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.

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


  • I ordered a 55$ prop replica from the US and even paid extra for UPS shipping and they nailed me with a 35$ brokerage fee. I couldn’t believe it! I’ve never had this issue with anything I’ve ever bought online from the US, Hong Kong etc. Then again I don’t believe it was sent through UPS. I will never use UPS or do business with anyone who uses it again!

    • So True!!
      they are ripping off Canadians and it should be illegal.
      I purchased some electronics equipment that even by the goverments documents are duty free, yet i still got nailed for a rediculous amount of “brokerage” fees. Complete and utter rip off – if there is NO DUTY, there should be NO BROKERAGE fees.a terrible way to do business. The purchaser is always “surprized” with these fees.
      All shippers should give the purchaser the option of how they would like to have their items cleared.
      The goverment (or someone) should step in here and pass some legislation to stop these crooks.
      i will NEVER use UPS ordering anything from the states. Fed Ex seems fair with everything i’ve experienced.
      If anyone wants to form a petition to pass on to someone who cares, i’ll sign it. No doubt. Glad to hear i’m not the only one who is completely pissed off.

    • andy manthorne

      i bought a 29.00 switch for the boat and ups charged me 17.60 brokerage fee on top of the freight charges that was prepaid. i will never deal with a company in the us that ships with ups again

      • I bought $65 worth of accessories for my wedding and got hit with $42.15 in fees at the door. I Will never have anything shipped via UPS again.

  • Yes I just learned the hard way too. Wish I had done more research before ordering from the USA. I live in a small town and the ups blokes of course sees that on my parcel and tells me that I have to go and pick it up in Vancouver if I want to do my own Taxes etc..(CAD 40-00 on a 150-00 parcel) They also refuse to send(fax) me any documentation so I can visit a customs office on my own. Then naturally they would not send the parcel to me via any other means. How can this not be criminal ?????

  • I just imported a used mouse from the us that cost me 50$. I payed for the 20$ extra shipping and, lo and behold, when the ups shows up at my door, he asks me for 40.15$. It has cost me 60$ to ship a 50$ item.

  • I won’t do business with any company that ships with UPS do to their thieving brokerage fees.

    One of their idiot drivers hit and ran my truck too.

  • I’ve also been on the wrong end of the UPS brokerage holdup, far too many times. After being held up for another $35 last year i called the UPS customer service office and inquired how they could charge more than the item cost to ship for the brokerage on it. They said it was a flat fee, regardless of the cost of the item, fair enough, but then i asked why US/Canada post doesn’t charge that fee? Their response was that they must eat the cost because everyone has to clear customs at the border. My response to that was their answer was rediculous because the shipping costs through us/canada post was a mere $15, and if they ate the $35 brokerage costs they’d be obviously losing $20 on each package of that size and weight they delivered. Their only response was to reiterate that all shippers had to pay the brokerage fee, and that UPS themselves don’t actually collect that fee, its a separate company. Yeah right, i’m sure its legally a separate corporate entity, but its owners and operators wear that same Shit brown uniform.

  • I’ve ordered some Gorilla lugnuts.
    38$ Made in the USA.UPS shipping was something around 18$.
    Everything was fine till the moment I had to pay a 23$ BROKERAGE FEE !!!!!!
    Almost half price pf everything.
    It’s Made in USA. Hellloooooo Morons.
    Thief company.Next time if the company ships with UPS…good bye and have a nice day.No deal.
    Good luck everyone.

  • I ordered labels for my home office from Florida. They are valued at $129.95. The Import charges were $51.04. Horrific, I wish this had been predictable beforehand – I would have gone with a local label guy. NEVER AGAIN!

  • This applies FROM Canada TO the US too.

    I ordered something that’s coming from Calgary and I had to pay a $36 brokerage fee! I’ve never heard of such a thing.

    Kind of like the airlines charging for baggage.

  • I ordered from New York to British Columbia package value $55.00. I paid $27.00 for shipping and then at my door another $36.00 brokerage fees ($63.00 total) I’m so angry at being ripped off.

  • What a bunch of losers you are. Mark says he ordered labels from a company in the USA. Why would you order from the USA when there is a guy right in town that does the same thing? You get upset when UPS screws you for brokerage. What about the poor guy you scored over and bought from another country. Losers!

  • I’ve paid $40 for an eBay harddrive.
    Brokerage fee: $40.
    Way to go UPS!

    P.S. Waiting for class-action.

  • How about $54.18 for an item I didn’t even get…
    They even sent it to collection.

