investigate what happened. Give them the names of the officers who refused to self clear in Brampton. They should help.

    Toll-free CBSA telephone number (English): 1-800-461-9999

    Thanks!
    Trueler

  • jim

    I went to the 197 county court bld for a second attempt with failure as a second
    attempt. Again a different officer gave me the same information as the previous
    time I went. He said you have to have the MANIFEST and even if you do get the
    manifest he said this office only does FEDEX shipments and not UPS ironically.
    I asked the man where I should go like the last time and if it’s at the same place
    as where the item is held in Concord and he didn’t know the answer where I was supposed
    to go and I got his badge number so I can verify this with CBSA toll free. After that
    I called the toll free CBSA number pressed zero for an agent and again the same
    information was mentioned that you need the manifest and that they don’t know where
    the item is first inspected and charged taxes and that you have to arrange that before
    the parcel enters Canada with UPS and that it’s too late to do it at this moment was the response.
    Another major problem with UPS is even if you arrange to pickup your parcel after a week
    they will make 3 attempts to deliver anyways and then afterwards you only have 5 business days
    to make payment arrangements otherwise the parcel is sent back to the USA because they don’t
    have a place to store the parcels either. So I decided to pay the brokerage fees and avoid
    the headaches and risks because of the time constraints imposed by UPS to self clear packages.
    I didn’t even know where to go and clear it even if I had the manifest but atleast I didn’t
    go to the airport like the previous customs officers said I should go.

  • jim

    yes i did about form B15 he said again you need the manifest for it, he didn’t want to help me he said this office does FEDEX only not UPS. I called the 1800# they said the same thing there is absolutely no one you can complain to about this.

  • Trueler

    Hi jim,

    Did you show them instructions how to self clear? Those provided by CBSA which I’ve posted here. How did they react?

    Only in the case if you showed those instructions to the officers and they did not want to follow them, you may file a complaint as LVSinfo suggested in comments here:

    UPS/FedEx Brokerage Fee – avoid scam (Canada)

    There is a mailing address of the minister in charge of the CBSA.

    Thanks!
    Trueler

  • René Kabis

    It turns out that Osoyoos in BC doesn’t recognize these web pages as being legitimate, and refuses to allow the recognition of importing for anything that is not physically present. I did a 2hr trip from Kelowna, BC down to Osoyoos only to be told that because the merchandise I ordered was in a UPS warehouse in Kelowna and not physically present, they could not work with me. Even when I waved the commercial invoice in their faces and told them that it was proof that one of their co-workers already verified the shipment in Richmond, they refused to accept that document as proof that it had cleared customs.

    I showed them this article, but had failed to print out the previous one and did not have it on me. However, I suspect that they will also refuse to accept the previous article as well (as proof), since they refused to even look at my printouts for this article. Real arseholes, the lot of them. The first person was a “I have worked here for 15 years and I know how things work” person, and his supervisor was an improvement only in the fact that he was at least polite in his disdain and arrogance.

    Unfortunately, I did not get their names. By the time I had calmed down, I was halfway back to Kelowna.

    So I wouldn’t mind a few pieces of info.

    I wouldn’t mind an e-mail contact at CBSA who could email me back with an actual statement that I can print off when I head back down there. If I am to bludgeon them over the head with proof, I want a 50-lb sledgehammer, not a 0.0005-lb NERF hammer. Having an “official” e-mail statement, complete with an email address (and hopefully, direct phone number) that they can confirm with, would most likely be my most effective ammunition against their ignorance.

    I was wondering if it is possible to self-clear at any Canadian Customs office, not just one at a border. Kelowna has an International Airport, so the airport itself also has a Customs office, just not one listed in the Directory link at the very top of this page. Can any official Customs office do self-clearing, or only those listed on that link?

    What other information (precise CBSA website links, etc.) can I use, especially if they refuse to consider any non-CBSA based information (like this website)?

    If the Kelowna Airport customs is not able to do self-clearing, I would love to be able to head down Monday morning and very politely “educate” them as to their inability to do their own jobs.

  • Trueler

    Hi René,

    You don’t have to print entire articles. Just reply from CBSA (from CBSA-ASFC@canada.gc.ca) with instructions – it is at http://trueler.com/2010/09/13/ups-brokerage-fees-total-scam-fraud-cheating-avoid-it/

    It is signed by

    Canada Border Services Agency
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0L8
    Government of Canada – Gouvernement du Canada

    They must follow these instructions.

    Self clearance can be done in any office listed on that link. To inquire about other offices please call CBSA.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • René Kabis

    Thank you, Trueler, but the really big problem is that they will probably refuse to read and/or recognize what I have printed out. Their attitude was, “we don’t care what some web site says, we know how to do our own jobs”.

    If I was to show them anything that would actually catch their attention, it would probably have to be an actual eMail directly from CBSA (complete with headers and the sig/name of someone that can confirm for them that this is legit) or a letter on an official letterhead. Otherwise, my 4hr round trip will probably be completely wasted (2hrs down, 2hrs back).

    I will try eMailing the address you have above. I will explain my situation and attempt to obtain truly official documentation that they simply cannot ignore.

  • René Kabis

    NEWS FLASH:

    I just managed to get in contact with the Border Services office at the Kelowna Airport, and it appears that they may be able to help me self-clear!! They will be socked in with charter flights all weekend (they were so polite, patient and understanding that I simply asked them what the most convenient time for *them* would be), so I will be meeting with them at 0800hrs Monday morning. While our terminology differed, it appears that I do have the documentation that they require to complete the job.

    Wow. What a difference 200km makes! Osoyoos was arrogant, condescending and patronizing, refusing to even look at the explanations I had printed out (“We don’t need to look at some website, we know how to do our own jobs”); whereas Kelowna Airport was polite, patient and very willing to examine anything I would bring in, in order to see if they can help me or not (willingness to learn/investigate! AWESOME!).

    I will keep you updated on my progress.

  • Trueler

    Hi René,

    When you talk to CBSA guys, please refer not to “some website”, but to the official reply from CBSA with instructions how to self clear. All offices and courier companies must follow it. I have forwarded that original reply to your e-mail address if you think it may be helpful.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • René Kabis

    UPDATE: Kelowna International Airport WORKED!!

    I met with the fine gentlemen at the CBSA office at the Kelowna International Airport, and they were able to complete the whole process in under 15 minutes! (I know this, because I was able to park for free… you pay for more than 15 minutes of parking there)

    If anyone needs to self-clear a package, and you are quite some distance from an “offical” border office, you may want to phone up or visit any other international point of entry to see if they can do the job as well. It worked for me here at the Kelowna International Airport, and it may work for you as well, YMMV.

    Suffice it to say, however, the service I received at each office was light-years apart. The Osoyoos office was arrogant, condescending and downright hostile, whereas Keith and Don at the Kelowna Airport were very friendly, understanding and patient. They allowed me to explain the situation, took the time to explain why Osoyoos may have never heard of the correct method, and even gave additional suggestions on how to better reduce cross-border *shipping* fees (what you pay the seller, not the brokerage fees) — there are informal depots just into the U.S. side of the border that can hold a package for a few days (and a few dollars), allowing a very expensive International shipment to end up being a relatively inexpensive domestic shipment. While I won’t be doing that for books and other small items, I might just do that with the next pair of servers I purchase.

    Trueler, I want to thank you for this invaluable resource, and your assistance in helping me overcome my difficulties.

  • Trueler

    You are welcome René.

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience!

    Trueler

  • Joseph

    My experience.

    I ordered home theatre speakers from US. Shipping to Canada was only $30 UPS. I went for it.

    I am VERY familiar with the UPS scam, I used to live in Winnipeg and popped over to Pembina, ND.

    Now I am in Victoria, BC and have to figure out different ways to get my American fix.

    Anyways, I was prepared for the UPS brokerage work. So I called mid – transit and explained I will be doing a ‘self clearing’.

    The op said to call back when it hits Canada. So I did that. This op says the same story.

    1. You have to self clear at point of entry (richmond, bc) (2 hr ferry $140, and a day shot)

    I replied ‘sorry, that is untrue’ I will be contacting customs canada and clearing my own parcel. She put me on hold and then said ” Ok, you have to find a csba (canada customs office) and deal with them, like they are located in Ottawa only. Anyways I have 2 to choose from here the Airport or Downtown. I went to the Airport, they collected my HST 12%, $24 no duty. Even the customs agent knew about the UPS scam, he got stung once, only once.

    Oh yeah, the UPS op told me that CSBA will be faxing the documents to UPS, that is untrue.

    What happened, that pissed me off, but in the long run possibly saved me is that they ignored ALL my calls. Assigned a UPS broker, and prepared a bill for $81. This bill along with the parcel showed up at my house while I was at the csba office. Thankfully, no one was at my house, so it went back to the VICTORIA DEPOT located on 4254 Commerce circle.

    Now I read on some website like this that UPS does NOT have a depot in Victoria and they contract deliveries to Vancouver Island thru Purolator so my parcel would be in Richmond, BC. Their Vancouver point of entry depot.

    The problem would have arose if the CSBA agent wanted to inspect the parcel. Now would the Victoria agent call the Vancouver office and goto Richmond, BC to check? Maybe.

    But I have learned that the easiest safest way is to call mid transit and tell them you will self clear, so they have it in their notes.

    Then wait for the parcel to arrive, then refuse delivery due to a “COD dispute”. They will hold it the nearest depot, which is Victoria, plus there is no 5 day limit with a COD dispute.

    Then call up UPS 1800 option 4, then 2 and tell you were always going to self clear and you want to hold parcel at depot until COD dispute is resolved. When I did the op told it could take 8 to 10 biz days. It took 1 day. Be sure they give you the fax number you can send the documents to! I was given a Fredericton Tele Services number. You basically want the RERATE department.

    Then goto csba office with print out of email receipt you got when you bought online and tracking number. If you can get the agent put the tracking number in the REF box in the top right corner of B15 form. If not write it in yourself.

    Then fax the B15 form to UPS with A TRACKING NUMBER. I called 24hrs later to make sure they got it. That was on FRI JAN14, by today JAN17 it was rerated from $81 to $0.00 and waiting for pick up at depot (they even would have delivered it too).

    I hope I was clear in this post.

    Key words to remember when talking to UPS are:

    “SELF CLEAR”
    “COD Dispute”
    “RERATE”

    UPS WANTED $81.00
    CSBA Wanted $24.00
    I PAID $24.00

    SAVED $57

    Another tip be sure to ONLY pay Canadian taxes on the item cost. NOT on shipping charges. Csba agents know this, but sometimes look at total number at bottom of invoice and once the B15 is printed it is tuff to have them redo it. So I always highlight and total the Item prices. They can charge you tax on US tax, so beware where you buy from. They don’t do that for States that allow tax rebates like North Dakota does with Manitoba.

    Canuck Power!

  • Trueler

    Thank you Joseph! Your detailed experience is indeed helpful.

    From my experience (and others), if you call UPS ahead of time, they just stop the shipment at the border until you let them process and “broker” it. So, my suggestion is to wait until shipment comes on its way from the port of entry to the local UPS warehouse.

    Looks like in Joseph’s case UPS reps were aware of the proper self-clear procedure, and Joseph clearly insisted on his rights!

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Joseph

    I get what you are saying. Lucky for me they let it slide through to my local depot.

    So keep my mouth shut until it arrives at my door and then say I “dispute COD charges”. Then call up ups and “self clear”. Sound right?

    In Winnipeg it was much easier since it IS the port of entry. They would call me once it arrived. I would goto UPS depot and they would hand me the paperwork, I take to csba office on Wellington, pay tax. Drive back and get item. This living away from port of entry is a real pain.

  • cayla

    I was wondering if you can clear customs if your name is not on the package. My bf bought a gift for me and sent it to my addy, but he used his name intead of mine. He doesn’t live with me so his ID would have a different addy. Can I clear customs for this package, which has my bf’s name but my addy? Thanks a lot for this article!

  • Trueler

    Hi Cayla,

    It is up to customs. Sorry, I can’t guarantee this, because I did not inquire CBSA for this information. It is better to contact Canada Customs to make sure, or just try to self clear if customs office is not far from you.

    Thank you.
    Trueler

  • Johnny

    Hi Trueler,

    My package is on its way from UK to Richmond BC, just wondering if the same procedures will work if the package is sent from UK?

    Thanks

  • Trueler

    Hi Johnny,

    Most likely all the fees are already included in the delivery price because it is air delivery I guess. Right?

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Johnny

    Hi Trueler,

    Thanks for the quick reply. It was a free standard UPS shipping offered by the website that I purchased from. I assume I will have to pay for the brokerage fees as the shipping status described by UPS is “Package data processed by brokerage. Waiting for clearance”.

    Last time I was able to avoid the brokerage fee because I chose the UPS express which included a Free brokerage. But this time I will likely have to pay $27 according to the UPS brokerage rates listed on their web http://www.ups.com/content/ca/en/shipping/cost/zones/customs_clearance.html
    So I am deciding if I should do the self clearing to avoid the $27 brokerage fee.

  • Trueler

    If customs office is not far from you, it is worth self clearing. It should not matter where it comes from: UK or US. It is the same HST depending on province you live in + UPS brokerage fees. The procedure should work as well.

  • Colin

    Hey there Treuler,

    Can you email me the orig reply from CBSA, they don’t accept printout web pages here in Labrador. The officer here hasn’t ever heard of this process. Took my name and number so he can “research” it. Thanks

    Colin

  • Trueler

    Hi Colin,

    I have send the original reply from CBSA to your e-mail. It is pretty much the same as in the article. It is kind of “new” process because neither UPS nor local CBSA offices used it before. However, it is described in LVS documents and CBSA in Ottawa confirmed the process as well. So, it is the matter of time and importers’ effort when UPS and local CBSA offices will start to follow it.

    Please let us know when you heard back from the officer who took your name and number and promised to research it.

    Thanks!
    Trueler

  • Colin

    Thanks Trueler,

    Your the best. I’ll be sure to let you know.

    Colin

  • HA

    I just called UPS and asked for the commercial invoice. They told me that they can’t give it out before 30 days and don’t provide it to the receiver of the shipments.

  • Trueler

    Hi HA,

    I was told the same info once. Just try another one. Ask for supervisor if the representative refuses to give you commercial invoice. Just tell them that you need it for your records, don’t tell about self-clearance.

    UPS gives incorrect information that it can be available only in 30 days.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Colin

    Hey Trueler,

    I went back to the CBSA this morning to try again. The Officer there, another one, who was awesome, explained that they were trying to figure out all day yesterday, and did after some research. The process was painless, and enjoyable. They have a very pleasant staff up there. Got my B15 and sent to UPS, they have dropped the balance, and I’m not waiting for my local warehouse to be notified so I can pick it up. Thanks for your help.

    Colin

  • Trueler

    Thanks for update Colin!

  • Nelson

    Hi Trueler,
    can you send me official because rep on the phone didn’t agree on the way to self-clear and i need them to change their mind to talk about doing self-clear at a place where they don’t have CLVS in place. Thanks

  • Donnie

    I can’t stand UPS because of these b.s brokerage fees. 50 percent of my item cost, rediculous. These articles are incredible and I was quite excited to finally think I was going to get around the brokerage but I live in PEI. The CBSA offices here don’t offer the Courier Low Value Shipment Program and it’s not worth the travel to go to N.B or N.S to avoid the fee. Do the CBSA offices have the ability for me to clear brokerage even if they don’t offer that program…..and is there any other way to get around paying the brokerage fee if not?

  • Trueler

    Hi Nelson,

    I’ve sent you official reply from CBSA. It is the same as in the article + this signature at the bottom:

    Canada Border Services Agency
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0L8
    Government of Canada – Gouvernement du Canada

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    I’ve been experiencing few problems at the CBSA.
    Today I visited the Brampton location to do my clearing with documents listed above:

    shipment’s invoice, address of UPS warehouse, money to pay taxes and photo ID

    However I was told that these are not sufficing documents for me to clear the item.

    I asked two officers since I did not understand the protocol fully.

    -One officer told me that I need a manifest (Cargo shipment document) from UPS in order for me to clear the item.

    -Another officer told me that they do not clear the item at the Brampton location for UPS; in order for me to clear it I would have to visit Concord UPS location, get a Cargo shipment document and clear it there with a custom located in Concord. Brampton only deals with FedEx and UPS is dealt at Concord.

    So I went to Concord and got myself some document (which I’m not too sure if it’s manifest since the rep who served me told me that information are not available until the item is scanned (not sure what she meant).

    Doc she gave me does have ‘manifest’ on top of the page so I assume it’s a valid document.

    I am pretty lost on what I am not doing right or who is right. To be honest, I’m in a edge of just paying the brokerage fee and not deal with it since nothing have been working out as the process told above.

    If you can give me feedback or an advice I’d appreciate it, Thank you.

  • Trueler

    Hi Donnie,

    According to the reply from CBSA it is possible to clear in any local Canada Customs office. They did not tell that it must be CLVS office. Now I believe that “CLVS office” means that it is possible to perform some complex procedures related to LVS program, and it is mostly used by courier companies.

    However, it is better to confirm.

    If anyone had luck with self clearing in office which does not provide CLVS services, please speak up!

    Thanks!
    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Hi Eric,

    I have not heard about CBSA office in Concord. Have you seen it? Probably it is possible to do all the paperwork right at the UPS warehouse in Concord? It would be really good! However, I heard that it is very crowdy…

    I’m sorry that you got refusal in Brampton office. Please feel free to file a complaint to the Canada Customs (contact information is given in comments to the parallel thread at http://trueler.com/2010/09/13/ups-brokerage-fees-total-scam-fraud-cheating-avoid-it/ ).

    BTW, did you show them instructions from CBSA? When I was clearing my shipment they told me the same about manifest and FedEx, but when I showed instructions they changed their mind and issued me B15 form after I paid taxes to the cashier.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    I apologize for being such a simpleton,
    Could you be able to show me the CBSA’s instruction?

    Is it this?:

    http://trueler.com/2010/09/13/ups-brokerage-fees-total-scam-fraud-cheating-avoid-it/

    If so, do I just print that and show them?

    Once again thank you very much for your response

  • Trueler

    Hi Eric,

    Definitely not the entire post! It is in that article almost at the end between two solid grey lines. Just copy it to a word document, put below the following signature:

    Canada Border Services Agency
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0L8
    Government of Canada – Gouvernement du Canada

    and print. It is exactly CBSA instructions which you show to the officers. If they have any questions or concerns regarding the process, they can call CBSA in Ottawa to confirm.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Hey Trueler,

    Thanks so much for your help and advice

    I’m going to try do visit Brampton again because I did not find any custom office at the Concord.

    I’m gonna show them that document I’ve printed; document that you’ve guided me above.

    Is unique ID for package the Track# of the shipping item?
    Or do I need to get this number separately from UPS again?

    Thanks again!

  • Trueler

    Hi Eric,

    No, the ID number is different from the tracking #. You may find it on the shipment’s/commercial invoice which UPS can send to your e-mail by your request. Alternatively, you may see shipment ID number when you logged in on UPS website (it usually becomes available only after registration).

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Hello Trueler

    Thanks again for your reply.

    Only numbers I have are tracking # and Waybill #.
    Is Waybill # the unique id #?

    I just want to be prepared for any outcome on my next meeting with the CBSA agent.

    Thanks so much for all your help!

  • Trueler

    From my knowledge Waybill # and unique id # are different things. However, I remember someone was claiming here that they are the same.

    Just try to login at UPS website (if you don’t mind) and you should see one more number which is unique shipment ID. Actually unique shipment ID # and tracking number have several characters in common.

    Anyway, you will need shipment’s/commercial invoice from UPS or seller. It usually has unique shipment ID # on it as well.

  • HA

    Thanks Trueler. I called again today and was able to get the commercial invoice from UPS.

  • Brenda

    So, if we don’t have a CBSA office that offers the “Courier Low Value Shipments Program” service, we’re out of luck? I live in New Brunswick, and there is only one location (far away from me) that offers that service.

    I’m so pissed at this shipper for using UPS ground because he “didn’t know” about the associated fees. I’m pissed at myself for not inquiring about the shipping method prior to ordering from Amazon.

    I have a package on the way, and instead of being excited, I’m dreading its arrival.

  • Trueler

    Hi Brenda,

    Do you have other CBSA offices nearby? It should work as well.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Is Brampton office the closest for me if I live in GTA?

    It’s pretty far and so far I didn’t have the time to go.
    Last time I saw there was Newmarket location but it seemed like a warehouse location.

    Thanks Trueler for everything so far!

  • Trueler

    Eric,

    Looks like it is the most convenient: free parking, not in busy area. There is an office in Pearson airport, but it may be a hassle to drive there and parking is very expensive. I remember from the list, that there is an office on Front street in Toronto Downtown, but it is hard to find parking there as well. It is better to check the list, and probably confirm by calling to CBSA if another office can assist you in paying taxes for the goods which have already been released by Canada Customs in the port of entry. Please keep in mind that some CBSA representatives on the phone may be not aware of the proper procedures and will tell you to go to the port of entry. Actually, when I called CBSA for different questions, I got two answers that I can do self clearance in any CBSA office, and two answers that I have to go to the port of entry.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Brenda

    Hi Trueler,

    Thanks for the quick reply. It seems we have a main CBSA office here in Fredericton, a service location at the airport and a sufferance warehouse (whatever that is) at another location.
    __

    # FREDERICTON- 204

    * Sufferance Warehouses
    o Day and Ross Inc.
    * Service Locations
    o Fredericton International Airport
    __

    The airport location lists this for services offered:

    Services Offered Airport of Entry (AOE/55)
    (International Airport)
    Note: 140 with staged off-loading

    What appears to be the main office in Fredericton (204) offers these services and the airport location reports to this office:

    Services Offered Designated Export Office (EXPORT)
    Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
    Inland Customs Office (INLAND)
    __

    Do you think either of those look like good prospects? I’m thinking the airport is the location I would have to deal with, but I have a sinking feeling they will tell me that they don’t handle the process of self-clearing.

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    How long did take for you to waive your brokerage fee with B15 form?

    I may have to rush the process since my package is going to be sent back on monday.

    Thanks again!

  • Trueler

    Hi Eric,

    In my case the driver left the shipment with me without asking to pay anything. It was supposed to be a late invoice (in two months).

    After receiving my shipment I did self-clearance in Brampton, and then faxed B15 to the brokerage department. I’m not sure how long did it take to be processed, because I did not follow up with UPS.

    I remember someone else experience when he received a package on the next day after providing B15 to UPS.

    If you have B15, ask UPS where to send it by fax, send it, then call again and tell this, schedule another delivery when brokerage fee is waived. Ask not to send your package back, because it is a C.O.D. dispute, so 5 days limit should not be applied.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Trueler

    Thank you for your response.

    For me, went to a degree where it complicated for me.
    While I was at work, my brother refused the deliver, thus they never provided any documents themselves and took the package.
    I had to call them back to hold the package for 5 days for me to pick it up.
    Thus why I’m in this mess. Should I call them to keep it as C.O.D?

    I plan to pick up the package after I go to CBSA since the package is kept at Concord for me to pick it up

    Any advice on this matter or possible actions I may have done wrong?

  • Trueler

    Hi Brenda,

    I think it is better to try the closest location. CBSA suggested in their reply that it can be done in any customs office.

  • Trueler

    Hi Eric,

    I think it is better to call UPS and ask not to send it back until you get B15 from CBSA after paying taxes. I’m wondering if you were able to get shipment’s/commercial invoice from UPS or seller and unique shipment ID? If you have them, you are ready to self clear at CBSA office. Print the reply from CBSA with instructions and take it with you as well.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Trueler

    Thank you for all your responses, I really appreciate it.

    As mentioned previously, I was denied at the CBSA office.
    I’ve used Commercial Invoice from UPS at the CBSA but the officer demanded that I need a manifest.

    So I’ve got a manifest at the Concord location (Well, not too sure if it indeed is a Manifest but I asked for a manifest and this was given, as well as the page has “Manifest detail” on top of the page).

    Now I have:

    1) Commercial Invoice from UPS (1 Page)
    2) Manifest from UPS Concord location (2 Pages)
    3) CBSA’s instruction letter (1 Page)
    4) Page I’ve printed out with Courier name, Unique Id Number (Which is a number that is on Commercial Invoice, that is not a Tracking number) and the location of the package (1 Page)

    I don’t know what else I would need (Other than my personal ID and money to pay the taxes), so if I missed something, please let me know.

    And wish me luck on monday! Hopefully I don’t get denied and have to travel again.

    Thanks again!

  • Trueler

    Eric,

    Looks like it is enough to go. Please take a print of instructions from CBSA which I’ve forwarded to you as well.

    Good Luck!
    Trueler

  • Brenda

    Trueler, could you forward those instructions to my email as well, please?

  • Trueler

    Hi Brenda,

    Just sent it to you. Again, it is the same as in the article plus footer-signature of the Government of Canada which I’ve already given in comments.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Ace

    Okay so Success in Calgary…sort of.
    A little background, I ordered an item that had a $35-40 value for customs. Ups thought that I would pay them an extra $20 for ‘brokerage’ fee. I spent so many years writting ‘I cannot receive shipments from UPS in the notes section of all my orders I guess I just forgot this time.

    I called UPS and asked for a copy of the commercial invoice associated with my shipment, they gave me no issue with sending this except they could only ‘fax’ not e-mail. I took the commercial invoice that had both the tracking number and the unique 11 digit ID to the customs office and told them I’d like to self clear. I can confirm as others have that the customs agent told me they needed a waybill or shipping manifest, seems like they wanted something they can stamp. I gave them a copy of the instructions from this web site and they read it and said it doesn’t say that you need it, but that’s what it means…

    The customs agent was quite helpful, I told them that I didn’t ship the product so how am I supposed to get this? They said I’d have to get this from UPS, the customs person however said don’t go heading over there yet we’ll see if we can do this from here. She called UPS locally (depot) and asked if they could fax over the waybill or manifest. The UPS agnet just kept responding that the package had already cleared in Winnipeg. The customs agent them put me on the phone and I asked the Ups agent for a copy of the waybill, she said that it had already cleared, and I explained that it hadn’t cleared yet as they are a bonded facility in the low value shipment program. The ups person then said that they don’t have a waybill for it, and as I repeated this out loud the customs agent said that they may actually not have one. It’s at this point that I said then how is anyone supposed to self clear? The customs agent then told me to ask if I could get my package if I had a B15 and the ups agent said sure!. Got off the phone and the customs person processed my charge of 1.90ish.

    I left the cashier with a ‘receipt’ (computer printout), that had a note on it that said ‘importer would like to self clear, does not have a manifest or waybll’ showed the paid GST and had the ups tracking number on it…nowhere did this sheet say B15, I think

  • Ace

    …It was just a receipt.

    I then went to UPS depot and asked to pick up my package. The clerk quickly grabbed the package and it had COD written all over it. They began to ask for payment and I told them I don’t have to pay the brokerage as I self cleared the package at customs. I game them the ‘receipt’ and pointed out the tracking number on it. The person took my receipt and commercial invoice to the back for a while, came out about 10 min later and said okay you’re good to go, but we have to keep your receipt. I’m guessing they weren’t sure what to do so just kept the paperwork….

    So in short, self clearing worked for menexcept not as described here, seems the agents are quite stuck on getting a waybill or manifest, and if that is the case it may be impossible to satisfy them. I hope this will be simpler as time goes on. It would be real helpful to have an actual bulletin or memo (on letterhead) to use at customs to show all we need is the commercial invoice, I’d number, I’d, and pmt…

  • Trueler

    Thanks for experience from Calgary! I believe your receipt from CBSA should be enough for UPS, singe you have paid necessary taxes. And if someone forces you to pay taxes on the same item again, it would be serious offense, and CRA will definitely want to investigate.

    I could not find “B15″ on the sheet which cashier provided to me after I paid taxes for the first time (did not really try). I found it only at home – in the left bottom corner. However, looks like your receipt is different.

    Thanks!
    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Good to hear that it worked for you with UPS!

  • Allie

    After reading through all of this, I was gung-ho to attempt to self clear. Then I realized that the closest CBSA office does not do CLVS, the closest CLVS office is an hour away. It will cost me $75 in gas to avoid paying $80 in brokerage fees.

  • Trueler

    Hi Allie,

    If your closest CBSA office (not mentioned as CLVS) is really close, you may try it, because CBSA advised that every importer can pay taxes on a shipment below $1600 at ANY CBSA office. Please make sure you take print out of the reply from CBSA with instructions along with other information (invoice, shipment ID, address of warehouse).

    I think we have experience described in comments on self clearing in non-CLVS offices.

    If you have a strong desire not to pay any money to UPS, you may try it. I understand that you believe it may be a big hassle (indeed it can be). It’s you choice!

    Just curious.. I won’t sleep without an answer :) $75 is about 65 liters of gas. For 13 liters/100 km it is about 500 kilometers at a typical highway speed for a typical sedan. Are you driving up to 200 km/hour or is it a big truck?

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Simon Tonekham

    I’ve stumbled reading this reference and recently, I bought a pair of shoes from an American website. If I recall, the package was shipped by UPS Standard Air and the price from which I ordered the product to be shipped to is $40.00US – that included brokerage and entry fees. That was added and the taxes was $38.75US (or something like that).

