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.

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

  • Also, order very large objects too! They can’t refuse your refuse. If you really want to stick it to them, order a soft spa, have htem bring it to the door…and refuse it!

  • Man, never will I used these crooks for anything again.

    Eagerly awaiting my order from Summit and today it shows up and I find out I owe nearly another $145!!!

    Not only did they pinch me with a $63.10 charger for the brokerage fee (which is ludicrous) but on top of that, they nailed me another $3.15 for GST on it!?!?!

    From here on out, when I want something from the US, its going to be USPS all the way. The Canadian Government wonders what possesses people risk getting caught to smuggle items across the border? This is exactly the reason why!!!

    I’m in Ontario, BTW.


    I have had quite a few (normal) annoyances this past month (unrelated to UPS), but nothing made me so mad as to find out I have to fork over 20$ for a wee paperback book (for which I already paid $15 shipping!!!!)

    It seems my meager $20 fee is nothing compared to many of the people’s experiences here. I feel like hurling this is so disgusting.

    The only other time I ever dealt with UPS in my life was about 10 years ago, where I ordered a $500 gold pen (a gift) and they left it hanging on the door knob outside OF THE WRONG HOUSE! (it was a Canadian order, so they didn’t have to chase me down for more money, I guess). The owners opened the package, and realizing this was not theirs, found my contact info in the phone book, called me and brought it to me. I was lucky. Anyway, both that time, and just now, I have called UPS and just bitched until I couldn’t bitch any more. I know it changes nothing, as I am sure they hear this all the time and don’t care. But what else could I do.

    And thanks for letting me bitch some more. But really…I don’t normally bitch like this. There’s normal life problems and then there’s UPS!!!!!!!!!!

  • I would love to get in on an Ontario class action suit against UPS. Most recent offense: Ordered $75 hiking boots shipped from Utah (plus extra for international shipping), got nailed with a $80 brokerage fee. Does anyone know if Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) can address this? How is this not a NAFTA violation (or at least a violation of the spirit of NAFTA)? I might write OCA anyhow; UPS is the worst. They regularly screwed up my deliveries when I lived in the US too and I was constantly hauling ass to their package depot on the edge of town.

    • I would love to get in on an Ontario class action suit against UPS. I purchased some snap caps from the US. Was told if the order was over $, no shipping charges. Ordered $55.00 worth.
      Next thing I know, UPS calls for COD charge for Brokerage at over $40.00. Was told it was a random fee and not charged all the time. Also, the amount was random as well. Am staying clear of UPS from now on.

  • UPS what a bunch of crooks…I will never use this company again to order anything from the states…My total order came to just over $100.00 and the shit company UPS tried to Brokerage fee me another $51.33….well needless to say I will never use this company again and warn others of the same bullshit greed that is going on. I could understand a small fee, but over 50% of the cost of the entire package including shipping for a Brokerage cost is nothing but UPS being greedy.

  • Make enquiries of the law firms handling them. The one in BC got thrown out!!! They are looking for more stories – more people who have been shafted… I have made my enquiry but have not received a reply. UPS gets around it by making you sign a Power of Attorney in which you agree to have them act as your attorney at the border and to pay all fees and charges as set up on the page. Before signing, I wrote that I was signing under DURESS…that I did not agree to the charges or fees and that I did not agree to have UPS act as the broker at the border. Even the signing date was wrong and I change and initialled it. What does that sa;y about UPS? They don’t care. The employees – it’s only a job and the company is making money!! The original contract is between UPS and the Export. I don’t mind paying the GST – that is part of life in Canada – but the brokerage fee plus GST which was not agreed to nor did I contract for therefore I’d like to know how UPS can even consider that to be a legal binding contract?? UPSer answer that please? I’m sure that there are many who would like to know….

  • Found the contact email and telephone number for the class action suit if anyone is interested… telephone number is for London, Ontario 519-672-2251 ext 2385. Good Luck – We’re going to need it!!!

