Sunday, 13 March 2011

Part 4: Dealing With the UPS Agents

This is part of an ongoing series of posts starting here.

First and foremost, I must stress the importance of polite firmness. You are operating from a position of legal advantage in this process but it doesn't mean they will roll over no matter how you treat them. Don't swear at them or abuse them but don't let them to tell you things that are simply not true either.

Every conversation I had with UPS (except the one time they called me) started with a call to the 1-800 number found on their contact page.

Expect every conversation with UPS to begin with the agent telling you that you cannot do what you are trying to do.

I cannot stress this enough. Every single person I spoke to at UPS was mostly unfamiliar with the process I was trying to perform apart from being sure that it could not be done. They knew exactly enough about the process to be sure of that.

If you aren't in or near the point of entry (the first point the package enters the country), they will insist that you will be required to present yourself in person at that location to clear the shipment. This is simply not true.

Granted, if you are in the port of entry city or one of UPS' Canadian hub cities, this process is much easier and quicker. You have the option of driving to the UPS offices and CBSA locations yourself to pick up and deliver documents.

But, most importantly:
You can pay all government fees outstanding for an international shipment in any CBSA office offering the service of Inland Customs Office. It is legal and in no way restricted. Once all government fees are paid, the shipment can be cleared for delivery by UPS with no need for further CBSA involvement.

If you encounter a UPS agent that simply refuses to budge about self clearing at an inland customs office, politely ask for a supervisor. Once you get to that level, they seem to at least understand the process a bit better.


This blog is not legal advice. It is a diary of my own experience and research. You cannot avoid paying legal duties and taxes on goods imported into Canada. This is not about avoiding taxes or duties. In fact, part of this process is paying them as required directly to a customs agent. This is about avoiding the UPS brokerage fee which is nothing more than a ridiculously large service charge paid directly to UPS for a service you neither asked for nor necessarily require.

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