    Since I don’t live near one of the CBSA offices (I live in one of the Durham Region municipalities of Ontario – in that case, Ajax/Pickering) that specialize in CLVS (the nearest “logical” one is in Mississauga, I guess I have to end up eating up the costs – anyways.

    The site that I had visited too didn’t give me any other options for shipping. Do you have any other suggestions?

    You can also e-mail me with instructions as well if you prefer. Cheers.

  • Trueler

    Simon, I believe Air UPS delivery already includes all the fees. Isn’t it right?

    It is worth to try the closest CBSA office. As I remember from the list, there is an office i Scarborough, or even Ajax.

  • Simon Tonekham

    @Trueler

    Based on the information you had provided to me, I managed to find this location: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/contact/listing/offices/office807-e.html

    However, that location doesn’t deal with CLVS (Courier Low Value Shipments), only the Casual Refund Centre. I can’t distinguish the difference between CLVS and CRC.

    As for the UPS thing, the product was actually shipped by UPS Worldwide Expedited (probably the same as UPS Standard Air, no?). Probably it included the fees – to my own observations.

    There is also a CBSA office at the Oshawa Airport (near where I live), but they don’t offer the services as mentioned above. That’s the best that I can give to you.

  • Trueler

    Hi Simon,

    According to UPS, Expedited and Air deliveries include brokerage fees. However, they could change it recently (but I’m not aware of this).

    As for which CBSA office to pick. They have send instructions advising that any CBSA office can be used in order to pay taxes, they did not mention that it must be CLVS one. I believe that office at the airport should be able to handle this. If it is close to you, it is worth to try, after confirming that you really have to pay fees to UPS and figuring out how much tax need to be paid.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Lee

    Hi Tureler
    Thank you for the great article.
    I have a question tho.
    I just ordered some clothing from website in united stats. They are going to ship it via Fedex.
    I haven’t received any tracking number or anything. But I called Fedex to inquire about the brokerage fee and how to self clear it, they redirected me to fedex trade network. and the lady told me it will be 45$ for brokerage fee. I asked her how to self clear it and she said I have to notify the seller/shipper that I want to self clear it.
    Is this true? Or should I wait until it comes to nearest fedex location to my house then go to CBSA office to file in and self clear it like you wrote it so?

    Thanks

  • Lee

    Hey Trueler sorry about spelling ur nickname wrong
    Anyway I read ur other article and I guess I will call Fedex as soon as they ship the item(so when tracking # is available) and then let them know I will self clear it

    Is there any closest CBSA office near Bathurst/Steeles (vaughan)?

    Thanks

  • Trueler

    Hi Lee,

    Right, there is no necessity to notify the seller about your intention to self clear.

    I live in the same region and I used Brampton location – it was on my way. There is a location in Pearson Airport (Terminal 1), but parking is expensive there and it may be a hassle to go there during rush hour.

    If the tracking information allows you to see when package leaves Canadian port of entry and goes to FedEx warehouse in Toronto, it is worth to wait until this point, then call FedEx to request shipment’s invoice, unique shipment ID number, and the address of their warehouse. For example, when UPS (I’m not sure about FedEx) hear about intention to self clear, they just block the package at the port of entry. And self clearance at CBSA can be done only when the shipment already released by Canada Customs at the post of entry!

    I hope this helps.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Lee

    Thank you for the reply Trueler

    I will do the self clearing when the package is near the warehouse. I will let Fedex know that I want to self clear it :)
    I will hopefully save 40+ bucks !!

    I read thru all the comments, hopefully the person i talk to @ brampton location won’t ask me for manifest or w.e

    anyway I will update you
    Thanks!

  • Clive Turner

    For Calgary, you will need a copy of the Shipping Manifest to be able to get the proper forms from the Canada Boarder office. You can only get this if it is coming by air. If it’s coming by ground, you will have to pay the brokerage fee. I have been fighting with UPS all day. UPS does not make this easy!

  • Trueler

    Hi Clive,

    Shipping Manifest is not necessary for the Canada Boarder office. CBSA should clear the shipment without manifest. Shipment’s/commercial invoice, unique shipment ID number, and the address of UPS warehouse are needed.

    UPS usually provides shipment’s/commercial invoice by e-mail or fax by request. Just don’t mention about your intention to self clear.

    Show instructions to CBSA officers telling what documents should be provided by importer in order to pay taxes.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Joel

    Trueler,

    Just wanted to thank you for this info. I saved myself $33 dollars using this info. The only thing that was different was the fax number, which I seemed to have misplaced. But they gave it to me and said I needed to fax my B15 there because that is where they do “rate adjustments.”

    Thanks again for the info! It works (I did it in Kitchener) and UPS tried everything to convince me that it was not possible to do this. But now I am picking my package up free of charge (aside from the $8 duty I gladly paid customs) on Tuesday.

  • tristan

    Hi Trueler – I tried to follow what you posted best I can – I’m a business that is importing dog toys to sell, my standard order is around $300-$400 dollars. I Was told by CBSA today that I cannot clear items myself unless I am in the port of entry, which UPS tells me is Montreal for my location (I am in Halifax). Any Advice? The officer at CBSA was adamant that I cannot clear items myself unless I’m at the port of entry

  • Trueler

    Hi Tristan,

    Unfortunately only personal shipments can be cleared at any CBSA office. To self-clear commercial stuff you need to present yourself at the port of entry.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Clive Turner

    I tried clearing with the Shipments Invoice and the CBSA in Calgary, said that will not work. They needed the Shipping Manifest. This is a personal item (YearOne car parts), and CBSA would not have anything to do with me, unless I had the Shipping Manifest. Where is the document located so I can show them that this can be done?

    Thanks,

  • Trueler

    Hi Clive,

    Please find the instructions from CBSA with specified documents at:

    UPS/FedEx Brokerage Fee – avoid scam (Canada)

    in the “How to pay duties and taxes for imported goods” section between solid Grey lines.

    You may want to copy it into a document file and print it in order to show at CBSA office.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Clive Turner

    Thanks Trueler. I gave CBSA this info and they would not take it. If it was posted on their website or had a persons name to contact at the CBSA, they might look at it. They still wanted the shipping manifest and not the shipments invoice. You can not get the shipping manifest from UPS, unless you are at the point of entry. Which was Winnipeg, and I’m in Calgary. Not sure what to do, as UPS holds your shipment ransom until the brokerage is paid.
    Is there anything on the CBSA website? Or is there a contact person at CBSA? The woman I talked to at CBSA was not friendly or helpful at all.

  • Trueler

    Hi Clive,

    Probably the woman you talked to at CBSA is not competent and not aware of the proper procedures.

    This info is a reply from CBSA Ottawa with instructions how to self clear. It is signed by CBSA, Government of Canada and sent from their e-mail address. Isn’t it the same as “posted on their website”?

    If CBSA office refuses to accept taxes and issue a receipt based on these instructions, please ask them to contact CBSA in Ottawa and clarify the process. If they do not want to help, please take their names, written refusal and send a complaint to CBSA. However in this case you will have to pay brokerage fee, because reply from CBSA may take a long time.

    I hope this will help.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Jones

    Trueler -

    I live in Calgary and I have the exact experiences as Clive, and similar to Ace. CBSA wont release it without the Shipping manifest.

    So I called the UPS port of entry location brokerage department, and requested the manifest. She gladly faxed it over. BUT as soon as she faxed it, the request was made internally to UPS return the package to Vancouver. After about 4 phone calls, UPS waived the fee, and re-routed the package back to Calgary.

    I have read all of your websites – and simply put – your “List/form/reply form CBSA” is not official. Can you post a link to the actual email? Can you forward this “official reply” to me? (This should include a CBSA contact.

    I believe the Calgary office agents are very knowledgeable and have helped me tremendously; I doubt they are doing this to be difficult.

    Thank you

  • Trueler

    Hi Jones,

    Shipping manifest is not required to pay taxes in a local CBSA office. It has been confirmed. Only shipment’s/commercial invoice, unique shipment ID number, address of the warehouse where goods are located at the time of accounting process are required. Also Photo ID and money to pay taxes are required.

    I have replied to Clive’s comment where to find the actual e-mail. Please find it at the same place.

    If you prefer to call e-mail from CBSA signed by Government of Canada “not official”, you may do so. It does not change things. It already helped many importers in Canada to pay taxes in local CBSA offices and avoid high brokerage fees.

    After my request to CBSA a long time ago to confirm the process, I got a call back from CBSA Ottawa, and they confirmed the procedures of paying taxes. They also promised to send instructions of how to self clear which I posted in order to help other importers. UPS and local CBSA offices must follow them. Otherwise feel free to file a complaint to CBSA.

    You may find supporting documents here as well:

    http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/courier/lvs-efv/menu-eng.html

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • An update, and a caution!

    Turns out that UPS may be trying to deal with “repeat offenders” by not even bothering to email the commercial invoice!

    When I received the initial UPS “delivery attempt” notice yesterday, I immediately phoned up UPS and asked for the commercial invoice associated with that tracking number. I had them read my email back to me so there was no mistake (I own and host my own domain, so this email was my personal one). Even by this morning, there was no email from them.

    Phoned again at 0730hrs, had another email sent to the same address. By 1000hrs, still no email, so I phoned again (they claimed that there was an “email queue” that took at least 90 minutes to send an email… LOL – NOT!) and had another commercial invoice sent to me, but this time to my gmail account. No dice. 1200hrs saw me phone them up again, and have another one sent to my hotmail account. Again, nothing came in.

    Finally, by 1400hrs I phoned them again, and asked for a commercial invoice to be sent to the exact same hotmail address I gave them on the previous call. But this time, I DID SO WITHOUT MENTIONING MY TRACKING NUMBER. Within seconds I got a form for CREATING a commercial invoice. YAY… NOT. But this was an important step, because it confirmed that I could receive an email from them within seconds of them sending it. So I then gave them my tracking number with a request for the commercial invoice that was associated with that tracking number (once again, they used the same hotmail account), and lo and behold… the email arrived within five seconds of them sending it.

    I know for a fact that I never received the first email, because it never reached my server. I own and run my own Iron in-house, and I did a search through the log files for my mail server and found NOTHING that came in from UPS.com. My mail server logs EVERYTHING, even if it is summarily dropped as spam, and there was nothing that came in from them in the last 24 hours.

    Additionally, I used the same hotmail address on all three occasions, and it was only on the second and third occasions (with my last phone call) that the emails actually came in.

    So either their own mail server binned the emails meant for me – three times in a row – or they purposely claimed to have sent me emails when they actually didn’t.

    So a word of advice to anyone requesting the commercial invoice to their shipment — if you don’t get it within seconds (and at most, a few minutes), phone in again, ask for *something* (like a commercial invoice form) *without* mentioning your tracking number, and once you receive that in your email, tell them that you have a tracking number that you need the commercial invoice for. That way, you can stay on the phone with them until you receive your second email (this time with the correct commercial invoice!). In fact, make a point of doing so by making something up — like you are on a bad internet connection and you want to make sure the email makes it to you before you hang up.

    Remember, they are doing everything they can to make money, including lying to you — the last person I spoke to nearly had my package sent back to its point of entry in Richmond because I had to explain why I needed the commercial invoice for my shipment. She did her best to argue that I could only self-clear if I picked up my shipment at the port of entry, and I had to correct her by quoting the CBSA documentation. In fact, I am not taking any chances, and am going to the warehouse tonight to pick my package up just to make sure they won’t have a chance to send it back to the port of entry.

    Oh, and one final thing that I have looked into — if anyone at UPS says that the package needs to go back to the port of entry, you can tell them that they are lying, and that you can prove it. When the sender used UPS to send the package, there was a contract made (between the sender and UPS) that specified transport from the sender to you. If you paid the sender shipping, that contract exists between you and UPS. If you do not receive the shipment at the address specified, you have the ability to sue them for breach of contract. The contract itself is wholly and totally encapsulated by the original payment that the sender gave to UPS, any additional charges are levies that only the Canadian Government can truly collect on. Whether they collect through UPS (the HST charge is a part of that) or by you self-clearing is immaterial.

    As well, if UPS claims that you *have* to pay HST/GST, remind them that there is something called “accounts payable” (they only pay once, at the end of the month that your parcel clears the port of entry), and that any attempt by them to force you to pay HST/GST twice (once you paid CBSA directly) is illegal. Revenue Canada would certainly be very interested in examining their books if they were to stand firm on this one.

  • Jones

    Trueler,

    I have the exact document (Shipment Invoice) you have at the top of this page (and your other pages), and CBSA Calgary would not clear my package.

    I have an official copy of the Shipping Manifest, as referenced in my post above. This is the document that relates the entire UPS shipment to your package and is required for a “2 port process” – per the Ottawa office you refereed me to, and the Calgary office. This document contains the “Cargo Control Number”. This is the only number that CBSA has to relate your package in a shipment of hundreds of packages.

    The problem is once UPS issues a copy of the shipping manifest, UPS automatically tries to return the package to the port of entry. I believe this is default in their system, and not a human input. This is why this document is difficult to obtain.

    I have yet to be successful in clearing my own package, but I will keep fighting.

    Thank you,

    Jones

  • Tony

    Hello Trueler,

    This is a truly informative and helpful article! Thanks!
    Now, I will be receiving an UPS shipment pretty soon and I’m wondering if you can forward me a copy of the email CBSA sent you? I may need to reference this when I speak with the CBSA agents at the airport where I work.

    Thank you in advance.

  • Trueler

    Hi Tony,

    Please find the copy of the e-mail here:

    http://trueler.com/2010/09/13/ups-brokerage-fees-total-scam-fraud-cheating-avoid-it/

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Tony

    Hello Trueler,

    So I went to the office today (however, I didn’t have a copy of the official reply with me). The CBSA officer told me that I must provide them with the Waybill and that I need to contact UPS for such information. I did, but they kept on insisting that they cannot provide such information EVEN after I told them what they are doing is denying me my legal right to self clear my package.

    What do you suggest? Should I go to the CBSA office again and show them the official reply? What should I do if they don’t recognize the official reply? Have them write me a written refusal?
    And one thing I noticed on the commercial invoice is that it does not have the courier’s name on it (btw, it looks just like the one you have in your article).

    Please help.

    Regards,
    Tony

  • Trueler

    Hi Tony,

    In case of refusal from CBSA office to follow instructions sent by CBSA Ottawa signed by Government of Canada, the only way is to complain to the ministry with the names of the officers who refused. It would be good to have a refusal in written, but I think officers won’t do that. Ideally, ask them to write refusal right on the instructions (e-mail from CBSA Ottawa).

    I’m sorry that you have difficulties with paying taxes…

    There are so many local CBSA offices! What do they do? When I dropped by couple of times, there were no customers, but several officers. And they refuse to accept taxes which importers wish to pay according to CLVS documents and instructions from the main CBSA office. Why does government keep all those local offices? Why taxpayers should pay for it? This is what I don’t understand at all…

    Hope you will have some luck!

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Tony

    Thank you Trueler,

    Now, before I go into my 2nd visit to CBSA, I’d like to start my story from the very beginning. After I refused the package when it arrived, I contact UPS. First, I was trying to be nice by asking Terry (UPS rep., useless) for a commercial invoice so I can review everything. He refused by saying he doesn’t have it on the system but will come with the package once I accept it; I insisted that it has to be on the system or else where would the invoice come from, does it magically appear? Just simple logic. He asked me to hold to speak with supervisor; he came back saying the same thing and kept asking why I need to invoice to which I replied I want to review everything. After a few more exchanges, I asked to speak with supervisor, Cindy. Cindy gave me the same bull and said she can only provide me with a breakdown of all charges but not the commercial invoice (which she referred to as B3 Coding Form). Cindy was very patient and stood firm on the generic UPS lies but otherwise useless. After 45min of exchange, we ended the call.

    About 20 min later, I call again. This time I told the rep. (I don’t remember the name) straight up that I want to self-clear the package and need the commercial invoice. She gave me the same UPS crap (i.e. you can only clear it in port of entry). I corrected her by telling her I can clear the item in Toronto providing the package is not being held in the same office where I will be clearing it at. She put me on hold to speak with supervisor. She came back repeating the same shit and I told her UPS is undertaking an illegal practice by refusing me the legal right to self-clear my package. She put me on hold and directed the call to her supervisor, Sam (well trained on UPS’s nonsense, otherwise,she’s very nice). Sam game me the same crap when I asked for the commercial invoice and I gave her the same reply. She emailed the invoice to me within seconds.

    I check UPS tracking about 30min later and found out that they are sending my package back to the sender. I immediately called to find out why. Jane (the rep., useless) said the package is not going back to sender but the port of entry since I want to self-clear it. I said no, the package can and must stay in Toronto because I can self-clear the package in Toronto and that if UPS sends it back, they are breaking their company policy and the contract the shipper has with UPS (i.e. UPS must ship the package to me as shipping’s been paid). She directed me back to Sam and Sam gave me the same shit. I gave her the valid arguments but she said the package is going back to port of entry no matter what as this is UPS’s company policy. However, she guaranteed the package would be delivered to my doorstep once I have faxed them the receipt from CBSA, the number she gave is 1-905-994-5369. I ended call shortly after.

    The next morning, I went to CBSA. First to the office in the Toronto Island Airport to find out which office to go (was hoping I can clear it there). But I was directed to the one at 1 Front St; however, this one no longer does UPS and DHL self-clearance since October 2008. I was told to go to Pearson CBSA (6500 Airport Rd or 2720 Britannia Rd E.).Sometime during the day, UPS contacted me (I actually had to call back since I missed the call). Shelley (UPS rep., very nice) called and asked if it’s true that I want to self-clear. I said yes and she said I must go to Fort Erie. I said no blah blah blah (same thing I told all UPS reps). She put me on hold for about a minute, came back and asked if I have the commercial invoice. I said yes and she told me to email the CBSA receipt when I get it then she will have the package shipped to me ASAP. I went to Britannia office after work because that one is 24/7. My previous comment explains what happened on this visit to the office.

    Today, Shelley called again and to find out why I haven’t emailed her the receipt yet. I told her I was just about to call her and let her know that CBSA is requesting UPS to provide me with the waybill (i.e. cargo/release form). I went on telling her that UPS must provide me with such information as per Paragraph 26 in Memorandum D17-4-0. Sh put me on hold to speak with supervisor. She came back telling me they don’t have it and if I need one, they’d have to sent item back to Port Erie so they can “reverse” their clearance to get me the document. I insisted that UPS must provide that to me by law; she transferred me to Karen (she’s very nice) the supervisor who said the same thing and told me it’s UPS procedure should I want a waybill. I told her to keep the package in Toronto and will consult CBSA. After a few more exchanges, the call was ended and I wasn’t able to get the waybill or any written refusal.

    I went to Britannia office again after work today with the same commercial invoice and the official reply. However, Ms Officer 145** (** in place of number for her privacy) read the reply thoroughly several times. Then, she asked where I got the reply from; I said “CBSA client service in Ottawa”. She replied that I also need a ‘manifest’. I said “I did read something about a manifest and cargo/release list and did ask UPS to provide such information to me but UPS said they can’t give them to me.” She shook her head. I continued, “UPS said the package must be sent back to Fort Erie if I need the document.” She shook her head again and said “No, that’s not true.” She asked which UPS # I contacted and I gave her the number Shelley asked me to call her back at. Ms Officer 145** immediately called the number (luckily someone was still at work) to find out why I wasn’t provided with the information. She got the UPS person to fax her the manifest. She then explained to me that because UPS’s system is not set up to produce a manifest for items under LVS as the value is under $1600 and the item is no secured in a bonded facility, e.g. Fort Erie. She went on telling me that UPS agent had to change the item from LVS to HVS (high value shipment) to produce the manifest. Finally, I paid the necessary fees to the proper organization.

    When I got home, I contacted UPS at the 1-800 number but mistakenly called UPS shipping department who then directed me to UPS tracking department who then directed me to UPS brokerage department. I spoke with Norma (she’s very nice) to find out how to present the proof of payment to UPS. She said UPS has already received confirmation that CBSA has process my clearance (Ms Officer 145** did mention something about faxing something to UPS). However, Norma said there is still an outstanding balance of (approx.) $56 for duties. I argued that I paid ALL necessary fees to CBSA to clear the package and I have the official receipt. I went on telling her I didn’t have to pay any duties on the item and I only had to pay taxes, which I paid in full. She put me on hold to investigate and speak with supervisor. She came back and told me to email the receipt to UPS and she will remove the C.O.D. tag. She confirmed that I will not have to pay UPS a penny when the package arrives on Monday. I emailed a copy to Shelley as well. So, we shall see come Monday.
    I will keep on updating.

  • Trueler

    Thanks a lot Tony for your detailed experience.

    It was a big hassle for you. But it is a hassle for UPS and CBSA as well. I think they have spent more money in persons*hours talking with you and handling your case than the brokerage fee itself…

    If every importer will do the same thing as you did and will insist on legal rights, UPS and CBSA will make it easy, otherwise they will be buried with phone calls.

    I really hope that your shipment will arrive to your door on Monday without any problems.

    Great job!

    Thanks!
    Trueler

  • Tony

    Hello Trueler and everyone,

    This morning, I received a call from UPS and the rep. told me my package is already in-transit back to the sender. I told the rep. that I contacted UPS immediately after I cleared the package and received confirmation that the package is indeed in Toronto. I also made known to her that the CBSA officer who called UPS on my behalf guaranteed that package is still in Toronto (or else she wouldn’t have been able to clear it for me right there). The rep. took my contact number and said she would investigate and call back.

    I, of course, didn’t wait for the call and contacted Shelley. Shelley, again, confirmed that the package is still in Toronto and said it will be out for delivery tomorrow. I asked if I can pick it up today and she said I would have to contact UPS tracking department to find out which warehouse it’s being held at first; she gave me the number.

    I called and found out the package is in Concord. I, then, drive over to Concord UPS Centre to pick up the package. It took the clerk a good 30 odd minutes to locate the package as UPS failed to scan the package when it arrived in the warehouse. I do appreciate the clerk for locating it though. Anyway, the clerk asked whether C.O.D.’s been paid for; I said it was waived. He called brokerage department, got the confirmation of the waiver and released the package to me. End of story.

    I will definitely make damn sure the sellers I deal with in the future don’t ship with UPS. I was hit with UPS brokerage fee before but I was able to receive a refund of all brokerage charges paid after I emailed UPS client services (I was lucky to say the least). This time I was misled because the seller’s shipping policy is that only those shipments over 5 lbs would be shipped with UPS. Since my shipment is 5 lbs, I thought it’d be shipped via USPS. Another lesson learned.

    Once again, thank you Trueler and everyone else who posted their experience. I hope I and you won’t ever have to deal with this again. Or better yet, I hope governments would start regulating this sort of companies to the extent they regulate, say, the aviation industry.

    -tony

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    The instructions state to ‘Wait while your package comes to the local UPS warehouse…’ and then to call UPS.

    My shipment is apparently at the border, and the status is ‘Package data processed by brokerage Waiting for clearance’.

    If I recall, this is typically when they sit on it and wait until they can reach me and I agree to pay brokerage fees. Of course, this time I am not going to.

    So, do I let them know now that I intend to self-clear? There is a CBSA less than 1 km from me and I already talked to the people there in person – very polite and helpful!

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • Trueler

    Hi Eric,

    I would wait until their “clearance” completed and package is at least on its way from port of entry to your local UPS warehouse. Otherwise they may block it at the port of entry until you call them and pay brokerage fees.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    Based on my experience, I won’t get the option to wait until it is on its way from port of entry. It will stay there until there is communication with me, or they will return it to the sender.

    I expect a phone call today. I’ll let it go to voice-mail and will update this post then.

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • Trueler

    Hm… that’s strange. So, there is no way other than advising them that you intend to pay taxes by yourself. But in this case they will definitely not allow this to happen asking you to present yourself at the port of entry.

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    I just examined the invoice sent to me by the shipper. Against my instructions, they put my company name in the ‘Bill To’ field, and just myself personally in the ‘Ship To’ field.

    My guess is that excludes me from self-clearing.

    Advice?

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • Trueler

    damn… That’s true, commercial shipments do not fall under LVS program. Nevertheless, you may call UPS and advise that you want to pay taxes for the shipment by yourself in a local CBSA office. If they clearly identify that you can’t do it because it is a commercial shipment and not personal, they are right. You may appeal that “Bill To” was a mistake and the shipment is indeed personal, not related to your business. If there is no way to resolve it with UPS and you will have to accept their brokerage services and pay the fee, may be it’s worth to negotiate with the shipper their carelessness.

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    What happens if I decide to not accept it? Do they ship it back to the original shipper? Who pays for that shipping?

    I’m thinking that if it gets sent back to the shipper, they can then re-ship it with the correct personal info only on the paperwork.

    I went with the UPS Standard service, and the item is $1,028. How much can I expect to pay for brokerage fees? (I guess I’ll find out) Their online info is not clear – no surprise there.

    Failing that – yes – I plan on hammering the original shipper, because I gave CLEAR instructions not to reference my company on the paperwork.

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    I just confirmed with the original shipper that they did NOT reference my company on the paperwork that UPS received. It is only referenced on the OEM invoice emailed to myself.

    So, I am confused as to why it is ‘Package data processed by brokerage Waiting for clearance’.

    I will update when I learn more – but right now my plan is to NOT initiate communication with them and see if it continues to the local UPS depot and ultimately a delivery attempt.

    Regards,

    Eric

  • Trueler

    Eric,

    Sorry, I’m not sure what may happen if you won’t accept it. I believe it depends on instructions which shipper indicated for the case of failed delivery. Most likely they ship it back. Regarding who pays for shipping it is better to negotiate with seller. I don’t think seller would want to cover it…

    As for the fee. Taxes would be a bit over $130 + brokerage fees (which amount is really hard to guess). I agree that their online info is not clear.

    “Package data processed by brokerage Waiting for clearance” just means that it has not been sent from the port of entry to your local warehouse.

    When it is sent, you will see something like this:

    “Package data processed by brokerage Waiting for clearance / Receiver’s customs broker has been assigned The shipment is now released to move in transit”.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Trueler and everyone,

    Does anyone know how long it takes to move to the next step?

    It has been more than 1 business day. Seems slow for a company in the business of being fast.

    Last update was:

    Windsor, ON, Canada 03/25/2011 6:35 Package data processed by brokerage Waiting for clearance.

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • Eric

    Finally – it is moving again.

    Windsor, ON, Canada 03/29/2011 4:45 Registered with clearing agency / Shipment submitted to clearing agency

    At one point, it said delivery would be late Thursday, which would mean a full week. But now that message is removed.

    So, less than 12 hrs from Southern California to the Ontario border, and what looks like 6+ days to get here.

  • Eric

    UPS showed up. Invoice had a brokerage fee of $80 on a $1,100 item. I thought it was going to be worse. Anyway – tomorrow I call UPS to get the commercial invoice, and then off to the customs office to self-clear.

    Delivery guy did not seem surprised I said I was going to self clear – especially since Canada Post does it for $8, and the CBSA office is less than 1/2 a mile away from me. He was hiding a smirk.

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    OK. I called UPS. Told them I wanted to self-clear.

    Call then went like this:

    UPS: “You are going to drive to Windsor to pick it up?”

    Me: “No. You are going to hold it in Barrie for pickup after I self-clear at the local CBSA office and provide UPS with the B15.”

    Me: “Can I please have the commercial invoice emailed to me?”

    US: “We can’t email, we can only fax.”

    Me: “I know for a fact that it can be emailed.”

    UPS: “Sir – I do NOT have the ability to email!”

    Me: “Is it YOU that sends me the commercial invoice?”

    UPS: “No. I have request another department to do that.”

    Me: “Do you know for a fact that they do NOT have email?”

    UPS: “No. I don’t.”

    Me: :)

    She took my email address and recited it back to me.

    Any idea how long I have to wait for that email?

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • Trueler

    Hi Eric,

    From my experience, if it does not arrive to your inbox within ten or so minutes, it will never arrive. I called several times to get it.

    However in my case they did not send it to another department. I believe that representative sent it.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    At one point during the conversation, UPS stated the package would have to be sent back to the border if I was going to self-clear.

    I am assuming that is an idle threat. Thoughts?

    Calling for the commercial invoice again.

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    Wow. COMPLETELY different experience the second time I called.

    Me: “Hello. I would like a copy of the commercial invoice associated with my tracking number please.”

    (Tracking number exchanged)

    UPS: “OK. Trying to pull it up in my system …. yes, I have it right here. What is your fax number?”

    Me: “I would like it emailed please.”

    UPS: “Sure. Just a sec – need to pull up a different screen for that.”

    (Email address exchanged and recited back)

    Me: “When should I get that email?”

    UPS: “Well – it is already sent – so within a few minutes I guess.”

    Me: “Thanks!”

    Note: The email arrived while I was writing this update.

    Off to the CBSA!

    Dude – you need one of those ‘Buy me a beer’ buttons.

    Trueler!

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    I called UPS for the email for the UPS Brokerage Department, so that I could get the B15 to them. Of course, they only have a fax number.

    I was given a slightly different number though. Maybe they have more than one, or maybe it was deliberate to mess with me. We’ll see. I was given (770)990-1722. (Last digit a ’2′ instead of a ’4′)

    Your instructions stop at this point. UPS told me it will take 1-5 days to process my B15. That is ridiculous.

    What happens if I show up at the local UPS depot? Will they call their brokerage department to ‘expedite’ it?