  • Welcome me to the club. I’m buying a motorcycle seat from a guy in the states,used,and he shipped it ups. 60$ US for the shipping,the seat is being offered at 100$ and UPSYTE is nailing me for 92$ that’s just blatant robbery.

  • Correction. Class action contact is Phone number remains the same.

  • What happens if you are not paying? I already received their collection agency note. Still planning NOT paying it, as I was not importing anything, just had my sails repaired in the States and shipped back. Anyone?

  • $101 for brokerage fee’s for a lens from the use the cost me $120 with shipping. This is fucking ridiculus. UPS IS GARBAGE!!

  • YES YES YES. I completely agree and have for years told everyone in te US ***not*** to ship using UPS. And yet they keep doing it.

  • Yup: Ordered a $75 TV antenna to get free Hi-Def off CN Tower and UPS wanted that much for brokerage fees. Told them they could keep the antenna that I wouldn’t accept the charge. After several calls settled for a $20 delivery fee. Now always ask US suppliers to send by US Post. Gets hand-delivered here by Canada Post special delivery with no additional fees.

  • Count me in.. what a bunch of BS. After buying something for $149 US, paying $17 s&h, UPS has the freakin nerve to whack on a $60 COD charge for GST, PST, brokerage fees, then GST & PST on those. Nice you ass hats.. that’s half what the bloody thing’s worth!!

  • I ordered a Halloween costume for my little girl, it was $23.00, I then paid $7.95 for shipping and a $7 shipping surcharge. It said that I would be responsible for any taxes, duty, or brokerage fees when it arrived. I ordered it anyways figuring it wouldn’t be too much, tax would be $3 and duty would be very little. When it arrived I owed them another $25 for the brokerage fees. I was disgusted. I called the store I placed the order through and told them that I would never be ordering through them again and delete my account with them, unless they change their shipping method to Canada (BC).

  • I paid a 37.22 brokerage fee in Ontario on a sweater that cost 3 dollars more then the fee. What is the logic to this fee, im sick of scams and someone always finding ways to fuck us over. Im beginning to think there are no honest people left out there to deal with. this is fucking ridiculous. i paid $110 USD bascally for a sweater that was listed for $40 on a website. I knew there would be shipping and handling which was $17, which is accpetable but then another $37.22 what the fuck for?!? where does the money go? why so much money? holy shit i could go on but i think i might kill myself.


  • I just paid ups over 80 bucks for a pair of uggs worth 160USD today. It broke my heart……..The brokerage fee is 40 bucks. I definitely want to sue them for this. Who’s with me??

  • Just today I received a used stereo receiver I purchased for $160 from the US and after paying $60 for UPS standard shipping, I forked out another $61 at the door for UPS brokerage fees, PST and GST. Brokerage fee alone was $40, 25% of the cost of the item being shipped.
    Had to change my shorts after I closed the door. Wonder what their real costs are for brokerage?

  • Hey guys i always had problems with these crooks.Now when i order i make sure to tell the shipper not to ship via UPS but most of the time they don’t listen.I got a parcel due in next week. What happens if i refuse this package or i say return to sender?

  • UPS brokage fee charage list
    I ordered two water filter package for frig – total: 131.94
    seller charge me economy shipping: 14.95
    total: 146.89

    UPS charge me: 84.45, (EXTRA COD)
    Domestic appliance part: HS Code/8516909090/TT/10, Co/US $11.64
    PST: 999908 $18.63
    BROK FEE: 51.60 (************<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<)
    BROK GST: 2.58

    NEVER use UPS, rip off!!!!!!!!!

  • I ordered water filter from US, and living in Canada toronto.
    I called UPS (US), they said it is UPS Canada. and they are same company. really hate UPS.

