I have to admit that I hate UPS with a passion. As a Canadian, if you ever want to purchase something from the United States, you have to pray that UPS isn’t the shipper, because if they are you are going to get screwed. Now, let’s be perfectly clear. By screwed, I don’t mean something that leads to a shuddering climactic orgasm, and a great afternoon nap. Screwed by UPS means you are raped in the ass. Think of yourself as a prisoner serving the first day of twenty years in maximum security, and UPS is the gang of Nazi skinheads oogling you as you are naked in the shower picking up the soap from the floor.
UPS runs a double payment scam where they leverage Canadian customs to charge you for the “service” of collecting any customs charges. Their charges for this service are often more than the original shipping amount, and can be a large percentage of the total declared value of the item. You may have thought that you (or the person sending the package) paid for shipping, but UPS collects on both ends, from both the shipper and the reciever. It’s a really nice scam and I am sure it is immensely profitable.
Here’s the latest example:
UPS determined that $7.62+$14.20 was due to the Canadian government (which was too high), and then charged $36.85+$4.79 for the service of collecting this payment. The total customs charge from UPS, including the duty is a whopping $63.46, which was 62% of the total value of the item in this case.
This extortion can be handled by collecting the shipping slip from the UPS delivery guy, telling him that you’ll be self clearing, and then calling UPS and telling them that you’ll be self clearing the item. They then email you the forms that you need to take to the CBSA (Canadian Border Security Agency), which look like:
You have two business days to complete the self clearing process, and for that time UPS will hold your package ransom.
The self clearing process is a real pain in the ass to do, at least if you live in Markham, since the only CBSA office that handles this paperwork is all the way down near the airport, on 2720 Brittania Rd E. It’s a windy road that you are not inclined to believe you are allowed to be on. You also have to pass through a huge gate that has razor wire all over it, and looks like the armed guards just stepped away for a moment, but will be back to shoot you shortly for trespassing.
Assuming you avoid getting shot or arrested for tresspassing, and find the office, you can then collect the following form:
This is the B15 form that UPS requires to release the package to you. You email then this form, and they arrange to re-deliver the package to you after they receive the paperwork.
We went through the pain of doing the self clearing for the package above (a glass sink), but after UPS left it at the door (without even ringing the doorbell), we discovered that they had destroyed the sink, which looked like this:
This is not in a good state to install. We called UPS to collect the item that they destroyed and the manufacturer to ship a replacement item. This is unfortunately where things get really irritating. UPS now charged us for the service of having originally destroyed the first sink, by imposing a second brokerage handling fee for the replacement item. Since we’d paid the duties all ready, this final charge of $34.86 was for the difficult service of collecting $0.00 duty and GST for the Canadian government:
My wife spend a half hour arguing with the poor UPS delivery guy (who is a pawn) that they had no right to charge us a second time for brokerage fees, when we’d already handled those the first time. She was ready to keep the item without paying this additional extortion, and deal with UPS management/customer-service after the fact, but the delivery guy said that the police would be called if that was done.
They’ve basically got you by the balls. This time, we ended up paying their extortion, as we didn’t trust UPS not to destroy the item a second time, and have plumbers coming for install work starting next week. I don’t hold much hope that calling UPS management will result in any refund, since they are perfectly happy with customers perceiving them as a money grubbing company that behaves unethically, and is ready to shaft you at every possible opportunity.
UPS’s new motto: “If we can’t screw you with brokerage fees the first time, we will destroy your stuff and charge you a second time to replace it.” We just paid $34.86 towards their new marketing campaign.