    Eric

  • Trueler

    Eric,

    UPS did not provide me an e-mail of Brokerage Department, only fax number as well.

    I think instead of showing up at the local UPS depot, you may try to call UPS and ask them to confirm with brokerage department that you have already paid taxes and sent them B15, and schedule delivery without C.O.D. invoice. It will save you a trip to the local depot. However, if you show up there and they will be able to confirm tax payment with brokerage department, they will release package to you right away. Otherwise it will be at least Monday. You may show B15 at the local depot as a proof that you paid taxes, so when they will talk to brokerage department they can refer to it, or resend it by fax again if required. It may probably be more effective than calling UPS.

    I have also updated post with one more instruction at the end. Thanks for pointing this out!

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Eric

    Trueler,

    UPS has confirmed that there is now $0.00 owing on the shipment, and I can come pick it up Monday.

    Awesome.

    You saved me $80!

    Thanks,

    Eric

  • Trueler

    You are very welcome Eric!

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It is indeed helpful for importers!

    Trueler

  • Akito Inakazu

    Hi Trueler,

    I have a shipment of 4 boxes coming in from the states. I just called UPS to try and get the commercial invoice (without saying that I wanted to self broker as of yet). I had to call 2 times to get the email sent to me properly. My issue is: The zip file they sent me is an image of the same paperwork the sender sent me that he filled out @ the UPS store. (it has hand written info in it) The only difference is that there is a stamp at the top with one of the tracking numbers beginning with “1Z…”

    Does anyone know if that is the unique identifier number? If not should I be calling back trying to get computerized paperwork?

    Thanks

  • Trueler

    Hi Akito,

    I think “1Z…” is a tracking number and not the unique shipment ID. Please try to create an account on ups.com and you will probably see the actual unique shipment ID. You may also refer to comments in the parallel thread here:

    http://trueler.com/2010/09/13/ups-brokerage-fees-total-scam-fraud-cheating-avoid-it/#comment-2973

    Take a look at other comment related to obtaining unique shipment ID as well in that thread.

    I also think that image you got from UPS is fine as long as it has a description of goods and value for duty. I guess that UPS just has no computerized version of this commercial invoice.

    Let us know if you could get unique shipment ID from ups.com

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Akito Inakazu

    Ok, I have called UPS again and gotten the shipment ID verbally. I was told they don’t have any document they can send me with the Shipment ID.

    It is a 11 digit number. I created an account on UPS.com and see thatthis number is the same as the reference number when tracking info is entered.

    Hope this works for the CBSA officer.

    Thanks!

  • george

    Hi Trueler,

    Thanks a lot for the nice information and help.
    I have a company and I order most of the time a shipment that is less than 1600 (500 $ at the time).
    When I find that UPS charge a high fees I decide to obtain the service of customs broker to clear my shipment.
    And still I found that the fees is high but less than UPS.
    I read and read all the post in your web site and I would like to know if a business company that order less than 1600 $ can clear it self.
    Thanks in advance for your response.

  • Trueler

    Hi George,

    Self-clearance at a local CBSA office for orders less than $1600 works for personal shipments only, not for commercial orders unfortunately. Otherwise you have to present yourself at the port of entry. Or someone designated by you. I think you may try to find cheaper brokerage services. I saw some ads of brokers who provide flat rate services for customs clearance (but I did not check if it is true and how good it is). Try to search more for such services and negotiate discounts for you depending on the volume.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • george

    Hi Trueler,

    Thanks a lot for the quick reply. I found in my research with your advice a company that offer a better price that the company that I deal. But I don’t know very well their service (bad or good). And the difference is 10$ each time that I use the service.
    Also I couldn’t find a chart to compare the price of more company.
    What’s your opinion do a try to negociate with my company and see if they can give the same deal or I go with the new company.
    Thanks a lot for saving us of the hard earn money.
    George

  • Blair

    Here’s a tip on how to get your copy of the UPS commercial invoice without going thru the grief of talking to someone at UPS, here’s what you do:

    1. Go UPS.COM, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Email UPS’

    2. Type in your name and email address.
    Support Category : Tracking
    Support Topic : Tracking Information
    Are you the : Receiver

    3. Fill-out the form and at the bottom where it says “What is you question or comment” type in “please send me an electronic copy of my shipment’s commercial invoice”.

    4. Within two hours I had a copy of it in my inbox. By the way, they send it you via “disiiwebserver@acs-inc.com” with a subject line of “image request”. I thought this was spam mail and almost deleted it!

    Good Luck everyone!

    Blair

  • Trueler

    Thanks Blair for good tip! Great that it took just two hours.

    E-mail communication with UPS is often more effective than via phone. You don’t have to wait for next rep or supervisor and have everything in written, so you can refer to it later. But it may take days. If you are not in a hurry, it’s a good option.

    Thanks!
    Trueler

  • Mike

    Came Across this site 2 days ago. This might be a bit lengthy.

    Ups came to deliver my package, I refused. I went to the UPS warehouse to pick up an unrelated package that had no COD attached to it. While I was there, I asked them why the COD was so high on the first package I refused. She said they dont handle brokerage issues at the UPS warehouse, so she told me to call the 1 800 number. I did.

    I ended up speaking to someone from the brokerage department and basically told him that I was unaware that there was a COD attached to the package and that if I knew all this before hand, I would have cleared it myself. I told him that I wanted to dispute the charge and for him to forward me the commercial invoice.

    He said that since UPS had already cleared the package and that I wasn’t aware of the brokerage fee, He said that he would give me a one time waiver of the brokerage fee. He took the COD completely off and just charged me the mandatory gov. tax. Even better was that I was already at the warehouse so he just authorized the recpetionist to wave the fee.

    I also have another package on the way and I told him of my intent to self clear. I asked him if I would need to be at the port of entry to self clear, he initially said yes, but after I told him I had an official reply from CBSA stating that I could self clear at ANY CBSA office, He put me on hold to confirm what I had said. I think he was unaware of self cleraring at any CBSA office.

    He told me that because my package was below 1600 dollars, I can clear the package without it being on Canadian soil. CBSA would forward the paper work to Windsor and my package SHOULD NOT have any un-necessary delays.

  • Mike

    Well I went to CBSA at Pearson Airport today armed with my commercial invoice and
    my intention to self clear. I showed her the official CBSA reply that says I can pay at ANY CBSA office. She said the response was accurate however, the commercial invoice was not enough to clear the goods, she said I needed a manifest also.

    She says one of the ways to get the manifest is for me to refuse the package, so that it gets routed back to the Concord warehouse, then call UPS and ask for the manifest.

    She said the only reason that CBSA at Pearson couldn’t clear the package was because there was no proof that it was inspected. With the package being routed back to Concord after my refusal, that would be sufficient proof that CBSA Windsor had inspected the package.

    She said I needed the manifest along with Commercial invoice.

    I have lots of patience so this is something I will investigate thoroughly.

  • B Smith

    My package from UPS is currently showing as “Receiver’s customs broker has been assigned The shipment is now released to move in transit.” I managed to obtain the commercial invoice using the email request method outlined on the website (it worked a treat :).

    2 Questions.

    1. Do I still have to wait until the package is received at my local UPS warehouse before I go to the CBSA office?

    2. The item being shipped is a medical device and should be tax and duty exempt (I believe). If there is no tax and duty will UPS still charge the brokerage fee based on the item value?

    Thanks,

    BS

  • Trueler

    Hi B Smith,

    1. Yes, CBSA requires that the package is being held in a local UPS warehouse when you pay taxes and duties.

    2. As far as I know, not all the medical devices are HST exempt. It’s better to ask UPS how much you owe them for this shipment (wait until it comes to the local warehouse, so UPS won’t block it at the port of entry).

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • B Smith

    Thank you for the speedy and informative reply.

    I’m watching and waiting.

    Cheers,

    BS

  • B Smith

    Further to my questions yesterday. The package is now in Concord and scheduled for delivery by the end of the day tomorrow. I called UPS to ask if they can tell me what the delivery charges will be and they said $182.13 (which is $105 more than UPS quoted me when I inquired 2 weeks ago – before the item was shipped).

    I asked if they could send me an invoice and they said no, not for 2-3 weeks after delivery. I asked them how I can pay if there’s no invoice and they said that the UPS uses charts to calculate the charges at the door.

    Without an invoice I have no idea what the cost breakdown on this item is, but as far as I am aware the package is HST and duty free as it is a medical assistive device (anyway, if there was HST applied then it would be more than this, so whatever the extra charges are it can’t be HST).

    Should UPS be able to send me an invoice with a breakdown of the charges now or not?

    Also, I called CBSA to ask about the procedure and they said that I need the commercial invoice (which I have) and I need to get UPS to tell me where to go to clear the package. I haven’t heard that before, so what’s that about? There’s only one CBSA office that does CLVS in Ottawa.

    Do I really need to ask UPS for permission to self-clear?

    Now that the charge has been ramped up to $182.13 I’m determined to do the self-clear.

    Thanks for your help

    BS

  • Trueler

    Hi B Smith,

    All you need is the commercial/shipment invoice which specifies description of the goods and its value. CBSA will determine if it is a subject for duty or taxes according to their classification list. Plus you will need shipment ID number and address where your shipment is being held. BTW, why is it in Concord? Isn’t there a local UPS warehouse in Ottawa?

    Please also take the printed e-mail reply from CBSA, because officers may ask you to go to the port of entry in order to obtain manifest. It is not required according to the documents and reply from CBSA. Only shipment’s invoice which describes goods and its value.

    UPS may bring your shipment without any C.O.D. (collect on delivery) invoice, so just take it and do self-clearance yourself. In this case they will send invoice to you in 1-2 months when it is too late to self-clear. If they ask you to pay – make a copy of the invoice (may be a picture with a digital camera if you have one) and tell that you are going to dispute charges with UPS.

    It is up to UPS if they want to send the invoice with a breakdown of the charges. I think there is additional fee for this procedure…

    I really hope that you will successfully complete the process!

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • B Smith

    Hi Trueler:

    - I waited till tracking showed item arrived in Ottawa. (Actually right after this it showed out for delivery.)

    - I went to Ottawa CBSA office with the commercial invoice (which I got using the email inquiry method shown on this site).

    - I also took with me the instructions from this site, the invoice from the vendor, a printout of the tracking from USA to Ottawa and the D-17-4-0 document just in case.

    -The CBSA officer I spoke to said that I need a manifest from UPS. I showed him what I had and he said that’s not enough. He also asked me where the package was and I told him at UPS in Ottawa (I showed him the tracking document)(actually it was on a truck somewhere in Ottawa).

    -He directed me to the UPS building which is practically next door. I went there and the girl I spoke to was super nice. She printed off of form titled “Canada Calculation Inquiry”

    -Despite the fact that the shipment was zero-rated for HST UPS wanted to charge me $110.66 HST anyway, but for some reason they had discounted the brokerage fee (73.35 – 10.10 discount). The total charge was $182.13

    -She then called the CBSA office to find out what they wanted. After a brief chat she printed off a ‘screen grab’ titled “Shipment Inquiry Detail”.

    -She then told me to go to CBSA and get that form stamped and come back.

    -I went back to CBSA and the officer I spoke to the 2nd time was super nice. I gave her the form and told her that the item should be zero rated. I showed her the invoice with the item description and she agreed that it should be zero rated. After an extensive search on the computer she found a zero rate code to apply (I’m sure it’s not the correct code, but I don’t think it matters as long as she stamps the form). She gave me a B15-1 (Casual goods accounting document) and stamped it PAID ($0.00). She also stamped the “Shipment Inquiry Detail” print out.

    -I went back to the UPS building, gave said documents to the lady she took a copy of the B15-1, took the stamped “Shipment Inquiry Detail” form and gave me a copy back.

    -She told me that the item was out for delivery and she’d see what she can do to stop the driver from charging me COD. She said it would be delivered today or tomorrow. And if there was a problem I should get the driver to call her (and gave me the #)

    -By the time I got back to my office (20 minutes) the package had been left on my driveway – no charges. So whatever she did it worked! I must say this UPS employee was very nice, very understanding and very efficient – Kudos!

    It took me an hour and a half (including 40-50 mintues driving) to save $182.13! And incredibly, due to the speed of the processing I recieved the package on the first delivery attempt with no COD requested.

    Thank you very very much Trueler, I would not have been able to do this without your help.

    Cheers,

    BS

  • Trueler

    Thanks for detailed description! It will help other importers.

  • l1ndan

    Hi Trueler,

    I have been notified that a UPS shipping label has been created for my package and received a tracking number. I have made an account on UPS to get my Unique Shipment ID number. Now I must wait until the package is delivered and refuse it in order to receive a shipment invoice? Is there anything that I need to do prior to having my package delivered?

    Thanks!

  • Trueler

    Hi l1ndan,

    Right, it’s worth to wait for the shipment delivery. May be there will not be any invoice, and driver will just give your shipment to you. Then you will go from there. If there will be a C.O.D. invoice, so inform the driver that you are going to dispute it. Then obtain shipment’s invoice from UPS and pay taxes directly to CBSA. If you will have specific questions, do not hesitate to ask.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Krzysztof

    I went to the CBSA office on 5425 Dixie Road in Mississauga today. While the people at Pearson were essentially clueless, this time I have nothing but good things to say. I got my paperwork done with no fuss, now I need to get back to UPS. Wish me luck! :)

  • Trueler

    Good luck Krzysztof! :)

  • Krzysztof

    Not enough luck. UPS told me they had already cleared the package through the customs, and that they can provide me with a receipt once I pay their fees and pick up the package. The person I spoke with declined to provide me with a receipt of having paid taxes/duties on my behalf.

  • Krzysztof

    Clarification: UPS said they had already paid taxes/duties, but that I cannot have the receipt now, and that I would get the receipt once I pay UPS’s fees and pick up the package.

  • Trueler

    Hi Krzysztof,

    This is something new from UPS… According to CLVS documents the courier pays taxes to CBSA during accounting process which takes some time. They are required to do it by the end of the next month after shipment. I’m in doubt that they rushed to pay taxes solely for your shipment to CBSA. So, I think they just gave you incorrect information. I don’t see another explanation why they refused to provide you with a receipt. The only explanation is that they just don’t have it now because they have not paid taxes on your behalf yet.

    Give another try contacting UPS. Ask them where to send B15 form you got from CBSA – it should be a fax number of the brokerage department. When you send it, ask to waive your C.O.D. invoice because you provided proof of tax payment.

    You might want to mention in your conversation, that UPS requires you to pay taxes to the Government twice for the same goods. It is a serious offense.

    Hope you will be able to sort things out.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • novek

    Question, in order for your package to leave the port of entry does UPS have pay Canada Customs?

    Reasom im asking is because FEDEX actually called me to tell me that they had the package at their warehouse and asked my if I was going to clear the package on my own.

    UPS makes it seem like the only way for the package to leave Windsor is for UPS to pay customs. Thus, in turn making it hard for you to clear your item on your own because they already forked out cash to clear your package at Windsor, basically you own them and for you to self clear and just pay HST, they would be losing money.

  • Trueler

    Hi Novek,

    No, UPS does not pay anything to Canada Customs at the port of entry, and they do not have to.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • novek

    Alright, I went to CBSA at Pearson armed with the commercial invoice and all the supporting CBSA emails from your other post. The officer said that the invoice was not enough to clear the package. She said I needed the manifest because it shows who the carrier was and where my package was being held.

    I thought fair enough. I called UPS and requested the manifest and they flat out refused! What should I do?

  • Trueler

    Hi Novek,

    Manifest should not be required. There were many cases of paying taxes to local CBSA without manifest. I think officer was not familiar with proper instructions.

    BTW.. carrier is indicated right on the invoice. Where the package was being held – you know and could provide that info to the officer.

    One more point. Is this fair that the Government organization requests the document (manifest) from you which you can’t physically obtain?

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Jacob

    How is it CBSA does not know the process. I mean they must of done at least a few times during their tenure. Is it not part of their job repsonsibility? Even more importantly.. does their unaccountability or lack of over site when serving the public allow to just say what the please or give the public a harder time than necessary.

  • Winston

    Well I recently purchased something from China. The forwarding agent I used was Jet Sea International Shipping. I went to the Pearson Customer broker office (2720 Britannia WHICH WAS ridiculously hard to find due to google maps not publishing government buildings..) and was told by the customs officer that I will still have to pay these fees that I have been invoiced from the forwarding agent (Documentation & Handling Charge). I did bring it up in the conversation with the officer that I would require a B15 form which would allow me to pick up the shipment directly from the warehouse avoiding any fees. The guard looked at me and said that it was not necessary as I was not paying “brokerage fees”.

    In any scenario, I got my papers (manifest or inbond document) and got the hell out before the customs guard was going to say anything else. I felt like I was going to get shot.

    Best of luck guys

  • Winston

    I should add that I did not obtain a manifest from them, I had it provided to me by the forwarding agent. The manifest was then stamped and now I am able to pick it up at the warehouse.

  • PMP

    I currently have a package sitting at the Concord office where I being charged a $150 COD fee. I’ve followed the instructions on this site, obtained the commercial invoice from UPS via email, and tried to go to the closest CBSA office to my work (at 1 Front Street West). Inside that office is a sign saying that they do NOT handle UPS or DHL clearing (it is posted on the inside of the office, behind the counter), and the officer there told me I had to go to an office in Mississauga (at 6500 Silver Dart Drive).

    I also called CBSA on the phone, and they told me that I had to go to the CBSA office where the manifest was originally recorded.

    What gives? The sign at the Front Street location was put up by the manager there. Any ideas? I’m at the point where I am going to have to pay the full brokerage just because I can’t get out to Mississauga any time soon.

    Thanks.

  • Trueler

    Hi PMP,

    It’s really unfortunate when not only UPS, but CBSA also make obstacles by not allowing importers to use their rights… It’s really strange that CBSA office at Front Street doesn’t allow UPS and DHL clearing. I’m wondering why it has been allowed to set. Sending you to the port of entry where manifest was recorded is against the proper procedure as well.

    There was a successful case of self-clearance in Brampton office recently:

    http://trueler.com/2010/09/13/ups-brokerage-fees-total-scam-fraud-cheating-avoid-it/#comment-12312

    But you don’t have a chance to go there any time soon. Sorry, but I can’t advise anything else here.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • PMP

    Thanks Trueler. Is there any indication of the hours for these locations? Looking at the link you provided the individual went after 23:00, which would be super-convenient for me; one reason I can’t make it during the week is I am assuming the offices are open 08:30-16:30, and the CBSA website is a little cryptic on the issue.

  • Trueler

    Mike provided info in the next comment that the office is open 24/7

  • PMP

    An update. I managed to pay the taxes at the CBSA office on Britannia last night. Like Mike, when I went “after hours” the officer I had told me I needed additional information (he said I needed the slip from the package stating that the item was indeed at the warehouse). When I explained my frustrations (3 customs offices, and two calls to CBSA that day) he offered to try calling UPS for me (after 17:00, so I didn’t think UPS would be around). Then one of the other CBSA agents overheard us and told him exactly how to handle the request. At the end of it all I was able to pay my taxes on the item.

    The $10 I spent in gas driving around everywhere outweighs the $40 I would have spent in brokerage fees at UPS, and I’m treating this all as a learning experience. I now know which office to go to for 24/7 service, and next time I’ll have a copy of my current B15 which shows what the officer did.

    The paperwork is now sitting with UPS. The fax number they gave me was different than the above, and I called on two different days to ensure that I got the same one: 1-506-447-3706. I’ll give them until Friday and then follow-up (they said 1-3 days), as I’d like to get my package on Friday if possible from Concord.

    I’ve also sent a letter to the CBSA email address, asking them why Front Street West won’t process these claims. Stay tuned.

  • Trueler

    Thanks for update!

  • Mike

    I’ve been given the same fax number(it’s a Brokerage Re-rate Dept). Sorry, forgot to share it.
    Also here is the Mississauga warehouse address:

    3195 Airway Dr
    Mississauga
    L4V 1C2

  • Jordan

    Hello Trueler

    Wow i just found out about this website(bookmarked) as i just bought something from a webshop and did a little bit of research about their shipping methods and found out i have to pay other things to get my package. Now i also want to dodge all this type of payments from UPS. I spent like 1.5 hours reading all the process needed + comments from previous experiences.

    Things needed:
    1. Commercial Invoice #
    2. Manifest(if needed)
    3. Photo ID
    4. Money
    5. Original CBSA email (if you can email them to me pls)

    Now I have questions?

    1. When is the best time to start all this process? Is it when my package is in Mississauga and is “processed”?

    2. normally in tracking when it says that its processed in the warehouse i will be getting that package in the same day, Do i refused to accept the item and start the CBSA processed then?

    3. Can someone correct me if im wrong. i might have read it wrong. So if you refused and file COD dispute, you’d be able to ask for your commercial invoice # from the driver off the bat?

    Just recapping the process
    1. go to CBSA with items needed mentioned at top.
    2. File for a self clearin @ the office (britannia – still gotta figure out where is that)
    3. Pay for the taxes
    4. ask for the B15 (but in order to get that I might need to call for UPS for “manifest” and would also ask for their fax # to where to fax it)
    5. Fax B15 to w/e the # is
    6. Pick up item @ Mississauga Warehouse (Instead of faxing, would i be able to bring the B15 form there and maybe fax it from there?)

    Sorry for sucha long post.

    And thanks in advance
    5.

  • Trueler

    Hi Jordan,

    Answering your questions:

    1. The earliest time to go to CBSA is when package arrived at a local warehouse.
    2. Tell the driver that you are going to dispute C.O.D. charge, so the shipment will be held in UPS warehouse and not sent back to the seller.
    3. Commercial invoice can be obtained from UPS – they should send it to your e-mail or by fax upon request. I don’t think driver will want to do this.

    CBSA should not ask for manifest. UPS usually tells that in order to get manifest you have to go to the port of entry – tell this to Customs officers if they ask you for manifest.

    6. It will depend on the helpfulness of the UPS representative at warehouse. They do not have to do this.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Man

    Hi Trueler,

    Great work you’re doing!

    My parcel (under $1000) was shipped via UPS Standard from Michigan yesterday. I emailed UPS last night for the shipment’s invoice and received it this morning as a pdf file. The ShipmentID number is exactly the same as the Bill of Landing/Air Waybill No. in this case.

    Now the tracking shows:
    Hodgkins, IL, United States 06/09/2011 Departure Scan;
    Richmond, BC, Canada 06/09/2011 Package data processed by brokerage Waiting for clearance

    It isn’t expected to arrive until a week’s time. As it is already processed by brokerage before even arriving in Canada, should I now tell UPS that I’ll self-clear, or still wait until it gets to Vancouver? I’m concerned that they’ll say it’s too late to self-clear then. I don’t know if the port of entry is Vancouver or somewhere in eastern Canada.

    Your advise would be greatly appreciated.

    As to the CBSA email reply under “How to pay duties and taxes for imported goods”, would it be possible to append an exact date to it to show at least it is a recent communication? Thanks.

  • Trueler

    Hi Man,

    There is no need to let UPS know about self-clearance. When they know about it, they usually scare importers to send package back to the port of entry. Having an invoice you are ready to pay taxes in your local CBSA office. Just wait until it reaches local UPS warehouse, because it is a requirement for CBSA to accept taxes and issue B15 form. You should also know the address of UPS warehouse when you show up at Canada Customs office.

    “Package data processed by brokerage” just means that the same invoice has been received at the port of entry, and nothing actually processed.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Jordan

    Hello Trueler

    So my package (package is TShirt x 2) has reached Windsor Ontario (i believe my port of entry). And I got a call this morning from UPS. Couldnt answer it so they left me a msg. The UPS personnel asked if i want to clear it or i have a brokerage for me to do it? if its business or its personal. Then left me a # to call. Do i have to call them back to and tell them to clear it and tell them its personal? If i wont call they wouldnt clear my package? Will be it stuck in windsor?

    thanks man
    PS. I might have more questions coming up.

  • Jordan

    Hello Trueler its my again

    To continue of what happened today, UPS called me 2 x today and left me a message. I called back UPS as my item was stuck in Windsor Ontario not until i will call them back and tell them to clear my items. I did not mention anything about self clearing as i read from other peoples previous experience that UPS gives ton of trouble. So i avoided that. Although i asked the UPS lady i was talking to on the phone about the brokerage and she was telling me its 30$ + customs/duties. She also told me there are 2 ways to pay them: 1. link my credit card to them so it will automatically pay or 2. pay at the door (i chose this based from what i heard here.) I also asked when is its gonna arrive and she said maybe tomorrow. now my question is, Do I email UPS now to get my commercial invoice #? I am also a member of UPS as i registered just now. I read somewhere here that i can obtain the commercial invoice through there? Where exactly is it? Thanks

  • Trueler

    Hi Jordan,

    You need commercial invoice from UPS, not only a number. It should specify goods and value for duty. Online you may find only unique shipment ID number.

    I think you did it right with UPS, assuming that by self-clearance they mean you coming to the port of entry.

    However, we have a case when UPS advised the importer that taxes can be paid at any local CBSA office. So for others if UPS call you, ask how you can self-clear and if there is a necessity in coming to the port of entry.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Jordan

    Ok I just went to CBSA in Pearson airport. With me I have the commercial invoice. And the CBSA officer told me that I dont have sufficient paper works. She told me i need to bring the waybill # with me. And when i showed her the # which is stated as “bill of landing/ air waybill #” in the commercial invoice she said its not the right one. Then right when i left the CBSA office i called UPS and requested the said “waybill #” and the UPS personnel said that my waybill # is my tracking #. Also earlier on the day before me going to CBSA i called and asked if “shipment invoice” and commercial invoice is the same and the answer is no. And also they told me that i cant get it not till tomorrow or friday. Is shipment invoice is what i need? is that where i can find this said “waybill #” ? thanks.

  • Jordan

    Hello Trueler

    Just to update with everything. I got the B15 form. Went back the 2nd time this same night and the lady agent helped out like magic. She knew her shit. Gave her commercial invoice, my receipt from the webstore, piece of ID and thats it. she told me to sit down and she’ll get my B15. not even 5 minutes she called my name and asked me to pay. Paid 12 something. I was out there less than 15 minutes. Will fax it first thing in the AM then pick up my package in warehouse. Didnt have to file COD dispute cuz the UPS guy didnt use the doorbell and claimed no one was home when i was there waiting for package the whole day. Told UPS theres no need for delivery cuz I will pick them up tomorrow. Didnt tell them I got the B15 and just go there. That way, there will be no surprise BS. They sent the commercial invoice via email easily. They didnt ask for why.

    Thanks Trueler
    Learned something very important from this

    Thumbs up

  • Trueler

    Thanks Jordan for updates! Sorry for my delayed responses these days.

  • Man

    Success! Follow-up from my previous message here is what happened:

    1. Tracking online yesterday a.m. showed parcel had arrived at Richmond BC.
    2. Called UPS to say I wish to do clearance myself and had very courteous response saying no problem, they will arrange it accordingly. The CSR said it’d take a day for the parcel to be released if I collect it myself and I need to pick up all the documents from Richmond warehouse first and I don’t need to fax anything back afterwards.
    3. Today a.m. UPS called to say parcel is ready for me to do clearance and I have five days to do it.
    4. I first went to CBSA as I already had a commercial invoice copy.
    5. CBSA officer plainly refused to accept commercial invoice and said I need to go to UPS first for a yellow form with pink copy. As CBSA and UPS warehouse are both in the YVR vicinity so I didn’t argue and just drove there (only took 2-3 min.).
    6. Got the forms, with IN BOND printed on top L corner, SUMMARY SHEET top R and Customs Delivery Authority at the bottom. They were already printed and ready for collection.
    7. Went back to CBSA and paid taxes. They kept the pink copy. The Ref. No. on B15 is the same as the Cargo Control No. on the yellow form and is not the shipment ID.
    8. Returned to UPS with B15 and yellow copy and took the parcel.

    Overall it took 2h between arriving at CBSA and leaving UPS with parcel, mostly due to waiting in line. I saved UPS fees over $80 (inc. tax, all estimated from website) and over $50 duty (and tax on duty) which wasn’t charged by CBSA but would have been added by UPS brokerage (FedEx did last time for a similar item). I drove about 20 miles (32 km) and paid $2 for parking outside CBSA.

    I don’t know if the procedures are different because Richmond is the port of entry or the protocol is different here. At least here UPS is fully co-operative and don’t even enter any brokerage process after I called but let me handle it as requested.

  • Trueler

    Thanks Man!

  • Bill

    I have a package en route to Calgary. Last night, I used the “Contact UPS” portion of their website. I provided tracking number, and requested the USIN and commercial invoice. Today I received the USIN and copy of commercial invoice via e-mail. Now I just have to wait for the package to arrive in Calgary and visit the CBSA. I’ll post up how things go when the time comes.

    I’ve become fed up with UPS. The last item I purchased from the US was declared as “country of origin: Canada.” Even though I wasn’t required to pay any taxes or duty, UPS still nailed me ~$45 in “broker fees.” I called them to see what the deal was. The agent I spoke to told me “We represented you through the customs process and filed paperwork on your behalf.” I lost my cool and told them that it was BS and if I knew that was how they operate I would have self declared the item, followed by hanging up.

  • UPSKETCH

    i am determined to pay my CBSA fees myself.
    the package was already cleared in windsor ontario by UPS.
    they are making the second delivery attempt today – i wont accept it. i have the commercial invoive – am in toronto- and can pay the duty at a cbsa office in scarborough.

    cbsa and ups denies i can pay the charge here and it must be paid at windsor. pls help!

