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Does anyone have any advice on whether we should change to UPS or the USPS, or stick with FedEx? Are there any great differences in the fees they charge?
UPS is by far the worst. They charge way more brokerage than anyone. I've deliberately not bought things because people will only ship UPS.
FedEx isn't too bad. They still have brokerage charges but they seem a bit better.
USPS is by far the best option when shipping to us. On smaller things they don't even charge brokerage (that's my experience anyway).
So as a Canadian, I implore you ship USPS to Canada!
The whole system is set up to benefit only large companies IMO. If you are an individual or very small company, you really get screwed by the brokerage fees. Its not the fault of UPS or FedEx because it does cost them a lot of money and effort to clear goods into the country.
It works the same both ways, if you were wondering.
Its not the fault of UPS or FedEx because it does cost them a lot of money and effort to clear goods into the country.
Hmmmmm, not sure about that, I've suspected for a long time that the custom clearance fees subsidise the cheap shipping rates offered to sellers.
i.e. UPS and FedEx make their profits from the custom clearance fees.
I will not buy from a website that only offers UPS anymore. Their customs fees often amount to more than the value of the goods.
I can tell you as a fact, that UPS is competitive with their brokerage rates. We get a little bit better deal with another company but they just raised their rates. So we may be back with UPS soon.
Don't believe me, contact one of the big brokerage firms for rates.
The only way to ship to Canada using UPS or FedEx is express or overnite fees are already figured into the cost. Anything by ground you get hammered and the shipper usually ends up paying the duties bill.
I second Swanny007 I have figured it cost 9.00 up to 3 pounds 3 -5 11 and 11 over begins 29.00 and 2.00 US funds per pound after that. A package weight of 11 pounds I charge 29.00
USPS is the only way to go.
My wife just learned we shipped a 35.00 item out to Canada they paid for mail she shipped it FedEx Ground Fee is 25.00 for the duties. She won't make that mistake again...
US customs will not bother with parcels under $200 shipped to the US from Canada, under section 321. The parcel will arrive at the customer door, with no duty, taxes or brokerage fee.
Shipping from the USA to Canada, Canada customs will not clear the parcel if the value is over $20, without collecting the HST, duty (if applicable) and brokerage fees.
They should raise it to $200, to make it a level playing field for both American and Canadians. Im surprized that American elected officials have not put this forward to the Canadian Government.
If the Americans have figured out that they lose money collecting a few dollars in duty and taxes on a parcel, why haven't the Government in Canada figure out this also?
Now it is simply not worth the effort for them. But it is for the Canadian government, or they would not be doing it. Revenue Canada employs plenty of accountants and actuaries who I am sure know at exactly what point its worth collecting their 5 points.
[edited by: Rugles at 2:16 pm (utc) on Mar. 5, 2008]
FedEx ground rates and service with tracking, etc. were GREAT.. but the real kicker was when we'd get billed for customs duties and fees 6 months (or more!) after the sale.
In our case, we couldn't really blame the Canadian customer either because the brokerage firm assigned would attempt to collect the fees months after the sale.
To be fair, though, it has been 3 years since we've used FedEx for any international shipping, so maybe things have gotten better.. check with them and try to pin them down on the brokerage assignment / fees.
For heavier products, look into getting set up with a Canadian non-resident importer permit. If you are incorporated in the US you can get this without too much trouble. The benefit of that is you will know what the exact customs duties, VAT, and GST/HST fees will be before shipping. If your total sales into Canada are below a certain amount, you can even get a VAT refund each year.
Many Canadian Customers will not deal with American merchants if they only offer UPS or FedEx, as they don't want to get hit with high brokerage fees.
Canadians don't hate there postal service (Canada Post) as much as the Americans hate USPS, and they will accepts a package that will take longer to recieved, rather than paying huge brokerage fees.
If an American merchant is to succeed in expanding it Canadian customer base, they need to offer USPS (or even call it Canada Post (as that is who finally delivers the parcel), to succeed.
When we get hit with back brokerage fees, we just charge the customers credit card. Sure, people will threaten a "charge back", but we always have our paperwork and ducks in a row and have never lost a chargeback due to a copy of our "terms and conditions", copy of the brokerage bill and a copy of the proof of delivery.
If the credit card is no longer active, we send the customer a bill, if they do not pay it, we sell the debt off to a collection agency. 99% of the time we collect our money due.
We used to think we HAD to go to the post office, but I think they got sick of all our packages and suggested we get a pickup. Now we do a pickup request through Endicia everyday and someone from the post office picks everything up - no more waiting... and these are all international.
We've found USPS to be a poor choice for international shipping from the merchant's perspective. In addition to tracking issues, difficulty collecting on insurance claims, and slower delivery times, you also cannot file all customs declaration paperwork electronically. So, you buy postage and print everything via computer but still need someone to "accept the package" at the post office. Whatever the postage savings, time in line costs more.
Call the postmaster of your local office and talk to them about this. They've never refused or returned any international packages that we've shipped out.
FedEx slaps RIDICULOUS broker fees, we've seen some fees to be in excess of 30% of the value of a product, on some we even LOOSE serious money. We no longer ship to Canada via FedEx, except express.
Right now FedEx keep threatening "to disable shipping account" if we don't pay broker fees, although it clearly states in our Terms that "customer agrees to pay all customs and broker fees". I am waiting to see whether they decide to close a 5-digit per year shipping account because of couple of hundred bucks worth of fees. If they do, they are dumber than I thought...we've already switched half of our shipping to USPS, and we'll be switching the other half to UPS or DHL.
Also when a customer asks for the tracking number, the post office doesn't do that for international mail. When fighting a charge back you sometimes need proof of the delivery. Also customers need to know the status which the post office lacks updates.
There may be some fees during a delivery, unless you happen to accidently check the gift box in the custom form ;)I see your wink, but wanted to add that misrepresentation of customs forms by checking "gift" is never a good idea. Sure, you might save your customer $8.50 in customs clearance fees, but is it really worth it?
Customers routinely ask us to violate trade laws by checking "gift", and threaten to take their business elsewhere if we don't. We tell them, "Au revoir".