  • UPS = SCAM

  • I won an ebay auction for $185.00 US (PLUS $55.15 US Shipping)
    UPS shipping from Chelmsford Massachusetts to Calgary, it was shipped “standard service” according to online tracking. When it arrived, I got hammered with an additional –>$50.66 CAD<– brokerage fee. More than Mildly Miffed, I will avoid them like the plague forever after this.
    Telling friends, family, anyone I do business with and all the on-line forums I can post to … better business bureau perhaps?

  • Refusing the package and doing your own customs clearing works!

    BUT I think UPS is getting wise because the last parcel I got they left in the door (nobody was home to receive it), then sent me a bill for duties & brokerage 2 weeks later.

    I called UPS, it took about 30 minutes (including one dropped transfer) but with enough argument they dropped the brokerage fee. I had to remind them many times that drivers are NEVER supposed to deliver a C.O.D. package without actually collecting payment.

    If you have to call and do the same thing, insist on paying the taxes and duties you really owe (usually a sum much smaller than the brokerage fee) BEFORE letting them transfer you to the brokerage department to dispute the brokerage part of the bill. Remember, the brokerage fee is bogus but you really do owe taxes and duties.

    Very shady business practices at UPS. I hope they get nailed with a wicked class-action suit. I’m holding on to all my paperwork..

  • I thought that this may be of intrest regarding ” Customs Brokerage agents ” :

    When you make a purchase over a border ,ie: In the USA , and it is to be delivered to you , ie: In Canada , you are considered to be an ” Importer ” .

    The courier company is charging you for providing customs service: being your ¨¨agent¨¨ when “clearing” your parcel across the border.

    Now I would like to quote a small paragraph from the Canada Border Service Agency’s website :

    ” Agents are required to obtain written authorization from their clients in order to transact business on behalf of their clients. ”

    Therefore in my opinion if UPS(Agent) has not obtained written authorization from you the client(Importer) to transact on your behalf , then they are acting illegally (without authorization) on your behalf (representing you ) .

    In my opinion , to represent someone without their authorization is considered to be fraudulent and to charge them for it is extortion (misuse of authority ) .

    This way of acting seems to be deceitful by using trickery at its finest in my opinion (fraud) .

  • Now that you had a little time to digest my last comment , here is the kicker !

    You may not have known that when you place an order and accept the shipping method , you are automatically entered into a binding contract with the chosen shipping company , too act as your customs brokerage agent .

    However this is not mentioned when you confirm your purchase order and shipping method . You are simply told that the company selling you the item will not be respondsible for any custom , duty and brokerage fees (whatever that means , right ?) .

    Not quite . There is no pardon for ignorance ………..

    Anyways , in my opinion it’s still a little deceitful . However , UPS is in the clear and is acting legally according to what you are ” suppose ” to know .

    Therefore the lawsuit has no merit ……..

    Good Luck

  • Here’s what I did to avoid the ‘brokerage fee’:
    I gave the UPS driver a dud cheque. Give him any old cheque, misspell your name on it, sign it with a signature that isn’t yours. Then, just to be sure, call your bank to cancel the cheque.
    The driver is happy. As far as he’s concerned he has done his job and received payment. They won’t bother coming after you, it’s not worth the cost to UPS

    • I am thinking of doing this as well. I was not home to receive my package, and the they left a notice on my door. They’re going to make a second attempt for delivery on the next business day. My plan is to cancel the cheque before hand, and then just hand the driver a canceled cheque. Will it work?

  • i too have had miserable experiences with ups in the past where buying used stuff on ebay ie:$80 for a used stock stereo for my camaro and getting nailed $65 brokerage fee. after adding the duty/shipping and tax the bill was like $
    This past week i found a really nice set of drums in the US for my son at $1000. I phoned ups to try and get some accurate figures from them and it was like pulling teeth. all they ended up giving me was an address for canada customs. checked out that site and it was so convoluted with information that it was useless too. i am actually going to buy the kids drums here in canada for $2000+ just so those crooks at ups dont get a dime from me

  • Just bought a jacket from the US for $140 + $20 shipping. THOUGHT I was saving money cause it cost $220 in Canada. WRONG. After paying $60 extra for a brokerage fee with UPS, I feel cheated and scammed. I’m definitely on the bandwagon to boycott UPS. NEVER AGAIN!!

