Shopping Discussion

DHL Brokerage: accurate information

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  • Oct 2nd, 2016 4:54 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 3, 2005
2276 posts
45 upvotes

DHL Brokerage: accurate information

There is very detailed information for brokerage charges that will be charged by UPS, FedEx, and USPS/Canada Post. If you know the value of your parcel, you can calculate your total delivered fee down to the penny. There is even a calculator that will do it for you here:

http://www.thefinalcost.com/

However, I have never found accurate brokerage fee information for DHL! There is lots of anecdotal information to be found but no hard and fast numbers. There are fee tables for both UPS and FedEx, while Canada Post is a flat $5 (regular) or $8 (EMS). Some people say DHL is as bad as UPS/FedEx while others say it is the best option aside from USPS/CP.

DHL's own website says that they only charge 2.5% of the shipment's value or $7, whichever is greater (LINK), but the wording refers to a "disbursment charge" only and says nothing about possible other fees (i.e., brokerage) that they may charge (currency conversion, brokerage, residential delivery, etc etc).

I have even phoned DHL and could not get a clear answer out of anyone. I have been told that they do not have a brokerage fee, which I know is not accurate.

So...does anyone have accurate information on EXACTLY what DHL charges for shipments clearing customs into Canada?!
179 replies
Deal Addict
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Feb 20, 2006
1231 posts
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Niagara On The Lake …
If the parcel is coming into Canada from International - all the company or person has to do is write gift and 0 value on the green slip and you will get charged no duties. MAKE sure you tell the person or company to do that before shipping. I've gotten merchandise from Kuwait - from DHL - no duties.
Jr. Member
Sep 10, 2003
126 posts
2 upvotes
Not EXACTLY but I find they are next best compared to CanPost.

Just received my shipment from Kentucky. Value was $850 US for a sink and faucet. Dinged for GST/PST(13%), duty($34) and "brokerage". The cost was $7.50, so less than what you were told.

Other items with DHL have never paid "brokerage" but may have been already built into the shipping cost.

My shipping for the faucet and sink was ridiculous cheap @ $13.84. My other was for $24 coming from a California for and was much lower weight.

Again YMMV
Jr. Member
Sep 10, 2003
126 posts
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annebos35 wrote:
Jan 31st, 2008 4:58 am
If the parcel is coming into Canada from International - all the company or person has to do is write gift and 0 value on the green slip and you will get charged no duties. MAKE sure you tell the person or company to do that before shipping. I've gotten merchandise from Kuwait - from DHL - no duties.
Yeah, old trick and most legit companies will not do so as it is a punishable offense. And businesses rarely send out "gift" items, especially ones that carry out hundreds of transactions daily.
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Feb 20, 2006
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Niagara On The Lake …
Not EXACTLY but I find they are next best compared to CanPost.

Just received my shipment from Kentucky. Value was $850 US for a sink and faucet. Dinged for GST/PST(13%), duty($34) and "brokerage". The cost was $7.50, so less than what you were told.

Other items with DHL have never paid "brokerage" but may have been already built into the shipping cost.

My shipping for the faucet and sink was ridiculous cheap @ $13.84. My other was for $24 coming from a California for and was much lower weight.
The irony, my old man went in for that SCAM book - Natural Cures by Trudeu - do not purchase it - its all about his hassles with the FDA - $18USD and when it came the duties on it were $11 - go figure??? That's why I noted the gift approach - but he's right - if it's a really huge item like a $1000stereo??? But I think some International stores you don't have to pay duties.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 3, 2005
2276 posts
45 upvotes
Thanks for the replies so far - it will be worth our while to try diligently to find out what the real deal with DHL is since it isn't anywhere on this forum or elsewhere on the web that I can find.

When ordering through companies that have an automated checkout process, declaring $0 on the customs declaration is not an option and is illegal besides.

It would sure be nice if DHL's policy really is to only charge the greater of 2.5% or $7, but I have a feeling this isn't the case. Brokerage fees may also vary depending on the service level - but I'm not even sure if DHL has different services levels for US->Canada shipments - I think they ship only ground or only air - I forget which.

I just placed an order through shoebuy.com who ships by DHL to Canada for a pair of shoes for the girlfriend. I'll see what happens on that particular order...
Sr. Member
Apr 8, 2007
674 posts
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Dhl Is Terrible, Never Buy If They Are The Only Delivery Option! I Have Been Ripped Off Many, Many Times By Them!
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 3, 2005
2276 posts
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td0t0 wrote:
Jan 31st, 2008 6:07 pm
Dhl Is Terrible, Never Buy If They Are The Only Delivery Option! I Have Been Ripped Off Many, Many Times By Them!
No offense, but this is exactly the information we DON'T need in this thread. We need detailed and accurate information, not anecdotes.
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Jun 30, 2007
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Toronto
jackboot wrote:
Jan 31st, 2008 3:49 am
There is very detailed information for brokerage charges that will be charged by UPS, FedEx, and USPS/Canada Post. If you know the value of your parcel, you can calculate your total delivered fee down to the penny. There is even a calculator that will do it for you here:

http://www.thefinalcost.com/


It's a nice tool but it's far from exact. A lot of factors are missing like air services, duty free items, etc. Some of the listed services do not charge all the itemized details either or I guess it's possible they lump them together but then the prices I currently pay are far below those numbers. My two examples will result in an overpriced item with the existing version of the tool. It's a good rule of thumb but it's not perfect.
[OP]
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Jan 3, 2005
2276 posts
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:bump:

I emailed DHL asking specific questions but no answer yet...
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 3, 2005
2276 posts
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I got a reply from DHL today:
Thank you for contacting DHL. To try to answer your question as direct as possible I have provided the following information:

The disbursement fee will be 2.5% of the value of the funds provided, or a minimum charge of $7.00. A charge will also be applied for additional line classification and entry. A $4.00 charge will be applied to the 6th and any subsequent lines. The disbursement fee covers part of our administrative and financing costs relating to the amounts we pay to customs on your behalf.
So I probed even further and asked:
Aside from the disbursement fee, are there any other charges from DHL for customs clearance? Specifically, do you charge a brokerage fee?
...and the reply was:
The only other charges that are billed to you when importing goods are the duties and taxes that are charged by Canada Customs. DHL will prepay these to Canada Customs and then in turn charges you only the amount that we were initially charged for.

