Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/12/23

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Shipping to Greece question
From: "Henning J. Wulff" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 10:12:57 -0800

Robert Stevens wrote:

>Send it via the US POST office and AIRMAIL.  Sending via courier gaurantees
>a customs charge and a brokerage fee.  The post offices usually clear
>customs internally and if they do collect duty, it will be better than
>paying a brokerage fee as well.
>Last week I got a $60 item from Pardees Camera in the USA, they shipped it
>UPS, which cost $25.  When it arrived (in Halifax, Canada) I had to pay ups
>a $25 brokerage fee.  If they had mailed it, like I would have told them to
>if they asked, I probably would have paid nothing for duty or brokerage.
>On high ticket items, I have seen the post office charge a $5 processing fee.

To Canada, UPS is the worst. I will not use them for any cross border
shipments. They will charge you brokerage fees at the border, and delay
your shipment as well. It often turns out to be slower to ship via UPS than
mail. FedEx will handle the border issues, and charge you only the Canadian
import duties/taxes, which you can pay via Visa over the phone to them
after you receive your goods. Also, they will not delay your shipment for
any of this. The best service! Others, such as Airborne Express and DHL are
also quite good, but may require you to authorize a Visa or MasterCard
payment for the duty and GST before sending the goods on to you, but they
don't charge brokerage fees.

Canada Post charges a handling fee of $5.00 on all shipments valued over
$25.00CDN, but will sometimes forget. Occasionally, if receiving goods via
mail, Canada Post will neglect to collect any duty or GST for goods valued
as much as a couple of hundred dollars. It's a crap shoot.

All the above is based on receiving 'personal' goods. If you are receiving
'commercial' goods, just about everybody charges brokerage fees, and Canada
Customs will also hand you a lot of extra forms to fill out, with no help.
So make sure everything you import is addressed to you personally, and not
to your company. You can still pay the duty, GST and original costs with a
business Visa card or company check.

Please note again that this applies to _CANADIANS_ importing stuff. This
kind of thing always varies from country to country, and over time. Also,
the above does not deal with insurance, especially for unique items. Most
couriers tend to be quite poor in this regard.

   *            Henning J. Wulff
  /|\      Wulff Photography & Design
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