• Last Updated:
  • Jul 16th, 2020 7:12 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 10, 2020
8 posts
4 upvotes

CUSTOMS duties Help!

Hi All,

I've bought many items over the last few months from European retailers and have had to only pay DHL brokerage fees and taxes, but not duties on import because of CETA. For example: Ordered $450 worth of shoes from Carmina, paid $80 on taxes and brokerage fees. Ordered $300 worth of clothes from Reiss, and paid around $55 in fees. However, most recently I just ordered a couple of suits from Italy, valued around $1200, and DHL just sent me a fee for $551 for my parcel to be released by customs. Now, I don't know the detailed breakdown of these customs fees. I will find out when the item arrives next week. But this seems crazy to me. The taxes on an item like that should only about around $200 + minor brokerage fees. the $551 fee suggests they probably also charged my duties which should not be happening due to CETA.

I've never run into this situation before and I'd appreciate it if you can advise me on how to best address this. Should I be calling DHL after I receive the item, or do I called customs and border services? If this doesn't get resolved, I"ll just have to return the items and get a refund on those customs fees because there's no good reason why my customs fees on $1200 worth of items coming from an EU country should be $551.

Appreciate your help!
26 replies
Deal Guru
Mar 14, 2005
13811 posts
2503 upvotes
I have not dealt with DHL, just Canada Post. If I got mistakenly charged duty, I paid it and then applied to CBSA for a casual refund of what I overpaid. Took 3 months to get a refund cheque in the mail.
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
22219 posts
3051 upvotes
It sounds like 18% MFN tariff + 13% HST + various brokerage service charges. You would have to check the HS code assigned and ensure that CETA was applied by DHL.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 10, 2020
8 posts
4 upvotes
Becks wrote: I have not dealt with DHL, just Canada Post. If I got mistakenly charged duty, I paid it and then applied to CBSA for a casual refund of what I overpaid. Took 3 months to get a refund cheque in the mail.
Did they at least confirm that they'd be refunding you quickly? Because, once I apply for a refund, I need to know in a few weeks whether they're going to be approving it, otherwise I need to send the items back. Also, how do you apply for a casual refund for overpayment? Is there a specific form on the CBSA website?
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Nov 25, 2004
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justforgames16 wrote: Did they at least confirm that they'd be refunding you quickly? Because, once I apply for a refund, I need to know in a few weeks whether they're going to be approving it, otherwise I need to send the items back. Also, how do you apply for a casual refund for overpayment? Is there a specific form on the CBSA website?


you only really have 3 options

#1 just suck it up and pay it.
#2 call dhl and tell them u wish to self clear the package. they would send u some paper work witch u would have to take in to your local customs office then u would pay the fees directly to customs your self this would insure all your paying is the duty/tax no broker fees after u pay u would send the paper work back to dhl showing u paid then they would deliver it to u.
#3 refuse the package and when it goes back request a refund from the store u bought it from.
Last edited by aaron158 on Jul 11th, 2020 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 10, 2020
8 posts
4 upvotes
aaron158 wrote: casual refund only apply to stuff shipped though the post office. if its shipped though dhl u would have to dispute it with them.

you only really have 3 options

#1 just suck it up and pay it.
#2 call dhl and tell them u wish to self clear the package. they would send u some paper work witch u would have to take in to your local customs office then u would pay the fees directly to customs your self this would insure all your paying is the duty/tax no broker fees after u pay u would send the paper work back to dhl showing u paid then they would deliver it to u.
#3 refuse the package and when it goes back request a refund from the store u bought it from.
I've already paid it because I got an online notification. The item will arrive in a few days so I"ll know exactly where the huge customs fees came from. DHL usually tells u what the amount is and wants u to pay it upfront to clear customs before the item arrives.
So, I'm wondering if I can dispute it with them when it arrives. Or if my only option is to return the item back (the seller will cover shipping), and then send a letter to CBSA to refund my customs fees in entirety, which is what you usually do when you return items.

I'm not too worried about the broker fees. I think the concern is that they probably charged me for duties, which adds up to $200+ worth of fees, which shouldn't be happening. I"ll know the details once the package arrives on Tues.
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Nov 25, 2004
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justforgames16 wrote: I've already paid it because I got an online notification. The item will arrive in a few days so I"ll know exactly where the huge customs fees came from. DHL usually tells u what the amount is and wants u to pay it upfront to clear customs before the item arrives.
So, I'm wondering if I can dispute it with them when it arrives. Or if my only option is to return the item back (the seller will cover shipping), and then send a letter to CBSA to refund my customs fees in entirety, which is what you usually do when you return items.

I'm not too worried about the broker fees. I think the concern is that they probably charged me for duties, which adds up to $200+ worth of fees, which shouldn't be happening. I"ll know the details once the package arrives on Tues.
https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publication ... g-eng.html u have to fill out this forum and u will have mail it in to customs with a copy of something showing u returned it and got a refund. u should get the duty and tax back but the broker fees are not refundable.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
28890 posts
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At least it's DHL which is one of the better courier companies for brokerage.
Most of this fee will be tax/duty (albeit sounds like it's incorrectly applied). DHL's clearance fees are generally quite low.

Wait til you get an invoice and see what happens.
Do you not have anything else to do rather than argue with strangers on the internet
Nope. That's why I'm on the internet arguing with strangers. If I had anything better to do I'd probably be doing it.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
6786 posts
2546 upvotes
BC
justforgames16 wrote: ....... just ordered a couple of suits from Italy, valued around $1200, and DHL just sent me a fee for $551
....... there's no good reason why my customs fees on $1200 worth of items coming from an EU country should be $551.
Italy was not one of the original 13 or so countries that ratified CETA, and AFAIK are still a holdout.