  • Just got a package today. UPS tried to clip me $70+ for “brokerage” + legitimate duties on a CPU.

    Now here’s the thing – it was a private sale so I never actually entered into any contractual agreement for UPS to act as my broker. I did NOT purchase this item off eBay.

    I refuaed the package and told the driver I would clear it myself. Called UPS 10 minutes later to confirm that I refused the package and would be clearing it myself. Even then the person who spoke to me lied and said the tracking code was assigned by the Canadian government – ahem, no! I was GIVEN that very tracking number from the seller of the item.

    Called CBSA, they gave me clear and concise directions. Said if it’s a personal import I need just the shipping manifests and to take them to the nearest Customs office to pay the appropriate duty and tax. Return to UPS and claim my package. I will try to keep copies of all documents in the event a collection agency mysteriously starts showing up.

    I don’t think I can join the class action as I didn’t lose any money, but I will provide all particulars to any lawyers interested.

    PS: UPS has been doing this for over ten years. I first got burned this way back in 1997. I have since strenuously told all people I know to never ship via UPS. Unfortunately this seller did so before I had the chance to warn him.

  • UPS those crooks Shit wish I read this post first those bastards got me for 83 bucks for a used pair of boots I bought on E-Bay for 100 bucks
    Guess now I’ve paid full price for a new pair now instead
    I’ll never use UPS ever again

  • Not only did they charge me 46$ brokerage ontop of the 35$ shipping costs to the seller for a box of books that took 18 days to be delivered by UPS priority from NY to BC but they had the nerve to leave a yellow slip inked with the words 46.50$ ‘No Cash Please’ – so not only do I have to pay them for delaying my package delivery over their paranoic customs checks (fearing that New Yorkers want to send anthrax up to Canada to kill Santa Clause) but they won’t even take my hard cash; just fathom the irony of that!

  • I am one of the lucky ones. I ordered car parts worth $100 and total fees from UPS was $82. I phoned their number on the shipping invoice and talked to someone very politely and said i know it is not their fault (the person i was talking to) and i am not mad at them but the fee is not worth me accepting the package and i have already refused delivery once and will continue to do so unless the fees are removed, until they ship it back and i receive a refund. They removed all fees with the exception of the duty in exchange for me accepting the package. This i think would only work when buying from a store where you can get a refund. If it was private sale with no way for refund it might have been a little different.

  • I payed $31.00 shipped for an item, and those UPS criminals tried to charge me $39.00 brokerage fees….I refused to pay and didnt accept the package.

  • I’m being charged $42 for a $10 item I won on Ebay. Luckily I wasn’t home. I intend to refuse the item or just ignore the knocks on my door and have the parcel shipped back to the seller than pay the criminal fee. That is sooooooo evil. Any class action in Ontario, count me in.

  • Bought a car parts (intake, and other stuff) for 220 CAD shipped from missouri. I get charged $94.54 from UPS. i paid $25 in shipping already. My sister paid the charges while i was at work, so i couldn’t refuse. A week before, i ordered brake rotors, paid $400 and only got charged $9. WTF inconsistent. Rotors weight was 62 lbs and intake was 3 lbs. I didn’t even pay customs for it either. I searched around and saw a class action lawsuit in ontario and quebec. Not sure if anyone else has seen it. here is the link. It’s from 2006 btw, so i dunno if it’s on-going.

    i would rather pay 94.54 to ups and have them loose 38 million like they did with their insurance scandal. i don’t care if i don’t get a dime back

  • I bought a mirror for US$34.29 on ebay and paid US$31.11 shipping. UPS charged me CDN$39.76 on delivery! The brokerage fee is even more expensive than the mirror itself! If anyone knows how I can get my money back, please post here.

  • Just ordered some parts (200$ US)from a Minnesota company,shipping was UPS, only ten bucks.

