UPS “Brokerage fee” class-action

Apparently a guy in British Columbia has filed a class-action lawsuit against UPS, for the ridiculous “brokerage” charges they demand from the recipient of any US->Canada shipment. Frequently the brokerage fees will be more than the shipment is worth.

Unfortunately, the case is in BC only at this time, but if one starts up in Ontario, I’ll be there. Those bastards have fucked me one time too often.

FedEx used to be better, but they started doing it too (I guess they could smell the money too). The only viable option remaining is the regular postal service (which charges a flat $5 for the same service). That is cool, I’ve had good luck with simple US Postal Service shipments of CDs ordered from the US. But some stores refuse to ship that way.

I want to buy a Technivorm coffee maker, only available from the US, but haven’t been able to figure out a good way to do it without paying off those gangsters. I think there may be an option whereby I drive to a customs office and clear the package myself. That would likely cost me more in gas than I save in brokerage fees, but it would be worth it.

Update: Man, close to 200 comments so far, almost all of them from very angry people. I’ve have since learned more about doing your own customs clearance, including some relevant information straight from Canada Border Services Agency.

389 Responses to “UPS “Brokerage fee” class-action”


  • UPS wanted me to pay $60 in brokerage fees on a shipment worth $200! I refused to continue to get gouged by this company so I refused it at the door. I called UPS about this and they told me I had no choice or find my own broker. I looked around and found another broker by the name of Bay City Brokers from another blog site that a user has used.

    Anyways long story short they cleared my shipment for a brokerage fee of $16.00, I don’t know how UPS justifies such a huge fee. Just so everyone knows we do have other choices. They have a chart on their website at baycitybrokers.com you can look at which compares fees. Hope this helps!

  • The best solution:
    As UPS/FedEx are looking for any corner to rub people and they know complete cost of shipping for all of packages to Canada or U.S but they prefer to hide this from the sender to encourage sellers with a competitive shipping rate after shipping they know how to rip the recipient off at destination with brokerage or advance bull crap fee! This is absolutely their responsibilities like to deliver your item to your door free of any extra and hidden cost like any other shipping company.
    I personally refuse to pay this fee and I contact the seller immediately in order to resolve the problem and get it paid by seller as I paid the shipping cost when I purchased my item. If seller doesn’t pay I would dispute my transaction through PayPal or my credit company! Why? Coz I am being rip off with a hidden cost of shipping, believe me it works 100%.
    I think if everybody does the same, very soon nobody uses UPS or FedEx service because of this issue.
    Guess what happens next, they have to cut the B.S off and deliver your package free of ridiculous brokerage or advance fee or else they would be out of the business.

    • Let me get this straight – UPS/Fedex rips you off, so you decide to do the same to an innocent seller instead, forcing them to make up for your “brokerage fee” by threatening them with loss of payment for the goods you bought (via a credit card chargeback).

      You’re as bad as UPS. Shame on you.

  • The best solution:
    As UPS/FedEx are looking for any corner to rub people and they know complete cost of shipping for all of packages to Canada or U.S but they prefer to hide this from the sender to encourage sellers with a competitive shipping rate after shipping they know how to rip the recipient off at destination with brokerage or advance bull crap fee! This is absolutely their responsibilities to deliver your item to your door free of any extra and hidden cost like any other shipping company.
    I personally refuse to pay this fee and I contact the seller immediately in order to resolve the problem and get it paid by seller as I paid the shipping cost when I purchased my item. If seller doesn’t pay I would dispute my transaction through PayPal or my credit company! Why? Coz I am being rip off with a hidden cost of shipping, believe me it works 100%.
    I think if everybody does the same, very soon nobody uses UPS or FedEx service because of this issue.
    Guess what happens next, they have to cut the B.S off and deliver your package free of ridiculous brokerage or advance fee or else they would be out of the business.

  • As soon as I came over to UPS “Brokerage fee” class-action Ronblog I can only see part of it, is this my net internet browser or the web web site? Should I reboot? Cheers Macey Lindsay

  • I was charged $78 brokerage fee for a $600 package. Called customer support, told them I’ll cancel my next 10 shipments with UPS (BS!) if they don’t refund my brokerage fee. Got the full amount back.

