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A Shipment to My Daughter

Messages Supporting My Criticism of UPS
Part 1: 2000-2005

Copyright* © 1998-2005 by David E. Ross

I have received many messages of support for my criticism against UPS. Some have even cited additional experiences similar to what my daughter experienced, not only for shipments from the U.S. to Canada but to other nations as well.

In some cases, I quote those messages (without editing). In others, I merely describe them. The messages are in chronological order with the latest at the bottom of this page.

Note: After I originally published my complaint against UPS, I changed my E-mail address. My old address appears in the older messages.

From: Tom <>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 22:43:17 -0400
Subject: UPS sucks

Hi David,

Another story for you.

Yesterday UPS tried to deliver a package to me. Two VHS video tapes in a small box.

Brokerage fee, $38.50

I refused the shipment.

As for your comment about 5 minutes work, I'd say it's more like 10 seconds work. The box was unopened, the paperwork was untouched (sealed in a envelope on the side of the box). The only work they did was stick the bill on the other side of the box. So that would be $13,860 per hour.

I've been in contact with the company that sold me the tapes. They upgraded my order from USPS for "free" because the order was delayed (now it will be delayed even more). I don't think they quite believe what UPS is going to try when the box gets back to them.

This is the third time I've done this, so I know that UPS is going to ransom the package for brokerage into Canada, brokerage back into the US, and return shipping. I expect the charge will be about $80-$100 USD. So the company will be out the value of the product they shipped me, and the original shipping fee.

As for the $25 minimum for brokerage that could be new but I would not be surprised if it was another UPS lie. A few years back I ordered a $10 software upgrade. One 3.5 floppy in a cardboard mailer. Brokerage $21.50, refused. When it was returned to the US they wanted the sender to pay $40US to get it back.

Being Canadian I can't do much complaining to US government but I can get US companies to stop using UPS, two so far working on number three.

Obviously, Tom is in Canada but orders merchandise from the U. S. According to a subsequent message, he discovered that the FTC will indeed accept complaints from residents of other countries, correcting his final paragraph above.

Tom raises three important points:

When making an international purchase, always ask the vendor to avoid shipping via UPS.

In his E-mail to me, Matt copied some correspondence to a shipper who used UPS. The situation he describes is actually frightening.

Dear Mr. Elkins:

You recently contacted my company on behalf of UPS regarding an error they made in losing a money order I used to pay for a package I picked up that was sent C.O.D. Regrettably, there is not a whole lot I can do at this point. I have tried to hunt down where the money order was purchased, but with as many of them as I get, I cannot give you a definite answer and have had no luck in finding this out.

I would suggest getting in contact with UPS on what they did with the money order, as I obviously paid to get my COD package. From what I understand, they use an outside source that has given them poor service in the past. At least this is the information I gathered from UPS workers. I am not sure if they were "passing the buck" so to speak. You may want to look into where the outside service is that handles all the COD money orders they receive and check with them on what happened.

Other than that, our part of the bargain was fulfilled when we paid for the package. I even went the extra mile to see where the money order came from and try to see about putting a stop payment on the money order for you, but to no avail.

I have already stated to one of your associates that I would do my best to help you, but could not guarantee any results for sure. From my end, unless there is something new with the issue you need to address, the matter is closed. The sales transaction has already taken place for me to get my package. I can have no control over what UPS does as far as their quality of work in getting my money order back to the company I purchased the items from.

Sincerely, Matt

CC: Better Business Bureau, United Parcel Service, Channel 12 News Cincinnati

In other words, UPS (or their contracted agent) negligently lost the payment Matt made for a COD shipment he received. The paperwork on this shipment clearly indicates that Matt received the package and paid for it. However, the shipper did not receive that payment. UPS will not make good on its losing the payment. Even if I had no other problems with UPS (or with any other company), I certainly would refuse to do business with them if they denied their obligations and responsibilities in this manner.

27 January 2001

This message from a UPS employee clearly exposes the falsity of suggestions that UPS is a great company with many happy employees:

From: David <>
To: <>
Subject: UPS problems
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2001 11:29:02 -0500


I stumbled across your web page concerning UPS and could not resist sending you an email, if nothing else than for therapeutic reasons. A little background, if I may.

I have been employed at UPS as a delivery driver for fourteen years. I am very unhappy and discouraged with my job for all the reasons that one seems to associate with UPS; long hours, incompetent and harassing management, total lack of appreciation (except to the people I deliver to) and strain on personal life. I would like to comment on the situation you described on your web page concerning brokerage agents from my point of view.

