Shopping Discussion

How to Save $14.95 on DHL fees by self-clearing packages

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 9th, 2017 10:11 am
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 14, 2013
27 posts
33 upvotes
saskatoon

How to Save $14.95 on DHL fees by self-clearing packages

This is a little-known method to get around carrier "brokerage" and "transaction" fees, which I prefer to call "package ransom."
Almost everyone has had this happen and probably felt pushed into a corner with no option. I posted this in hot deals because this is an empowering way to save at least $14.95, although it does require some work.

Let me tell you my story, I ordered a $30 USD item from China. My local taxes are 10%, so that is $4 CAD. To collect that $4, DHL demands a "brokerage fee" and a "transaction fee" before they will give me the package. That is on top of the shipping fee that the seller has already paid DHL. DHL really demands $14.95 to collect $4 in tax, so $4 is now $18.95! Below I will describe how to pay only the $4 to the government, and $0 to DHL (or other carrier).

The delivery ppl I ask about the fees have always responded with innocence to any questions, as if they do not understand. This is probably the worst part of their job, no need to confront the delivery person.

Pros:
-Save at least $14.95 on DHL fees

Cons:
-You have to take paperwork and ID to the customs office and wait in line. Nobody is ever in line at my local office when I go there, YMMV.
-DHL loses the money that they paid for the duty and taxes to clear your package, the customs office does not refund them. In my case, $4.

So how can you save at least $14.95 on DHL fees on every item you purchase?

I found a nice write up here: https://borderbee.com/2014/01/13/how-to ... h-customs/
but I will tell you how I do it with DHL specifically.

1. When the carrier comes to your door and demands the fees before giving you the package, you tell them that you are refusing delivery and will self-clear the package.
Alternatively, you can skip step #2 by calling or emailing DHL and ask them for the form for self-clearance. DHL will need the waybill # or tracking #. This can also be done here http://international.dhl.ca/en/contact_ ... duals.html

2. * if the delivery person does not give you a print out for the package, ask him for the paperwork*

3. Take that page to your customs office within 48 hrs to avoid storage fees. Also bring proof of your payment to the seller in case customs asks to see it. The customs office for your city is probably near the airport.

4. The customs officer will give you a form to fill out which describes the package or you can ask him to guide you through if you are unfamiliar with the process

5. Pay the tax and duty, get the receipt to show DHL

6. Take the receipt to DHL office or email a picture to DHL, and reschedule delivery

7. Enjoy your long term immunity to package ransoms! I hope this helps at least one person that feels extorted by a carrier. This process should work for UPS or any carrier other than Canada Post.
Last edited by realBIGmike1 on Jan 26th, 2017 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
46 replies
Member
Oct 29, 2006
370 posts
18 upvotes
Ottawa
Any idea where the Ottawa office would be. I'm finding it difficult to find what i'm looking for. a quick google search for "Ottawa customs office" doesn't turn up much. What i do find coming up often in my search is:

Ottawa Cargo Services
Government Office
Address: 140 Thad Johnson Private, Ottawa, ON K1V 0R4
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 4, 2007
2797 posts
1168 upvotes
Canada
Good information, if not exactly new.
Definitely applies to any courier charging brokerage fees...
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 9, 2003
1325 posts
295 upvotes
Yes, I'm sure someone will complain it's not a hot deal but definitely good info. The whole practice is a ripoff. I think UPS used to charge $25.
Newbie
May 15, 2008
32 posts
Mississauga
devastata wrote:
Jan 26th, 2017 2:11 pm
Any idea where the Ottawa office would be. I'm finding it difficult to find what i'm looking for. a quick google search for "Ottawa customs office" doesn't turn up much. What i do find coming up often in my search is:

Ottawa Cargo Services
Government Office
Address: 140 Thad Johnson Private, Ottawa, ON K1V 0R4
I think that is the Customs Office for air freight.
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/office ... 8-eng.html
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 6, 2005
9262 posts
1631 upvotes
I have never paid duty or taxes on anything ordered from China. And make sure that I ship avoiding UPS or DHL. Years ago I was dinged by DHL, but it was a package that originated in the US, and the same thing, there was a small duty on the item, that ended up costing me about $30 in fees.
The first rule of RFD is, you do not talk about RFD.

