Beware insane customs brokerage fees for shipments entering Canada

I ordered an item online, from a shop in California, with a value of approx. $250. Shipping was something like $20 via FedEx. Okay, I ordered it. I got the item, was very satisfied. A few weeks later I get a customs charge of $90, 35% of the item price!

Update 2012-06-09: Ever since this happened to me I’ve been buying from Canadian websites. Even if they’re US companies, and they ship from US locations, their Canadian sites almost certainly will not charge the customs brokerage fees. For example, I’ll buy from Amazon.ca, Newegg.ca, TigerDirect.ca, all US companies but Canadian sites. The prices are higher but you avoid the cross border fees. And, remember, the tariffs and all that are there to protect Canadian business so consider that you’re doing something good for your fellow Canadian when you buy within Canada!

Update 2013-03-29: Another thing I’ve been doing is, if I must order in the US, I specifically order through USPS instead of Fedex, UPS, etc. I don’t know the specifics but, if you’re patient, it seems like I’ve avoided customs/brokerage by doing this.

I ordered an item online, from a shop in California, with a value of approx. $250. Shipping was something like $20 via FedEx. Okay, I ordered it. I got the item, was very satisfied. A few weeks later I get a customs charge of $90, 35% of the item price!

A friend mentioned a while ago that he shipped in a $50 item and was told to pay $50 in customs charges. He told them he wouldn’t and they lowered it to something reasonable.

A quick google reveals lots of other people with the same problem. This is idiotic.

The problem is the rates mentioned when buying an item are calculated for your location They know it’s crossing borders and going to Canada. Give me the real rate! Since you didn’t that means I didn’t agree to paying any other charges.

Wow! This totally strikes me as an extortionate and fradulent practice.

From now on, I’ll be shipping via US or Canada Postal Service. I’ve heard better things about their customs fees.

If you’re thinking of shipping something into Canada, think again, you may get dinged.

I wrote a nasty letter back to FedEx and I copied it to my MP and MPP.

I hope this situation gets better.

Fixing your car key fobs with a knife, scissors, elastic, paper and super glue!

Update 2014-12-03: I have a new, better, simpler fix for this. Earlier this year the original solution I had stopped working. The problem is the electrical contacts (little circular pads for each button on the inside of the fob) were slowly disintegrating. You can tell because the black part is starting to wear through. While googling for fob fixes I discovered some companies were selling plastic inserts with circular metal electrical plates that bridge the original pads. They work because they distribute the electrical charge more evenly and more widely across each electrical pad thus resulting in a better connection. I took a hint from this and simply super-glued little circular pieces of common, household aluminum foil to the electrical contacts. It worked! It worked like it was brand new! I was so impressed it worked that well. That was a few months ago and it’s still going strong so I hope this helps someone!

Fixing your car key fobs with a knife, scissors, elastic, paper and super glue!

So, my car key fob buttons have been deteriorating progressively ever since I got my car four years ago. So, I used a knife to pry open the fob by the seam along the edges. I used super glue around the metal edges of the battery holder, “clamping” metal connections down using an elastic, and, when that was all dry, cut some paper to the size of the fob, put it behind the battery to add additional pressure on the connections, and closed the fob back up. Voila! Fob repaired!