Shopping Discussion

Saving on COD shipping costs?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 9th, 2019 6:49 pm
[OP]
Newbie
May 7, 2019
5 posts

Saving on COD shipping costs?

I admit, I don't know enough about how international shipping works so I will try to describe my question as best I can. I have an American hobby store I buy from every once in a while, usually smallish (>$100 USD, probably less than 300g overall, usually not a lot of stuff) purchases. I swallow the $9 USD basic international shipping cost and call it a day.

I recently made a purchase that was larger ($160 USD, probably at least 1kg) and the cheapest shipping was $33. Missed the package and it said on the door hanger I would be paying an additional $30 for COD fees (Loomis).

Obviously not happy about it but I'll have to bite the bullet this time. Just wondering is it would have been feasible to separate my purchase into 2-4 separate purchases (haven't worked out the math yet) to avoid all the extra costs. I don't remember ever having to pay COD fees for my smaller purchases - how do these extra fees get calculated?
12 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jun 27, 2004
12932 posts
2223 upvotes
Vancouver.bc.ca
COD charges should only be if you don't pay for the merchandise up front (hence, cash on delivery). Are you sure it's not the standard customs + broker fees?
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
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rabbit wrote: Are you sure it's not the standard customs + broker fees?
OP probably means this.

Canada has a $20 limit. We're trying to change it, but it's not going too quick.
Due to the package size/weight, it's probably flown under the radar.

So yes, splitting it will most likely save money assuming your numbers are right.
You're paying 41% for a large package vs 9% on a small one.

How the fees work is anything over $20 is subject to taxes (as per your province) and sometimes duty (depending on the item).
The courier adds their fee on top of it. I don't know what loomis charges, but UPS is outrageous. Fedex is half as bad. DHL is $16. Canada Post is $10.
I personally prefer DHL. It's a bit more, but it's quicker and I can pay online without interrupting delivery.
Member
Mar 20, 2011
301 posts
211 upvotes
Langley, BC
Tannit100 wrote: I recently made a purchase that was larger ($160 USD, probably at least 1kg) and the cheapest shipping was $33. Missed the package and it said on the door hanger I would be paying an additional $30 for COD fees (Loomis).
Those COD fees are definitely customs charges. Since it's shipped with a courier, in future once you have the tracking number you can email the courier company and tell them you will be clearing the item yourself. You can then use the Courier Low Value Shipment Program at a CBSA office to pay the duties yourself, this is usually just GST + PST (or HST) on top of the declared value. Unfortunately now that it has already cleared customs it's too late to do it for this parcel and you will have to pay the fees.
https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/cour ... u-eng.html
Tannit100 wrote: Just wondering is it would have been feasible to separate my purchase into 2-4 separate purchases (haven't worked out the math yet) to avoid all the extra costs. I don't remember ever having to pay COD fees for my smaller purchases - how do these extra fees get calculated?
If it's shipped by a courier and the declared value is over $20 CAD, usually there is a brokerage fee (can range from $10-$20) plus sales taxes on the declared value. When using a courier, you can get around this by using the CLVS as mentioned above, or splitting the shipment into parts less than $20CAD. An alternative is to have the company ship using the US postal service instead. Canada Post has a $9.95 brokerage fee too, however typically if the value of the items is less than $100 you won't get charged this or duty, they let more slip past without taxes.
Jr. Member
Jul 20, 2017
135 posts
102 upvotes
Customs is enforced in Canada, like many other countries, to encourage people to shop within their own country. I am assuming you were purchasing these items from the states because it was cheaper?

You need to pay the fees to get your items. I am assuming the reason you were hit on this package and not the others was because of the shipping carrier. Typically USPS is the cheapest option, and when it hits canada and switched to Canada Post, they let so many packages through. (Not ever sure why Canada Post is so easy when it comes to customs), while other carriers really enforce it. If it was the same carrier, it was probably just because of the size. Honestly, when purchasing internationally, you should expect to pay import fees every time.

The only way you can save on this, is by declaring it yourself (you can do this even if the carrier already did this), but don't bother imo. The broker fees are probably only $10, and it's not worth your time to fill out the form, your gas to go to a CBSA, and then pick up your package and possibly argue with them about self declaration.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
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TylerOakville wrote: Typically USPS is the cheapest option, and when it hits canada and switched to Canada Post, they let so many packages through.
USPS/Canada Post is the cheapest for brokerage paperwork but is also the most expensive for shipping.
Gotta weigh your options here.