I hope that sums it all up.
So according to this rep, DHL only charges 2.5% of the money paid to customs (GST, PST, and possibly duty depending on the item). This is very reasonable and comparable to Canada Post's customs clearance fee.

However, I've read anecdotal horror stories about huge brokerage fees being paid to DHL (see post #7 in this thread for example) - how could this be the case if DHL in fact charges only 2.5%?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 3, 2005
2276 posts
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For anyone who is interested...

I can confirm that a shipment just received from DHL was charged as per the details the rep gave me in the above post.

The value of my shipment was $70 USD and was delivered to Alberta (pair of shoes for my gf, made in China).

I was charged:
$7.00 - disbursement fee
$3.50 - GST
$7.50 - duty

Note that the duty charge is not DHL's fee, but rather a legitimate customs fee since the shoes were made in China and therefore not subject to NAFTA. So from my experience, on a shipment coming from the USA, DHL is actually better than Canada Post / USPS since their "brokerage" (disbursement) fee is about the same on low value shipments but their service is much faster (only 1 day in my case) and is delivered to the door rather than a pickup notice.

For shipments valued over ~$300, USPS / Canada Post is better because of the flat rate brokerage fee. For example, on a $500 shipment, Canada Post/USPS will charge a flat $5 or $8 fee (air or EMS) while DHL will charge 2.5% of the shipment's value ($500 x 2.5% = $12.50).

With that said, I don't know if I've ever been assessed duty before on a shipment coming from the USA, even though most products purchased from the USA are not *made* in North America and should actually be assessed a duty fee. In other words, I wonder if shipments via DHL are more likely to be assessed duty due to the way DHL brokerage service declares shipments - perhaps DHL is more diligent in declaring where the products were manufactured and therefore Canada Customs is able to apply duty where it should legitimately be applied.

Bottom line - I see no reason to avoid shipments that arrive via DHL except maybe when the shipment value is very high - for example, a $1000 product will be assessed a $25 disbursement fee by DHL vs. a max $8 fee by USPS / Canada Post. Certainly, DHL is not even close to the price gouging practices of FedEx and UPS as has been claimed elsewhere.

If you recieve a shipment via DHL and are charged fees other than what is described here, please post and detail what other fees you were charged! Until someone offers a correction to this information, it looks like DHL is thumbs up for getting cheap American prices.
Newbie
Jun 19, 2003
58 posts
GTA Richmond Hill
Well, I have an order coming from DHL. It arrived yesturday and the delivery person informed me there was an extra $317.00cad i had to pay. I refused to pay and told him to come again tomorrow. I wanted to phone dhl to ask them about this fee before i paid it.

The person I spoke with on the phone told me that my package was charged this fee at customs. The fee was made up of taxes and duty. I was merely paying DHL for the amount that they paid for me at canada customs.

Somehow i don't believe them. The total value of my package is $940.00cad. How do they charge 317.00 for taxes and duty? The package is being shipped from bluefly.com. They are located in Cincinnati, OH and i'm located in Toronto, ON. DHL is charging me for more than just taxes and duty.

I'm currently waiting for the delivery person to come again. I'm probably going to pay it. I want to see the DHL invoice fro this $317.00 charge.
Deal Expert
Oct 20, 2001
18709 posts
1160 upvotes
patlo wrote:
Jun 5th, 2008 2:36 pm
The person I spoke with on the phone told me that my package was charged this fee at customs. The fee was made up of taxes and duty. I was merely paying DHL for the amount that they paid for me at canada customs.

Somehow i don't believe them. The total value of my package is $940.00cad. How do they charge 317.00 for taxes and duty? The package is being shipped from bluefly.com. They are located in Cincinnati, OH and i'm located in Toronto, ON. DHL is charging me for more than just taxes and duty.
Duty can be as high as 18% for clothing. If that's what you got charged, then that makes sense for your $940 package.
These folks have taken over RFD, so I'm done here.

Mutu qabla an tamutu
Newbie
May 25, 2008
6 posts
Thornhill
patlo wrote:
Jun 5th, 2008 2:36 pm
The total value of my package is $940.00cad. How do they charge 317.00 for taxes and duty?
Brokerage is the greater of 2.5% or $7.00. In your case, 2.5% of $940 is $23.50. GST/PST on $940 is $122.20. So that leaves $171.30 for duties.

$171.30 is about 18.25% of $940, which is actually not too far off for duties on clothing. I know I usually pay 18% - 20%, depending on the country of manufacture.

If you can get someone from bluefly.com to prepare a statement of origin confirming that the clothing is manufactured in a country which is subject to lower (or even 0%) duties, you might be able to get the file reassessed.

But otherwise... as much as it sounds like a huge amount, it seems pretty accurate.
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