Hello from Canada.
I ordered a microscope from the US not long ago. The supplier wanted
to send it via UPS and I said NO NO Never! Not UPS PLEASE! Mail it,
Fedex it. Anything but UPS. But they only knew how to use UPS so
that's what they said they had to do.
They asked did I want it in a hurry? No, just send it by ordinary
surface freight, no special overnight high-speed deluxe service. So
they quoted me about $12 shipping charges, very reasonable I
thought.. Along comes the microscope with about $50 extra
"brokerage" fees on top of the shipping cost for something on which
there is no duty. I hollered at UPS and they told me I could have
avoided the extra brokerage charge if it had gone by air instead of
ground! Go figure! I mean, you would think either it has to be
brokered across the border or not - no matter if it comes by camel,
truck, or air.
Here's their dirty secret - They would have charged a whole lot more
for air than surface, so they get even with you for choosing the
cheaper surface route by adding in the phony "brokerage" only on the
surface stuff. They will extort the $ one way or another. It has
nothing to do with customs regulations or duties. The supplier was
good enough to split the brokerage charge with me because legally he
was obligated to tell me about it before he shipped the item - but
UPS had never told him about that so he didn't know about it. They
just told him about the $12.00 shipping charges. UPS is nothing but
trouble and delays and things being held in their bonded warehouse
for days at a time for no good reason, even rush orders.
My wife is a mail-order junkie and has lots more experience with
this kind of stuff than I do She gets apoplectic at the mention of
Marty in Victoria