  • a few years back my father and i ordered a set of ford replica mirrors for his pick up as we were rebuilding it. the total was about 150$ us and then the ups dude comes to the door and asks for 78$ i nearly shit my pants it was so obscene. I called my father as i did not have the money at the time and he sadly paid it but not until after i gave the ups douche a piece of my mind on how they just raped us. I am not waiting for a package and see that the brokerage data was processed and i am not please to see that cause i know the dude will be asking for something. i am prepared to refuse the package and call my credit card company and inform them of the undisclosed added fees.

    if someone is starting another class action i am in with fucking bells on email kinkydrummergirl@hotmail.com

  • Paid $50 shipping and just got a $100 brokerage charge for $200 worth of used rc equipment. Totally bummed, could have bought it all new locally with that money.

  • Just was told that I have to pay $69 when my non taxable $200 safety glasses show up. Brokerage fee plus taxes that should not have been paid? Haven’t received item yet. $50 is a nice round figure, ridiculous amount however for a service that wasn’t even done properly. This is definitely a money grab on UPS’s part that all Canadian’s should be aware of when ordering items online from the U.S. A nice little hidden charge. I have no objection to paying taxes but have no desire to do business with companies with unscrupulous business practices and hence will be cancelling my UPS account. Be aware of who your item is being shipped with when ordering online.

  • Shipper,

    After carefull review of the situation regarding UPS and their policy of adding an extra charge for their “standard delivery” I wanted to pass this information for your benefit. There was a class action lawsuit filed against them and won, however, is currently being appealed by UPS in the courts of Ontario, Canada. I read online the judgement against them, a lenghty 119 document, citing reasons why brokerage fees are not lawful, etc. It appears that UPS only charges the hefty brokerage fee for their base service, attempting to recover competitive low costs against other courier services. Thousands of complaints are aimed at them constantly, attested to by the blogs people have spoken through . Its seems to be a common story. The unsuspecting customer is always shocked when the already paid item arrives at their door COD, requesting exhorbatant levies, often near 100% of the price paid for item. My policy now is to never order anything online whereby the shipper uses UPS for the delivery.

    andrew

  • Angry UPS customer

    I’m too a victim of UPS brokerage fees; but what makes even worse is that the merchandise came damage and I had to return it. It was an expensive technivorm coffee maker. It was very well packaged for impact but I think ups put weight on top of the box and broke the hard plastic coffee reservoir. I asked them for the refund for the damaged goods and they told me they will be investigating since the seller in Canada told me to return it via usps, not ups. The seller has refunded me for the damage package since I insured it the package – thank god -but ups refuses to refund me those illegal fees and first and foremost for something I didn’t get since it was damaged! Now everytime I called ups international they give different answers and one of them is that is the government fees and they won’t refund it! Wow, where in the world you get paid for bad or no service!

  • Hello everyone

    I myself just received a package today, declared $50.00 in goods in the package, approximately $30.00 was paid to ship it from California to Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. So it comes to the door and with me not home my wife paid not knowing, $40.00 in ‘brokerage fees’…needless to say I called UPS and demanded to know how they can claim that amount on a package of goods listed at 50 bucks when the shipping was already paid. Wasn’t hanging up until I spoke with a supervisor but of course they were all ‘busy’…anyways, by the time I was done ripping a side off of the guy on the phone he refunded all of it back to my wife’s credit card except taxes due at the border, so 33 bucks and change back. You have to stand up to these jerks or they will have their hand in your pocket at every turn. Funny how the North American Free Trade Agreement doesn’t apply to UPS, with goods made in America they still try to play ‘we had to pay duty’ card on ya…doesn’t fly…the government doesn’t ask for duty on US goods coming into Canada, why the hell should UPS be entitled to it. Hope they are sued into the stone age.

  • Alternative For Canadians

    http://shiptotheborder.com/

    check it out, haven’t used it yet but might.

  • UPS Pisses me off!

    Got charged a $22.34 brokerage fee on a $24.99 item. WTF? Instantly rejected shipment. AVOID UPS LIKE THE PLAGUE!!