  • Trueler

    Hi UPSKETCH,

    Did you show instructions from CBSA how to self clear in your local CBSA office? How did officers respond?

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • UPSKETCH

    Well the officer who i spoke with on the phone simply said when it comes to couriers – duty has to be paid at the port of entry – end of story.

    ups of course agrees. they do not deny that i can clear it myself – but it must be dont in windsor, ON.

    are the instructions on the cbsa website as well?
    its hard to reference something that is not supported by an actual part of the customs act….or is it? do you have a more offical link?

    thanks,

  • Trueler

    It is a reply which I got from the Government of Canada – CBSA. I’ve posted it here:

    http://trueler.com/2010/09/13/ups-brokerage-fees-total-scam-fraud-cheating-avoid-it/

    in “How to pay duties and taxes for imported goods” section.

    CBSA representative and UPS gave you incorrect information. You don’t have to go to the port of entry.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • upsketch

    thanks trueler – i am going to give it a go.
    i just hope they dont ship my package back to windsor.
    shoudl i just go pay the duty today – and tell UPS how it is?

    also – can you recommend an office in toronto to pay the fees? is scarborough the only one near toronto more or less?

  • upsketch

    Truler,

    Can I go here?

    CBSA Casual Refund Centre?
    55 Town Centre Crt
    Scarborough, ON M1P 5B5

  • Trueler

    Hi upsketch,

    People already reported success in paying taxes at Brampton CBSA office which relocated to 5425 Dixie Rd.

    As soon as you get B15 form from CBSA after paying taxes, you should contact UPS to waive C.O.D. invoice and schedule delivery.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • upsketch

    hey again trueler – look i like what you have done – and how you answer people in your forum – but i called yet again, spoken with 3 CBCA officers – all deny this is possible.

    as much as i want to argue your point – its hard to because i have nothing to go on – in terms of like – a specific section of the cbsa act. its hard to say like – i saw a letter online.

    if you can elborate – pls do – in terms of how you actually get the CBSA to become educated and familiar with this type of brokerage.

    thanks

  • Trueler

    Hi upsketch,

    Actually showing that letter to customs officers helped many importers and myself.

    The same idea (that any importer can do self-clearance in any local CBSA office for personal goods below $1600) is provided in CBSA memorandums you can take a look at their official website. Links are provided in comments. So, there are official CBSA instructions posted on their website standing behind this approach.

    Since initially UPS and CBSA rejected to honor those memorandums, I thought maybe they were outdated, so I contacted CBSA in order to confirm. It took more than a month to get a reply from CBSA. I’ve also got a call from CBSA Ottawa and the person responsible for CLVS program explained the procedure again.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • B Smith

    Hi Trueler:

    A few months ago you helped me reduce a $182 brokerage/hst charge to $0. I have a new situation with UPS and I was wondering if you have any advice.

    My son sent in a portable hard drive for a warranty repair. The company sent a UPS sticker etc. to send it in. It went to the USA. They shipped the warranty replacement item back to him UPS. UPS charged us $10+hst brokerage and $5 hst. Total $16.36

    Quite obviously there is no HST and thus no brokerage on a warranty repair item. Is there a strategy to use with UPS to get these charges reversed without having to go through the cbsa? For $16 it’s not worth a big hassle, but I hate UPS ripping us off.

    Cheers,

    Brandon

  • B Smith

    I should have mentioned that my son accepted the shipment and paid UPS, unfortunately.

    -Brandon

  • Trueler

    Hi Brandon,

    It obviously should not have any HST or brokerage fee on it. If you wish and have time, call UPS to ask what are these taxes for. Tell that it is a warranty repair. If they don’t agree that it is a warranty case, get commercial invoice from them. If the invoice does not specify “warranty repair” or “replacement”, so contact seller for refund due to wrong goods specification. To avoid hassle, you may use e-mail communication with UPS and seller for your convenience and to save time waiting for the next representative.

    I hope this helps.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • B Smith

    Hi Trueler:

    We have a copy of the commercial invoice. It says in very large font Warranty Replacement. UPS have no excuse. This is a crystal clear customer rip off. I sent them an email. If that doesn’t work I’ll phone them up. I’ll post back when it’s resolved.

    Thanks again for your help. It’s good to know there’s someone on your side in these battles.

    Cheers,

    Brandon

  • B Smith

    So, I got a not entirely satisfactory reply (see below). Comments?

    Cheers,

    Brandon

    – ——————————————–

    Dear Brandon,

    Thank you for your e-mail regarding tracking number 1Zxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

    You are correct. Warranty replacements importing to Canada should not have any taxes applied. However, on Standard service shipments from the USA, Brokerage Entry Preparation fees are applicable based on the full value of the goods.

    I have processed a rerate request to have $5.06 in taxes adjusted and refunded.

    I am truly sorry for the inconvenience caused by this rating error.

    Please contact us if you need any further additional assistance.

    Phyllis T
    UPS Canada Customer Service

  • B Smith

    I just sent a reply stating that the value for duty should be $0 since it is a Warranty Replacement. We’ll see if that’s enough or if I have to escalate.

  • Trueler

    Right, there should not be any brokerage fee, since the value for duty is zero.

  • B Smith

    Here’s what they said this time. Any suggestions as to who to contact or what arguments to use?

    Cheers,

    Brandon

    ——————————-

    Dear Brandon,

    Thank you for your reply.

    A warranty replacement item still has a value for Customs purposes and for loss or damage. The shipper correctly declared this replacement item to be valued at $39.99 USD. Therefore, the Brokerage Entry Preparation fees are applicable based on the full value of the goods.

    I apologize for any misunderstanding regarding when entry preparation fees are applicable.

    Please contact us if you need any further additional assistance.

    Phyllis T
    UPS Canada Customer Service

  • Trueler

    B Smith,

    I would continue to argue with them until they issue full refund. Just because you are right in this case and they are not.

    The main argument is clear. Brokerage services are used to pay taxes by UPS on importer’s behalf to Canada Customs. There is no tax in this case, therefore no “brokerage fee”, no “Brokerage Entry Preparation fees”, no other fees should be applied.

    If no luck, you may ask for detailed explanation why they charged taxes initially. Ask who is responsible for this error. Inform them that double taxation is a very serious offense and CRA usually investigates every case.

    Unfortunately UPS does not respect customer’s time and money, but they do respect their own time, and after several e-mails they will probably issue a refund. Or call them and do not let representative go until success. It worked for me several times, but it may take a lot of waiting time on the line: rep -> supervisor of the rep -> supervisor of the supervisor of the rep -> brokerage fee waived

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • B Smith

    Hi Trueler:

    UPS is arguing that even though the item is a Warranty Exchange it still has a “value for duty.” If I can’t win this battle it means that any Warranty Exchanges that get done in the US – including items purchased in Canada as this item was – will be charged brokerage fees based on the value of the item. That is NUTS. It is wholly unfair to the consumer. It’s a total rip-off.

    I have composed an email which I hope will make it higher up the chain of command. It’s not about the $10, I’m irked!

    Dear Brandon,

    Thank you for your response. You are correct. Our web site states “the value for duty”. The “”the value for duty” of your shipment was $39.99 USD. Please note that value for duty is not the same as duty charged.

    A Brokerage fee is charged to process your shipment and present your paperwork to customs on your behalf. All courier shipments with a value exceeding $20 CAD require customs clearance by a broker. The customs clearance procedure requires the broker to perform, on behalf of the importer, a number of tasks. Tasks include, but are not limited to, auditing import documentation, classification of the commodity being imported, and preparation and transmission of accounting information to Canada Customs. The UPS Customs Brokerage published rate schedule is competitive with industry standards.

    You may find our rates for customs clearance into Canada at:

    http://www.ups.com/content/ca/en/shipping/cost/zones/customs_clearance.html.

    When accessing the link for Rates for Customs Clearance into Canada, please review the complete fee schedule provided. Please note: Entry Preparation Charges, Disbursement Fees and Additional Services may apply to your shipment.

    Please contact us if you need any further additional assistance.

    Phyllis T
    UPS Canada Customer Service

  • B Smith

    The response to my email escalation is below. I think I’ll let them phone me. I’d like to find out what their side of the story is. I fear my complaint won’t change their practices.

    By the way, I mentioned my prior problem in the email. Primarily because they also tried to charge HST and brokerage on a zero-rated item. I’m not sure if that had any effect.

    If you’re interested I’ll let you know what they say.
    ——————————

    Good day Brandon,

    I am with UPS Canada and received a copy of your email sent to UPS Public Relations. I apologize for any inconvenience that this situation has caused you. I am forwarding the information to the Director of Customer Service for further review and follow up with you. The entire amount of $16.36 is being refunded. Is there a daytime phone number that you can be reached at?

  • Bill

    Shot down in flames. Calgary CBSA states I need:
    Commercial invoice
    Shipping manifest

    This is all they want, they don’t care about any shipment identification, etc. If you do not have a manifest, they won’t do a damn thing. Why is the story different at every CBSA office? Shouldn’t they have the same protocol in all areas? Contacting UPS, I was told that if I wanted to clear the shipment myself, I’d have to travel to Winnipeg. There is no way to get a manifest from them. I give up, you just can’t win, just like everything else in this country, the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting screwed.

  • Trueler

    Hi B Smith,

    Yes, please let our readers know. I understand that it’s not just about $10… Thanks a lot for adherence!

    UPS lied in response to you here:

    “A Brokerage fee is charged to process your shipment and present your paperwork to customs on your behalf

    It is incorrect information. Actually the courier must present paperwork to the customs, not the broker. It is specified in one of CLVS documents. Broker pays taxes on importer’s behalf.

    Thanks!
    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Hi Bill,

    Did you show instructions how to self-clear to CBSA officers? Did they refuse to honor them? Did you write down the names of the officers to make a complaint to the ministry? Instructions clearly show that shipping manifest is not required, only commercial/shipment’s invoice.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • YU-JO

    Hi Trueler,

    I have same situation just like Bill as well. I went to local CBSA twice and met two officers who all told me I need the copy of shipping manifest. I provided them info as below:

    Tracking number, shipping number, invoice from paypal, invoice from UPS Billing Department. (I called UPS Billing Department to request commercial invoice but it only showed like

    paypal inovice which I got similar before, it doesn’t look like the one you showed us the invoice from the Instructions)

    They refused me as I don’t have the copy of shipping manifest. I called USP rep and she told me they don’t have manifest number because it was low value. And I went through the

    supervisor who told me the same story. They said they are able to request for me to get the copy of manifest and I need to wait up to 48 hrs. They also said they will send the

    package back to Winnipeg first and give me the copy after. I was so upset and hung up..

    I was talking to the same rep on the phone today again @8:30 am. I called Mandarin Tel: 1800-742-5877. Her name is Jessica and her employee number is 2311. I didn’t ask Supervisor’s name who spoke to me in English.

    Are the instructions, “How to self clear shipment at CBSA and avoid UPS brokerage fee” the standard procedure issued by CBSA, or were they from your personal experience? If it’s from CBSA, could you advise where I can find it on CBSA’s website? I’m concerned that CBSA may not agree with the instructions if they are from your personal experience.

  • Trueler

    Hi YU-JO,

    These instructions are general instructions how to self clear for everyone, not only for me. They have been sent by the Government of Canada – CBSA Ottawa. If officers do not honor these instructions, they won’t honor anything on their own website. Just take their names and file a complaint to the ministry if they ask you for manifest which is not required according to the instructions.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Bill

    They didn’t even want to look at the instructions. They only have numbers on their vests, no names. The one lady was very quiet, and the senior lady did all the talking with a hostile overtone. I tried to explain the instructions, and referred to memorandum D17-1-3 which covers B15 forms, and was told that only flies at the port of entry.

  • Trueler

    Hi Bill,

    It is frustrating, but they misinformed you because they are not aware of the proper instructions. Fell free to file a complaint.

    Mention in your complaint that they did not even bother to look at the instructions and showed total ignorance. Also mention that these instructions have already been honored at other CBSA offices.

    Sometimes it works when you ask officers for a written refusal to accept taxes and issue B15 form.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • B Smith

    Hi Trueler:

    UPS called me yesterday. They told me that they were issuing a full refund because they had erroneously charged me for both the HST and brokerage.

    But the reason the brokerage was refunded was NOT because they don’t charge brokerage on Warranty Repair or other zero rated items, because in fact they do charge even if the item has no HST or duty. They refunded because the item was shipped International Express -which includes brokerage.

    So now I’m even more annoyed because:

    1) they charged me HST when non was due
    2) they charged me brokerage when non was due
    3) they refused at least 3 times to refund the brokerage when they should have known that non was due
    4) all they did in the end was apologize for the errors and give me a refund of the money that was owed.
    4) they charge brokerage fees on the value of items regardless of their zero-rated status.
    5) they charge rediculous fees for brokerage (not only UPS do this)

    So let this serve as a warning to all of us. The only way to avoid brokerage fees on standard shipping is to self clear. It’s a pain to do it but it’s the only way as far as I can see. Thankfully Trueler provides all the information and help on this site to do this.

    In my case if it came down to self clearing or paying brokerage (if it had been shipped standard) it would not have been worth my time to do self clearing as it would only save me as a $10 fee.

    I wonder though, how many people get falsely charged duty taxes and brokerage by UPS? I’m sure I’m not the first and I won’t be the last.

  • Trueler

    Hi B Smith,

    It’s indeed frustrating experience. Thanks for sharing.

    I think there are thousands of people who get falsely charged duty taxes and brokerage by UPS. Several people already reported such cases here, like HST on tax exempt medical devices, on replacement items, etc.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Hi from Quebec city. I’m trying to avoid paying 63$ fees on a 135$ item but I’m not sure what to do…

    The delivery man came yesterday to my house asking for 63$ COD, I refused delivery and he told me to come pick the paperwork at the warehouse the next day.

    Reading this blog, I called UPS and asked for the paperwork to be sent to me by email but the representative would only tell me that “the item has already been cleared”/”the work has already been done.”

    I drove to the UPS warehouse and the (nice) lady at the counter gave me the waybill and the commercial invoice but told me that I should make arrangements with UPS before paying to the CBSA to avoid having to pay twice.

    She told me that she could not give me the package even if I provided the B15 form, she would need confirmation from UPS that the COD fees were waved.

    So should I just go to the CBSA office and fax the B15 form to UPS or will I just end up having to pay the COD charges because “the job has already been done?”

    Thanks a lot!
    Guillaume

  • Trueler

    Hi Guillaume,

    Since you have documents necessary to pay taxes to CBSA, so you may just go there and send B15 to UPS after. Then COD charges should be waived by UPS – it may take 1-3 days. If you call and remind them it takes faster. Then you may reschedule delivery. I hope you will not have any problems at CBSA office paying taxes.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • I went to the CBSA office today and in short the hardest part was finding the building. :)

    When I met with the agent, I showed him my papers and he asked “Is it for a refund?” I answered that I wanted to pay the taxes so that I can get a refund from UPS.

    He also asked for my waybill but didn’t leave me the time to answer and said “ok, there’s a tracking number” and wrote the tracking number on the B15 form.

    Then basically the agent said nothing for about 20 minutes while typing the form then handed me the B15 form saying “Show this and they’ll refund you.”

    I faxed this with other paperwork (commercial invoice + brokerage COD) to UPS.

    I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    Thanks again,
    Guillaume

  • Trueler

    Thanks for update Guillaume.

  • Sheldon

    I called UPS to self-clear a package and they told me I would have to go to the Fort Erie warehouse to get the paper work for CBSA, and then have to pick up the item from the Fort Erie warehouse also.

    I tried calling CBSA about self-clear an item and he said that the customs officer may want to inspect the item, so it would have to be done in Fort Erie so they could go to the warehouse to see the package.

    From talking with UPS, if I tried your method, I would end up having to pick up the package from the Fort Erie warehouse if I did manage to do the self-clear the shipment. Is this true?

    Thanks
    Sheldon

  • Trueler

    Hi Sheldon,

    No, that’ not true. Using this method, you can schedule another delivery to your door after you fax B15 form to UPS.

    CBSA gave you wrong information as well. If the package is already in a local UPS warehouse it means that customs officers already inspected the shipment if it was necessary. They should not want to inspect it again.

    Know your rights and insist on your rights!

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Sheldon

    Hi Trueler,

    Thanks for the information, I called UPS again and they have e-mailed me the commercial invoice. So now I will wait for the package to arrive as the Fort Erie Warehouse, then take the information to the local CBSA office and see how it goes.

    Sheldon

  • Trueler

    Sheldon, it could be a bit unclear in the post, but one of the requirements to self clear at a local CBSA office is the shipment located at a local UPS warehouse. It means for customs officers that it has been released at the port of entry. They may request to wait for it first.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Success!! :)

    You might want to read the
    first part of my story.

    I gave a call to UPS today and they confirmed me that my bill was “revised to 0$”. The clerk at the UPS counter actually inquired on how I managed to waive the COD charges. It seemed like it she never saw someone doing that before.

    I’m surprised that it finally worked out because UPS told me that they would only refund the taxes (~18$) and I would still have to pay to brokerage fees (~45$) plus a rebilling fee of 15$.

    BTW, the UPS representative told me to fax my B15 form to 1-506-447-3706 — maybe because I wrote my question in french.

    Thank you so much!
    Guillaume

  • laura

    Do you need to pay customs/brokerage fee on used items?
    This sounds stupid, I bought on ebay a lot of 39 used trains for my kids (Thomas and friends) for $40, I received the UPS slip today and they want to charge me $39.30 on brokerage fees. It doesn’t make any sense, and reading your post, I know what to do…for new items, but I don’t even know if it applies for used items. Does it? I don’t seem to find information on that…

    thanks!

  • Trueler

    Hi Laura,

    Customs/brokerage fee is applied when any taxes are due. No taxes – no brokerage fee. If anything is subject to HST in Canada, so it is a subject to HST when imported from US. I could not find the document now if used toys should be taxed in Canada, so I can’t tell for sure. As I remember most of the used goods purchased privately are not taxable (it’s not 100%). Anyway, if UPS denies to waive brokerage fee, you may use this self clearance approach and CBSA officers will properly rate your goods and tell if you have to pay taxes on it.

    If anyone can provide info how used goods are taxable in Canada it would be helpful. I’ll try to figure out later.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • brian

    avoiding brokerage fees‏

    17/07/2011
    Reply ▼

    brian rafferty

    @hotmail.com

    To contact@cbsa.gc.ca
    hi
    i live in vancouver and was planning on shipping a $1300 part from the usa, can i bring a computer print out of the bill, with the couriers name and tracking # to a cbsa office and prepay? and if so which office in vancouver, is 685 Hamilton Street office ok?
    thanks
    brian
    “CBSA RESPONSE”
    RE: avoiding brokerage fees **10742**‏

    18/07/2011
    Reply ▼

    CBSA-ASFC_​CONTACT Add to contacts
    To brian

    Thank you for your inquiry on pre-paying duty and taxes that may be charged for an item shipped through the mail. Unfortunately, this option is not available for imports

    through the mail.

    For postal imports, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) calculates the duty and taxes based upon the product type, value and country of origin. However, the Canada Post Corporation is responsible for the delivery of the goods to the importer (addressee of the goods), as well as the collection of the assessed duties and taxes on behalf of the CBSA. Final accounting of all duty and taxes owing is the responsibility of the importer and is collected by Canada Post prior to the item being released/delivered.

    Should you have further questions, please contact the Border Information Service (BIS) by telephone and speak to an agent directly. You can access the BIS line free of charge throughout Canada by calling 1-800-461-9999. If you are calling from outside Canada, you can access the BIS line by calling 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 (long-distance charges will apply). If you call during regular 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.

  • Nathan

    I have a package coming from the US, and would like to avoid paying the excessive brokerage fees associated with it. Using the calculator, it appears the fees will amount to approximately 70 dollars for a 270 dollar item.

    I contacted UPS today to arrange for self-clearance and was advised that I would have to present myself at Windsor (the first point of entry) in order to clear the item myself. I advised the lady on the phone that I had done it in my home city before, and she immediately got her back up and insisted this wasn’t possible. Also insisted I give her my previous tracking number where I did the self-clearing as she “hadn’t seen someone do this in all her years”.

    Rather than fight with her, I will wait for the package to clear the border and move along to my home town. We’re lucky to have a CBSA office at the airport which will process CLVA items, so wish me luck!

  • Trueler

    Hi Brian,

    You got a prompt reply from CBSA for your question. That’s right: you can not prepay taxes, because the package must be assessed and released by Canada Customs at the port of entry first. Only after that you can pay taxes for your shipment at any local CBSA office. The package must be located at your local courier’s warehouse – this is a requirement which ensures that goods have been already release by customs at the port of entry.

    I think CBSA representative misunderstood a bit your question, because you’ve asked about any courier, but they replied about Canada Post. However, it does not really matter in regards to your question.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Nathan, I hope you will be successful in using your rights as an importer!

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Joseph G.

    If one is expecting an item shipped via Ups that was a second hand item purchased on ebay, and this item was marked as a gift by the seller. What would be the means to provide proof of purchase to the local customs office? A paypal receipt? Would this raise conflicts with item on the commercial invoice etc. being originally marked as a gift? Any other way to prove the value at the custons office?

  • Trueler

    Hi Joseph,

    You should present shipment’s invoice to the local customs office. UPS sometimes call it commercial invoice. You can get it from them by e-mail or fax. It describes goods and specifies value for duty. It will help customs officer to apply necessary taxes on it.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Joseph G.

    Hi,

    I just phoned a local canada customs office, and the person I spoke to said he was pretty sure you couldn’t pay the customs yourself for a UPS shipment at the office, something about being an “inland” facility and only accepting payments for goods held in bond at a specific facility. This is the Thunder Bay office. Does this sound right to you?

  • Joseph G.

    Another thing, looking at the tracking number, the shipment has already entered Canada, do I still have time to go to the CSBA and pay myself? Even if the delivery guy comes to my door, can I refuse the package, ask them to hold, and then go to CSBA and pay at that time as well?

  • Trueler

    @ Joseph:

    You definitely have a right to pay taxes yourself at a local CBSA office. At the time of payment the goods must be held in your local UPS warehouse – it is a requirement which guarantees to the officer that the shipment has already been released by Canada Customs at the port of entry and inspected if needed. Tell the delivery guy that you are going to dispute C.O.D. charges. When he/she comes take a note of Shipment ID number from the package (it is different from tracking number).

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Joseph G.

    Hi,

    Sorry to post so much. So I just called UPS and was emailed the commercial invoice which resembles the one on the top of this page (not identical, basically states the value of the item which I think is the critical part?). However there is another invoice called the customs invoice that I can only get by fax, do I need that as well? I was told it has the brokerage fees on it. Thanks again.

  • Trueler

    Hi Joseph,

    I’m not sure what the customs invoice is. I guess it is the invoice which the driver shows you at the delivery time or which UPS sends month later. It is basically a bill for their brokerage services.

    This is what I’ve been asked at a local CBSA office:
    - Commercial invoice with description of goods and value for duty. It also had Shipment ID on it.
    - Where the goods are located now. One time they were in my trunk (driver did not ask to pay at the door) and another time they were at a local UPS warehouse. Important thing is that the goods must be already released by Canada Customs at the port of entry
    - If I’ve already paid taxes to UPS – No
    - Photo ID – driver’s license
    - Money to pay HST

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Joseph G.

    Ok, wow I am pissed. Just went to the Thunder Bay CBSA office to try to pay for something, and they said they couldn’t do it because UPS already “paid the taxes” on my behalf. I tried to quote some stuff off this website, but they dismissed it as only a website. They said they required something off the office CBSA office. CBSA customer line was closed by the time I tried to call. Any ideas on an official webpage to give them on Monday? or should I call CBSA on Monday and get some type of direct number for the local office to call? Other things the local office mentioned were possibly requiring a “manifest” document and that they may only be able to release stuff from “certain warehouses”. My item is currently at the local UPS warehouse, after refusing to pay during the delivery today. The local office actually called UPS instead of CBSA to confirm what the rules were. Frustrating.

  • Trueler

    Joseph,

    Please print the section “How to pay duties and taxes for imported goods” from this post:

    http://trueler.com/2010/09/13/ups-brokerage-fees-total-scam-fraud-cheating-avoid-it/

    and take it to CBSA office. It is an e-mail reply from CBSA Ottawa. They must follow these instructions.

    UPS pay taxes on your behalf only by the end of the next month. So, it’s not true. Manifest is not required as well.

    If they refuse to accept taxes and issue B15 form, ask them for written refusal and advise them that you will file a complaint to the Ministry.

    Please note that it is an approach which have been proven by many importers. Most likely officers in Thunder Bay CBSA office are still not aware of the proper procedures because nobody tried it before. You could be the first one! Insist on your rights!

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Joseph G.

    These people were pretty hostile. What if they refuse to write a refusal? They did mention no one has requested this locally, so I’m sure this is due to inexperience on their part.

  • Trueler

    You just show them instructions from CBSA Ottawa e-mail. It’s their responsibility to follow official instructions. If they refuse, first you may write an e-mail to contact@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca (it is from their website) providing the reply from CBSA Ottawa which I mentioned in my previous comment and information about the local CBSA office you went to.

    It is really inexperience on their part. I would even say incompetence, because as you mentioned “The local office actually called UPS instead of CBSA to confirm what the rules were”. Not CBSA should follow UPS rules! UPS should follow CBSA rules! UPS have their “rules” to rip-off customers like late invoices and lie about importer’s right to self-clear in a local office…

  • Joseph G.

    Ok, the local office’s main claim was that 1) taxes and duties were already paid by UPS (can I prove this is untrue somehow?) so they couldn’t accept further payments and 2) there is an agreement when originally shipping a package via UPS that they will handle the brokerage things for me (can I prove this is untrue). I honestly just want to go on Monday and clear this up quickly. In fact, I’m not even sure if my package will be kept at the local warehouse? I told the driver I am going to try to pay the customs myself, is there policy on what they do with refusal to pay CODs? Like do they ship it back to the border or hold it for a certain number of days?

    I am printing some pages off this document I found on a prior post:

    http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d17/d17-4-0-eng.pdf

    The two sections which I think will help me are these:

    “Authorization of Couriers
    52. Casual goods imported by authorized Courier LVS Program participants may be released before being accounted for and before payment of the applicable duties and taxes. Couriers wishing to account for casual goods in lieu of the importer must request authorization from:”

    -is there any chance that UPS does not do this, and can they say UPS actually paid and accounted for their shipments at the border?

    “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”

    Now this section is very helpful.However, it appears to all hinge on whether or not you can prove UPS is one of the couriers that is part of the program that gets casual goods released prior to being accounted for and paid for?

    Is the fact that it is COD mean that they are part of the program?

    Thanks again. I really want to clear this up on Monday. Some of the people at the office were really rude to me. And it still pisses me off the guy called UPS, got lied to, and didn’t call the CSBA, his organization instead. Small towns…

  • Trueler

    Hi Joseph,

    Reply from CBSA answers all your questions and represents complete instructions how to self clear. You do not have to prove anything at your local office.

    UPS participates in CLVS program.

    Seems like you local CBSA office is just afraid of UPS and do whatever UPS wants them to do in spite of the importer’s rights… I think you should definitely complain about this case.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Joseph G.

    Yeah I agree, I showed them the webpage off my phone of the CBSA response, but these uninformed/lazy people at the CBSA office just dismissed it as an unofficial website. It truly is infuriating that government workers do not know their own jobs, and on top of that will call UPS, a private organization to see what the rules are. On top of that, they want me to provide information from the CBSA top office, and prove stuff to them. I mean, WTF is their job exactly? It’s bad enough we pay their salaries, and they also want us to do their jobs for them?

    It seems like I have to prove every little detail to them. I can foresee after showing them the official documents I found, they will question whether UPS is part of the CLVS program and want “official proof” of that.

    Anyways, my package which is important to my work is in limbo over the weekend at the local warehouse. I’m going to give this one last shot at the CBSA on Monday, but if I can’t convince them with the documents I found, I’ll just pay the close to 100 bucks…

  • Joseph G.

    Ok I surrender. Called CBSA today, and they said I could self-clear, but had to find out what particular “CBSA” office the local UPS warehouse deals with and that they didn’t know. Called UPS and they said I had to contact the Fort Erie (the CBSA office?) and talk to a customs officer, get him to approve self-clearance, his name, his badge number, detachment number than forward all this info to the local CBSA office. After that no gurantees the local CBSA office would coordinate any of this…sounds like you people in GTA have a much easier time doing this.

  • Trueler

    UPS warehouse does not have to deal with CBSA office you want to pay taxes at. It’s a misinformation. Unfortunately, no one at your location wants to obey official rules. I really advice you to file a complaint.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Nick

    Hi Trueler,

    I have tried to get my local CBSA office to accept your official response from CBSA Ottawa and I’ve also quoted the D memo 17-4-0.

    They said they wouldn’t do it unless the goods were still at the bonded warehouse and that the bonded warehouse is in their jurisdiction. Since the goods were already released from the bonded warehouse the goods are considered to have been cleared by the broker, the officer said there was nothing they can do.

    I asked if there was something I could have in writing that specified this and he showed me section 56 of D17-4-0:

    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.

    He said that sinced the goods were already released from the bonded warehouse the importer can no longer account for the goods themselves since the broker has already submitted the entry.