  • I too,have just been ripped off by UPS,& our Govt. On an 8 day trip to the U.S.I purchased a piece of Giftware for $170.00 U.S.and paid the Store $30.00 to have it shipped to me in Toronto,as I have done many times before without incident, from all parts of the world.Imagine my shock when my box was delivered,but held for ransome to the tune of $67.52 for Brokerage Fees. What’s more, I do not owe any Duty, as the article was fully declared in my Customs Allowance. If I am to recover the Duty paid, I now have to incur further expense (parking,gas etc.)and the time consuming trouble of going in person to the nearest Customs Office .

  • I have also had a very hard time dealing with UPS – they have taken cash-on-delivery to cover taxes and duties a half-dozen times – and then sent me duplicate invoices EVERY SINGLE TIME. I get harrassing recording messages to my cell, threats of debt collection agencies – BUT I PAID, and have explained it all to them many times, along with invoice numbers and faxed receipts!
    Just unbelievable!

  • Ordered item from new company online:

    $79.95 item
    No tax
    $80.63 with shipping charges
    $44.10 UPS BROKERAGE FEE!!!!!

    Researched same item to order Canadian version – cost $115.00 + Shipping + HST = almost $150!!!

    What’s wrong with this picture?????!!!!!!!!!!!!

    P.S. Have ordered from amazon.com before – shipped by UPS – no brokerage fee…

  • Listen to this, I bought a used laptop from Ontario coming into the US , the laptop was not as the seller advertised,so I send it back, same laptop returning to Canada, Now UPS wants Brokerage fees over $50. This has to be stopped, I will contact UPS corporate office in the US. I am waiting to sign into class action against these thieves.

    • I bought a fishing sonar in Toronto, made in US. I sent it back to company for repair. A week later got the same unit back to Canada by UPS. UPS wants $68.07 for import charges. I don’t want to pay. But what can I do?

  • could only find halloween costume for son from this place in China called lightinthebox. Paid $104.99 for costume including shipping and handling. When UPS delivered they said I owed another $21.00 for a brokers fee. I had never heard of this. Also this was our second package from this company within about 5-6 days and that package had no extra fee. I always thought shipping and handling fees covered it. This has turned out to be a expensive Halloween. I am really disappointed the costume was also missing items and it is very difficult dealing with these people so beware of this company (lightinthebox).

  • UPS is as bad as the Mafia. I order about $100.00 worth of vitamin supplements from Florida and I paid the company $17.85 for international shipping to Canada. UPS shows up at my door and demands another $30.00 ‘brokerage fee’.

    We really need to start a lawsuit against them here in Ontario. What they’re doing is nothing short of extortion.

  • My Uncle sent a watch for my son’s birthday from US.The value of the watch was $101.00. When the parcel arrived at my home the UPS driver told me that it was C.O.D for 49.56. I asked him what that was for and he replied custom charges. Any way I paid the amount and went to custom office to find out why they charged me that amount. Custom officer told me that only $5.51 was taxes and the rest is brokerage fee. I phoned the UPS C.O.D line and all I heard was nothing worth listening too. This is robbery. to pay $50.00 in order to receive your gift. I hope some one start the lawsuit. I would never use UPS and will tell every one not to either.

  • I’m wondering why lawsuits have been filed against “ridiculous brokerage fees”… It should be filed for violating the law by UPS…

  • I’ve also been ripped off by UPS. But it seems these posts go back 3 years. Has anything been done about this rip-off?

  • Currently in the middle of an ebay nightmare because of this. Shipped a package over a week ago to a buyer in Canada. Thought UPS was safest most reliable. Knew nothing about this “brokerage fee” Of course the recipient does not want to pay it! They are trying to charge her $30 plus the $10 in canadian taxes for a $60 item that she ALREADY paid $20 in shipping for! Outrageous. Now UPS is saying they might charge me shipping Back to me!!

    I am outraged.
    To top it off the buyer put a hold on my paypal account for non-receipt of item-
    I have asked her to remove this since this is all out of my control- we will see.
    Be happy to sign

  • Yes, what a SCAM!!! Ordered an item worth $19.99 and the brokerage fees are $18.97, on top of the $18.69 shipping fee. WTF!!! UPS is a total ripoff and I will never use them again. The worst of it is I make the purchase online and only the shipping and product cost are totalled. Then UPS gets to your house and they want another $18.69 for brokerage! FUCH THEM!