  • It is now time to initiate class actions in Ontario.
    Grounds : Fedex and UPS charge undisclosed fees at the point of shipping. They hold goods at ransom for payment of this fee.
    Any advise for a law firm in Ontario that will take this???

  • I have extensive paralegal experience including SCC Charter experience.
    Will be prepared to issue documents for legal support.

  • I recently bought a $60 item, I pay $15 for international shipping, then it gets delivered to me through UPS, they didn’t ask for a signature (not that I remember anyway), and now they mailed me an invoice saying I need to pay an extra $30. $10 for the bond fee (WTF IS A BOND FEE AND WHY THE FUCK WOULD I NEED TO PAY IT?), $9 for Duty, $8 for CA Customs HST, and $1.30 for Brokerage GST/HST.

    I would like to know if anyone else has just ignored the invoice and what they would do. I read that they’ll just send you more demanding you to pay it, but if you keep refusing, what the hell can they do right?

    If anyone knows if this is a smart move, let me know! I’ll hold onto this bullshit invoice for a bit before I decide what to do.

  • A long time ago I got ripped off by UPS and their insane brokerage fee when I purchased from Ebay. For two years they stopped charging a brokerage fee and then today I got nailed again. Now however they don’t send in invoice they collect it at your door- I fought with the driver and threatened to call the police on him, he was very aggressive. I called UPS and got 100 lame excuses. Paying GST- and/or customs fees isn’t my beef- I am OK with that- paying $125 for shipping of an item and then being charged $50 at my door for a brokerage fee because UPS brought my package through customs for me! Ya that’s what the seller paid you $125 to do- and bring it to my freaking door! It’s extortion- they hold your package hostage and today they told me if I refused it they would charge the seller to have it returned to her! It was also glass and the box had two huge puncture holes and they said “we don’t insure glass” WTF? they charged the seller for insurance! They charged me brokerage fees based on the declared value- used glass from an old car! I hate UPS- they are running a very profitable scam by double charging people- it’s time they were stopped. There have been many sellers on Ebay that list “No hidden brokerage fees” as this was hurting their sales- I am not sure if they have a contract of sorts with UPS so that there are no hidden fees- but for the rest UPS is still causing problems- my seller had no idea this would happen and even UPS had the gall to say to me “we can’t tell you ahead of time or the seller- what the fees will be”! They further told me that the postal service doesn’t charge brokerage fees because we pay taxes and our taxes are paying for brokerage fees! Trying to make the government look bad and steer my attention away from them ripping me off? I would love to join a class action law suit. From now on I will only deal with sellers who guarantee no hidden fees or guarantee using the postal service.

    • As my name states, I am a driver for UPS. In no way am I here to defend UPS and their insane brokerage fees. I like to purchase items from the USA; just like everyone else. I refuse to have any international shipments come through UPS. I always use the Post Office. I see several people get ‘ripped off’ every day because of these unjustified brokerage fees. Often times, it is the exact same consignee getting ripped off several times. They complain each time, and they typically take it out on me.
      One question I have always had is “how stupid is this person?” Reason I ask, is because after being ‘ripped off’ once, why do these people still continue to use UPS as a carrier for their international shipments? Once bitten, twice shy, right? Apparently not for some though. I have sympathy for the customer the first time, however, when I go back to your house 2 and 3 times, I can’t help but wonder if you’re completely brain-dead. Several vendors sell the exact same product. Spend some time trying to find the one that ships via USPS or Royal Mail, etc. It’s not difficult.

      The reason I have decided to respond to your post, however, is the fact that you took this out on your UPS driver. Let me make this very clear: we (UPS drivers) have NOTHING to do with your brokerage fees. We are there, simply doing our job. We are told to collect the money stated on the COD paperwork. If the customer refuses to pay, we are to take the package back to the depot (maybe it goes back out the next day, maybe not until a ‘brokerage dispute’ is settled with UPS). We are not able to adjust the amount owing, and we have no idea how UPS determines the amount owing on your international shipment. I hate when people assume it is the driver charging you this amount. Here’s a secret: WE DON’T CARE WHETHER YOU PAY OR NOT. We don’t care if your shipment goes back to the sender. Simply say whether you’re going to be paying it or not, so that we can get on with the rest of our day (contrary to what you may believe; you’re not our only delivery of the day, and we don’t have several minutes to stand there and have you take it out on us). We are just there to deliver the item to you, and collect any money owing on it (on behalf of UPS; not ourselves). We don’t see a dime of the money owing.