    I called the toll free number, and spoke to a lady there that said the same thing, I tried explaining to her that there weere plenty of people doing this and I also quoted the specific response you had from CBSA. The lady transfered me to a “senior” officer to confirm and the senior officer said the same thing.

    The senior officer added that if UPS shipped the goods to a bonded warehouse that happened to be located in my area then I could have made prior arragements with UPS to make sure they didn’t clear my goods, but once the goods have been cleared it’s out of their hands.

    Any advice? I really feel as though I don’t have any solid ground to stand on, and I don’t want to end up losing my package either.

  • JS

    **LONG READ but informative**

    I just wanted to voice my frustration with this process of self-clearing.

    I bought an item from a store in Seattle and they didn’t have it in stock at their store, so the company said they would ship it to me from their Tampa Bay, Florida location. The item was $200 plus $35 for S&H. Little did I know that they would use UPS Standard Shipping which charges a brokerage fee. When the UPS driver came with the package to my home in Edmonton, I was not home so he left a little yellow note saying there would be a second delivery attempt and also left a note saying the COD for the package would be $64.xx.

    So I found this site doing my research on how to avoid brokerage fees. I called UPS and told them to hold the package at the Edmonton Customer Centre Warehouse until I was ready to come in and pick it up. They said the package would be at the location for 6 business days.

    Having read this site, I went into my local CBSA office at the Edmonton International Airport with the following information:

    -Courier Company
    -Location where item is being held
    -Commercial Invoice
    -Unique Shipping Identifier # which is located on the Commercial Invoice.
    -Tracking # from UPS

    I was a bit weary about going because I have seen on other information websites (avoidbrokeragefees.blogspot.com) that you also need a cargo control document. I tried several times to request a cargo control document from UPS, and every time they said that all they have on the system is the commercial invoice. I think once the item is cleared at the point of entry, the cargo control document is issued. They had to idea what I was referring to. So I went with the items I needed based on your “procedure for self clearing” I even printed out the email from CBSA.

    I even further did my due diligence, and was able to obtain the phone number of the local CBSA office (I got it from the Edmonton Airport) as CBSA would not provide it. I told the person on the phone that I would be bringing the items I listed above and if that was enough. He said yes. I also asked if the cargo control document was needed and he said I should be alright.

    So I went to the office at the Edmonton International Airport. They said they could NOT issue the B-15 form because I did not have the cargo control document. I showed them the official email response and they still refused. I told them I have done this before and that I had called in before hand and the person on the phone said I would not need the cargo control document. They insisted I needed it and also mentioned that once the item is at the point of entry, a cargo control document is issued. UPS would not provide me with this. So I left frustrated, after I gave the rude and arrogant CBSA officers a peace of my mind. I called them dicks and left.
    So I called UPS once last time in a last ditch effort to get the cargo control document before I buckle and just pay the ridiculous brokerage fees.

    I insisted they email me the cargo control document, but the lady (who was very polite and professional) insisted she didn’t have it in the system. I told her I had done it before and that in order to get a cargo control document they would need to send the package back to the point of entry (in my case Winnipeg), and get the cargo control document issued and then email it to me. The more detail I gave her about how much I exactly knew about all this (after all my research) she put me on hold a few times.

    FINALLY, after being on hold a few times, she reduced the total brokerage fee from $64.xx including taxes and duty to $23.11. Too much of a headache to further pursue this. I will be picking up the package today or tomorrow.

    Lots of incompetence on UPS and the CBSA’s part. I will be sending a complaint to CBSA for not knowing the procedures, but I’m beginning to think you do need the cargo control document and the only way to get it is, to issue a “self clear” before the item enter the port of entry.

  • Leanne M.

    Do these procedures work for FedEx Ground who charges you upfront for brokerage fees?

  • Matt

    I am trying to clear a package coming into toronto and was told by customs that I have to go to fort erie or windsor to clear(wherever it comes in) I mentioned this site and they said it is wrong and there is an official memo out saying that this is in error.

    Matt

  • Ian C.

    So far, it’s been a rocky process to self-clear a 200$ package through UPS. They purposefully give misinformation at every step requiring me to insist on my rights to clear my own items. They consistently use the port-of-entry as a scare tactic. My questions is on my tracking it lists the package has gone through their brokerage (I called to change this before it crossed border but was told it could not be done.) It is in my town, I have a B-15 and have paid taxes. Now I was told to fax to brokerage dept. and wait. Can they FORCE me to pay their brokerage fees after I have paid the duty myself? I hope the B-15 was not for naught.

  • Trueler

    Hi Nick,

    When goods are released at the port of entry, taxes are still not paid to Canada Customs. UPS just promises to CBSA that taxes will be paid prior to the shipment is released to the importer. It can be paid by a broker, or by importer. Sometimes people answering CBSA toll free number are not aware of the proper procedure. When I called them, one time they told something like you heard, another time they confirmed that importer can pay taxes at any local office. Recently one of the importers confirmed this procedure by contacting CBSA via e-mail.

    So your local office refused to follow instructions from CBSA Ottawa? How is it possible? How did they explain that?

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Hi JS,

    Cargo control document is not needed for sure. And UPS don’t provide it. Government organizations MUST NOT ask taxpayers for documents which they can’t get. Thanks for sending a complaint. I hope it will help to change things and make paying taxes easier for importers. What the **!! Taxpayers honestly want to pay taxes to the Government, and they don’t accept it! Eh…

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Hi Leanne,

    As far as I remember, there were importers who paid taxes themselves at local CBSA offices for FedEx shipments.

    This procedure is valid for any courier who participates in CLVS program.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Hi Matt,

    Official memo that reply from CBSA I quoted was an error?! Really? Have not seen this. Why they have not contacted me?
    Seems like they just misinformed you…

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Trueler

    Hi Ian,

    If you’ve already paid taxes to CBSA, UPS can not force you to pay it again. Brokerage fee is the fee for UPS paying taxes on behalf of you to CBSA. So, there should not be any brokerage fee. This is exactly how it worked for me and many other importers.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • Ian C.

    Thanks Trueler,

    UPS is doing the trick that I saw mentioned in this thread already. That is, they are claiming that they already paid the tax and say they will send a CRA form for me to claim a refund for the taxes I paid. I called the CBSA and the person said this was B.S., he also said that there is nothing that he can do as this was a private matter. I feel this is complete extortion on behalf of UPS and that CBSA will not lift a finger to help. Any advice? I feel like time is running out.

  • Trueler

    Hi Ian,

    It was really a B.S. from UPS… Well.. If they’ve already paid taxes to CBSA, they must provide you with a receipt from CBSA. You may try again calling UPS and ask to waive C.O.D. invoice from them with taxes and brokerage fee because you have B15. If they refuse and tell again that they’ve ALREADY paid taxes on your behalf to CBSA, ask them for receipt being sent to your e-mail or fax. No immediate receipt – so it’s 100% B.S. They may tell you that they will send you receipt in a month (I’ve heard this from one of the importers) – but it just means that they have not paid taxes to Canada Customs yet. Actually, different UPS representatives behave differently, so, I hope you will be lucky and they will just accept your B15 without long conversation and deliver the package without any fees.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Ian C.

    Thanks for the prompt reply,

    I called again and got a woman who knew what I was talking about. She put it through again to brokerage marked as being part of the low-value shipment program (24-48hrs more) Funny, because I clearly wrote this on my original fax. Anyway, if the same error comes up, I will request the receipt. It seems the only way to work with these people is to call 8 times and hope you get a sympathetic employee who did their homework. They also fully insulate those who can make the invoice-altering decisions from the caller. If I was to create publicly traded rip-off company, I would study UPS.

  • Nick

    Well it’s been a few days, and I’ve not made any progress with CBSA. I’ve spoken to the superintendant at the local office, I’ve spoken to several officers via the toll-free number (including senior officers) and they all confirm that your “official” response is not only in direct disagreement with paragraph 56 of D17-4-0 but they also find that response suspect on a few other grounds also. To them it makes no sense that anyone of any authority in CBSA would give a response that brings into question whether or not a broker can charge fees for their services especially considering that the brokers have already submitted their entry to customs regardless of whether LVS allows them to pay later.

    They all wanted to know where that response came from because “CBSA Ottawa” seemed very ambiguous to them. I found out from the toll-free number that email responses are actually generated from a client services office in Winnipeg and not Ottawa, so no one was willing to accept the response you have provided from “CBSA Ottawa” over the procedures outlined in D17-4-0. They basically said if there are any ammendments to the d-memo headquarters would issue a notice of those ammendments. They say they have recieved no such notice so they are sticking to the the rules as they are written in the d-memo.

    I was told though that there was going to be a formal inquiry to CBSA headquarters in Ottawa as to who submitted this response (if it was actually a reply from CBSA.)

    I’m pretty upset now though, because on top of paying the brokerage fees (yes, I gave up.) I have also wasted a lot of my time… Next time I’m just going to use regular mail.

  • Trueler

    @Nick:

    Release of goods by Canada Customs at the port of entry and payment of taxes are two things. For the first one broker is not needed at all. The second one can be done by a broker or importer.

    I have not invented that response, it came from CBSA information center. I’ve found in the Internet some old response (maybe as of 2007) with the same idea of self-clearing at any local office and sent it to CBSA and also complained that Brampton CBSA office refused to follow it. Month later after investigation they confirmed the procedure in the response I quoted on this website. I also got a call back from CBSA and they confirmed that there is absolutely no need to go to the port of entry in order to self-clear as UPS and local CBSA offices ask you for.

    Actually, D17-4-0 clearly confirms the procedure that importer can pay taxes. What is the “direct disagreement”? Well.. Let’s go through it:

    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.

    => Broker is not required in the procedure of release. It’s responsibility of the courier and CBSA.

    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.

    => UPS must provide shipment’s invoice, unique shipment ID to the importer

    52. Casual goods imported by authorized Courier LVS Program participants may be released before being accounted for and before payment of the applicable duties and taxes.

    => That’s what happens

    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.

    That’s it. Taxes need to be paid directly to CBSA by importer. It does not have to be done at the port of entry. Any local CBSA office should be good.

    If you want, you may file a complaint to the Ministry.

    Thanks,
    Trueler

  • HateUPS

    So, after over a week of back and forth with UPS I’m still pissed.

    I informed UPS I would like to self clear, their response “no problem, but you have to go to Windsor”. I told them this was not the case as a LVS I could clear at an inland office. To which they replied “well who is going to put it though customs at windsor then”…. After getting transferred to a supervisor who told me the same thing. I called the 800 number listed on the CBSA site, they told me to go to point of entry since it’s with UPS. <-oh really

    Called my local CBSA office, they told me "no problem come on in and we'll do the paperwork".
    Paid my tax and duty, faxed the form to UPS. UPS refuses to do anything with it because "we already brokered it". They finally waived the brokerage fees but require me to pay tax at the local warehouse for pickup. They said I could claim a refund after i picked up the package… Seriously not right.

    Had a similar situation with fedex, which was resolved after a 5 minute phone call and a fax of proof of payment to CBSA..

    Could you please forward some contact information for either a UPS agent who knows what they are doing, a CBSA officer who actually knows the importation process and a number to file a complaint with CBSA?

  • Trueler

    @HateUPS:

    CBSA did their own job – accepted taxes from you and issued B15. I think it’s better to complaint about UPS not to CBSA, but to CRA. Because asking a taxpayer to pay taxes the second time for the same item is a very serious violation, and CRA takes all these cases very seriously.

    If you want to get it right by UPS, please refer to this comment about asking for receipt from UPS that they’ve paid taxes:

    http://trueler.com/2010/11/24/self-clear-shipment-cbsa-avoid-ups-brokerage-fee/#comment-14940

    That guy has similar case to yours.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Nick

    Trueler,

    With all due respect you are really not proving anything with that response. Paragraph 56 states that in order for the goods to be self-cleared they must be at the bonded warehouse, they can not have been released. Once the goods have arrived at the local depot they are no longer in bond and that means UPS has already submitted their entry and that’s why CBSA won’t touch it.

    The superintendant I spoke with was very adamant. I could certainly clear the goods myself, but that it had to be done before the goods were cleared by the broker and at the office corresponding to that bonded warehouse. Once the goods were no longer in bond they won’t touch it. That’s how he explained it to me and honestly the 4 different people I’ve talked to at CBSA have all independently said the same thing. They all found it strange that people have found customs offices that have accepted such a thing, but they have assured me that they were sending notice to headquarters to make sure every office is aware that they shouldn’t.

    Anyways… I don’t have time for this anymore. I thought I’d save myself a couple of buck and thanks to you I’ve wasted 2 days of my life.

    Good luck to the rest of you.

  • Trueler

    @Nick,

    I’m not proving you anything. This is a procedure confirmed by CBSA after a pretty long research and investigation.

    Some comments for better understanding by everyone.

    Unfortunately that paragraph 56 has been misinterpreted by you and 4 different people. The requirement to pay taxes by importer is that goods are already released by Canada Customs at the port of entry – that’s it, and this is exactly what officers at local CBSA offices ask people when they want to pay taxes. If importer calls UPS in advance and advice of the intention to pay taxes in a local CBSA office, according to paragraph 56 UPS should hold the shipment at the port of entry warehouse until importer provides B15 form to UPS. Then UPS should redirect shipment to the local warehouse and make a delivery. That’s simple. But when you inform UPS in advance they scare you and tell that it’s not possible and you must present yourself at the port of entry in order to do this. When I got a call from CBSA Ottawa, he told that it’s not true at all. Anyone can pay taxes at any local office.

    When CBSA releases goods at the port of entry, it does not matter what UPS do with them: either keep in a bonded warehouse at the port of entry, or send to a local warehouse to save delivery time. The requirements are exactly met:
    - Goods have been released by CBSA to the courier
    - The courier does not release goods to the importer until taxes paid

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Nick

    Who did you speak to at CBSA Ottawa? Sure this person who called you had a name? It would have been a lot easier to denfend myself had I had the name and the position of the person telling you this information. All I had to go on was basically “this guy on the internet said CBSA Ottawa told him that you are wrong.” Which of course didn’t get me very far.

    I’m not trying to be difficult but I’ve spent two days and I have spoken to people who do this for a living that say the information on your website is simply false. Beleive me I’d love nothing mroe than to go back and rub it in their faces but I’ve used up all my ammunition when I tried the first, second and third time.

  • HateUPS

    After a few phonecalls, it is confirmed you must present yourself at the location goods are being housed to clear. This is in order for Customs officers to verify the goods. They have had all their phone agents review d-17-4 due to the number of calls regarding self clear they get.

    If UPS has forwarded your package to a bonded warehouse which your local (inland) CBSA office is associated with you can clear it there. The package must stay in bond until tax and duty are paid.

  • Trueler

    @Nick and HateUPS:

    Seems like you are mixing up commercial and personal shipments. For commercial shipments you have to present yourself at the port of entry. For personal shipments below $1600 CAD which fall under CLVS program you are allowed to pay taxes at a local CBSA office.

    @Nick:

    I’m not allowed to disclose names and phone numbers of CBSA employees. You may want to send their own reply with instructions (which I posted) to CBSA and ask them to confirm.

    If you prefer regular mail instead of email, you may send your complaints to:

    CBSA
    Courier LVS Program
    150 Isabella St., 4th Floor
    Ottawa ON K1A 0L8
    (address taken from http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca)

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Matt

    Hi Trueler and thanks for this webpage!

    I tried to do the described procedure to the office near Trudeau Airport in Montreal but was asked to show the manifest. I showed the CBSA letter pretending it was an answer I got but the officer refused to read the letter as “anybody could have written it”.
    I didn’t take his name for some reason and I am trying to get the manifest from UPS. I wish CBSA offices in Ottawa would send this email to every other office so that they know how to proceed with only the commercial invoice…
    I will update soon (hopefully).

  • Ian C.

    Thank you very much Trueler.

    To all others: this does work but you have to stay within certain legal parameters, stay firm and learn the lingo (Low Value Program, bonded facility, duty, etc.), and be able to accept a week long game of chicken should they dig in and try to make you cave and pay to get your package. I can assume that once they have your money, a refund is impossible. Either way, on the final day them holding my shipment and my request being two days at “refunds” and spending two days at “brokerage” the problem was finally resolved with one phone call. Call numerous times, everytime you get an employee that knows the legalities of the situation, it moves a step closer to freedom. Reference your previous calls and outcomes, they have a record of when and how much you call so don’t lie. Once they start to admit they have made mistakes, you have won. Above all, be assertive and respectful at all times.

    They also admitted to immediately paying the taxes in brokerage as being part of a policy and furthermore, that any refunds are their responsibility should the importer clear it themselves. So beware of this distraction that stopped me for a week.

  • Rodenti

    I am in the process of attempting this because I forgot to tell the seller that I only accept USPS shipments.

    I contacted CBSA and received the EXACT same email that you did, so I followed option 2… emailed UPS for the invoice and received it, waited for delivery on Tuesday and refused it, went to CBSA and paid applicable duties and taxes, then faxed the B15 form into the fax number specified in your posting.

    I contact UPS on Wednesday and they had no record of the fax being received, and they said I sent it to the wrong fax number… they gave me 1-506-447-3706 (same as others here). The person on the line said that when I faxed it I should include a note to refund the COD charge (sounds good, right?). I again faxed off my B15 off to UPS around 2pm that day.

    Today I went at the end of the day to the UPS Pickup location in Ottawa (on Stevenage Drive) and again there is no record of my fax being received on their computer. The clerk at the counter even called their brokerage to check, and there is no evidence there that they received it. Furthermore, the brokerage person told the clerk that UPS had already paid the GST on the item on the 19th and since I had paid on the 22nd then it was my responsibility to deal with CBSA for a refund and I had to pay the brokerage fees. I got the clerk to confirm that I used the correct fax number, and I showed him the email from CBSA and my B15 form. He claimed there was nothing he could do so I left the store without my package.

    I faxed everything again to that number, then followed up with a call to UPS. The person on the line said that the brokerage office was closed, but he would send a message to them to check for the fax.

    That is where I currently am… I will be calling UPS again in the morning, and again in the afternoon if I don’t get any success. I will post back when all is done to let you know the outcome.

  • Matt

    The officers at the CBSA office near Trudeau Airport Montreal WILL NOT accept the commercial invoice only. I tried it two times with two different officers (showing the letter as well as the memorandum D17-4-0). With the manifest, it takes 5 minutes.
    You can file every complaint you want, if you want your package you have to get the manifest (that UPS emailed to me easily).
    This procedure works very well but I wish officers knew it is supposed to work with the commercial invoice only.
    Thank you very much Trueler.

  • Rodenti

    The third fax worked… UPS removed the COD charge from my shipment and I picked up the parcel today.

    Thanks for all the information you provided Trueler!

  • Langsbrunger

    I was gonna call in and do the same but the agent on the other line insisted that I must go to the windsor port of entry to clear it myself. However she said since I was not aware of the brokage fee, she will put a flag up and wavie the charge for me. So when I go pick it up I will only need to pay the duty tax.

    Hope it helps

  • Ryan Elson

    A group of us ordered 11 lbs of tobacco for $13 a lb, I have heard of issues regarding orders over 10 lbs must be proven to not be for resale, which is fine I can have my fiancee and his coworker sign a statement regarding splitting an order and customs fees to save on shipping. I called ups and the first rep couldn’t help me at all even after I pointed out there were plenty of people posting online their experiences and that I wouldn’t take no for an answer since I live on an island. So I called back and the next person was helpful, I just have to go into the cbsa office here in town and fill out the b15 then fax it to the dock that will be holding the package — no worries there. I suspect my order being over 10lbs might irk them, but 1lb from my last order went bad I think I even want to waive the fees considering I has partially spoiled product (not packaged properly went moldy).

    We’ll see I am leaving in an hour or so to go deal with them.

  • T.b.a

    Thank you for your reply.

    Even though UPS is a bonded carrier, we restrict in-bond movements to the first point of arrival, one of our UPS Canadian ports of entry. This means that you would need to physically go to the port of entry to complete the customs clearance in person. For ground shipments entering the province of Ontario, the port of entry would be Fort Erie or Windsor.

    If you wish to self clear your future shipments, it is recommended that you contact UPS Customer Service once your order has been shipped so we can arrange to have the paperwork ready for you to pick up at the port.

    Please contact us if you need any additional assistance.

    gurrrr how do I deal with this

  • Nikhil

    Hey,
    Here is a information. If your parcel has some into Canada, you can’t clear the parcel at Windsor CBSA office. If anyone ask you to go to Windsor to clear the parcel yourself, don’t do it. I’m in Windsor and I wanted my parcel cleared. CBSA said you can’t do it here and has to be done at inland CBSA office and nearest one is in London or at your UPS store. People here at CBSA Windsor don’t know anything and are useless. I think I will have to pay 70$ custom to UPS now on 140$ parcel. What the hell.

    So, Trueler, could you please include this information, that the item cannot be cleared once the item has entered Canada at Windsor location. UPS can tell you that they will have to send the package back, but that a lie as CBSA won’t take it back and wait for you to come. At least not here is Canada.

  • Ian C.

    Wow, this has gotten very messed up since I self-cleared two months ago. Package released with apology after two weeks without COD. Thought I was in the clear. Received invoice a month after for $70+, dated 4 days AFTER B-15. Was told on phone that if I paid it they would be immediately reimburse my credit card. They could offer not proof of this so I basically laughed and hung up. Maria Greco (a manager, yes! – got last name through a unique source) called me out of the blue with some account number and said she would look into making the correct invoice. Was told a correct invoice could not be made without brokerage fee due to..well, whatever BS. She never called back despite saying she was ‘on it’. A week ago I got a form to claim taxes back from CRA. I have documented this with dates, names, and account numbers and will be mailing a complaint to both CBSA, CRA, and UPS. One thing is for sure, if I claim back my taxes, I admit I was wrong. I have been overtly lied to on at least 4 separate occasions and have probably cost them much more than 70$ in time :D

  • 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 ready for a big confrontation with CBSA as well as UPS and made sure to print 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 $$.

    Linda

  • Mark

    I called UPS and they said I am unable to clear my own package unless I am at the port of arrival (talked to Denis #466). Then I called CBSA to ask how to go about clearing it myself and the guy was VERY rude and unhelpful… Im going to wait till it arrives and try it that way *fingers crossed*.
    Thanks for the info!
    Cheers

  • Regarding the case of emails not being sent. It seems their system has some strange rules regarding what a valid address is or is not. After getting the standard ‘wait 90 minutes’ line from two other reps yesterday, I tried again this morning. This time I had a patient rep (Sandra) who stayed on the line while we tried a few different tactics. Email to my custom domain was accepted by her system, but disappeared into the ether. We tried a shortened version (.ca – ie: abc.ca) of my employer address – which I use because it is much easier to type. UPS’ system rejected it as invalid. I then tried my full address (first.last@alphabravocharlie.com) – yes we have both a .ca and .com domain. The full address worked, and the invoice arrived in less than a minute.

    Once I saw the email, I began to suspect why their system is so buggy. The email comes from , the subject was ‘Image Request’, and the file attachment is ’6854868656519.zip’. Tell me that doesn’t look suspicious. I’m surprised our corporate antivirus / antispam didn’t trash the message.

    So, as much as we collectively love to hate UPS, it appears the misdirected / lost emails might be a problem with UPS’ software and not some conspiracy to stall self-clearing.

  • Terrell

    Hey Alex,

    Actually, I can confirm that you are mostly correct.

    I used to work for an online retailer in a department that processed damage and loss claims with carriers. Document requests from FedEx, UPS and truck freight companies was part of my job on a daily basis.

    FedEx and UPS email requests arrived maybe 70% of the time, and almost always on a time delay. Based on my experience with MULTIPLE agents across an entire year at that job, I get the feeling that when you don’t receive the email, it may be equal parts buggy delivery system and agent not filling out a form to issue the document properly.

    Still, it’s better than most truck freight companies (with the exception of ABF, bless their souls) which have abysmal paperwork filing systems that are only 25% digital, at best. Imagine waiting 5-7 days for a scanned copy of a faxed document from one of their ancient depots.

    Anyways, these instructions are a godsend. I’m gonna see what success I have using them with a DHL shipment and will be sure to post my successes and/or failures.

  • 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.

  • DC

    Hi,

    I don’t know if anyone else in the comments has done this, but it is possible in Greater Vancouver to physically clear your items and pick them up at the depot instead of waiting for re-delivery and potentially getting another clueless driver who tries to clip you for the inflated brokerage fees.

    In my case I drove down to the depot near YVR airport.I then got the shipping manifest from UPS (they made me wait about 20 minutes for it, but I didn’t have anything to do that day and I had a book to read so that was OK), then drove the ~10 minutes to the CBSA also near YCR. I presented all the documentation, they processed it and the duty and tax was in line with what I expected, so I paid up and then got my return documentation and went back to UPS’s depot to get the package.

    Done like dinner!

  • SH

    Hi,

    I had a sports good package being delivered to the Vancouver area. I tried asking UPS for the invoice and the lady that took my call was about to do that when she told me that my package got a “formal entry into canada”, which she explained was a shipment that the “govt manifests”. Basically I was told that since the customs people had to know the details of/check the package before it was released to UPS (at the port) the UPS people had to handle the customs and pay the taxes on it already. Which now means that I cant self clear the package and have to pay the brokerage+tax to UPS (which btw comes to about 80% of the value of the shipment, which is between the $40-100 range). So now I have 5 business days to respond after which my shipment will be sent back.

    Does anyone have any insight on whether this is even legal considering what this site mentions about the importer not being liable to pay ups for their overpriced services?

    {P.s Thanks a lot for the info here! :)}

  • Michele

    Hello Again,

    I wrote a post on this page just a few hours ago about my current situation with UPS. The one thing that I am wondering about is when I spoke to the brokerage guy this morning I requested the shipping invoice to be sent to me via email. The brokerage person said that they would send it to the CBSA themselves. Now I am wondering if this is a way for them to get around me NOT paying them some sort of fee? Also, I was reading some older posts on this page and another question came up. Will I be able to pay the taxes at the CBSA and pick up my parcel on the same day? or will UPS tell me there will be another 5 day delay? Or is this just if I wanted the package shipped to me? The custom’s office is only a few blocks from the UPS warehouse so I was hoping to take care of this in one shot. :)

    Michele

  • Hel

    First of all, thanks so much for the invaluable advice. I’ve done everything up to the point of receiving the package, only because the package was still in the hub (it just arrived in Concord today) when I went to the UPS warehouse with my B15. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that when delivered tomorrow, the driver can authorize that it’s been cleared.

    I never usually write any comments on the internet, but in this case I feel I have to give back.

    As soon as I saw on the UPS website that my package was at the local warehouse, I called UPS for my shipment/commercial invoice. The operator was surprisingly very helpful and even suggested she would wait on the phone while I checked that I received my invoice via email.

    For those of you in Toronto, the correct address at Pearson is actually in the cargo area, not in the actual airport. I originally went to T1, 1st floor, but that is only passenger customs and the officer was clueless. She did however give me the correct address where I did receive my B15. The correct address is:

    2720 Britannia Rd. East, Cargo 3, First Floor
    Mississauga, ON
    Tel: 905-405-3899

    The address of the Concord warehouse, as noted elsewhere on this site is:

    2900 Steeles Ave. West, Concord, ON

    The employee at UPS was actually really sweet and helpful, however the employee on the phone I spoke with while I was there was trying his hardest to discourage me until I (as I have read to do on this site) stated that it was my legal right, at which point he put me on hold before he told me I could fax the B15 to the UPS Fredericton Teleservicing Department: 1-506-447-3706. When I originally told him I had cleared the package myself, he asked me if I physically went to the port of entry to clear it. Not until I explained it was my legal right did he change his tone. Then he advised me that I should have called UPS earlier to inform them that I would be self clearing. I ensured him I would the next time – yeah right, so they could hold it at the port of entry? As noted, VERY IMPORTANT: WAIT UNTIL THE PACKAGE ARRIVES AT THE LOCAL WAREHOUSE.

    The only worry I have is that the UPS employee in Concord actually faxed my B15 for me and when I asked for a fax confirmation, she advised that they don’t receive any, only if the fax doesn’t go through successfully. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and see what happens tomorrow.

    Just want to say thank you Trueler and for everyone whose comments have helped me on this issue.

    Good luck everyone!

  • Trueler

    Thanks a lot Hel for information!

    Trueler

  • Hel

    I called UPS this morning to follow up on the fax that the UPS employee had sent for me. Nothing was received – do they really try so hard to misdirect us? They did clear the package for delivery so I expect they just wanted to send me a bill to follow. I’ve scanned and emailed the B15 – the email address they provided was fredbrok@ups.com – I will call again tomorrow to ensure they have received it and that I will not be receiving a bill in the mail.

    I’m still waiting on the delivery…

  • Trueler

    Unfortunately UPS really try to invent some new things to misdirect us and force to pay…

  • Kelvin

    I tried to clear a package myself today, only to be told by two agents at both Mississauga and Pearson that they needed the manifest. Also, the agent at Pearson said the Concord warehouse is not bonded. Even showing the official reply, she said that she needed a manifest because that was how she had always done it.

    Phoning UPS for the manifest was of no help. One rep said I had to call the shipper to obtain it and another transferred me to brokerage who said I had to go to Windsor to clear. I am now waiting on the shipper to call me back.

