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Shipping question to people outside of USA

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This does not have to do with Secret Santa, sorry guys. It does though have to do with shipping. As some of you know my DH is starting a skateboard building buisness. In the last couple of days things have blown up. This though is posing to be a problem. We still are in the process of becoming legitimate. Up untill now its been the one off deck , donations greatly apreiciated. All of this is new teritory for us. As of today we have had people in Canada and New Zealand ask how much it would cost to not just make the board but also ship one. The cost of the board we can handle but neither of us have ever sent anything to anouther country. Is there taxes on products and things? What about customs? Where do we go to find this stuff out? If someone were to purchase a product from the US and have it shipped are there limits? Is there a certain price before it needs to be taxed?

Ugggg we are just so confused on international shipping. I know because of Secret Santa many of us have had to deal with shipping over seas so I am hoping you guys can give us some insite on how to make it go as smothly as possable. I also know many of our members have ordered product from the US online and could also give some insite as well.

post #2 of 11
I don't know about overseas, but I will offer a suggestion for shipping to Canada.

We are subject to customs because the package crosses the border.

DO NOT ship via UPS! DO NOT send parcels via UPS!!!! It costs us an arm and a leg and our first, second and third born children to get the package.

I bought a computer program course from California. I was subject to S&H ($10.00), plus exchange and duty, which I expected. Imagine my surprise when UPS delivered and wanted a further $50.00 for Brokerage fees. That's how much they claim it cost them to process the paperwork at the border. That's almost 100% the rate of what I paid for the course which I think was $59 USD. PLUS it took 7 weeks to get here!

I could have had it shipped FedEx for $17.99 air shipping, and it would have arrived at my door in 2 days. PLUS there wouldn't have been any additional charges because FedEx included "Brokerage" in their shipping fees.

However, one time I received a used external hard drive from a friend. He was going to throw it out and when I expressed interest in it he sent it to me. He put zero as the value but FedEx demanded to know a dollar value for the parcel before delivering it to me. So he called them and said "$100.00". Based on that amount I had to pay $24.00 for customs charges. Not a brokerage fee, just custom charges.

Another time I ordered a stethescope from the USA. I think it was $250.00. I figured by the time I paid S&H and currency exchange it was still cheaper than buying it up here. It was shipped by UPS. UPS arrived with the parcel and wanted me to pay them $98.00 for brokerage fees for the processing of the customs papers at the border. I refused and sent back the parcel.

UPS is fine for shipping around the US, but when it comes to "international", it sucks!!! If you ship to Canada, and want repeat business, don't use UPS to ship to Canada.

You can read all about how they gouge us Canadians for parcels shipped from the US at this link. Some people have said that the brokerage fees they were charged even exceeded the value of the merchandise they received!


People here have filed a class action lawsuit against UPS


Ok. Now that that is out of the way, here are some tips for sending to Canada.

Use either regular USPS or FedEx. Neither have hidden costs to the recipient at the delivery end.

If you know about how much the board weighs and the dimensions of the box, you can call up USPS and FedEX and ask them for a quote of the S&H charge. Make sure you ask about "Customs Charges" to the Canadian customer, because under a certain value there is no customs charges to the customer. I'm not sure but I think a parcel value of less than $50.00 is not subject to customs charges, but a parcel of $50.01 and up is charged customs. So if at all possible record the value of the parcel in the range where the customer doesn't have to pay anything additional at their door.

The best way is to package one up as an example and take it to FedEx and the USPS office and ask how much it would cost to send to Canada and wherever else you want to ship it. If you ship international overseas you are looking at some serious money for postage. I used to do up a box of goodies to send to Denmark and while the merchandise inside cost about $20.00 I was paying about $100.00 for postage when I sent it by air. But the item go there in a week vs 3 or 4 weeks by regular mail.
post #3 of 11
I've sent stuff to Germany before. Regular mail, took eight days. Do you know the weight and size of the box? Just call your local post office or look it up online on the USPS site.

