I was under the impression that by shipping with USPS, our products would be exempt from customs fees and therefore we would be doing our customers in Canada a favor. Will one of our Canadian customers please remind me why we are shipping with USPS again? Shipping with UPS is much easier than shipping with USPS.
I tried to explain this before I first ordered in mid August. Most Canadian Head-Fiers are wary of couriers like UPS and FedEx because with some of there options they charge exorbitant brokerage fees to bring the item across the border. This brokerage fee is essentially a processing fee that's charged on top of taxes and any required duty. USPS/Canada Post still charges a brokerage fee but it's usually a flat $5 that I think may increase to $8 or $10 when the package reaches a certain value.
An example, my wife bought a Pure dock for me for Christmas, the dock cost $100 + $5 shipping. The site didn't list what shipping method it was, it ended up being FedEx Ground, a couple of weeks after the dock arrived we got a bill in the mail for over $50 in taxes and brokerage fees. Taxes in my province for shipments coming across the border is 5% so there's was about $45 in brokerage fees for a $100 item. That's not exact costs, but it's close.
As your probably aware now, USPS isn't always the best route either. I've had very few issues with packages shipped via USPS Priority International, it has a proper tracking number that can be tracked via both USPS and Canada Posts systems and it's proven to me to be fairly reliable in it's delivery times. First Class International on the other hand is proving to be a whole other story, it doesn't have proper tracking, instead it has a customs label that is only somewhat trackable within the USPS system while it's still in the US. From my perspective it's proving to not be very reliable. My 4.Ai's were shipped via First Class International 19 days ago, after the second day there were no tracking updates until today when I checked to find out that it was just scanned in Bethpage, NY, so it's still in the US. At this point I'm thinking First Class International is code for Pony Express.
From what I've been able to figure out the problem with UPS and FedEx is actually only their lowest cost services, UPS Standard and FedEx Ground, as you move up in the services they include brokerage fees. JH Audio shipped my 13Pro's back via UPS Worldwide Saver numerous times after refits and I was never charged anything. I believe I've also had a package shipped via UPS Worldwide Expedited which was good as well. In addition I had a Sena iPhone case shipped via FedEx International without issue. So not all courier methods are bad, it's just knowing the right ones to use so the customers don't get charged a ridiculous amount in "brokerage" fees.
So, shipping via UPS isn't out of the question, Worldwide Expedited or Worldwide Saver shouldn't pose any excess fee issues on the customer end, it's more a matter of the costs involved on your end to ship via those methods. That's why USPS International Priority might be the best compromise of cost and reliability.
Edited by elnero - 9/25/12 at 7:31pm