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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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….

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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 ?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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???

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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:

    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.

  17. 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? :)

  18. 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?

  19. 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

  20. 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?

  21. 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

  22. 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!


  23. 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!

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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.

  29. Brent,

    See the Memorandum recargding Courier Low Value Shipments here:

    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:

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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?

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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!!!

  37. 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!

  38. 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.


  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. A manifest is only provided for a “manifested” shipment.

    CLVS shipments are not manifested by definition.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. Calgary, Success #2 [as of May 8th]
    Following is quickest way to do this from my experience.

    1) Register on 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. SUCCESS: This is a report from Calgary in order to fine-tune the process.

    1) Register on for a free login. This is solely to get the Unique Shipment Identification Number. Once you enter tracking #, you will see reference number on the screen. It looks like this 41X7VVVN3AL. [2 minutes]

    2) Once package leaves Winnipeg bound to Calgary (point of entry for AB,SK,MB) call UPS 1-800-742-5877 ext. 3. Give them tracking # and ask for “commercial invoice” to be emailed. Anyone says no is lying. Hang-up and call again. Do not mention a single word about self-clearing anything (see footnotes) [3 minutes]

    3) Once package is in town (day before delivery), go to CBSA on 2588 27st NE (near Costco/Sunridge mall), walk through only door that looks like warehouse door, grab a number (even if there is no one else in line) and walk up to the counter. Explain you have inbound package and would like to pay taxes and obtain B15 form. They accept credit cards including AMEX. Bring the following. [5 minutes]

    a. Commercial Invoice
    b. Tracking # and Unique Shipment Identification Number
    c. ID (driver’s license, etc.)

    4) CBSA to UPS isn’t a bad drive. I’d go there and drop off B15 right away. You can try to give this to driver (unproven) or go pick it up after 5:30PM ish. I dropped mine off yesterday and package is on vehicle today so I will see how it plays out. People at the 22 Aero are getting familiar with the procedure. When I went there yesterday, the Asian guy made copy and left it for back office. (he’s there every afternoon until 7PM closing)

    Step 2) It is advised from other reports that you mention intent to self-clear. This is theoretically correct however majority of UPS agents are lying or misleading on their 1-800 number. They are leading you to believe package has to go back to Winnipeg/Vancouver/Fort Erie and you have to present yourself there. This is blatant lie and therefore our countermeasure is going to be keeping them in the dark until the last minute. I escalated this to supervisor and she said I could drop off B15 at the 22 Aero (letting them know of conversation being taped may of helped). I asked how come every single agent I talked to lies/misunderstands and she apologized and said it will be looked into (I don’t care if they do. So many of us are tired of being told of lies on that line. Avoid talking to them more than you need to at all costs.)

    Step3) It appears package has to be in town in order for CBSA to issue you a B15 form. This may not always be the case. They also prepared B15 with 1Z tracking # in my case, however just to be safe bring the USIN as well.

    Step4) It appears we 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

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