    Until the truck showed up and I owed a total of $82.40 with over 50 bucks of that “brokerage fee”

    UPS is a bunch of crooks

  • I had a gift sent to me, but unfortunately the shipper sent it via UPS standard service and declared the value as $125 US. Subsequently, when it arrived it had a $56 COD attached to it (brokerage fee’s + duty). That’s a $40 brokerage fee + $16 duty fee.

    I too was never told by UPS how much the brokerage charges would be, nor was I given the option to broker the package myself. These brokerage fee’s were forced upon me, and UPS would not released the package until I paid the brokerage COD. Effectively, holding the package “hostage” until I paid. This is simply extortion!

    If you are getting a package shipped from the US to Canada, DO NOT USE UPS period!

  • I have just been ripped off by UPS. Much to my surprise – didn’t know this was going on. Was charged $31.03 brokerage for a $40.29 item. Contact me if anyone stsrts a class action in Ontario.

    What idiots UPS management are – to create so much ill will and bad publicity by not simply prorating brokerage fees to something with better optics.

    Ross McKeown

  • Use DHL, we charge a FLAT RATE of 7$ for brokerage (2$-20m$ its 7$). GST/PST and Duty are charged the same as those rates are set by the Canadian gov’t.

    You have options other than the great brown evil empire.

  • I’m a Canadian living in Philly. Last time I went to my mom’s in Montreal, she told me her computer wasn’t working so I took it with me to repair it. Sent it back thru UPS, and in addition to the 63$ shipping charge, they tacked on their 98$ brokerage fee. WTF???Heavily cursing myself for not having researched and seen this website before..especially with the USPS office right across the street. Now I know why UPS uses the brown color.

  • I am part of this club too but not by real choice. My package ( A Roland V-Synth that i paid 830 dollars for) was 6 inches too long for USPS. So i knew i was gonna get shafted. When it arrived, My bill was 250.69 with a 80 dollars brokerage fee included to it. I don’t mind the taxes and duty but that brokerage fee is an abuse of the good people!

  • I was recently forced to ship a package using UPS that was a few inches too long for USPS. I resent that my customer had to pay additional fees just because they are in Canada.

    Seriously, UPS – you pause at the boarder then keep on driving! It’s not a major effort!

  • I just got my first package ever from UPS its worth 50$ and had to pay 37.66$ in borkerage fees. I hope this piece of shit company goes out of business and all their planes crash(without any passengers of course). I am SO ANGRY right now for literally being ripped off by these assholes. I pledge to never ever use UPS ever again in business or in personal.

  • Hi,

    I’m a producer at CBC TV’s Marketplace, researching a possible story on UPS brokerage fees. If you have a complaint about these fees, please get in touch: or 416 205 3698.

    Jennifer Fowler

  • Phil Abernethy

    stung too…… Import value $248

    Entry Perp fee: $42.95 UPS clicks a box on their ‘puter
    Bond Fee: $5.85 as guarantor I can sorta understand this….but $6….pffft
    Freight: $80.60 Fair enough.
    Declared value: $3.60. who know WTF this is for.
    Intl extended Dest Charge: $30.00 who knows WTF this is for either.. probably 2 clicks on a ‘puter.
    Fuel Surcharge. $7.19…..Scam
    Total Scam value: Almost $90 dbl pffft.

  • I ordered two soccer jerseys last week from Columbia, MO to be delivered UPS standard to London, Ontario. Delivery charge was to be $12.98 but delivery is free if you spend over $50.00! What a great deal I said! So my order for the soccer jerseys was $192.98. I expected to pay taxes and may be a small brokerage fee, however, when my roommate received the delivery today, there was a brokerage fee of $108.00!!! My roommate called me at work and told me and I pretty much lost it. I soon looked online and it seems this has been going on for sometime. Live and learn I say – stay away from UPS. I will not be doing any more business with UPS nor with any company that ships using UPS.

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