While working on my GT750 project bike, I’ve had to source a few bits and pieces from overseas as parts to fit older vehicles like this just can’t easily be found here in Canada, if at all. Generally this has worked well, but I (and apparently many others) have had a couple of ‘interesting’ trans border shipping experiences along the way.
If you check Epinions or Google “UPS Canada rip offs” you will find a long list of rants from many people about a little known, or at least not obvious scam that UPS Canada operates on shipments from the USA, and which US based shippers using UPS in the US either are not generally aware of, or just don’t care about. I recently was taken to the cleaners by UPS Canada, and evidently this fleecing is completely legal – the scam works like this: if you order a US item for delivery, and prepay the shipping charges to UPS in the USA, when it crosses the border UPS here in Canada then tacks on their own additional brokerage, preparation, disbursement charges, plus a COD charge to collect these new fees, plus tax on these additional fees etc., etc., etc.. Note that I have no objection to having to pay either import duty when required, or the GST (a Canadian version of VAT) charge the feds in Canada usually tack on, as right, wrong or otherwise that’s just what you have to put up with if you want to live here. In my specific case, a duty free part valued at $25 for which I paid $23 in packaging, handling and UPS USA shipping, then had $19.23 in additional charges tacked on by UPS Canada, making my $25 duty free part a $67 item. This is of course, the equivalent of being mugged in broad daylight, but I do have to admire their gall as well as their utter smugness in being allowed to get away with it. When I spoke to the UPS Canada customer service folks, I could practically hear them smiling contentedly as they assured me it was all totally legal and that there was absolutely nothing they could do about it. Heck – if I had access to this sort of cash cow, I wouldn’t want to do anything about it either !!
Bottom line – the experience has made me wonder whether I should consider getting into the small package courier business myself, as I’m thinking that being a legal modern day highwayman could be fun, not to mention lucrative ! I wonder if you get to wear a cutlass and an eye patch ? While I mull over a career change, I’ll try to specify the use of US and Canadian postal services for anything that I buy from the USA in the future, as they appear to be more interested in getting the mail through than in hitting you over the head and cleaning out your wallet !