Sunday, 13 March 2011

Part 5: The Steps

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

The process begins one of 2 ways but proceeds the same way after the initial step:

Method 1: Wait until the shipment gets to your door and the driver asks for the COD amount. Simply refuse to pay the brokerage fee but be willing to pay the required taxes and fees owed to the government. The driver will likely say you can't waive them or some variation of this and might tell you that they will be shipping your goods back to the shipper.

Instruct him that you wish the package to be marked as CLEAR OWN. Tell the driver you will be contacting the UPS office to gather the required information to self-clear the package.

The driver will take the package with him back to the office and may or may not confirm what is going to happen to the package. Be warned that if your package has been transported inland from the point of entry they will likely return the package to the point of entry. I can't see where it is required (possibly because they need to keep it in a bonded facility) but it appears that UPS will insist on this. That's OK apart from the fact it costs you time and we already decided we can give up some time in this process. They will end up driving it back to you anyways so it's their added expense.

Method 2: Go online and track your shipment. When it says that paperwork has been delivered to the point of entry or if the shipment is at or near your local warehouse, call UPS, reference the tracking number and tell them you wish to mark it as CLEAR OWN or "self-clear". They should recognize one of those 2 terms.

If you aren't in or near the port of entry, they will likely try to warn you that you will be required to present yourself at the port of entry to clear the package. This is simply untrue. It is, however, one of the few consistent responses I got from almost all agents I spoke with during this process. Based on my experience, I am willing to bet it is a primary training point provided to agents for these situations. Once you make it clear that no matter what risks are involved you still wish to self clear the shipment, they will ask for some contact information so they can call you when the shipment arrives in Canada and is in their bonded facility awaiting Border Services clearance.

Again, don't forget to ask for a supervisor if you hit a wall.

NOTE: I have not performed the process via method 1 personally. I chose to contact UPS and mark the package CLEAR OWN before the package even got to the port of entry in Canada. In my mind, I was saving the driver a headache he didn't cause.

From here on out, the process is almost identical no matter how you chose to initiate it. If you let the driver come to your house, you need to call UPS for the next step. If you called them before delivery and are waiting for them to call telling you it has arrived, simply wait for them to do so.


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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