      So, SHAME ON YOU for taking it out on your UPS driver. It is not his/her fault. The fact that you threatened to call the police on him/her, is ridiculous. What did you plan on having him/her charged with? If I were the driver, I likely would’ve asked you to please call the police and then I would’ve pushed for HARASSMENT charges on YOU.

      You’ve stated that the driver was aggressive with you. Imagine this: you know that stressful, 20-30 minute drive you have to your heated/air conditioned office in the morning? Try doing that 12 hours/day, no a/c (in the summer), little heat (in the winter), drivers that don’t have a clue how to drive, bad road conditions, the stress of knowing that if you’re involved in any kind of accident, you will lose your job; whether it’s your fault or not (no joke; driver’s have been hit in intersections by drunk drivers, and they’ve been suspended for several weeks with no pay pending investigation). I understand, I signed up for this, and it is a career I have chosen to stick with. However, I did not sign up to be yelled at by uneducated, ignorant people who, for some reason, can’t seem to grasp the fact that the brokerage fees have NOTHING to do with me. I am already sent out with more work than can be safely completed in 12 hours. Don’t hold me up even further to ‘give me a piece of your mind’. I’d like to get home and see my family before they’re all in bed.
      The only thing I’m here to defend, is the fact that you shouldn’t take this out on your driver. I definitely don’t agree with the outrageous charges I see on a daily basis. If it was in my control, I’d waive the brokerage fee for everyone. Obviously though, that’s not within my power. Best of luck to everyone with a class-action lawsuit. It sure would be nice if I didn’t have to watch innocent people get ripped off by a multi-billion dollar company anymore.

      • Well, if you’re the public face representing a shitty company, get used to it. Whether you feel bad or not, you make a salary off these policies. Continuing working for them is essentially tacit approval.

  • Currently dealing with UPS re: hidden fees against charge of $236.00 for shipping free items. The items being sent were donations from friends of my US Cousin to myself as I am disabled, am on a fixed income and cannot afford to purchase these items myself. 1st Issue, UPS refused to accept package at any location other than a Customer Care Center due to order being placed online. My cousin had no printer and their website clearly states that they can print out labels at any location. However this was not the case, UPS refused to print shipping labels. This caused a 12 day delay as closest CCC was 50 Miles away and their pick up option had charge. 2nd Issue, CCC Rep. Informed my cousin that he had to fill out an invoice for insurance purposes only, thus in order to ensure the items were properly insured and not knowing original pricing he guessed in the aspect of safety where-by unfortunately overvaluing these donations. 3nd Issue, once package arrived, UPS put in false information and claimed failed delivery attempt due to security door and refused redelivery unless buzzer number was provided. Security Door and Buzzer does not exist at my residence. 4th Issue, After profusely calling me a liar about the status of my dwelling they finally agreed to redeliver same-day. Except at this point I was informed “…so how are you going to pay the COD charge? Cash or Credit?”. They are now currently holding my donations in Dieppe NB and refusing to deliver. Any recommendations?

  • I agree with all of this. Man, I hate UPS–they just tried to charge me $22.50 on a package that was worth $19 (and for which I had already paid $6.99 shipping–you know, the money that you pay to get someone to bring you something).

    I already knew that UPS was basically a criminal organization in this respect, so I never order anything through them any more. However, on this occasion an eBay seller which listed “USPS” as the shipping method decided to ship it UPS anyway and bomb me with the charges.

    “Brokerage fees.” How about I brokerage the nose of whichever extortionist runs this syndicate…

  • UPS is scum!!!!

  • They are still at it. Eight months after I ordered a book, I get a bill from RMS for 14.98 for UPS brokerage fees.

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