In any case, for any trade agreement, rates of duty get reduced, not necessarily all eliminated.
Clothing has always been a relatively high rate of duty, around 15%, so if anything doesn't get reduced to zero under CETA, that could be one.

So at worst, DHL should be asking for about $170 duty, $150 HST, and $100 brokerage on a $1200 package. So that leaves at least $130 unaccounted for.
You haven't said how much you paid for shipping.
Is it possible it was sent C.O.D?
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
28890 posts
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macnut wrote: So at worst, DHL should be asking for about $170 duty, $150 HST, and $100 brokerage on a $1200 package. So that leaves at least $130 unaccounted for.
Brokerage should be about $30 since it's 2.5% of the declared value.

But that leaves the math in an even worse shape than before with $200 unaccounted for.
I even tried running the numbers based on $1200USD and I'm still $100 short.
Do you not have anything else to do rather than argue with strangers on the internet
Nope. That's why I'm on the internet arguing with strangers. If I had anything better to do I'd probably be doing it.
Deal Expert
Jan 7, 2002
25647 posts
22402 upvotes
Waterloo, ON
justforgames16 wrote: I've already paid it because I got an online notification. The item will arrive in a few days so I"ll know exactly where the huge customs fees came from... I"ll know the details once the package arrives on Tues.
So why don't you wait until Tues, see how they actually came up with their numbers and then ask for assistance here? Otherwise this thread is just speculation.
veni, vidi, Visa
Deal Guru
Mar 14, 2005
13811 posts
2503 upvotes
CBSA did not even inform me that they received my application letter. I just waited and had my fingers crossed.
Deal Guru
Mar 14, 2005
13811 posts
2503 upvotes
What is pertinent is where the garment was made, not where it was shipped from. If I were applying for a casual refund from CBSS, I would send pics of the garments tags as part of proof.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 10, 2020
8 posts
4 upvotes
Becks wrote: What is pertinent is where the garment was made, not where it was shipped from. If I were applying for a casual refund from CBSS, I would send pics of the garments tags as part of proof.
Made in Italy. Shipped from France. I checked, both are part of CETA. I emailed them and will hopefully hear back by the end of the week. If I don't get my duties back, I'm mailing both items back. Speaking of which, once I return and I acquire proof return, I just post to CBSA requesting my refund right?

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publication ... g-eng.html

I don't need to go through DHL for that I assume?

Thanks folks.
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Nov 25, 2004
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justforgames16 wrote: Made in Italy. Shipped from France. I checked, both are part of CETA. I emailed them and will hopefully hear back by the end of the week. If I don't get my duties back, I'm mailing both items back. Speaking of which, once I return and I acquire proof return, I just post to CBSA requesting my refund right?

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publication ... g-eng.html

I don't need to go through DHL for that I assume?

Thanks folks.
yes u fill out the forum i linked to and put in copies of the doc showing u the tracking returning it and showing u got a credit from the retailer. they will refund all duties and tax that u paid but any brokerage fees are non refundable.
Newbie
Jul 7, 2020
28 posts
2 upvotes
I am curios, I live in PEI and if I order from oversea through online platform such as Amazon Japan, Ali..., shipping is to door express. Where is the Customs to make clearance by myself if I want to do? Do Customs have their office in each provinces?
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
28890 posts
14429 upvotes
justforgames16 wrote: Here's the final invoice guys.
Thanks for updating us, especially those that are nosy.

I'm no expert on the application of duty but at least it looks like you were charged correctly if 18% were actually correct. But based on other posters, this may not be correct.
The plus side of things is that you paid $21 for clearance for a $1500 package, which IMO is a steal.
Colin74 wrote: I am curios, I live in PEI and if I order from oversea through online platform such as Amazon Japan, Ali..., shipping is to door express. Where is the Customs to make clearance by myself if I want to do? Do Customs have their office in each provinces?
Yes. CBSA publishes a list of all their offices. The one you want is Low Value Shipments (assuming your shipment is low value)
https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/servi ... v-eng.html
Inland offices work too apparently but this isn't guaranteed.

For me personally it's only worth it if anyone but DHL is shipping it.
$16-25 for clearance so I don't have to put on pants? Yeah I'm sold.
UPS/FedEx though? For sure.
Do you not have anything else to do rather than argue with strangers on the internet
Nope. That's why I'm on the internet arguing with strangers. If I had anything better to do I'd probably be doing it.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 25, 2004
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Colin74 wrote: I am curios, I live in PEI and if I order from oversea through online platform such as Amazon Japan, Ali..., shipping is to door express. Where is the Customs to make clearance by myself if I want to do? Do Customs have their office in each provinces?
most amazon sites force u to pay an import deposit fee as there pre paying the imports for u. aliexpress most sellers from china under declare stuff anyway so chances are there should be no import fees from aliexpress.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 10, 2020
8 posts
4 upvotes
Hi guys, I finally got an answer to my problem. This is what DHL told me:

Good day and thank you for your email.

Please be advised that you were charged duties on this particular order/shipment because upon checking the commercial invoice supplied by your vendor, they did not mark or indicate the country of origin (COO) or country where the goods were manufactured in the paperwork. It does not mean the shipment was sent from a CETA country it will automatically be free of duties, as per CBSA rule the exporter must always declare in the customs paperwork the COO.

Moving forward, please contact your vendor and obtain a revised commercial invoice if you want us to resubmit to customs to waive the duties which is around $286.00 . Please take note that as per our policy, DHL charges a $15 rebill fee for correction.

Thank you and looking forward to receive from you the revised invoice from the shipper.

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