    Then when I phoned CBSA, I was advised that since UPS already cleared customs for me without first notifying UPS that I wanted to self-clear before the package arrived in Windsor, I was out of luck.

    I now wonder if I have done something wrong in failing to provide a manifest.

  • Kelvin

    An update…

    I called UPS this evening and explained that I wanted to get a manifest in order to clear the shipment myself. She said that it would require the shipment to be sent back to Windsor and that could not be done.

    However, she agreed to waive the brokerage fee and I paid the duty and taxes over the phone. I arranged delivery and hopefully that will settle everything. A bit of wasted gas and time but everything appears to be settled.

    Still, this blog post has a lot valuable information and I have learned a lot through my experience. I cannot thank you enough Trueler for this.

  • Janice

    Hi,

    Wow. I happened on all this information by accident, and am glad I did. Sorry to sound redundant, but I’m on a time crunch for my package. I wanted to clarify exactly everything that I need. I’m located in the West end of Toronto, close to Mississauga.

    What I have
    -commercial invoice from UPS via email
    -photo ID
    -money to pay

    What I need
    -warehouse address (the one listed above or do I ask the delivery guy?)

    Questions
    -if I go to the CBSA with what I have and what I need, they should be able to process my payment?
    -is it possible for me to take the receipt after payment from the CBSA to the UPS warehouse and pick up my package instead of faxing and waiting?

    Thank you so much trueller for all your efforts. It is definitely frustrating when companies do business like this.

    Janice

  • Riley

    SO, i went to the ups warehouse today in victoria BC and the 2 guys there REFUSED to give me my parcel. They showed me what appeared to be a response from their “boss” saying i had to be in the port of entry, but the CBSA said i didnt. I asked the guy what has more power the government or UPS and he said obviously the govt, but he refused to give me my package until i paid my brokerage, even when i had my B15. So after half an hour of arguements, I went home and called ups and the kind lady said she would delete the brokerage fees and schedule a delivery. She also said I did not have to be in the port of entry. So UPS lied to me and gave me a fake email response…. Those assholes

  • Trueler

    Thanks for feedback!

  • Elonwy

    I received my shipment (which I had no idea was arriving by UPS) It was dropped on my doorstep and 2 weeks later I received a Customs Brokerage Invoice.

    Is it too late for me to clear the items myself at my local CBSA office? I didn’t even have the option of refusing the package so I could self-clear because it was dropped off without getting a signature.

    I would have refused and self-cleared if I were given the chance – I live within a 5 minute walk of the Halifax CBSA office so it would be easy for me.

  • JGM

    Hi all,

    This site is an invaluable resource — thanks for taking the time to do this!

    I’m part way through the suggested process, but I now seem to be stuck in dealing with CBSA. Here’s the story so far –

    1. A UPS driver brought my package yesterday and tried to get me to pay about 90% of the goods worth in COD fees. I refused. To his credit, he said that I could arrange my own broker.

    2. I found this web site and arranged found the local warehouse and (after much calling) finally got a copy of the Invoice. (Note that UPS lied in the first go around and told me that it would take a few days for the invoice to be scanned into the system.) I delayed the package shipment a few days while I sort the process out.

    3. This morning I went to my local CBSA location (the Kitchener Airport). After explaining that I wanted to do a casual importation and pay the fees the representative refused! Then she phoned UPS for advice on what to do!! She told me that since the package was at the local warehouse — which is not a bonded facility — then customs couldn’t inspect it. She said that it appeared that UPS paid the import taxes so I HAD TO PAY THEM their brokerage fees.

    4. I politely asked her to ask her supervisor. She phoned Hamilton and eventually reported to me that I have to deal with UPS.

    5. I showed her the letter from the CBSA official from this web site but she insisted that I must deal with UPS.

    Any advice on how I can proceed? I’m going to send an email for clarification to the CBSA to get some pressure on the local office to allow me to get a B15.

    Am I wrong in this? Have I missed anything obvious?

    Thanks to all!

    JGM

  • JGM

    Well, I just called CBSA and they immediately knew what I wanted to do but it appears that my local UPS warehouse is not bonded and that UPS has already paid the import fees.

    As a result, I have to pay the UPS brokerage fees or forfeit my package. The CBSA agent said there was nothing they could do — despite the fact that I was not informed of the fees until it was delivered to my door.

  • M.

    Well again, as with EVERY time I have to get UPS as a shipper, they try to scam AGAIN. I even explained it to the women there, a supervisor and so forth – and they still insist that I cannot clear anything without going to windsor. Such BS. makes me so angry. Pointed out what she is saying is false and not within our law and I was told ‘good luck’.
    UPS is so darn greedy.

  • T

    I have gone through the usual process described here.

    1) Confirmed with UPS that my package will be shipping via Windsor early next week. I was actually asked if I wanted to self clear, but I had no idea if there was a local office near me so didn’t say so at this point.

    2) I determined that the nearest CBSA office was literally across the street from me.

    3) I walked across the street to the Toronto CBSA on my lunch hour and described my situation. 10 minutes later, I had a B15 showing that I had paid all duty and taxes owing. For good measure, the agent also stamped by copy of the invoice and a copy of the UPS tracking page, and he noted the UPS shipping number on the CBSA form B15.

    4) I phoned UPS to advise them of my payment and ask how to send the evidence to them. It was a different agent this time, and she refused to accept it, and said that I would have to go to Windsor Ontario. I made it very clear that this was wrong, and in contravention of CBSA guidelines. I recorded her name and identification number.

    5) I faxed my stamped CBSA receipt to UPS (770-990-1724) with a very short note stating that under section 56 of Memorandum D17-4-0 from the CBSA I was providing evidence of duty/hst payment for my shipment, and asked them to record it so that no duty, tax, or brokerage fee would be collected. I provided my contact information, the shipment number, and the invoice marked with the CBSA “duty paid” stamp. I kept a copy of the fax confirmation page noting that this was sent.

    Am now waiting to see what happens next…

  • T

    Just a followup to my prior post (directly abve)
    On the scheduled delivery date, UPS recorded as ‘customer refused’. I didn’t. UPS called the shipper and the shipper called me and I told them my story. They asked me to contact UPS.
    I ended up speaking with someone in Montreal. I explained that I had not refused the package. They said that the self-clear processes are still being developed and that it will take another 2-3 weeks. Moreover, they offered to investigate and were able to get my package moving. It was left on my doorstep two days after scheduled delivery.
    From my experience, I believe that UPS will follow through and get this working in a few weeks.

  • Peter

    Has anyone living in the Edmonton area tried to self clear, and what was the experience like?

    I’m considering ordering several car parts from the US and the main form of shipping is UPS ground. One place offers USPS shipping, but with a $50 USD premium (as opposed to $30 via USP Ground).

  • Peter

    BTW, forgot to mention, I’m glad I stumbled across this site. The info is fantastic and it certainly sounds like a number of people (but not all) have experienced success in avoiding getting ripped off by UPS.

  • Patrick

    Thank you so much for this information!

    I called UPS today to get the invoice to self-clear my new laptop – which is arriving today.

    She told me that because it went through Windsor as the port-of-entry it could not be ‘uncleared’(she said it’s the only one the works like this. (I don’t know how much of that is true).

    HOWEVER, she said that because I wasn’t given the option to self-clear beforehand, she would waive the brokerage fee.

    So, now it’s being delivered as per usual, I don’t have to leave the house, and I don’t have to pay a brokerage fee :) Super happy about this.

    Thanks so much for the information – without it, I’d be down an extra $80 .

  • Craig

    Nice that someone thinks UPS is improving. Although I had read this site earlier, yesterday I received a call from UPS saying I had a package in their system (I had thought it was coming USPS). I said I wanted to self clear, and was told “that isn’t going to happen, it’s in Winnipeg”. I’m in Calgary. She then emailed me the shipment ID, but not the commercial invoice. I have requested the commercial invoice through the email route suggested above.

    When I review the tracking information. Under Fredericton it says “Receiver assigned clearance to non-UPS broker Shipment is remaining in UPS control / Shipment transferred to Free Trade Zone or alternate broker per customer request” in the “Activity” section. What does that mean? That appears to be where it entered the country as it is the first Canadian entry. It currently shows a Winnipeg location and activity states “Arrival Scan”. Any thoughts?

  • Craig

    Update, UPS has sent package back to Fredericton according to tracking.

    The response I received to my email requesting the commercial invoice follows. I have sent an email back quoting paragraphs 17, 18, 21 and 56 of memorandum D17-4-0 and their responsibilities as COURIER. We’ll see what comes back.

    Dear Craig,
    Thank you for your e-mail.

    This shipment imported on 04/24/12. Shipments are available to clear the day after they import. The port will contact you when the paperwork is ready.

    You may pick up the paperwork for clearance at the following address:

    UPS
    1099 King Edward Street
    Winnipeg, MB
    R3H 0R3

    Hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 15:00 CST.

    Please contact us if you need any additional assistance.

    Leigha O.
    UPS Customer Service

  • Pete

    SUCCESS: This is a report from Calgary in order to fine-tune the process.

    1) Register on UPS.com 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)

    Footnotes
    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 can 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. You might prefer going to warehouse so package isn’t sitting there for few days until lazy brokerage team removes COD charge.

    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

  • Johann

    UPS came to my door in Toronto with a $61 brokerage fee. I told the driver I wanted to dispute the COD charge. He gave me a copy of the UPS COD invoice. I called UPS, 1-800-742-5877, x3 and asked for a copy of the CI for my records. It was emailed within a minute.
    I took the CI, the UPS invoice, the USIN which I got by signing in to UPS to 5425 Dixie road. The CNIB agent asked me repeatedly if it was business or personal to which I replied personal. She filled in the B15 and passed it to the cashier who asked, “Does he have a manifest?” to which the agent responded.
    “No. It’s voluntary.”
    I paid the HST then went upstairs where they faxed the B15 to UPS for me. I then called UPS, 1-800-742-5877, x3 and told them I had cleared the package and would like to reschedule delivery.
    It’s rescheduled for tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

  • Check out ClearSmart.ca . They will clear your package and not rip you off.

  • Johann

    UPS came while I was out and left a delivery attempt notice. I called the 1-800 number and was told to wait till monday or stop by the depot between 7 and 7:30 to collect my package. I was just about to get in my car when the driver reappeared with the package, asking for $126 in tax and brokerage. I showed him the B15 and said it was paid. He said he could not give me the package without an authorization number from UPS or he would be personally liable for the $126. I said, “Let’s call UPS then.”
    The driver said he was in a hurry and had to do pickups. I said I needed the package and that since the duty was paid he was legally obliged to fulfil the contract with the supplier and deliver the package to me. We called UPS.

    The UPS agent said they never received the B15.
    I explained that I had faxed it to 1-770-990-1724 and then called to say it had been done.
    She asked me where I got that fax number.
    I lied and said I got it from a UPS agent. (It came from this website.)
    She said that number doesn’t exist for UPS and she could not release the package.
    I told her the driver would not be leaving until I had the package in my hands.

    After going on like this and the driver pleading to let him go that he would be back in half an hour after doing his pickups, (I didn’t let him go), the agent finally relented, gave the driver the authorization code M234xxx and told ne to far the B15 to another number.

    UPS brokerage dept. fax # 506-877-4914

    I faxed with a request to confirm receipt but have not got it yet.
    Fingers crossed again.

    Lesson learned. Don’t use UPS.

  • Shae

    So I ordered 2 headlight bulbs for my car $40 each = $80 total. I didn’t realize until I got my shipment notice that it was being sent via UPS.

    I took a read through this site and I`m wondering what to expect. It’s going to really suck having pay their stupid fees.

  • Pete

    Calgary, Success #2 [as of May 8th]
    Following is quickest way to do this from my experience.

    1) Register on UPS.com for a free login. This is solely to get the USIN. You will see reference number like this 41X7VVVN3AL.

    2) Get a commercial invoice either from seller or UPS.

    3) 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. They accept credit cards including AMEX. Bring the following.

    a. Commercial Invoice
    b. Tracking # and USIN
    c. ID (driver’s license, etc.)

    4) I gave copy of B15 to driver and got the package. Sometimes UPS bills you two months down the road so keep the B15. I found this to be easiest way but you can also go to depot next day or fax it in then reschedule delivery.

  • Pete

    Calgary Success #3,#4,#5 [as of May 14th]
    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
    ————————————–
    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.

  • Taylor

    Tried Pete’s method today at the office in Burnaby, BC. This office still required that I provide them with a shipping manifest or cargo control document. Since UPS will not provide this and I live pretty close to the border, I just called UPS and informed them that I want to self-clear. I suspect I’ll probably have to drive to the border or to their bonded warehouse at the airport to get this job done.

  • Fred

    A manifest is only provided for a “manifested” shipment.

    CLVS shipments are not manifested by definition.

  • Phil U

    My story attempting to clear UPS package in Sydney, NS

    Spoke with UPS on phone, they said not possible to self-clear without sending package back to port of entry in Montreal and physically clearing it there myself, but were happy to email me the Waybill/Shpping manifest, which arrived immediately.

    Went to local Sydney CBSA with Waybill and Invoice, they allowed me to pay the taxes/duties and gave me form B15, no problem. Paid $20, while UPS was going to charge me $61.

    Spoke with several UPS reps on phone who insisted not possible, finally called asked where to fax B15 form for self-clearance of item, she put me on hold, and was quite helpful, stating to fax form, as soon as they receive, they will send notification to where package is being held to release it without me having to pay UPS brokerage/cod fees.

    Fax# 1-506-447-3612 (Fredericton Imaging)

    Fax successfully sent, awaiting, call from local depot to come pick it up, fingers crossed.

  • Pete

    CBSA wanting manifest is CBSA’s fault. They should all know by now there is no manifest nor UPS will provide one. They should be clearing it with invoice only. Not even a commercial invoice, just any invoice really.

  • Donovan

    Self-clearing with UPS in Halifax

    I had to contact a US company for a replacement part for a large item covered under warranty. I was glad there weren’t going to be any warranty issues but when I saw it was being delivered by UPS I was concerned and when I saw multiple mentions of brokerage in the tracking info, I sent UPS an email inquiry. They responded that the package was indeed declared correctly – there was no duty or taxes due as it was an RMA… However, there was $57 in brokerage due! I was absolutely livid.

    Why was I livid? A few years ago, I had a notebook come across the border and UPS wanted close to $300 in taxes and brokerage for it. When I did some investigating on self -clearing, each time I contacted UPS by phone, they would make up a different lie about why I could not. Each time I’d research what they’d said and then call them back. Finally, on one call, the agent on the phone simply responded with “No.” I was taken aback, what did they mean no? No, they weren’t going to help me nor give me a reason why. I had to give up – they had my ebay purchase as ransom. Oddly, the package was delayed due to weather, though there was nothing that I could see in the area where that was indicated and UPS managed to misplace my package at the warehouse. I’m sure both of those things were real things versus my multiple heated phone conversations with them prior to the delivery…

    After I calmed down this time, I did some research and found this blog. I discovered the manufacturer had actually provided me a copy of the commercial invoice via email! I found the unique ID # via UPS’ website, though I note they now don’t even identify what the number is, they just put it underneath the tracking number, no doubt to make exercising your legal right to self-clear more difficult.

    I have a mailbox service at a local UPS store so that deliveries aren’t missed and taken to an out of the way warehouse. When delivery was attempted, the store refused to pay the driver (the drivers won’t take cash), thankfully. I called UPS, said I wanted the package held at the warehouse and asked where the warehouse was. She said there was $57 owing, I accidentally let it slip that I was self-clearing the package (you probably should not). She couldn’t tell me where the warehouse was, said it was a third-party warehouse and that someone would call me in 24-48 hours as to where I could pick it up.

    I went to the Halifax CBSA office, provided copies of the commercial invoice, UPS tracking info, a copy from the manufacturer showing it was an RMA, as well as a copy of the note from CBSA regarding self-clearing. Much to my relief, the agent was friendly and very helpful. I didn’t need to give them the CBSA note. The computer would not generate a B15 form because no duties or taxes were due, so the agent thought about it for a bit and then manually wrote out a B15-1, showing the code for why item was duty and tax free and stamped that. It did take them a while to find the right classification code for the oddball item , so if you can figure this out beforehand, that would would make it easier for CBSA. When I indicated that UPS wanted $57 for for brokerage on an item with nothing due, the agent looked at me in surprise and responded “They’re thieves.”

    Now, given that some people had luck showing up at the warehouse with a B15 and that recently it seems contacting UPS by phone is unsuccessful, I decided to just go to the new, no longer third-party warehouse in Dartmouth with the B15-1. I got the warehouse address from the UPS Store, since no one from UPS called me, as they promised, to let me know where it was (I waited 2 full days).

    The package was located by staff at the new warehouse (UPS previously didn’t have their own warehouses in Atlantic Canada) and brought out. When I presented the form, a second agent came out with the younger first one and said they knew what the form was, that I’d come across the border in advance of the package (?? as if) but that I couldn’t have the package until UPS re-rated the COD charge. They took a copy of the form to fax and sternly warned me that I had to keep that form for 7 years in case the government wanted to see it (as if that was a big deal). They asked if I wanted to come back later to pick it up? As the package was in an industrial park poorly serviced by buses, I asked them to deliver it to the original address. I asked for the fax # they were sending it to but the agent said they didn’t know it off the top of their head. The younger agent confirmed the mailing address and got my phone number. While I wanted my package, I didn’t see the point in fighting with the local representatives trying to do their job.

    Two full business days later, with nothing changed on the tracking info, I called UPS, since the tracking info still said it was waiting for pickup and I was getting close to 5 days since it was first held for pickup. The friendly and honest agent I was talking to did some research and said that the amount owing was now $0, but the item was still being held for me at the warehouse, it was not being redelivered. I asked her to have it delivered and she said that changing the status of the item would take 24-48 hours and asked if that was okay? I said it was fine.

    One day later, finally, the package was delivered, over a week since UPS should have just delivered the package to me without additional charges in the first place.

    In closing, in the older thread about this, someone recently asked about doing pre-clearing experiences at their city because they wanted to send some stuff home to Canada via UPS. I responded by asking why they were shipping with UPS in the first place. Ship with USPS as every Canadian ends up doing once we’ve been burned. UPS would probably have more regular business if they weren’t already enjoying the gravy train of additional cash they get by running their own brokerage service as well. As I said to the other user, dicking around with UPS and CBSA is always going to be more effort, even if you succeed as I finally did. Also, I emailed the company that sent me the part and they indicated they are NOT going to ship with UPS to Canada in the future. Continue to let companies know of this long on-going problem and use USPS when you can, it’s all you can do.

    Cheers,
    …Dono

  • Ben

    Hey everyone, thanks to this page I saved $75, I called the 1-800 ups number and asked them why I was being lied to about this stuff, and mentioned that I read the class action lawsuits and it seems like my issue fell right into what the lawsuit was talking about. I was put on hold and after about 10 minutes they came back on and said, “We will waive the charges this time, but in the future you will have to clear it at the entrance port (Vancouver, I am in Red Deer, AB)” I think that the people who work there are either forced to lie through their teeth or they are just so freaking dull that all they can do in life is work at a call center, and not pay attention to any of the laws.

    Just a quick note, UPS says when you pay for the shipment, that is “consent” to use them as a broker. As noted in the lawsuit, one has to give direct consent to the company in order to have them act as importing broker. Make note of this, that it is clear-cut deception for this to not be made clear to you, and it directly violates the fair trade acts in Canada, and in your respective provinces’ legislation.

    Thanks for all the people who have commented telling us how they have gotten through with removal of this charge. Hopefully something changes soon!

  • rick

    I’m here to thank everyone, especially Trueler. I’m also here to testify this works. Just got my B15 form from local Calgary CBSA.

    Yes UPS did try to send me to Winnipeg and CBSA’s toll free number didn’t help at all — the guy on the phone said I should do as UPS said. But again like many people have stated above, it dosn’t matter. All you need is three items:
    1, comercial invoice — which lists all items and break down value of each item.
    2, Print of a tracking detail from UPS’ website. I have registered, don’t know if you don’t register will you still be able to see the Reference Number — which is indeed the unique shipment identifier number we are talking about.

    3, Your own ID.

    The only question the lady of Calgary CBSA asked was, “where are the goods now”. And in the detailed tracking history, she circled the words “First Attempt Made” — this proved the shipment was held locally in Calgary.

    Now I understand why they say “you need to go to the port of entrance….”, that is partially true only if the goods is still holding at the port waiting for release. the CLVS program allows the release before clearance. You can pay the tax where the items are CURRENTLY HELD, not where they entered into the country.

    Thanks again everyone!!!

  • rick

    By “the CLVS program allows the release before clearance”, I meant the CLVS allows the goods to enter the country before clearance. Then they count on UPS to hold the goods until the proof of clearance is provided, then UPS as a delagation of CBSA, can release the goods.

  • Graeme

    Thank you so much for your site.

    I ordered golf clubs from the states and was surprised by UPS’ fees. So I found your site and followed the steps. Dealing with UPS was quite an ordeal and they gave me the typical runaround. But with some persistence, I finally got the brokerage fees dropped.

  • Taylor

    Burnaby, BC CBSA Office will not let you pay taxes/duty

    I tried to pay taxes for my shipment at the Burnaby office last month – they said no because I didn’t have a shipping manifest / cargo control document.

    Cargo Control Documents are not used for CLVS shipments!
    I didn’t know this at the time, though. so I left.

    Filed a complaint through CBSA website, supervisor at Burnaby office later phoned me to explain that the Burnaby office will only deal with commercial shipments.

    Phoned CBSA customer service to ask which offices I can self-clear CLVS packages at. They said I could do it at Burnaby. I explained that the Burnaby supervisor refused. They just said to try another office, one on Dunsmuir street in Vancouver. They won’t bother trying to set the Burnaby office straight.

  • BrentB

    Interesting information today. I did not realize that (according to the above) the shipment could be cleared without the Cargo Control Document… and this conflicts with what I have been told when trying to clear previous shipments here in Edmonton (at the CBSA Edmonton Airport office).

    I was at that office today… and the guy in line in front of me was told exactly that by the CBSA agent… “You need to call UPS and get the customs control document for this before I can help you”.

    So (knowing I did not have this) I left and got on the phone to UPS.

    When I spoke to the first agent (Sean) after a moment he told me (no surprise) that I would have to go to the port of entry (Richmond BC) to self clear. I stuck to my guns and said “In the past UPS has simply emailed me the Customs Control Document”.

    His answer was interesting… and perhaps adds to this discussion… He said he had checked their new policy document issued on June 19th, 2012 and the document states that they cannot provide the customs control document and that the shipment has to be returned to the port of entry in order to be self cleared.

    Of course I indicated that I am simply asking them to provide me with the same document I have asked for (and received) in the past but he told me that this is a new UPS company wide policy… and that they do not have procedures in place to allow their agents to forward the customs control document.

    I asked to speak to a supervisor… but since none was available I am now waiting for a call back… and will update this info once I hear what the supervisor has to say.

    In the mean time, once completing the call with the first agent I thought I would try again… just on the off chance that I get a more compliant agent.

    So I called back and spoke to another agent (Erica) who after a moment gave me the same line, again confirming that this new directive (of June 19th) indicates that the package must be forwarded back to the port of entry and that the receiver would have to self clear there.

    Seems to me there should be good grounds here for a class action law suit. Yes, each shipment intended to be self cleared that UPS extorts brokerage fees by making it nearly impossible for folks to efficiently self clear only amount to a relatively small fee… but collectively this would likely be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

    Who’s with me?

  • BrentB

    So I followed up with a call to the CBSA BIS – Border Information Service where I spoke to a Customs officer. I explained the situation above and asked if there was any regulation or legislation that compels the carrier (UPS) to provide the consignee (me) with the Cargo Control Document (CBSA Form A8A(b)).

    I was told that there is not.

    So basically the way I read this situation is this… UPS has changed their policy (or perhaps reinforced their policy) to prohibit their agents from providing copies of the CBSA Cargo Control Document to consignees (unless the consignee goes to the port of entry).

    This has the result of forcing the consignee to use UPS’s brokerage services.

    So CBSA could potentially create a regulation or policy that compels the carrier to provide the CC document to the consignee… but they have not done this yet.

    Only public pressure is likely to encourage them to do so.

    Write your MP.

  • Ellen

    Hi,

    I just wanted to thank you all for posting your info. Trueler, thank you for starting this information blog. I start my saga tomorrow….ugh. I was called tonight by UPS indicating that I need a broker. After reading this blog I contact UPS back and informed them I would be my own broker. Wow, this blog has so much info, I hope I can follow it okay. I’m going to bring my Ipd to show Truelers steps. I’m actually nervous. There wad also something interesting on my commercial invioce which reads: Add’l Accessorials (?) (lift gate, inside delivery etc) are responsibility of receiver and will be billed in addition to item cost. Huh? So, I am to expect additional costs as my item is transported to various stations….can’t wait. I know this blog is about broker fees etc, but can anybody help me with these extra costs I could possible incur without knowing? I spoke to the UPS rep tonight and she indicated that I would only incur $43 in extra fees for transferring broker status to me? I asked her if there were anymore fees I needed to be aware of and she said no. I did what everybody has suggested and sent her an email about this and that I would not incur anymore fees than the $43. No reply yet. Any other suggestions? All I wanted was to finish my kitchen renos which have basically killed me living in the North..Whitehorse, and now all this? I am also in a dispute with Fedex for damaging a sink and they have now denied my claim because there was no outer carton damage of the cardboard box it came in. Unreal. Help!

  • Taylor

    Brent,

    See the Memorandum recargding Courier Low Value Shipments here:

    http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d17/d17-4-0-eng.pdf

    Take note that Section 11 explicitly states that a different kind of document is used *in place of* a cargo control document. This means cargo control documents don’t even exist for packages shipped through the CLVS program.

    The document they use in place of CCD’s includes information on every package on the UPS vehicle as it crosses the border, not just your own package. I think it’s safe to assume that this means there is no way in hell that UPS will give you this document.

    This means that by asking for a CCD, CBSA officers are incorrectly requiring that you provide them with a document that does not exist.

    You may, however, obtain a “Summary Sheet” from UPS for your package. Or maybe that June 19th policy change prevents this, I don’t know. This summary sheet does not have the words “Cargo Control Document” on it, so UPS may perhaps still provide you with one. More info on that here:

    http://avoidbrokeragefee.blogspot.ca/2011/03/part-6-gathering-required-documents.html

  • mully

    I just finished ordering a product using UPS and I asked to shipper to indicate that I was self declaring. I followed the steps above and UPS still wanted to charge me. They have informed me that when the package goes through windsor you have no chice but to pay the brokerage fees??? This does not seem correct.

  • Tim

    Do you need for UPS to first try and deliver the package before you can start the process of not paying brokeage fees or can you tell them in advance that you will be picking up the package yourself?

  • Brina

    Hello all,
    I bought a handbag from an US online store and did a border-crossing pick-up. The value of the bag was in duty-free allowances, so I did pay any extra fee when back to Canada.
    I had to exchange the bag for some resesons, I paid shipping fee for returning to US, and waiting for exchange. The store said they would make sure there wouldn’t be duties and taxes for replacement to ship back to Canada.
    I am not sure if there would be a brokerage fee in my case, if so, can I do a self clearing? The new bag has been shipped out by UPS ground, when should I request a self clearing?

    Thank you.

  • Mike

    I too was the recipient of a surprise brokerage fee. I saw the status update online (I was eagerly tracking my package) and noticed it say failed to obtain COD. I thought it was an error – no COD had been indicated at any time – but no, sure enough they wanted $116 COD. I left a note for driver indicating he could leave the package at the local UPS store where I would be disputing it but no need! I found this site, called UPS, indicated I wanted to clear my own package, and they accepted it very well. I’m not sure if they have been given heck by the powers that be since the original post was made, if they just caught a LOT of flak from customers, or if it was my firmness of intent that greased the wheels, but no problems – although I do believe that they should be more up front about it, rather than just shoving a fee on the delivery and making it appear mandatory.

  • antphany

    i recently order some headsets on ebay for 202 dollars plus 10 dollar shipping
    the company i bought it from used UPS for shipping

    and i was wondering since i live in victoria bc, is it possible if i could still self cleared the item?

  • Simon

    It seems like UPS indeed has changed their behavior in some situations.
    I called today after seeing the Brokerage message and promptly received directions to the closest CBSA office and my other paperwork by e-mail.
    The lady was very helpful and I should be able to self-clear my stuff soon.
    The info on this blog was very helpful. Thanks!

  • robnd

    hi Trueler,

    I have never seen such effort for answering all the questions with precise answers. good job!

    my brother from California sent me a package to Vancouver. He told me the item was written as a GIFT for $85 USD. I called UPS and asked if ever I’m going to pay for brokerage fee. They said YES because the item wasn’t for under $60 CAD.

    Is there any possibility to rewrite the GIFT for under $60 CAD or is there something I can do not to pay the taxes and brokerage fee.

    thank you Trueler!

    Robert,

  • Sean

    Will be going to the Dixie location in Mississauga tomorrow as the airport is not feasible – this seems like the only location in Toronto apart from the airport and im not sure if the will give me the runaround – will post an update tomorrow
    I already called UPS – told them to hold the package – their website says return to sender pending (they better not do that) and got the invoice information etc
    Lets see what happens

  • Brad

    Thanks for the great advice. I had been screwed over many times by UPS and finally found this site> I hope it is going to work. So just to be clear do I call UPS ahead of time to let them know I am going to self clear or do I just wait for the package to get to my address in Newfoundland?

