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Brokerage Fee

Fee charged by customs brokers are the common surprise and most loathed cost.  It appears that Canadian Customs randomly sample shipments for to GST/PST/HST. When your shipment is chosen, brokerage fee applies.  For consumption tax exemptions, please see our article.

Items shipped via US Postal Service (USPS) are handled by Canada Post.  Canada Post automatically applies a $5 processing fee ($8 for Priority Post) for each package to clear Canada Customs. This applies even for a tax less than $5. The fee is collected at Canada Post outlet before you can walk away with your shipment.

Couriers, such as Fedex and UPS, charges a much higher fee. Couriers will send you a bill a few weeks later. If you do not pay on time, couriers will go with collection services, which impacts your credit rating.

The following are the UPS brokerage rates.  You may want to check the UPS page for latest changes.

Value for Duty

UPS Standard Service and All Other Couriers/Transportation Companies2

UPS Worldwide Express Plus, UPS Worldwide Express, UPS Worldwide Express Saver, and UPS Worldwide Expedited Services

$0.00 to $20.00

$ –


$ 20.01 to $40.00



$40.01 to $100.00



$100.01 to $200.00



$200.01 to $350.00



$350.01 to $500.00



$500.01 to $750.00



$750.01 to $1,000.00



$1,000.01 to $1,250.00



$1,250.01 to $1,600.00



$1,600.01 to $5,000.00



Each additional $1,000




33 responses so far. Leave a comment

33 Responses to “Brokerage Fee”

  1. Colleen TrenolmNo Gravataron 24 Nov 2009 at 10:38 am

    I’m looking at bringing in some appiances. Any suggestion as to whom I should use for shipping/brokerage in Ogdensburg?


  2. RanaNo Gravataron 20 Jan 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I ordered two USB speakerphone for Skype from US, for $260. When they arrive, there’s $68+ charge from UPS, among which $13 is GST and $55 is UPS brokerage fee! These guys are make money for nothing. Shameless companies.


  3. jim loucksNo Gravataron 23 Jan 2010 at 12:53 am

    Always ask the U.S. Company to ship U. S. Mail insured , Fedex and UPS have identical rates. For example as of 21 January 2010 a 1 pound package size 5 inch x 5 inch x 4 inch shipped to Mississauga Ontario from Mesquite , Texas costs $49 Can for ground slow shipping. For expedited delivery $58 CAD. These fees include the brokerage fee + shipping fee. The item is an electrical switch worth $100. So the delivery cost is 50% or 60% of the value. These prices were currant today 20 January 2010. Fedex calls the Brokerage fee the Clearance Entry Fee.Industry Canada isnt interested in this scam , you would wonder why, but they have other more important mandates ?


  4. peabodyNo Gravataron 27 Jan 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Since when is a brokerage charge a scam?? UPS, FEDEX, etc. hire their own customs brokers, which ensures you receive your package as soon as possible. That’s the only reason to use a courier, unless your item is valued beyond the insurance limit of USPS. If you ship USPS, and your item is very low in value, it’ll probably go right through Canada Customs. But if your item is marked has having a $100 value, then Canada Customs will likely charge you a $5 ‘handling fee’ plus tax(es) and duty (which will vary, depending on the item and it’s country of manufacture).

    So, you’ll save money with USPS, but if you want something delivered quickly, use a courier — but be prepared to pay extra for the convenience. Ask your courier how to clear the item through Customs yourself and save the brokerage charge.


    NickNo Gravatar Reply:

    Actually small correction, UPS and Fed Ex act as their own brokers so they technically make money for nothing.


    JohnNo Gravatar Reply:

    Money for nothing? BS. They have to hire someone to handle your entry, they have to put up the bond, they have to hire people to listen to the complaining of people who call and whine about fees. You don’t complain to your lawyer about paying them, your cable company for paying them. Its simple – if you don’t want to pay to have your item clear through customs, Educate yourself, and do it yourself, or don’t use that carrier.

    Saying they make money for nothing is such a load of crap.


    JoeNo Gravatar Reply:

    I have educated myself and would love to clear customs. Too bad you can only pickup the paperwork to clear customs yourself if you’re anywhere near the port of entry, which in my case is about a 10 hour drive. So, as far as I’m concerned, whether or not they’re making money for nothing, they’re not really leaving me a viable alternative…which pisses me off.

    VinceNo Gravatar Reply:

    In truth it has been my experience that most of the courier services refer to CUSTOMS when there is a problem, when in fact they mean their own customs broker/agent. Several times I have asked the so called CUSTOMS agent for their badge number and they had no idea what it was. I even called CUSTOMS Canada and complained about this and they followed through with FEDEX and advised the agent not to say they were Canada CUSTOMS because it is the same as saying you are a police officer when you are not. If you ask me pirates are not dead, they all became customs brokers and this added fee is one huge rip off and should be stopped. All businesses operating in Canada are obliged to collect taxes and submit them to the government and duty is a tax. Like it or not, that’s my viewpoint and the viewpoint of hundreds of small business people across Canada.