(Not ever sure why Canada Post is so easy when it comes to customs), while other carriers really enforce it.
Other carriers are solely there to make money. So every package they can tax means another $18-$HILARIOUS they get to pocket.
The only way you can save on this, is by declaring it yourself (you can do this even if the carrier already did this), but don't bother imo. The broker fees are probably only $10, and it's not worth your time to fill out the form, your gas to go to a CBSA, and then pick up your package and possibly argue with them about self declaration.
+1 this.
Unless the package value is over $500 or there's a ton of line items (carriers charge per unique line item) I just pay the fees.
If CBSA is close, it may be worth it but for me it's basically a 2 hour round trip.
[OP]
Newbie
May 7, 2019
5 posts
Yes, that is what I meant, the door sticker they left specifcally said "COD" so that's what I assumed. Anyways, thank you for the contributions, I'll go through the thread and see what I should do next time.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 25, 2004
2537 posts
1320 upvotes
London
Tannit100 wrote: I admit, I don't know enough about how international shipping works so I will try to describe my question as best I can. I have an American hobby store I buy from every once in a while, usually smallish (>$100 USD, probably less than 300g overall, usually not a lot of stuff) purchases. I swallow the $9 USD basic international shipping cost and call it a day.

I recently made a purchase that was larger ($160 USD, probably at least 1kg) and the cheapest shipping was $33. Missed the package and it said on the door hanger I would be paying an additional $30 for COD fees (Loomis).

Obviously not happy about it but I'll have to bite the bullet this time. Just wondering is it would have been feasible to separate my purchase into 2-4 separate purchases (haven't worked out the math yet) to avoid all the extra costs. I don't remember ever having to pay COD fees for my smaller purchases - how do these extra fees get calculated?
next time ship the package to a shipping forwarder like usgobuy. then u can pick ur shipping carrier of choice and put down a value that will go though customs without being charged.
[OP]
Newbie
May 7, 2019
5 posts
TylerOakville wrote: I am assuming the reason you were hit on this package and not the others was because of the shipping carrier.
And I suppose it's up to the retailer to select the shipper than? In communications with the retailer, they said the cheapest option was DHL, implying there were options. Maybe I'll talk to the retailer again to see if they can offer any advice. Thanks
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
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aaron158 wrote: next time ship the package to a shipping forwarder like usgobuy. then u can pick ur shipping carrier of choice and put down a value that will go though customs without being charged.
This is terrible advice.
On the off chance they do check, you'll be billed for the proper taxes, penalties, or even seizure.

Tannit100 wrote: In communications with the retailer, they said the cheapest option was DHL, implying there were options. Maybe I'll talk to the retailer again to see if they can offer any advice. Thanks
DHL to me is the best compromise.
It's $6 more than Canada Post. Their shipping rates aren't too bad either.

Avoid UPS unless you self clear because their shipping is dirt cheap but their brokerage is horribly expensive.

USPS/Canada Post is still good for low value items if you don't mind gambling.
Stuff under $100 usually gets overlooked. Not always though.
I've paid on $50CAD before.
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Nov 25, 2004
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death_hawk wrote: This is terrible advice.
On the off chance they do check, you'll be billed for the proper taxes, penalties, or even seizure.




DHL to me is the best compromise.
It's $6 more than Canada Post. Their shipping rates aren't too bad either.

Avoid UPS unless you self clear because their shipping is dirt cheap but their brokerage is horribly expensive.

USPS/Canada Post is still good for low value items if you don't mind gambling.
Stuff under $100 usually gets overlooked. Not always though.
I've paid on $50CAD before.
been using this service for years and they have never opened a package
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
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aaron158 wrote: been using this service for years and they have never opened a package
Really? I get packages opened about once a month.
But I get a lot of packages....
Deal Addict
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Nov 25, 2004
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death_hawk wrote: Really? I get packages opened about once a month.
But I get a lot of packages....
pretty much only seen 1 package opened in my life. if customs cared they would have to stop almost every package coming out of china i've never gotten a package from sellers on ebay or aliexpress from china were the seller declared the full value on aliexpress u even see sellers says we will declare the value low to make sure there is no customs fees.

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