  • Similar issue here – I’m now having a fight with UPS and Samstores. $83 item, $63 shipment. Shipment was split in two, don’t know why. Half was received, no problem. Remaining half worth $50 was tagged with $41 in fees. Not happening. Refused it.

  • Same story for me… Used video game valued at $50 (which was mislabeled by the seller, I actually paid $25 for it). $0 duty, $2.52 of GST and $29.55 of “Broker Fees”. When I complained to UPS about it, they had the nerve to tell me this was considered “competitive pricing”.

  • I was sent a book from New York City as a review copy from the publisher (i.e. a gift), sender put a declared value of $60 on the customs label. UPS shows up at my door and wants $100 brokerage fee. WTF? No way am I paying UPS $100 for a $60 book I was being sent for free! I refused delivery and told the sender by email if he wants me to review his book he had better send it USPS. He did, right away, and go figure, Canada Post didn’t charge any taxes or fees on it, it just arrived in my mailbox.

    Similar story with a $30 framed painting my wife ordered, UPS wanted $100 brokerage. What’s wrong with this picture?

    I refuse to buy from any American online retailer or eBay seller that only uses UPS. If USPS isn’t an option at checkout they lost my business.

  • alejandro graciano

    I bought a coouple nail clipplers from US, to quebec for about $ 60 but UPS charge for broke fee $30, what thief company, I will never do again any deal with this F..Ck company.

  • I bought a few replacement cables for a charging device because I lost the original. The item was $5 and shipping $15, but I added some extra accessories for a total of $44 + $15, since the shipping charge was the same.
    When the parcel arrived there was a $40.28 COD charge for brokerage fees.

    I complained on the UPS website and got a break down of the charges – there’s a total of 7:
    – Duty $1.05
    – CA Customs HST $5.84
    – Brokerage HST $3.29
    – COD HST $0.55
    – Entry Prep Fee $19.45
    – Bond Fee $5.85
    – CA COD Surcharge $4.25
    Its crazy they can make up so many bogus charges to justify the outrageous fee.

    One thing I got from their customer service rep was any parcel under $20 CND will go through without the brokerage charges.

  • Tony steaming mad

    Well, here’s my story that just unfolded two hours ago. I swapped some WW2 collectibles with a friend in the US (I’m in Canada). No money was exchanged. It was a straight swap. I sent his items via registered air mail which arrived at his end in four days. He shipped my items via UPS. The package took 16 days to get here. I was shocked that a $343.89 brokerage fee was applied !!! There is no bloody way I am paying that. This is ta otally absurd surcharge. How can UPS be getting away with this highway robbery? I am going to raise a stink over this that they will smell for some time. I never suspected that UPS would engage in such extortion, and will now refuse to do busines with anyone who uses UPS. Furthermore, I will go out of my way to dissuade anyone from using this gang of thieves. Through my company connections (which deals internationally) this will cost them considerable business.

  • Two weeks time, four packages received. $152 total demanded by UPS. These were all Christmas gifts, only one package was something we’d ordered ourselves. Latest demand? Tonight: $38 on a $40 gift my husband ordered. The seller didn’t mark it as a gift like they were supposed to, and my hub had no idea it would be shipped UPS. We asked the driver what would happen if we refused delivery, and he said they’d charge us double for shipping it back across the border. Um, WHAT?

    We’re ready to dispute any cc charges via our bank if we need to, but what a hassle.

  • Apparently most UPS agents automatically state on the CN22 Customs declaration form a default value for a shipment as $100US(or about $106CDN), which means that the poor sap in Canada has to pay a DOUBLE brokerage fee and higer taxes on an item valued less than $100US. This is UPS’ dirty little secret. See link: http://www.ups.com/content/ca/en/shipping/cost/zones/customs_clearance.html

  • Well, might as well share my ludicrous situation. Just received a box of Christmas presents for my fam from my mother in the States. The UPS delivery guy made me pay $172 taxes/brokerage fees for a GIFT! I hate to admit, but I never knew the gift exemption limit was only $60/person.
    UPS is just wrong to be charging such high brokerage fees, plus they add on a c.o.d. fee and another lame fee. I will NEVER receive a UPS shipment demanding brokerage fees again. I called the Lachine UPS to try to rectify it, but once you accept it, there’s nothing else to be done. I’ll stick with good ‘ol Canada Post.

    • Just so everyone knows that the gift allowance for gifts coming to canada is set by the canadian government. It is $60.00/person per item and it can not be from a business to a person or from a business to business or person to business. Therefore if your paperwork is filled out correctly and the gifts are from person to person and do not exceed more then $60.00 each item then receiver will not be charged and also the items must be itemized on the commercial invoice and must have for each person they are for.