    RonNo Gravatar Reply:

    Too bad John you are an idiot and have no clue what you are talking about, you probably work for UPS with your lil rant there. I deal a lot with this and yes they make money off it so untill you get your grade 8 education STFU!

    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    Actually, John has given the proper advice here, listing out why UPS charges, and there are posts on alternate ways. Your comments do little to help the community. Having brokerage staff costs money.

    writing mavenNo Gravatar Reply:

    Shipped UPS, item value of $35.00, item was “selected” by Customs and I was assessed an additional $!2.75 in fee. So it does not seem that a value of less than $100.00 avoids Customs complications.


    samNo Gravatar Reply:

    you work for them ,,, what are you stupid it is a scam ,,how is it fair when u already pay for shipping and then your package comes to your door and u gota give them another $80 when the thing is only worth $250. paying taxes is one thing. and your package is not insured ,,unless u pay more for that


    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    No I do not work for CBSA, nor do I work for a carrier.

    Shipping has nothing to do with brokerage. You have the choice to use who you want, or you can clear it yourself.

    It’s like saying “I don’t like the price of groceries at this store” and not going to another store.

    While I don’t like the way that some carriers calculate out their fees, each carrier carefully lists their fees, and as a community we have shown many times how to avoid brokerage fees on goods coming into Canada.

    You failed to mention any breakdown of charges in your ‘u gota (sic) give them another $80’ in your ramble. If you list the charges as they presented them, I could explain them to you.


    PeabodyNo Gravatar Reply:

    Well, Sammy-boy, Welcome to the Real World! To follow your model, you think that you can simply pay for whatever product you want from some other country, and pay to have it delivered to you at home and that should be the system. And I guess nobody ever checks to see if you’re bringing in contraband, etc.?

    You blame Customs Charges assessed by the courier’s OWN PRIVATE BROKAGE as well as their cost-recovery for the BROKERS to get the item you so desperately want into your hot little hands ‘faster’ than using the mail, because you are the one that agreed or selected that courier service in the first place without bothering to educate yourself, I guess because your last blow-up girlfriend farted on a candle and burned a whole in the mattress and you wanted another in your hot little hands.

    If you had bothered reading John’s informative reply to Nick’s hopelessly uninformed tantrum, you would have learned something. Joe even replied in a positive manner about clearing customs yourself and saving the charge. But no, Sammy The Seagull has to fly on in and crap on everything…


    RonNo Gravatar Reply:

    And he has every right to rant, perhaps both of you work for UPS, I move a lot of product and what you guys say makes me laugh, when a company acts as the broker there are no regulations in place to keep them on a leash and costs go higher and because we live in Canada we get ripped off on everything. We will see how this ongoing lawsuit against UPS’S extravagant rates goes and I am sure they will pay out the @ss once it all hits the fan. When you crunch the numbers, when i pay 55 bucks in the end for a 20 dollar component somthing is not right, if you want to defend these loser companies and think rates need to be this high then you are not a businessman nor should ever own one, all the companies that I use for UPS are now dropped, support a company that rips off hard working people ur done like fried rice.

    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    While I agree for brokerers charging fees to do work, UPS for far too long made it near impossible to do self clearance. CBSA stepped in and made things easier with multiiport clearance. If someone choses to use UPS to clear their packages, then they agree to the rates that they charge.

    There are regulations for brokers, but not for the fees. Thats why you always have the option to shop around, or clear it yourself (much the same way you have 100 different pizza shops, or lawyers around – there is nothing forcing you to use UPS to clear your goods). The issue was that UPS didn’t make it easy for consignees to clear their own goods.

    DHL charges a flat $7 for clearance, (and no I don’t work for UPS, nor do I work for DHL). As carriers go, the cheapest is Canada Post, then DHL, then fedex, then UPS.

    I will defend that companies are in the business, to be in business and have to answer to their shareholders. If they weren’t a business they wouldn’t be trying to make money. Where I do have an issue is where they made it difficult to pass the paperwork over for self clearance. That has been why I have always told people how to clear goods on their own.

    Rates will be as high as people are willing to pay. Its simple if you don’t like UPS rates, use a broker, clear it yourself, or use another carrier. If you’re going to pay UPS to clear your goods, then don’t complain about it. There are options.

  5. TychicumNo Gravataron 02 Feb 2010 at 7:48 pm

    If it is what you want is shipped air clear customs yourself. It is amazingly easy and the courier office where you pickup your goods will actually give you a little road map on how to do it. If you do use UPS get your shipper to send it “Express”. It costs a couple dollars more but saves the broker fee at this end.


  6. writing mavenNo Gravataron 18 Aug 2010 at 10:47 am

    Well, it would be one thing if UPS let you know of such fees up front, but in my case they did not. After paying $16.55 to ship a gift to my sister in Montreal, UPS would not deliver the package without the payment of the “entry preparation fee/brokerage fee” and a bond fee totalling another $12.75. UPS said I could either pay the additional fee or they would return the package to me and charge me for the return shipping. Not very customer friendly business practices, in my opinion. I will not ship items to Canada via UPS ever again.