  • Sean

    Dixie location worked – took me 5 minutes – the lady knew what she was doing and was real nice to deal with. Hopefully this helps anyone in the GTA – thanks for all the help

  • Nick

    I live on Vancouver Island, and the same thing is happening to me where it says its an Exception and needs to be processed with the broker.. Problem is, the only CBSA office close to me is a 3 hour drive and 3 hour ferry ride away..
    Any suggestions as per what to do? Do I just pay them and deal with it?

  • shepd

    Note that UPS is really bad at figuring out what tax codes to use. You may find you pay more than GST/HST in some cases. Take some time to search the list of tax codes and you might be surprised at the savings that are to be had.

    I imported a $900 projector once, and had I bothered to clear it myself, I would have saved 5%. TELEVISION projectors get a 5% bonus duty. DATA projectors do not. How many projectors have you seen that won’t connect up to a computer in the past 10 years? None? :)

  • paul

    Hi. Came across this site out of frustration over an exuberant UPS fee. After reading this I started doing my own research and emailed the CBSA for clarification on the process. They responded within a day.

    here it is:

    You may have the option of refusing the brokerage services offered by the courier company, choosing instead to clear the goods yourself at the local Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office.

    It is recommended that prior to receiving your shipment you contact the courier company and inform them of your wish to “self-clear” the shipment. The company will explain their procedures to you.

    If you did not advise the courier before the attempted delivery of the shipment, you may refuse delivery and advise the courier of your intention to self-clear. You must record the ‘unique shipment identifier number’, which is the number the courier assigns each shipment. The courier may advise how you can prove that the shipment has been accounted for by the CBSA, or that you have paid any applicable duties and taxes. The shipment may be returned to the courier’s warehouse to await your clearance. Please be aware that the courier may refuse this option, and return the shipment to the country of export.

    In either case, you must go to the local CBSA office to account for the goods. You will need to provide the courier’s name, the unique shipment identifier number, and an invoice from the exporter that clearly gives both a description of the goods and the value. When you have paid the applicable duties and/or taxes to the CBSA, you will be given a receipt indicating that the goods have been accounted for. The courier company must have a copy of this receipt before they release the goods.

    A list of CBSA inland offices can be found on our Web site at:
    http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/contact/listing/indexpages/indextype32-e.html

    Should you require additional assistance with your inquiry, we recommend that you contact the Border Information Service (BIS). You can access the BIS line free of charge throughout Canada by calling 1-800-461-9999. If you are calling from outside Canada, you can access the BIS line by calling either 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 (long-distance charges will apply). If you call during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, except holidays), you can speak to an officer by pressing “0” after you have made a selection of one of the 4 menu options.

    Thank you for contacting the Canada Border Services Agency.

  • Jason

    Anyone familiar with the FedEx side of things? I have a shipment coming in to London and from experience, FedEx likes to deliver to you and then surprise you with brokerage a couple weeks later in the mail. Does accepting the delivery mean you consent to the charges? Or can you still self-clear once you’ve accepted the delivery?

  • Jason

    Follow-up, FedEx left the package on the porch when we weren’t home. Yay. The agents at customs told me once you have the items (however they ended up in your possession), you’re SOL.

  • JS

    Nick, you might want to check if you can get someone you know , friend or family, that lives close to the CBSA office to pay duties for you — essentially act as your broker.

    The agent at the CBSA close to the YVR airport said he’d accept a photocopy, or printout of the commercial invoice if it was in good condition. Remains to know if someone you know can come in and pay for you.

  • Fred

    Any small shipment (up to 30 kilos) from the US should be shipped by USPS.
    I do a fair amount of business on eBay and will only deal with people who are willing to go this way.Yes,to some Americans you may have to explain the reason why you want to have it shipped this way.Just explain the reason for it, and 95% of them will help you out this way..Once the goods arrive in Canada,there may be duty charged and 5% GST (Alberta). The brokerage fees are very seldom over 5 to 6 Dollars, the highest I ever paid was 12 box.So then insist that you want items to be shipped with USPS.Yes,it is not as fast but it saves money and a lot of aggravation.Who needs the hassles with Fedex and UPS???

  • Jesse

    I went to the local CBSA office in Calgary and got a B15 form which shows I paid the GST/HST. I called UPS to inform them I had self cleared my package but they said I would still owe the COD charge less the taxes paid. Apparently I was “lucky,” they would make an “exception this one time,” and have all the COD fee’s removed if I faxed my B15 to 506-447-3706. I was under the impression that once I had paid CBSA and had my B15 that I would not be charged any COD fees. Brokerage, taxes, or otherwise? No luck required.

  • Julia

    Thanks for the tip, I called UPS to get the invoice info and get my own package cleared at CBSA and UPS offered to waive the brokerage fees after I complained when they said you can’t clear your own goods. I will only be charged the taxes for Ontario. What a scam! Thank you for posting this info. I would have had to pay an amount almost equal to the value of the goods shipped in brokerage fees.

  • Sophiep

    Add another success to our side from Cambridge Ontario. Well almost, not quite finished yet. I was fully ready for a fight but ended up feeling like I brought a gun to a knife fight. Here’s my story.

    I ordered a top of the line tankless water heater from the US because our tank heater is going and the equivalant model would cost over $2500 CAD here. The company said they’d have to freight it to Canada because it was over the weight limit. Knowing UPS would rip me off as always, I scoured the net and came across your blog. Then came the research and within the span of 3 days was able to know the procedure and documentation requirements.

    Basically like many have stated a B3 would be needed to find final duty and tax payable. Downloaded the form and guide from the CBSA website and started to call around and fill it out. It’s actually really simple and most of the fields don’t even apply to us. (CLVS personal shipments) All that I was missing was the Transaction # and calling UPS was useless as they didn’t have it. They did however have the Cargo Control #. For LTL freight shipments it’s your tracking # with 2205 (UPS carrier designation) in front of it.

    So today I went to the CBSA at Waterloo Airport and told the nice lady that I wanted to pay tax for a shipment from the US. She knew all about it. Obviously somebody had paved the way for me. She took my UPS tracking printout (shows item arrived at Toronto warehouse), my bill of sale from the vender(had item description and values) and my half filled B3 (with shipment origin and Cargo Control # written on it). She said to wait and took about 10 minutes before she arrived back with my stamped B15. I paid about $99 for duty and about $212 for tax. Who knows how much UPS would have charged me.

    Now it’s off to the depot to pick up. Hope this part works out smoothly too. I don’t expect it to be though.

  • Sophiep

    Just an update on what happened with the package:

    It seems to me the days of fighting the system here in the waterloo area is over. Everything went smoothly from item pickup to delivery. Although UPS still tried to use a custom broker, I cleared the package myself and got the B15. I emailed UPS about all the documents related to my shipment and it was in my inbox after a few days. I attributed the delay to hurricane Sandy.

    After printing out the commercial invoice and bill of lading, I took everything with me to the bonded warehouse in Cambridge. It was a Link+ (Custom Broker) location. Showed them the papers and they showed me to the package took photocopies and I was on my way.

    After reading all the angst here on this site, I was ready for a lot of stress. But as I was driving home with the package, I almost felt giddy about how easy it was. Like I mentioned before others have paved the way for me and you should have no problems clearing regular private shipments even if it’s LTL.

    Good luck to all the others and cheers from Cambridge.

  • Shawn Christopher

    My girlfriend just bought me some supplements from the US and UPS are the delivery boys .. She paid 132.99 that included 26.21 for UPS and they came knocking at my door talking about paying 70.14 . So after asking them for information to take down they refused to walked off . Well fine . I’m going to get my girlfriend to call into UPS and request them to send thru email the commercial invoice so she can go to CSBA office . When she goes and pay then I’ll call back into UPS and I’ll go to the warehouse and give them the B-15 … And tell them I’ve paid what needed to be paid and I would like my package … or can I do this on a delivery attempt ? I would have to fax it ?

  • Tim

    Hello I just bought an item on amazon for 1399.99 CAD and around $68 shipping, I made a call to ups if I can request for a local pick up, they said they are unable to do it, if they did not make a delivery attempt yet. It surprised me when they mentioned I had a brokerage fee of $193.18 may I ask anyone on how to avoid paying the brokerage fees? Because I am sort of confused with all this, it’s my first time encountering this problem.

  • Sherry

    My friend had bought me a present and paid everything. I recieved my item and I didn’t get this stupid brokerage fee until two months later. How unreasonable.

    I don’t have an invoice and I literally have no information because I didn’t buy it. Is there still a way to self clear?

  • Chris

    Just wanted to say thanks for posting up this info it saved me some cash today.

    Also you don’t have to wait for your package to reach the distribution center before you can request a commercial invoice. My package was set to be delivered Jan 18 2013. On Jan 17 I requested the commerical in voice. Took it to the CBSA on Britannia St Mississuaga (near the air port), paid the hst.

    I then called ups and informed them I had my B15 form, how would they like me to send them a copy. I was then given a fax number. I faxed it around 4pm. The next morning my package was set to be delivered to my house. I called ups to make sure they received my B15 so that when the driver showed up there would be no problems. They confirmed They had received it.

    Well the driver showed up and gave me a invoice stating that I owed brokerage of $95 . I then told him I had a B15 paid the hst of $43 my self already. He looked like I was speaking another language and proceed to make a phone call, 10 min later, he says ok here is your package have a nice day.

    Overall this process was very easy and I will not fear the ups man anymore lol

  • Prince

    Huh, seems like it’s easier just to pay the damn brokerage fee.

  • alan Boden

    Does the self-clearing process require that the procedure only be carried out at an Office where Courier Low Value Shipments Program clearances are performed? That is a limited number of offices and the one closest to me is not easily reached w/o extensive travel costs.

  • alan Boden

    Unfortunately I followed this procedure and went to the DHL warehouse (The courier there subcontracts to DHL) to present my documentation from CBSA. After a call to DHL I was told that DHL had already cleared the goods and wouldn’t allow the agent to release the goods. They told me to go get a refund from Canada Revenue. Not sure about that, but this is round one. We’ll see what’s next on monday….

  • KK

    I just called CBSA and they say if it’s a low value amount I can pay at any CBSA location. Then I called UPS to say I want to self clear and they tried to give me that “so you want to travel all the way to fort erie” story. I just said I was told I could pay at any CBSA location. She gave up that story quick. It was set up for ups to clear my package and now they have to set it up so I will clear it she said that would take a couple days, which is fine. Now I am waiting for the invoice to be sent to me.

    Brokerage fees must be where they make the majority of their profit.I guess they assume you will not do any research about brokerage fees and just trust them.

  • Nabeel

    Seems like the process is getting more streamlined. I emailed UPS through their website minutes after the shipper provided me the tracking #, before it had even been picked up. This was on Monday.

    I got a reply Tuesday morning with the commercial invoice, as the package was in transit in the US.

    I got a phone call Wednesday afternon (today) from Sue @ UPS in Windsor, who then sent me an email with a copy of the commercial invoice and asked me to provide the stamped B15 to her by email and she would release the package.

    I’ll go to CBSA at Toronto Pearson Vista Cargo Terminal tomorrow – hopefully I don’t need to provide an address where the package currently is.

    If all goes well, I should have the stamped B15 back to UPS before the Monday scheduled delivery date.

  • Mies

    Cleared a package last week at the CBSA on Britannia St., Mississuaga following the instructions and advice here to a T. Told the customs officer behind the glass about this website and he wanted me to add the following: BRING YOUR PASSPORT!

    Apparently, photo ID isn’t enough, though just this one time, he said he’d accept my driver’s license. Now it didn’t all go completely smoothly, folks, so be warned… there was a bit of confusion as to how to handle the self-clearance. Luckily one of the 3 officers had a bit of experience with it and explained to the others that what I was right about needing a B15.

    Value of goods: $136
    Amount I paid the CBSA directly for taxes and duty: $17.68
    Amount UPS wanted to charge: $62.17
    Savings from self-clearing: $44.49

  • Steve

    So what is the final position on this. Do we do a settlement of account (pay tax etc at CBSA) or self clear. Still seems there is a lot of confusion.

    Trueler can you repost a summary of things to do (current info) here as this thread is quite long.

    I have read from the beginning and am unable to keyword search for specific info.

    Very good site.

    Steve

  • Kevin

    Hey TRUELER, I am a new business owner and having bad issues with UPS. I’m paying stupid amounts every day to clear items and my new business is hurting. Can I self clear my own items for my business? I am registered with HST and province of Ontario. If so I will go to my local office, I’m 10 min away from person airport and a major post office and truck lot all where CBSA is located. Any ideas to point me in the right direction. The first shipment they called ahead the second they just sent and asked for a cheq… So angry with UPS. Thanks for all the info it seems to have helped a lot.

  • ArM

    So I had a package that left the US last week Monday. I called UPS when the documentation was shipped and the package pre-cleared. I needed to make two phone calls to get the commercial invoice. They promised a call back when the package arrives, that call never came. UPS attempted the first delivery today, and they are going to try to deliver it again tomorrow.

    It is very clear that everyone I contacted at UPS knew about the self-clear option. They will deliberately make it excruciatingly difficult for you.

    Clearly this is not a banana republic. Can someone make a stink about this at the right level? Does anyone know someone at the Toronto Star or any other fine news organization?

  • Mike

    Trueler, thanks so much for the info. Provisional success at the Pearson CBSA, saved myself almost 50 dollars in brokerage. Here’s what happened:

    -rec’d door slip yesterday (Weds), unaware that shipper had used UPS, >$60 brokerage on a $120 package.

    -called UPS for commercial invoice, they emailed it to me immediately (told them it was for my records)

    -called UPS twice more poking around trying to get a shipping manifest (did not give them tracking number). I got someone helpful in brokerage, told them I was collecting paperwork for an ISO documentation requirement. He told me there is NO Cargo Control Document, NO Cargo Control Number, and NO manifest associated with the individual package. The ENTIRE UPS truck is released from customs at once with a Cargo/Release List. They started to get suspicious after a bit and kept asking me about self-clearing, self-brokerage, but I ignored them.

    -called UPS a final time and rescheduled delivery for next week to give me some time. Up until this point UPS is unaware that I will be brokering myself.

    -today went to 6500 Silver Dart Rd (go to Tower D, 2nd floor to find the CBSA office) with my documents. The CBSA officer was initially confused and said I needed to go to UPS and get paperwork. I told them what I wrote above (low value shipments have NO manifest, the CLVS program allows CBSA to clear packages without brokering, without any manifest, I just want to make a voluntary payment on this invoice) and she got it. Key words seem to be CLVS and voluntary. It helped a lot that I printed out the tracking summary from UPS and also the example B15 above, as soon as they saw it things started to go smoother.

    -CBSA officer struggled to find the customs code for my item (airbrush spray booth), probably 80% of the time the form took was doing this, coming with a picture of the item and a suggested customs category for your item would probably speed this up greatly.

    -Got my B15, paid my $17 tax (UPS was asking >60 lol)

    -Called UPS, asked to speak to brokerage in order to get a fax number for some forms (didn’t say anything about self-clear). I told her I wanted to fax them a B15 and she asked for the tracking number. I told her the tracking was irrelevant and I just wanted the fax and she said that I didn’t need to fax, that she could put a note on the item to delete the COD rate and that was it. I relented, gave her the tracking number as well as the “Accounting document no.” in the top right of the B15. Before you leave the CBSA, make sure this number is legible- the stamp was very difficult to read on my copy. The UPS brokerage person then told me that’s all I needed and that I could call back tomorrow to confirm removal of the COD Rate.

    I will be calling back tomorrow to ensure that the COD rate is removed and that delivery is on track for next week. It seems, as more recent posters have noted, that this is getting easier and easier.

  • ArM

    Please submit a consumer complaint to the minister of consumer affairs
    http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Complaint_Steps_to_File.aspx

    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

  • Mike

    Successfully received my package, although not before standing at the door for 15 minutes arguing with UPS brokerage on the phone about whether or not I was told to fax them the B15. I was *explicitly* told by the previous UPS brokerage agent that faxing was not necessary, that only the “Accounting document no.” was necessary. They denied that was true and insisted that I fax or scan & email the form. I told them it was their problem, that they need to release the package to me right now, and they agreed to do so. I’ll see if they contact me about the B15.

  • Lesley

    Nabeel, that seems the way to go, try to avoid the whole “deny the driver at the door” scenario. I’m sure UPS is tired of this whole mess as much as we are.
    I was able to self clear my package in Hamilton and the CBSA officer basically told me the same thing. Inform UPS that you would like to self clear BEFORE the package has crossed the border and they should be able to send it to a local bonded warehouse where you will be able to pick it up after you have sent UPS the B15 (or B3 if for a business). I will try this next time and update the group.

  • Lissette

    Hi I am awaiting a package from the states ( in winnipeg) so I made a list of what I needed to do to self clear, got myself prepared to battle it out with the UPS rep. However when I called she looked up my tracking number, she was very pleasant and told me that the order was already paid/consolidated with the shipper so I will not be charged any brokerage fees. She reassured me that there will I will not be charged anything even customs/duties everything is paid for. Im shocked and a little uneasy. I got her Name: Bella, and employee number VBC2MXT. Is this it?

  • 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.

  • BB_Samster

    Just an FYI to those trying to self clear in Toronto. I was told that Pearson and Front Street are the only CBSA offices that customers can attend to do self clearance. The Pearson location is open 24/7 and is located at 2720 Britannia Road East.

  • BB

    I have a package that is currently being held by UPS as I try to self-clear it. I have all the forms I need.

    I happen to be flying to the US tomorrow. When I fly back, does anyone know if I can just bring the forms to the arrival hall/customs area at Pearson and have them issue the B15 form there? Or is this too complicated for them at the airport?

  • BB

    Ok so I have answers to some of my own questions (I would like to preface my comments by saying that each officer at CBSA seems to have their own discretion to be helpful or not, so your experience may vary):

    1. You cannot clear your UPS items at the customs area at Pearson arrival hall. I went to the customs area and she checked with her supervisor, they can only clear items that accompany the passengers. She told me to go to the Britannia Road cargo clearance facility.

    2. The Britannia Road CBSA office replaces the Brampton/Mississauga office that previously did these CLVS clearances. The only good news is that the Britannia road location is open 24/7.

    3. I originally called UPS when the item appeared in tracking as being with their broker. I wanted to find out how much the duty was. I was told it was $68 (including a $40 broker fee). I asked about self clearance and immediately the guy offered to have them email me the documents I would need to self clear. WARNING: I accepted his offer — be warned ***DO NOT DO THIS*** wait for the item to arrive in your neighbourhood and refuse the shipment or don’t sign for it so that it goes back to your local UPS office.

    4. My comments in #3 are relevant because one of the documents that UPS sent me via email was a “UPS Summary Sheet”. Two issues became relevant: (1) UPS will try to ‘pre clear’ items by assigning them to their broker in advance of the item arriving in Canada. So, in my case the document showed a date that was 2 days in the future (estimated as the date the item would be in Windsor). Luckily the Pearson arrival hall customs lady told me that I had to wait (regardless of who cleared the item) until that date before I could self clear the item (after all, the item wasn’t even in Canada). (2) This Summary Sheet also notes that the item is in (in my case) Windsor. This is BAD — the item has to be held locally for the local CBSA to clear it. That’s why everyone on this board says to allow the first delivery attempt.

    5. Issue (2) in item 4 became an issue for me when I went to the Brittania road location and gave them all the documents UPS gave me only to find that I undermined my own case. The customs person said that because she now knew the item was in Windsor, she couldn’t do anything for me. Bottom line, I returned later and didn’t show them the “Summary” and the officer didn’t ask/care where the item was.

    6. My B15 was issued within 5 min once I presented the correct documents and my ID.

    7. As a side point, the location of the CBSA office is awesome because you are literally next to the runways. I’m going to bring my young nephew to that area as a ‘field trip’ – kids would love to see the planes up close like that.

    I had to go to the CBSA office twice to get my B15 but it was well worth it — I couldn’t allow UPS to rip me off!!

    If you are close to a CBSA office and follow the instructions provided on this page, you will definitely not be sorry.

  • DanielC

    Hi Trueler,

    ThankyouThankyouThankyou. My unpleasant experiences with unreasonable UPS brokerage fees and practices started in 1993 and though I’ve done my very best to avoid dealing with them, every experience since then has been similarly awful.

    A couple of days ago I ordered a small item from Italy and only after checking out and paying for it did I realize that it was being shipped by UPS. Urgh.

    Today I got a robo-call from UPS (which I damn near hung up on because I simply despise phone spam), and I realized I’d probably have to go through the whole brokerage robbery hell that I’ve managed to avoid for many years now. Angry enough to google, I found your site, and was absolutely thrilled to see your two great posts on how to deal with UPS’s brokerage fee scam game.

    Just a few bits of info for you and others here, in case it helps:
    - my shipment was made to my company name
    - when I called the UPS number you list in your post, I spoke to a very nice and pleasant person. He asked me if the shipment was for my business, which I confirmed. He then advised me that I could only clear my business shipment by going to the port of entry (Montreal, 800km away from me).
    - he advised that UPS now has a special low price for clearing shipments – $10. I don’t know but I suspect that this was only offered to me because I was calling and asking for the commercial invoice.
    - anyhow, even though I absolutely loathe the brokerage scamming UPS has done unto me in the past, $10 was below my pain threshold and I accepted their ‘services’ at this price. I am terribly curious what “brokerage fee” I would have been offered if I had simply called up their regular number and asked to clear the shipment via the regular UPS brokerage offering….(!?)

    I do not know if he was correct in saying that for my business shipments the clearance would have to be done at the port of entry, however based on some comments above I can’t necessarily say that he is lying so I’ll accept that for now. If true I am a bit miffed; I routinely file my own B3 documents when I bring items in from the USA (I drive across the border to pick them up).

    In the future, if I can’t avoid getting shipments into Canada coming by UPS I think I’ll buy small shipments of business stuff personally and do the B15 form myself.

    Once again, thank you very much. I am now about to do something I’ve never done before, and that is hitting somebody’s tip jar…. Thanks!

    All the best,

    - Daniel

  • Trueler

    Thanks a lot, Daniel!

  • Melissa

    So I am going to try this. $77 on a package valued at $150. driver tried to deliver it today, told him i wasn’t paying and to return to their holding spot and put on it, i will be in contact with them. he tried to write refused but i wouldn’t let him. i called UPS to get them to email me the invoice and she took my info but only said she would put in my request to fort erie and someone would contact me within 24 hours…she would not email it me right then and there… so i wait….

  • Melissa

    update: called back and forced them to email it to me. apparently it is coming thru email within 24 along with actual instructions on how to self-clear but i will believe it when i see it….will head to CBSA in the next few days and update whether or not this is successful.

  • Alex

    Thanks for the information Trueler.

    I was charged 57.78 COD for a 100 dollar item, went to the CBSA office at Britannia road near the airport and paid $20.35 instead. Saved about 30 dollars after gasoline for the drive.

    How it went down for me:

    Called UPS and asked for the commercial invoice, then told them to hold the package. This happened within a few seconds, after I told them my email. After I read that the manifest may be required, I called them again and decided to ask them but they said that they could not provide that for this shipment.

    Anyways, I let them know of my intentions to self clear at that point and they then asked me for my phone number and email again and told me that I will be contacted within 24 hours to resolve this issue.

    I was then contacted within the hour by email. A helpful lady named Sue sent me the documents required to self clear at the office. The form was called “Casual LVS Self Accounting Procedures” and had all instructions for self clearing the shipment (included the UPS Tracking Number, Port Fax# or Email to send the B15 document to). A commercial invoice was also included with this package.

    I took that form, the email instructions from this site just in case, along with the commercial invoice and my ID (driver’s license) to the CBSA office near Pearson Airport, I forgot to print my original paypal invoice however. Nevertheless I got through after some questioning to verify the content of the package.

    Was given a document “Casual Goods Accounting Document” (it looks a bit different, was teal text on white) and then took that to the cashier to pay. Paid $20.35, and then walked out.

    Called UPS, told them to reschedule delivery to which they happily obliged. The people on the phone were very compliant and nice to me, (perhaps because this was a well known practice now). They told me that the package will be redelivered once the COD fee is removed (should take a day).

    Anyways, my self-clear process was quick and painless. However I still am disappointed with UPS charging the outrageous fees and nobody should have to go through this process in the first place.

    Thanks Trueler!

  • Alex

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that after I paid CBSA I emailed two forms to a UPS email address “Casual Goods Accounting Document” and “Casual LVS Self Accounting Procedures”. This UPS email address was written on the form, and I believe it varies according to the port associated with your package.

  • Lisa G.

    It has been two years since you wrote this article. Do you still do this routine? On the CBSA website, they list a few offices that offer the low value shipment program, and the closest one to my city is at Toronto Pearson airport. At the bottom of the page it says that it was recently updated. So, I’m not sure if all offices used to let you fill in a B15 form there and not anymore. Or can you still go to any CBSA office to pay duty and taxes by yourself.

  • Ben Dubois

    Hey all,

    UPS has expedited the process (at least when I did it). Ask for the self accounting reference page, as you want to clear the shipment yourself. Once you have the email, you have to clear it within two days. It gets emailed to you, you clear, fax your forms to the border crossing area, and they sort it all out. I had no problem this last time I got a shipment (compared to piles of trouble last few times).

  • I.Simard

    Hi,

    Thank you very much for those still up to date information. I did it yesterday in Quebec.
    The UPS employee give me a area 514 phone number to get my commercial invoice. I never get any answer or call back.
    The 1-800 number you give in your method work just fine.
    Although they didn’t seem to like that self clears shipment too much, I cut my cost from 44,95$ to 10,88$, much more honest and acceptable.
    I dont care paying the taxes dues, it is the law, but over paying a brooker make me VERY upset.
    The clerc at the CBSA told me that everybody should do that, they are there for it, and that I saw customer saving much more money that I did, just for a phone call and a 10 minutes visit to their office.
    Thank you again.

    Ivan

  • 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

  • mitch

    hi,

    just wondering if you can just show up with the B15 form (all done by CBSA) where your package is being stored or held and you give them the paper and they give you the package?

    cheers,

  • Mich909

    Hi, I just did this today in Niagara Falls. CBSA staff seemed very confused by me doing my own brokering – it took almost 2 hours before I was all done.
    I was told the form was not a B15 but another form for Commercial, B15 might be for personal goods.
    You do need a form from UPS and they will email it to you when you tell them you are doin your own Self Accounting (Self clearing a package). CBSA said they may not let me clear it since I did not have the package on me for them to inspect. instead it was sitting in a UPS warehouse. Finally, it got all sorted out and I think I paid approxx $37 on an order of $306 instead of $140+. It was worth it just not as easy as I hoped. Thank you for this post and instructions it was very helpful.

  • Amy

    Hi I was just wondering if there was a CBSA office near Pickering / Scarborough or downtown Toronto that could provide a B15 form and process paying your clearance fees? I ask because it seems some people have been told they can go to any CBSA office.

    Three closest CBSA offices:
    Cbsa Casual Refund Centre – Scarborough (55 Town Centre Crt
    Toronto)
    Cbsa/Asfc Oshawa Immigration (78 Richmond Street W.
    Oshawa)
    Cbsa/Asfc Tor Ia Targeting Unit (8 Unwin Avenue
    Toronto)

    Anyone have any experience at these locations or know of a better location? Anyone process the B15 form not in person?

    Thank you for your help. Cheers

  • Ruth

    Hi Trueler,

    Do you know whether or not I can self clear using this method for a package coming from Europe via UPS? In this case, I would be purchasing (importing) something from Sweden.

    Thanks in advance!

  • Chad

    Hi there,

    Can someone please provide me with a simple step by step process to not have to pay this brokerage fee. I live in London Ontario. Thanks to anyone who is so kind to take the time to help me, as these steps seem like a hassle and confusing.

    Regards,

    Chad

  • Find blank and fillable Commercial Invoice forms at PDFfiller.
    http://goo.gl/C4npJW
    You can fill the text fields, add a variety of checkmarks, digitally sign the form and even add pictures. After your pdf form is completed, it can be printed, emailed, faxed or saved on your computer. You can even send fillable pdf forms to your customers, employees, vendors and partners.

  • Mason

    Ups is the most self centred and dishonest people on the face of this earth they use scaring tactics to collect dues that do no exsit .
    They do threaten customers with custom fees that do not get paid to customs

  • Ann

    The CBSA is saying that since DHL has already cleared it with customs, we can’t clear it ourselves. Now what? They want more for the fees than the package is worth!

  • Bill Payer

    Just ship via Canada Post.
    They have postal customs clearance.
    Less hassle by Border folks and no brokerage.
    Better service into US as well.No extra line item fees, no suburban or beyond charges,saturday delivery in U.S. and can deliver to P.O boxes.
    Or stay with UPS and suffer

  • Vince

    Save 82 bucks on the brokerage fees for three quarts of paint! Easy as pie to go to CBSA at HAmilton airport and get a b15!….Thanks a bunch

  • Sissi

    Ups international shipping method is going down forever! I have used ups before because of high scam fee I have stopped! I call ups is vampire company!