  • Me again, don’t know if this is old news, but thought I’d share. There IS a class action suit against UPS Canada for Ontario and Quebec:
    http://www.classaction.ca/actions/Consumer-Protection/Current-Actions/United-Parcel-Service-Canada-Ltd-(-UPS-).aspx
    Guess we weren’t the only ones to get bamboozled.

  • I just bought a racquet for 48 dollars. A retard shows up at my door wearing the UPS uniform and wants to collect another 40 for brokerage fee and tax though the racquet was duty-free. Thats almost 100% of the price of the racquet! im boiling angry now as i have told the seller to ship as GIFT now i do not know what to do.

  • I ordered some Nudie Jeans off of their website for $250, and to ship to canada was another $30, fair enough, tax would have been $32 at a retailer if i had found them. so 280 were spent on the jeans. then behold the ups driver, comes to my door, drops off the package, and asks for FUCKING $144.31. MORE than half the price for ONE pair of jeans. goddamn fucking ridiculous. never again will i ever EVER use ups.
    this was my first time with them too.

  • We should all start a (or another, since the one launched in 07 has not been successful yet) class action lawsuit against these outlaw thieves.

  • I ordered one a set of 20″ rims from the U.S via ebay and paided over $300 in shipping. When the rims arrived UPS tried to charge me a extra $80 bucks.. what a rip after i paided $300 so i refused the shipment.

    I also ordered a set of rotors and brake pads from Ontario which was shipped to me in Calgary. I paided the shipping fees and UPS tried to charge me a brokerage fee COD of $96??? whats wrong with this picture as well?? I didnt know that Ontario is a different country and we have to clear customs? lol what a scam.. UPS is a scam! there should be regulations on how this company can do their crooked business.. almost like the payday loans business charging ridiculous rates.

    Please someone start a lawsuit in Calgary

  • I don’t think anyone has paid as much of a “brokerage fee” as I have, I live in Canada
    This is my story: Bid for a used iPhone and won it cost me 350$ about and shipping was 30$, I go track my item on their website everything is great until I see it get stopped for a few days while it was getting cleared ok fine I don’t mind, but when it cleared and they delivered it to my house they demanded another 112$ to pay for the brokerage fee which I have no clue what it is.
    But I mean come on that’s a little bit freaking excessive if you ask me.

  • Just bought an aqua vu great deal on ebay $265 additional shipping and handling charges $46 delivery a house an extra $93.
    feel totally ripped off. bastards

  • I’ve had it with UPS. I received an item from the US, shipped via UPS despite my efforts to have it shipped via regular mail.
    I was hit with a $50.00 brokerage fee, DESPITE THE FACT THE SHIPPER STATED THE ITEM’S COUNTRY OF ORIGIN WAS CANADA!!!!!!!!!!

    I called UPS to find out why there would be such a BS charge, there response was “Well, we represent you at the customs service and need to charge you.” After arguing the fact that there was no work to clear my item, I gave up and hung up.

  • I think UPS has their hands on the most online shipping. I just order labelonline.com and got charge over $55.00 US for there brokerage fee! Can we do something about it here in Calgary?

  • I just ordered a gas tank for a new motorcycle the tank cost $600.00 I paid $44.00 to UPS for shipping and when it arrived I was hit with an extra $100.02!!! I could have used normal U.S. Postal and it would have been a flat $36.00 but I wanted to get it here faster.
    Seriously WTF why should shipping cost 24% of my order it’s disgusting I’ve looked multiple times and there is no mention of any extra fees involved in the ordering process on this specific site.

    UPS are dirty thieves plain and simple every Canadian screwed by UPS should write the Better Business Bureau and send some hate mail UPS’s way. I know I will.

  • Heads-up to everyone:
    The reason you did not expect a brokerage fee is because you have no idea what international shipping entails. This is why you retain a customs broker. You have the option to travel to the border to clear your own goods if you prefer.

    The brokerage fee (which is based on the value for duty of the goods in your shipment) pays the folks who secure release of your shipment and pay the duty/taxes (in advance) on your behalf.

    Amount of duty/tax? Irrelevant. Even duty-free and GST exempt shipments require customs clearance.

    Origin of goods? Irrelevant. Even Canadian goods re-entering the country require clearance.

    You can avoid COD and disbursement (or bond) fees by pre-paying customs charges over the telephone prior to delivery of your shipment.

    Canada Post is able to clear shipments at a fraction of the cost because they do not have the same business model as any brokerage which is not run by the government.