  7. SergeNo Gravataron 14 Sep 2010 at 2:26 pm

    UPS forced me to pay brokerage fees as well. I was going to clear my item at local CBSA office in Brampton, but they told me that I had to drive into Windsor. Recently I got official reply from CBSA that importers can clear items at ANY Canada Customs office http://trueler.com/2010/09/13/ups-brokerage-fees-total-scam-fraud-cheating-avoid-it/


    peabodyNo Gravatar Reply:

    I would only recommend UPS to my worst enemies.. they are unreliable, expensive, and have meaningless tracking numbers.. frequently, their international service is slower than regular mail. The USPS is far superior. If you’re in a rush, use FEDEX and be done with it. At least you’ll have a professional service with some accountability towards their clients. There’s a reason UPS uses brown as their official color, you know.


  8. DaleNo Gravataron 16 Jul 2011 at 9:45 am

    I just purchased sun clothing from a US company. The value of the clothing was $264. When delivered by US (because of the Cdn. Mail Strike) the bill came to $141.35. $45.61 for duty, $44.85 for HST and $56.74 for BROKERAGE fees. I guess what they are really doing to us is shutting us down altogether from shopping in the US. Unfortunately for ‘particular’ things like sun protective clothing there is very little choice in Canada. I was not happy with the charges…..


    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    Do you mean when delivered by UPS?

    You do have the option of clearing the goods yourself. There are instructions on this site to tell you how to do it.

    The amount for brokerage seems to be high, Can you post the breakdown, and I can explain it to you?


    DaleNo Gravatar Reply:

    Yes, it was UPS. I live 5 hours away from Ogdensberg so clearing Customs myself is not an option. The breakdown of the UPS delivery charge is as above.


    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    you have the ability to clear at any customs port. mind you, there may not be one near you.

    UPS didn’t break down the brokerage at all though? The fee should have been alot lower then that. Give them a call, and ask them to explain how they come up with that brokerage amount.

    If this is something you will be doing often, there are other alternatives, there are a couple of companies that operate warehouses in the US, and you can ship to them, and they will clear your package and reship.

    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    Please call UPS – and ask them to clarify the brokerage fee, as its out of line of their schedule.

    RonNo Gravatar Reply:

    Screw the UPS and the companies in the US that use them I will only shop in China from now on, tired of being ripped off by loser companies, no wonder the US is in a sad state of affairs, when I do order from China it is free shipping, labelled as a gift I pay $0 brokerage fees, geez only makes sense to go where you need to go and cut out the middleman. Suck it up UPS you lost any and all future business from me and cost others it as well, idiots. Too bad these companies that middleman it from China are gonna suffer and drive you further into recession, have fun with that.


  9. JayNo Gravataron 18 Jul 2011 at 10:50 pm

    You’re all getting screwed on “closed market fees”, and some of you think its justified, just because they provide you with a receipt of charges!

    When living in the UK, we regularly ordered goods from overseas (US and Hong Kong in particular).

    Never had to pay “Import fees” / “brokerage fees” / local GST / HST – or any other fee, no matter what name it’s dressed up in.

    That’s how a free market economy should operate!


    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    Well, actually the UK does have import taxes, and duties, and VAT. You’re personal exemptions are just higher.


    JonNo Gravatar Reply:

    No argument there, Jay.


  10. RickNo Gravataron 28 Dec 2011 at 10:27 am

    Hey all – I’m glad to see this is an unemotional topic that no one cares much about!! I work for a company in Tennessee, and we do almost no shipping to Canada – we don’t market there, so there’s not much demand. I’d like to see us do that, and learn more about doing business in a customer-friendly way with Canadians. After a lot of reading, so far what I’ve figured out is that Canadians hate UPS because of brokerage fees. What I haven’t figured out, despite a lot of anecdotal evidence, is what these fees actually are, and what Canada Post’s fees actually are. I work for a jewelry & gemstone retailer (www.jtv.com), so I really need to know, for example, what would a Canadian customer pay, in all the various expenses, for a $100 gemstone ring sent to, say, Toronto? We’re new at this, so if anyone else has tangible and specific advice, I am all ears. I’m very numbers-oriented, so I’m very interested in data, data, data….Thanks everyone.


  11. RickNo Gravataron 28 Dec 2011 at 10:31 am

    I forgot to mention: On our website, http://www.jtv.com, we DO ship to Canada, but get almost no Canadian customers. I **think** I figured out why. Though we list Canadian provinces in our address options, we DO NOT specify anywhere what shipping method we actually use. My guess is that we don’t get Canadian orders because Canadians fear we’re going to ship UPS. We actually do ship USPS to Canada, from what I was told. If anyone wanted to check out our site, and evaluate it for “Canadian Friendliness”, I’d be ever grateful (there might be a discount code thrown your way!!).


  12. WillNo Gravataron 18 Feb 2012 at 11:10 pm


    I purchased something for $400 from an individual in the states. it’s a collectable poster. he put the value at $500 on the customs form and shipped it USPS to me in Canada. what kind of duty/tax would I expect to pay when it gets here?


    John RNo Gravatar Reply:

    HST based on $500


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