  • Frank

    Hi Trueler and everyone,

    I ordered some area rugs and rug pads in 1 transaction from a US website. 8 in total. They came in in a couple of batches last month. I wasn’t home and they just left packages at my front door. I thought I might get lucky in evading those hefty fees.

    Now a few weeks later, I received bills from DHL with Duty and $10 ‘Processing Fee’ for EACH package. I cannot tell whether DHL has taken care of customs clearance or not(I guess they already did as it’s been quite some time). So what’s my best move forward? Is it too late to do the ‘self-clearance’? The only thing I can think of is to call DHL and insist the seller(an online retailer) broke my single order into individual parcels. I’d be okay with 1 ‘Processing Fee’ and they should talk to the seller about the rest. Will this work? Thanks in advance

  • Theo

    Does this work with parcels coming from other countries, or only from the US? Thanks!

  • Wade

    Tried and worked.

    First thing you need to realize is that UPS customer service agents are completely incompetent and following some form of “script”. CBSA is fine.

    When you call UPS, ask them to email you a “commercial invoice” and provide you with the “unique shipment ID” (mine was 11 digits, and you can see it in the tracking info online if you create a UPS account). Never mention “self clear” as you are just “accounting for your goods”.

    Once the item is in Canada (at the port of entry- you do not need to wait for them to come to your door as 4 incompetent UPS agents informed me, nor do you need to go to the port as another incompetent agent informed me), head to your local CBSA office. The commercial invoice is used to determine the duties/taxes on the item, and the unique shipment ID is used to determine that the item is in fact in Canada. I had the tracking information printed out also, handed it to the CBSA officer with my commercial invoice, and the CBSA officer simply looked at the tracking information and said they did not need the unique shipment ID as they could see that the parcel was in fact in Canada as shown in the tracking info. Thanks very nice CBSA officer. I then paid my duties and taxes and received my stamped b-15 form.

    Then call UPS and ask for the email or fax number for the Brokerage department because you have already accounted for your own goods by paying the duties and taxes and would like to provide them with the b-15 form so the COD is waived. This is where I ran into 2 more incompetent service representatives who would not provide me with the email or fax. The one on Tuesday informed me I could not do anything until the package was at the door then I would have to refuse it and get it sent back to the port (wrong info!) and someone would call me in the next hour to provide me with the email/fax (never happened). The next day the second agent informed me that the brokerage department would call me in 24hrs which never happened. 36hrs later I called back and the agent told me that they needed my email so they could email me instructions on how to go to the CBSA office with the invoice, etc to pay my taxes…. I was about ready to shit myself. I told her I had completed all of this 3 days ago and just needed the email/fax number. She apologized and finally gave it to me. 24hrs later the COD was waived.

    All in all, I had to call UPS 10 times. It should have taken three. One time to get the invoice/id. One time to get the fax/email. One time to confirm that they removed the COD. The UPS representatives need better training.

  • Glad for this site!

    TRUELLER,
    thanks to you more and more people can now waive their brokerage fees with ease! After reading your site I was all ready to state my rights and to argue. However to my surprise found that everyone was very helpful and even told me what I needed to do to self clear. Honestly thank you so much!
    God Bless you!

  • Cal

    Ordered some stuff (value $250~) and it was shipped to Winnipeg via UPS, who called me mid-transit to tell me I required brokerage. I called the number on this post and went through brokerage/billing, spoke to Pamela who pretty much walked me through the self-clear process herself, and even told me the addresses for the Port, CBSA and UPS warehouse.

    Basically, in this case, all I had to do was call and inform them I would be self-clearing, and they informed the port (which is in the same building as CBSA, conveniently) and will hold the package at the warehouse for pickup or delivery after its cleared.

  • Nik

    Hi Trueler!

    I am expecting a package from my sister in the US; its an old phone and chargers. I did not know about the brokerage fees and i called UPS today and lo and behold (to my surprise) there are charges amounting to 68 CAD approx.

    What happens if I refuse the package and return the item to sender? Who pays the brokerage then? Are there additional costs?

    I really need some help on this part as its not stated anywhere in the article.

    Thanks!
    Nik

  • Trueler

    Hi Nik,

    If it is an old phone and chargers from your sister, then there should not be tax implications for this. Brokerage fee is for paying taxes by USP on your behalf to CBSA. No taxes – no brokerage fees.

    Regards,
    Trueler

  • Hien

    Hi, thank you for the invaluable information on this site. I have been self clearing my parcels through the method you’ve described for years with FedEx and UPS without any hinderance. I was wondering if these rules also apply to other courier companies such as Landmark Global or DHL. I recently have been having trouble with Landmark Global. I was expecting 6 parcels so it was in my better interest to clear them myself but when brought the B15 form to the post office, Canada Post would not allow me to pick up the packages unless Landmark removed the COD. I contacted Landmark and sent their brokerage department the B15 form but they still refuse to remove the COD. They then informed me that I must pay the COD of $150 and only the taxes and duties i have paid will be refunded which I have to apply for afterwards. I tried calling the CBSA and spoke to a senior officer be he had no idea I was talking about about self clearance and said they have no jurisdiction over a couriers brokerage fee policy and can’t do anything about it except tell me how to apply for a refund of the duties and taxes I’ve alraady paid with a B2G form. By the looks of it, I might have to pay that COD if I want any of my packages and it’s nearing the end of the 2 week hold so Canada Post will be sending them back soon. I have no idea what I should do or who to contact about this. Any advice on this matter would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  • Nik

    Hi Trueler,

    The thing is she put 200 dollars worth of insurance on it (to be safe….) incase it gets lost! bad idea!

    What happens if i return to sender? who pays the brokerage fees?

  • Teresa

    Greetings and thank you SO SO Much for posting the instructions. I received some books from the US and they charged me $67. on top of the 40.00 shipping and handling I paid already. PLUS they stated on the invoice that my books were valued at 367. when they were valued at 149.00. This increases the brokerage fee, as the fee is based on the value of the content. What a rip-off. I went to the local (Kamloops BC) CBSA office (ours is at the airport) and filled out the form, paid my tax and duty. When you call UPS for a fax number they say you will get the number emailed to you in 24 hours. good grief! They make the process a real gong show, but go thru the process as it’s not worth paying the fee!!! Thanks

  • Meghan

    Hello,
    Im wondering what information you could give me. Im interested in importing some handbags/accessories from an American wholesaler, for sale in my online/home part business. The total cost of the goods will be less than $1600 CAN. The supplier will ship these goods with UPS. Can I still self clear this package or is it different because the goods will be for commercial use?

  • Chris

    So I have a package coming to me (based in Milton, ON) do I need to Wait till its in Concord before calling or can I start the process now while the package is in Texas? Please help.

    Thanks

  • Ryan

    Hello! I recently purchased some goods from the US, and I just received notice in my mailbox from UPS about a Import fee of 100$. They’ve already attempted to deliver it to my house but I wasn’t home to sign the papers. After reading this article, can I go to my local CBSA office and pay the tax and duty fees and head over to my local UPS warehouse to pick up my package as I will have proof that I paid for all the required fees? I would rather not pay a ridiculous fee as I already paid for shipping and handling.

  • Eric

    HI,

    Thank you for keeping this information current. I have done this and saved lots of money. I now try to avoid going through the hassle by asking the shipper to send using USPS (United states Parcel Service) Canada Post only charges 7$ and sometimes forgets.

    What can I do if the amount is greater than 1600$? In fact about double that.

  • Jens

    Does anyone happen to know the hours of the office at Pearson Airport in Toronto? Their site confusingly says that they have 24h office hours, but in another place says M-F 8:00-16:00.

    This is my first time attempting to self-clear, and this post and the comments are amazing! If it works out, I’ll definitely be donating a few dollars of my savings through the link above.

  • Ken

    Thank you for posting this info. I’ve always known about UPS’s exorbitant brokerage fees and have always done everything to avoid it by asking for the shipper to use USPS. However, in a recent purchase, this was not possible. So I followed your instructions and here is my experience. I am writing from Calgary for what it is worth.

    I had recently travelled to the USA for an extended holiday and had something I purchased while away shipped to me by an American business. When I landed at the Calgary Airport coming home, I made a declaration for “goods to follow” with CBSA. I was given a document by CBSA.

    When my UPS package arrived in Canada, I emailed UPS to have them email me the “commercial invoice” for this shipment. I received the document within 12 hours. I took this commercial invoice along with a printout of the shipments latest tracking info (not sure if this was needed but what the heck) as well as my “goods to follow” documentation to the local CBSA office (near Calgary Airport in an area where all the couriers had their warehouses). The CBSA officer took a look at all the info and issued me the “B15″ form.

    As it happens, the day I obtained the B15 form at CBSA was also the day when the package was “on truck, out for delivery” according to the UPS tracking site. So I just waited at my door to take delivery of the package. The UPS driver told me there was brokerage but he accepted my B15 from CBSA without any hassle and did not ask me for any fee/tax payments after I gave him a copy of the B15 form.

    It was actually quite easy.

    Again, thanks!

  • Walter

    So I’ve got some packages coming from the states right now, and I’ve been trying to find my local CBSA office but there website is nothing but unhelpful. I’m currently under the impression that there ISN’T an office in all of Edmonton, Alberta, and am curious how I would go about doing this ‘self clearing’ if no office is around. There’s no phone numbers for any of these offices, and it’s looking like I’m just going to have to pay these really unreasonable brokerage fee’s, which I’m not too excited to do. Any help on the matter?

  • Mike

    I did what Trueler said, except I didn’t wait for UPS to deliver my package. Instead, when I saw that the package had arrived in Windsor, I called and told the UPS agent to e-mail the invoice so that I could pay taxes and avoid the brokerage fee (50% of the value of my package!). The first agent tried to say that I couldn’t do that, but I insisted that UPS must send me the invoice. Finally got it. Package is still in Windsor at this point. I drive to the London airport where there is a CBSA office. Present them with the invoice and pay taxes. They give me the B15. I call back to UPS and ask for the e-mail address. The first guy I spoke to said they only have a fax number. I told him it’s 2014 and fax is not convenient. He refused to help. Called right back and got a different agent. Very nice guy. Gave me the e-mail address: can2sxk@ups.com. Sent the e-mail with the attached B15 and noted that I want a reply verifying they received my information. Got a reply within a few minutes. Called back again to schedule the delivery. Agent assured me that it will be out for delivery tomorrow.

    Hopefully my package will arrive tomorrow! In the future I will never buy things in the US and have them shipped to Canada, at least not with UPS. I think it’s better to have a UPS box in the States and drive down to pick up packages. My dad has a UPS box and we have been able to get back into Canada without paying any duty or taxes…and we always declare!

    Thanks to this blog I have saved a bit of money! Thanks, Trueler!!!

  • Mike

    Update: Status is now “Out for Delivery”. I guess it worked! So happy to have saved money…even happier that I didn’t let UPSucks rip me off..

  • Simon

    Thank you so much for this blog post! I was able to save $90 on a $130 package!
    I just received a package today (total cost of item was $24; Brokerage fee was $25), and I called 1-888-520-9090 and asked to speak with a supervisor/manager. Stand your ground and tell them that as a customer, you don’t need to pay for Brokerage fees and all you need to pay is the TAX (which is 13%)! Make sure you tell them to wave the brokerage fees!
    All I paid was $3.12 instead of the $25 brokerage fees :)

    What a ripoff

  • dan

    USP left us a recorded message advising us to notife them via email of the broker for the package. I called them and advised them that I would self broker and they said that I would receive a call tomorrow to pickup the paper work and instructions at the ups office.

    I called back a half hour later to asked them to email me the information and was advised that I have to use a licensed broker since my package is being inspected.

    My package is listed as: Your package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release.

    I have tried several times to email and voice request the commerical invoice but haven’t heard anything back.

    Any suggestions, do you know if the package is stuck in customs? Anything I can do to help push it along, I’m concerned that UPS is just sitting on it now.

  • dan

    Sorry a few typo’s, on the last one.
    UPS left us a recorded message advising us to notify them via email of the broker for the package. I called them and advised them that I would self broker and they said that I would receive a call tomorrow to pickup the paper work and instructions at the ups office.

    I called back a half hour later to asked them to email me the information and was advised that I have to use a licensed broker since my package is being inspected.

    My package status is listed as: Your package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release.

    I have tried several times to email and voice request the commerical invoice but haven’t heard anything back.

    Any suggestions, do you know if the package is stuck in customs based on the the status ? Anything I can do to help push it along, I’m concerned that UPS is just sitting on it now.

  • kp

    My package is being ‘held in warehouse’ in louisville, kentucky. I don’t know if it will ever get to Canada, what option do I have now in terms of getting it cleared through the CBSA?

    I looked up and saw that other people with a similar problem also had this message : THE SHIPMENT IS BEING HELD BY BROKERAGE FOR REASONS BEYOND UPS’ CONTROL

  • John

    Great article, thank you! Just went through this and thought I’d give a 2014 update for the Vancouver area.

    My package arrived and there was a $64 COD charge. The UPS driver said I could self clear and I refused the package and it went to the UPS facility in Richmond.

    I actually didn’t call UPS after this. I just drove down there the next day and the employees were familiar with my request and printed for me, the shipping invoice from the seller and then two copies of the UPS commercial invoice. One on blue paper and one on pink. The UPS staff said the Vancouver CBSA officer is a stickler about getting a pink copy. Probably a bureaucracy thing for uniformity.

    Then drove the 5 minutes to the airport CBSA office at 5000 Miller Road. Handed the documents over and paid $24 cash in tax. Then went back to UPS and got the package. Great!

    My advice is to make sure you go early as the CBSA office closes at 4:30 and budget at least an hour of wait time. I was very lucky and got there about 4:15 with very few people and it went fast, but I can see how it could get very busy there with just one officer on duty there.

    Both the UPS and CBSA staff knew exactly what I wanted to do. And there was at least two other people going through the same process as me. We chatted briefly and they were doing business shipments and had more paperwork to file. Clearly this is not an uncommon request and everyone should feel optimistic they can do it themselves.

    However, it is time consuming. I feel if it was a smaller UPS charge I’d not want to spend the time doing it.

  • paul

    Ordered a package from the US, $100 value, $40 shipping (Heavy car parts) and $58 in brokerage/taxes. After reading this site i tried to get my Commercial Invoice. They tried repeatedly to email me the paperwork however it never came. After trying 5 different agents I found one who after trying many times to email me and no emails coming through i gave up and explained why i needed the paperwork. I offered to quit calling them if they dismissed the brokerage fees. Without hesitation he dropped the $58 fee to just $14 in taxes. I guess the moral is be persistent. Its not delivered yet but hopefully it all works out

  • cd

    I used a b15 form picked up my package and faxed a copy 2 months later I received a collection letter from RMS for the same shipment not sure what to do

  • Jess Canadian

    Hi, Truler!

    Just used this procedure for Vancouver office. By the way, if someone is in Vancouver, they moved to Main Street in Apr 2014.

    Jess

  • Kango

    CD

    The same thing just happened to me. Did the forms and went to the UPS warehouse. They scanned my package and said I didnt have to pay anything. Month later I just received a bill from them for brokerage.

  • Don Louis

    Anyone have experience with aramex.
    So I bought item from online store from the UK, things were going smooth and tracking said it arrived in Canada. Next I get an email from aramex (shipping company I never heard of) telling me to email someone named Tiffany Klippel. So I emailed her she told me I have to pay custom duties fee totaled 32.52, ($12.52 for actual taxes, and $20.00 handling fee) before they release my item. Held in Customs – Awaiting Duty and Tax Payment. When I do pay duty it’s payed when my item is at my door not ever before I receive my item. I have never heard of paying customs before I received my item, and I don’t really want to give them my credit card information. So I contacted them about the “self clearance” they are taking forever to respond manager says I can’t “self clear” my item as my item has already been cleared through their custom clearance.
    . I told them I never gave them my permission/authorization for them to go ahead to clear my item for me and I contacted CBSA directly said I can clear my item. They told me it’s part of the LVS program blah blah blah, honestly think they’re delaying it on purpose. Still waiting anyone have any knowledge or idea what I can do? Need help!!

  • Marc

    @Don they cannot DENY you the ability to self-clear. There is no such thing as “its part of the LVS” The whole point is to facilite self-brokering. Stick to your guns and keep calling back escalte sup’s sup if you have to. Tell them you will make a complaint to CRA

  • Eric Stern

    Isn’t it about time that the government simplifies the process for small value packages and that it requires suppliers and shippers to warn customers upfront about potential excesses?

    For a $17 object I just payed after placing the order $27 SH and $27 brokerage on something that was, to my surprise delivered as COD. It would cost me more in time and expenses to fight it.

    Why is the government protecting companies that charge excessive brokerage fees? In fact why is there brokerage required on small value objects? Why are suppliers not required to warn customers of additional fees?

  • Don Louis

    @Marc thanks i didn’t have to do that but heres an update.

    So I got full refund and didn’t end up getting the items. Aramex sent my item back to the UK store.

    So now I reordered my items only one of them so it’s under $20 so now no duty or taxes :)

    @EricStern
    Why is there brokerage fee your item is under $20 shouldn’t have any broker charges on it since theres no duties or taxes on it

  • John

    After successfully clearing the package, I got the same invoice from UPS that Kango got. After talking on the phone with UPS and CBSA, there is a refund form that has to be filled out and will be some 6-8 weeks to get the refund from CBSA! In order to get this started, UPS needs to be paid and they will start the documentation. The UPS rep was very polite and clear in the steps. But obviously this is pretty frustrating. I think this issue arises when UPS is not informed prior to delivery that you are going to process the customs form yourself.

    In retrospect, between the phone calls, time at the UPS and CBSA offices this is a large waste of time. Seems the best way of dealing with the brokerage fee is to simply avoid UPS and not deal with sellers that use them.

  • Andrew Trinh

    Would this method work if i were to order something from Sweden Via UPS?

  • OMG ups

    We currently have the package. The receiver requested clearance by a non-UPS broker. / As requested, the package was transferred to a Free Trade Zone or a non-UPS broker

    does this mean im still gona be hit with there scam charge or did the sender already clear it ?

  • kumar

    i just the cod notice with delivery attempt ups friday. i called ups they said someone will call monday and email the invoice paperwork and i can self clear. i see in tracking that item is in concord location and receiver will pickup. can i go to this brampton location which doesnt show address or i need to go only britannia road? they are open 7 day 24×7. so can i go sunday to britannia with email i have just order details which has item details and amount from sender + ups tracking details + unique shipment number or i still need real invoice emailed from ups monday. Thanks

  • kumar

    sorry this is one cbsa office found but they work mon-fri only
    http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/offices-bureaux/799-eng.html

  • kumar

    ups agents and cbsa office is good. looks like they know the process well. problem is when we call ups or email each agent gives different answers. All we need is 2 docs the reference page and invoice which they will email as scanned copies which should be taken to cbsa office pay customs get it stamped and email back. Process works but not without atleast 10 calls to ups at every stage (1) call and open ticket to get the docs (2) keep checking the status in website as sometimes by mistake they try to second attempt (3) reply email with stamped docs (4) call again for redelivery

    I have made atleast 5 calls as of today for steps 1 still waiting for document. will keep posted of happenings.

  • kumar

    mine was different case altogether. UPS charged me $60 for $90 item. after 5 calls i got the invoice. my first visit to cbsa office was failure they asked manifest ! i called ups and surprisingly they gave manifest even though we know they may refuse to give. i went to cbsa office second time cbsa officer liked all docs and stamped the manifest and said taxes are waived ! i asked B15 and he said you dont need you get only if you have to pay taxes. send the stamped manifest to ups they should give the package ! then i emailed today and waiting for all cod to be cleared..like i said this is another case where officer insists manifest and ups provides manifest and no b15 issues with taxes waived !

  • rod

    The scam is also strong with Canada DHL now as well.

    Unfortunately Canada DHL is scamming harder that UPS by actually denying a commercial invoice unless, they say its your used personal goods or used clothing.

    So I would advise that you avoid all shippers except united states parcel services (USPS).

    Someone has to start complaining for this activity is killing commerce.
    a $100 shipment is not costing $60 (40 + 20 broker fees) to ship.

    its like we live in a 3rd world.

  • kumar

    Update to my november 6th post:
    The nightmare continued for next 2 days. After getting manifest stamped i emailed the ups brokerage department morning 11 am. Called them again to remind around 3:30 pm to make sure COD is removed. They confirmed COD removal note already added to system and they can arrange to redeliver 7th friday or monday. also i was given concord location phone#. i called concord with plan to pick up item before 7:30 pm so that i dont want second delivery item and me running monday to get the package. I called concord got confirmed that item can be picked up before 7:30 . Reached there by 6:30 pm. They brought the package and before handing over they said sign here. i did sign then they said you have to pay $25 COD !. i explained the whole process i followed and also showed all email printouts how i got the manifest , invoice and CBSA manifest stamped with tax waived. They refused to give the package with my signature recorded as delivered!. then i called the brokerage dept using my cellphone and they confirmed system has been updated with no COD. While on phone i put on speaker and gave the phone to concord agent who refused to talk to the person on phone. I showed them the email which clearly has ups email id with ups emp designation “import operation mgmt specialist”. the concord agent refused to talk and claimed i cannot talk to someone on your phone ! Then this can be clearly hear by their own brokerage dept so other end they said give our number to them so they can call. I gave the number (direct line of import operations of UPS). They refused and said it is long distance call we cannot make ! (Now clearly i got that basically they want to not help to customers to get their package and they want to give hassle so they will pay COD). Then i walked back to car and called brokerage again then brokerage said call the manager at concord location show the cbsa manifest stamp and they may authorize to release the package. Also by this time brokerage was confused and they said it says package has been delivered and you signed it ! I then met the manager. She simply said “Without paying tax i cannot give you the package”. and reply was so rude. I asked are you ups or customs. Customs officer has specifically said they are waiving taxes despite me asking ups will be giving me troubles. I said i can go back to customs to ask to give you a call! and brokerage has already confirmed cod removed and you are refusing to talk to them where brokerage themselves are confused. Then manager said as far as cod is removed in central system i can pick up tommorrow ! (so they follow by their own process strictly and they dont work together with brokerage department even if brokerage department and willing to help but they dont follow the process laid by customs and drag the issue by not providing manifest). I wasted 2 hours and went back home called central system and complained what happened. Next day morning i called 8am central system they said they are sending note to concord location and gave me case# and give that to pick up package. Now i went to concord 9:30 am and after they checked central system they removed cod from package and handed over. Forgot to mention because they made mistake of signing me before providing the package i had to insist that they either give in writing i did not pick the package or update system that item is still in concord. That night in their it showed as Delivered + receiver agreed to pick package this evening ! Next day Delivered + In transit !

  • kumar

    Summary: After my experiences of processing 2 packages to almost be certain to self clear, these are required

    (1) Wait until first delivery attempt is made
    (2) Important that use Tracking contact ups by email option and open ticket with tracking number and ask for ..invoice + manifest (yes officers ask for manifest). you might get cleared with invoice + reference page with rectangular box for custom stamp but that is merely by luck and depending on which officer you meet
    Manifest => Has ups logo, cargo control number, importer number
    Invoice => this is something sender gives for item which has shipment id and waybill (nothing but tracking number)
    (3) Be ready to make several calls to brokerage department or if cleared through pearson call them directly as they are helpful in emailing manifest fast and they understand officers ask for it
    (4) If you are in toronto area , britannia road office should be choice as they are open 24 x 7 if your are busy in daytime.
    (5) Take your passport, driving license or id, cash/credit card/debit card for taxes to pay, UPS website tracking details page as proof that item is already in warehouse, First delivery attempt notice, Manifest, invoice
    (6) cbsa officer will ask if item is personal or business. in my case it was personal (not sure how business item might be cleared). and they ask to know what is item for like description etc. how much was paid..Then they verify docs ask to pay couple of dollars tax ..Then they give B15 with stamp and manifest with stamp. (If taxes are waived there is no B15) only manifest is given back with stamp
    (7) Just take a photo of stamped docs with your phone and email back to brokerage department. When they are open for business make calls to ensure they received email and added note to remove COD
    (8) If you want to pickup confirm item location and also confirm COD has been removed from central system 1800 number option 3 and then get the case# or auth# note down and go to pickup the item..you dont want to face issues like me where warehouse strictly follows blind rules and refuse to talk to brokerage department even if you dial and give the person on line or give them number to call..
    (9) Even better ask them to redeliver the package..if you do this make sure absolutely it is updated in website or you really see that with message “rescheduled delivery” or “on vehicle for delivery”. Without this you will not get the package redelivered. you will receive calls saying we will deliver tommorrow but without website says “on vehicle for delivery” you will not get redelivered. it happened to me for 1st package where after self clearance promising redelivery package was still sitting in concord until i had to complain next day to redeliver. So for 2nd item i went for pickup and faced issued there as well as central system is totally disconnected with brokerage systems..

    In the end be prepared to make several calls to get 2 documents manifest + invoice. If you get only invoice you may need to visit CBSA 2 times as officer can refuse clearance. Even the memo says shipment id enough looks like they are looking for cargo control document number in manifest. yes UPS has manifest and unless you insist they will not give. Also meanwhile be prepared to track your item in website. sometimes they put wrong message..example: item should be picked within 5 business days ! they dont mention item is for self clearance. sometimes they put second attempt will be made…so we have to tell them to have correct info in website…
    Have your passport when you go to CBSA office.
    Be prepared for calls again to brokerage department and calls to central system to get COD removed and get case# auth# and arrange for pickup / or redeliver. In case of redelivery make sure website shows really it is on vehicle for delivery..

    Overall avoid UPS it is a big mess even now after process is established. They knowingly delay providing documents, very slow in updating central system and their website. Add conflicting messages in their system to confuse you like address corrected, second attempt etc. while you work on self clearance. Also CBSA process for personal items is confusing even though there is memo for LVS items it depends on officer..some clear with invoice + reference page given by ups which has rectangular box for customs. others dont accept and they insist to go back and get “cargo control document” and in UPS terms it is called manifest.

    Now my case is for personal item and not sure how business/commercial items can be cleared. Also like someone said here wait for first delivery attempt and not sure how intercepting while on transit will work. If UPS knows you are refusing to use them as broker not sure what they will ask like who is your broker or come with different set of process !

  • kumar

    I complained to UPS about incorrect procedures, wrong coordination of their internal systems, rude customer service in concord location. Still they reply telling “not manifested” items can only be self cleared..This is after i emailed them what happened in CBSA where officers are specifically asking for document and in my case UPS gave me the manifest for LVS ! So looks like UPS system is totally broken and they themselves either dont want to follow procedures laid by CBSA or intentionally giving hassles so customers will be fed up and pay COD


    Thank you for making us aware of this situation and allowing us to respond.

    I have reviewed the situation that you have outlined in your e-mail below and I am truly sorry for the difficulties you have experienced with your request to self account for your shipment. I would also like to apologize for the negative experience that you had encountered while visiting your local UPS Customer Counter location.

    This shipment was eligible for self-accounting and certainly be accounted for at your local Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) policy allows casual importers to account for their own goods directly with the CBSA. In order for the customer to self-account outside the port of arrival, certain conditions must be met:

    -The shipment must be released from customs and currently available for delivery with a COD tag.
    -The customer must be a casual importer (non-commercial).
    -The shipment must be low value ($2500 CAD or less) and not manifested.
    -The customer must be willing to go to a nearby Customs office where Courier Low Value Shipments Program clearance is performed.

    By taking the time to bring your concerns to our attention, you enable us to strengthen our business and make improvements directly impacting the service that we provide to our customers moving forward.

  • Erin

    I have just combed through your thread and found so much valuable information!

    We have a small business on Vancouver Island and import som products from the United States. We have used a broker to import product in the past but have been clearing items ourself for several years.

    UPS is the only company that will not facilitate us doing our own clearing. They say we can clear it ourselves, but must make the 6 hour return trip/ferry ride to Vancouver to do it. The other choices they give us are to pay them or hire a broker. They manifest our shipment to Vancouver and are incredibly rude on the phone, stating that all businesses in Victoria can self-clear with no problem. However, both border agencies and the 800 # say they will not touch something manifested to Vacouver when we are in Victoria so we believe UPS is lying when they say this isn’t a problem for any other business.

    I realize this site seems to be for personal clearing, but if anyone has resourses related to commercial clearing it would be greatly appreciated!

  • L

    Hi, I’ve been trying for a couple of days to get a B15. It’s getting frustrating because I’ve made two trips down to the CBSA office on separate days. I have an invoice from UPS that’s very similar to the one you have. The customs officer filled out a B-15 for me but she wouldn’t give it to me nor let me pay for the duty because I provided her with the wrong documentation.

    the only obvious difference to me from the from I have and the one you posted is that the waybill number and shipment ID is the same on mine rather than different. The officier said the form needed the tracking number as well (I provided the tracking number off my order)

    she also mentioned something about 2 places to stamp on the back of the document that wasn’t there (she didn’t mention it when I called back on the phone)

    Everything on the actual B15 is filled out. She even showed me. but with out the correct form, which supposedly gives proof that the package is actually in canada. She can’t issue the reciept or take my payment.

    (it IS in canada, I already sent it back to the warehouse after reaching my door, and it’s at the warehouse currently as stated by the online tracking)

    I’ve tried calling UPS many, many times, asking many representitives about the many different document names that people have stated on this thread and all i’ve ever gotten is, “leave me your phone number / email and the port will contact you” or, We don’t have permission to give you that document or are unable to give you that document for various reasons.

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