You'll need to declare what's in it and the value -they'll tell you this at the post office and give you a little sheet to write on (iirc, it's green?). You can also ask about average shipping time for the different shipping options. What may be listed isn't always the average, though at this time of year it will be slow.
If you choose to use FedEx you could probably call their local office for any questions, too.
post #4 of 11
I just have to share this. I read this thread early this morning and noted Natalie.ca's comments.

Around 10 a.m. this morning I got a call from UPS saying they had a parcel for delivery to our Marketing person and that there would be a $44.00 COD charge. We don't have petty cash around for stuff like this so I asked why there would be COD charges when it was being sent from our company in Georgia to our Canadian office. I was told that because it was addressed to her and not to our company name it was considered personal and that she would have to pay the COD charges. I told the UPS person it was not personal (keyboard from our IT department to replace a faulty one) and asked her what paperwork she needed to not pay the charges and she said to fax her a "new" commercial invoice with our company name, attention "marketing person" and that there would no longer be a $44.00 charge.

Interesting that I should read this thread and about 1-2 hours later have this occur.
post #5 of 11
Ugh, UPS is not Canada's friend. I always dread hearing that something I won on Ebay "has been shipped with UPS". Great, so how much more money am I going to lose? I bought a cat tree earlier this year off ebay, for $155, and I was stressing out for the couple of weeks it took to get here. For 70lbs, was the custom fee going to be horrendous? I'd done a lot of "research" online, figuring out what the fee would be, and I kept getting $300 every time (so I was afraid I was going to have to pay $300 just to get it in the door). A couple of years ago, I bought some Ariat paddock boots online (not ebay) and that was shipped UPS. I don't quite remember how much we payed for them, might have been around $99, but we had to pay $70 to get it through the door (this was why I was so worried about the cat tree). In the end, though, the cat tree ended up being $40 to get through the door. I don't know if it's good or bad, but it's certainly better than the $300 I was stressing out over, lol (btw, the shipping/handling charges the ebay seller charged was $75 or so)

It's too bad not very many ebay sellers use FedEx to ship their stuff. Even USPS/Canada Post is better than UPS.
post #6 of 11
Originally Posted by Aussie_Dog View Post
Ugh, UPS is not Canada's friend.

That first time with that computer course I paid UPS by credit card. Months later I started to get collection calls demanding I pay this $48.00 brokerage fee. I had insisted that I did and that I had the paid COD invoice to prove it.

Well it seems that while I paid by credit card, once it was processed at their office it turned out that my card was declined but no one told me until they sent the account to some collection agency.

By this time I had no money because I had been off work several months by then on disability and I told them I couldn't pay it because I didn't consider it a priority at that time. They threatened my credit rating etc. I told them to go ahead and post a rating because my credit was already damaged at that point and their $48.00 claim wasn't going to make any difference at all. I guess they didn't like my "nonchallont" attitude because they stopped bothering me for payment and must have written it off. I never heard back from them.
post #7 of 11
Just go into USPS and ask to speak to the Postmaster (or someone like that), and ask them to explain to you how it all works
post #8 of 11
I've shipped overseas a couple of times through the post office. Some countries have restrictions on what can be shipped to them and I believe it does vary by country. I remember the woman pulling out a sheet that showed that countries restrictions then asking me a list of questions about what was in the parcel.

Go to the post office and ask, or go to a Fedex or UPS store and ask. They will have the most information for you.
post #9 of 11
Of the companies that I have worked for USPS or FedEx is the way to go when sending out of the country. FedEx will probably cost you less for a skateboard though.

UPS is great for U.S. only. and DHL seems to loose things (OK well, the important items it seems )
post #10 of 11
It's my understanding that there is no duty to Canada if the item is made is the U.S.A. I agree to stay away from UPS to Canada!

And I've had four occasions where DHL left the package with the broken items (glass or ceramic) on my doorstep and ran! They didn't eve ring the doorbell. But I don't know if they could break a skateboard.
post #11 of 11
i'm from germany and just shipped gifts to my mom. got it ready early for once and was going to ship it by ship (cheaper) when the lady at the post office told me everything goes by plane now. cost me $46 for a 7.2 pound package
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