The second rule of RFD is, you DO NOT talk about RFD.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 14, 2013
27 posts
33 upvotes
saskatoon
devastata wrote:
Jan 26th, 2017 2:11 pm
Any idea where the Ottawa office would be. I'm finding it difficult to find what i'm looking for. a quick google search for "Ottawa customs office" doesn't turn up much. What i do find coming up often in my search is:

Ottawa Cargo Services
Government Office
Address: 140 Thad Johnson Private, Ottawa, ON K1V 0R4
Looks like you got it right, the customs office should usually be right by the airport.
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/office ... 7-eng.html
Member
May 28, 2012
277 posts
315 upvotes
Montreal
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/servic ... v-eng.html
devastata wrote:
Jan 26th, 2017 2:11 pm
Any idea where the Ottawa office would be. I'm finding it difficult to find what i'm looking for. a quick google search for "Ottawa customs office" doesn't turn up much. What i do find coming up often in my search is:

Ottawa Cargo Services
Government Office
Address: 140 Thad Johnson Private, Ottawa, ON K1V 0R4
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 14, 2013
27 posts
33 upvotes
saskatoon
jackass_ca wrote:
Jan 26th, 2017 2:23 pm
... I ship avoiding UPS or DHL. Years ago I was dinged by DHL... $30 in fees.
The point of my post is so you can use DHL without fees. From china, most times it only takes 3 days shipping!
The packages I had ordered from China in November are still not here, thanks to Canada Post's snail pace. That's 8 weeks and counting, I have had to extend the purchase protection on every item I ordered before xmas because nothing has arrived. It seems Canada Post has also removed tracking info so nobody knows where my packages are sitting. Canada Post also adds some fees for collecting taxes and duties, with self-clearance on DHL there are no fees.

On larger or heavier items, you have no choice but to use DHL or Fedex.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
18060 posts
4670 upvotes
Most times I'd rather just pay the $14....

I only self clear when there's a bunch of line items or it's a high value package.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 3, 2007
7621 posts
973 upvotes
Toronto
It is best to just avoid UPS or DHL entirely to avoid the brokerage charges.

Yes you can 'self clear' your package, but what about those of us who actually have jobs and work during the day? I'm not taking a day off to drive to the airport customs office so I can self clear a package.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 14, 2013
27 posts
33 upvotes
saskatoon
appleb wrote:
Jan 26th, 2017 3:27 pm
It is best to just avoid UPS or DHL entirely to avoid the brokerage charges.

Yes you can 'self clear' your package, but what about those of us who actually have jobs and work during the day?
As I said above, I am waiting for my purchases from China that were shipped with China Post ( delivered by Canada Post) and it has been more than 2 months. There is no longer tracking info once the items leave China. This is not acceptable just because you have a day job, this is when DHL can shine because they usually only take 3 days instead of 60 days like Canada Post. Everyone with a job doesn't have to accept Canada Post shipping only.

As I also said above, there is NO CHOICE but to use DHL or other couriers on larger or heavier items. Doesn't matter if you have a day job or not.
$14.95 is just the start of the fees, if you have a high value item the fees grow. If you have multiple packages then it may be worth using a "bank day." Maybe you are more tolerant to these business tactics than I am, or maybe you are very rich, but others may still be interested to know they dont have to pay the fees and can still get fast shipping.

Unfortunately, this overcharging has gone on for years and I would like more ppl to know there is an alternative to paying the unreasonable fees. If the carriers lose enough money, then they may reevaluate the fees.

My OP was moved from HOT DEALS to where ppl may not see it. I would like everyone to see it, especially at a website that posts many online deals.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 28, 2013
12533 posts
4053 upvotes
Oakville
realBIGmike1 wrote:
Jan 26th, 2017 4:07 pm
$14.95 is just the start of the fees, if you have a high value item the fees grow.
Wait, how so?
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[OP]
Newbie
Feb 14, 2013
27 posts
33 upvotes
saskatoon
wearysky wrote:
Jan 26th, 2017 4:43 pm
Wait, how so?
The fees are tiered and you will find this with other carriers as well. $14.95 is the lowest DHL charges. In my example, to collect $4 they charge an additional fee of $14.95. If it was a larger amount, the fee would also be larger.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 28, 2013
12533 posts
4053 upvotes
Oakville
realBIGmike1 wrote:
Jan 26th, 2017 10:45 pm
The fees are tiered and you will find this with other carriers as well. $14.95 is the lowest DHL charges. In my example, to collect $4 they charge an additional fee of $14.95. If it was a larger amount, the fee would also be larger.
Interesting. I guess I've never ordered anything with a declared value higher than $75 so it's never been higher than the $14.95 brokerage fee (plus the separate COD charge).

Self-clearing is great for people that live or work near the clearing office (or who do a lot of importing). For one-off packages a couple times a year, though, probably not worth it if you live a half hour or more away. Even if I was able to do it in an hour (which would never happen - it would take me longer than that to drive there and back, most days), my time (and I'd guess most people's time) is worth more than $20/h.
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