    TL;DR version: UPS didn’t screw you, they got your shipment into Canada despite your ignorance.

    • andy manthorne

      who does broker work for ups. if you are right then every one is right f. ups and ship usps

      • If you don’t mind waiting the extra 6 weeks.

        I’m 100% with you on that. If you don’t want/need or can’t afford a certain level of service there is no reason not to go with another option. Huzzah for capitalism.

  • im 18 years old ordered stuff for $161 and 30 dollars for shit then at the door 90 dollars for duty fees i told them to go f them selfs what should i do from here my shipper did not tell me of these fees

  • They did it to me twice. The third time I fought by refusing to accept the item and asked them to fax/mail me the waybill. I said I will take it to the custom to pay for duties. They give me a run around for a few days. Finally, they told me they will not charge the brokerage fee and I pay a duty and taxes for just $5 instead of $35.

    I will never buy anything from seller who don’t ship with USPS. I rather pay $15 or $20 more on shipping but I will not pay a $35-$50 brokerage on top of shipping charge. Also, one must also consider that USPS is usually ship faster than UPS.

    I know all business want to make a profit and I don’t mind it but UPS just went too far. Let send UPS a message by class-action law suit or not using them as the courier.

  • i recently ordered something that’s 99.99 that already includes shipping. UPS is asking for a brokerage c.o.d. due of $808!! THAT IS F*CKING BULLSH*T.

  • The writer who wrote my brokerage c.o.d. due made the mistake of not putting a period between the #s it’s actually $8.08 and not $808

  • I bought a used item (a wedding dress actually) in a private sale online from someone in the US. The item itself cost $1200 USD. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that the seller was sending the parcel via UPS and I also didn’t know that UPS charged obscene fees to bring parcels into the country. When the Purolator guy (yes, UPS in my Ontario city is run through Purolator) showed up at my door asking for $230 in UPS brokerage and duty fees, I was shocked!….. $230!!!! What is worse is that I ended up returning the item and didn’t receive a duty/taxes refund for it. I tried contacting UPS Canada but it is closed on the weekend so I called the US UPS hotline and the woman didn’t know much at all about brokerage fees or how I would recover the associated fees (such as duty/taxes) that made up the $230. I reframed my question as though the item I had bought was a shirt from a local store: if I returned the shirt to the store, the store would refund the cost of the shirt (like the seller of my item) as well as the taxes I paid on the item (like the duty/taxes)…. well then the UPS woman understood what I was getting at but STILL didn’t know if I could get my money back and said I would have to talk to Canada customs about that. USELESS! I ended up sending the parcel back using Canada Post and didn’t get any money back for the duty or taxes that UPS forced me to pay. Worst experience ever. I hate UPS. UPS completely takes advantage of their position as a cross-border courier and it’s disgusting!

    • http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/forms-formulaires/b2g.pdf

      The place to mail the form is at the bottom.

      You will also need the UPS invoice to prove you paid the money, and proof that you sent the gods back to the shipper (the southbound commercial invoice).

      Not the broker’s fault. They don’t set the duty/tax rates and they don’t decide the casual shipment refund legislation. Nor did they force you to RTS the goods.

  • We had our cell phone (bought in U.S.) repaired in the U.S.and when it came back we had to pay $60. We did not buy it at this time it was only being repaired. Why should we pay customs? I also previously ordered some vitamins from the U.S. and paid $30 brokerage fees over and above the cost. The whole thing is ridiculous and now I don’t buy anything from the states.

    • The cost of a repair is still taxable. If you had taken it to a local repair-shop you would have paid GST on their fee.

      That said, if it was a warranty repair it should enter GST free–assuming the commercial invoice was completed correctly by the US shipper. Check the invoice that came on the box and I bet it’s marked “sale”.

      If you don’t want to pay the fees of the courier’s broker you have the option of appointing your own broker or clearing it yourself.

  • I recently purchased some brewing-related equipment from a company in the states. UPS stuck me with a brokerage fee almost half the cost of the item in question. There was also significant difficulty in getting the shipment delivered.

    The solution is simple.

    I was planning on purchasing a quantity of other equipment from this particular company, and I intend to send them a list of those items, and to let them know that due to the shipper they chose to use, I will be obtaining those items elsewhere, as soon as I find a seller willing to ship USPS. I live in a rural area, VERY far from the nearest UPS/Purolator depots. People need to refuse to use UPS, if enough customers demand USPS shipping as an option, retailers will provide it.

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