I have only had two deliveries that concerned collecting a brokerage fee, one from Honduras, the other from (interestingly enough) Canada. The one from Honduras was paid for by the customer without an issue. The one from Canada created problems similar to the ones that you described. The package was going to a rather large company on my route, it was some kind of device that was needed to operate heavy machinery. The package came with a tag that looked like a COD tag but with the instructions "pay to UPS brokerage" instead of the customary "pay to whoever sent it to you". When the customer informed me that the package was paid for and inquired what the brokerage fee was, I had no idea. None. I told him that I thought it was a fee for the customs agent in either Canada or the US for allowing the shipment to pass through. Frustrated, the customer told me that he would have a check the next day. When I brought it back the following day, he gave me a check but it was made out to the shipper, not the brokerage. I told him I could not accept it to which he replied (paraphrasing big time here) "screw it, send it back."

My point in this story is that I did not have the training I should have in order to provide this customer with the information he needed. Quite frankly, I had no clue about either what a brokerage agent is or what it does or why it does it until I visited your website. You mentioned that when you shipped the package from California, you were told that the item was paid in full. I would believe this 100%. That UPS employee was probably trained as well as I am. I think that if I knew what this "service" does, I would have actually had to tell the customer, which would cause the company to look bad. The only training we receive concerning international shipments is how to identify if the address label (known as a waybill) is filled out correctly so it will pass through customs. This training is usually done within a five minute timeframe before the beginning of the workday (when our minds are cluttered with our responsibilities for the upcoming day) and done by a "teacher" who thinks that we have an i.q. of a rock. I honestly don't know if I could have made the situation any smoother for the customer I described in my dilemma, but I don't think it could have hurt.

All training at UPS is like this, sort of like when my first grade teacher yelled at our class because we could not figure out a mathematics problem. Also, consider that the people who are doing the training are not really "teachers", and that the time spent in an actual training environment is a minuscule fraction of time spent on the clock. Do you want to hear something really scary. I have spent more classroom time training to become a youth soccer coach for my children's teams in the past five years than I have training to become a UPS driver in the past fourteen. Granted, youth soccer is infinitely more interesting than my job, but I think you get the point.


James is a UPS driver who appears sympathetic to my plight. He said that he tries to avoid parking in handicapped spaces or fire lanes (as I said happens, way back in 1998), but his supervisors insist that he indeed break the law just to speed up deliveries.

18 February 2001

Vladimir wrote a very long message. Now living in Australia, he was in Moscow when he tried to buy a GPS receiver from the U.S. (You know: The thing that now allows us to get real-time maps and locations from global positioning satellites while driving.) The UPS customs broker in Moscow did not even understand the Russian regulations on importing these devices, even though that is supposed to be the special expertise of customs brokers. Although Vladimir tried several times to collect his shipment — unsuccessfully because of an incompetent customs broker — the shipment was then listed as "Refused to collect". When Vladimir wrote to UPS to untangle this problem, they replied that they could do nothing without the shipment's tracking number, which he had supplied in his original letter. In the end, UPS still wants Vladimir to pay for shipping and other fees although they reshipped the GPS device back to the seller. They accuse Vladimir of refusing to pay the custom duty and the brokerage fee. He was indeed prepared to pay, but UPS's customs broker failed to obtain customs clearance for the package — which is the primary task performed by customs brokers — and thus could not complete the delivery. Would you pay duties and fees for a shipment the broker says cannot be imported?

18 February 2001

Back in January, Tammy sent me an E-mail message that indicated UPS is a good company that employs 400,000 people. However, B.C. (a supervisor at UPS) has a different view: "They treat employees badly and customers worse." She then relates the tale of a payroll mixup that might result in criminal charges against the company if it happened here in California.

From: "B.C." <>
Subject: Ups

… it is not unusual for paychecks to continually come up short, or in this last incidence to bounce. Yes, here is a company making millions in profit, and payroll bounces. Now to be fair, apparently they knew these were going to bounce, so new checks were cut. However, in order to get a good check I had to first return the one that was no good. (Like I can walk back in to the bank and ask for the check I had already deposited back.) It took 2 weeks for my bank to actually kick it out. Now who do you think will pay for the checks that bounced in my account … ?

In California, employers must pay their employees within five business days of the end of the pay period — actually pay them with checks that do not bounce. Delaying that pay because of a mistake made by the company is not acceptable. Further, intentionally issuing a check that bounces is a criminal offence, even when a giant corporation does it with paychecks. Of course, the fact that UPS issues bogus paychecks is consistent with UPS "losing" COD payments as described by Matt (also in January).

Not only is UPS incompetent and possibly corrupt in handling international shipments, but also the company cannot be trusted to handle money.

28 March 2001

Geoff sent me E-mail about a sequence of strictly domestic shipments for a commercial customer. No, consumers with personal shipments are not the only victims of UPS.

A client of Geoff's insisted on shipping materials for a trade show via UPS despite Geoff's strong suggestions that some other shipper be used. Because this was for a trade show, the timely receipt of the shipment was vital. However, a "Guaranteed overnight delivery no later than 10:30 a.m." became a two-day delivery from Illinois to California.

In compensation, UPS offered to ship the same package onward for free to the next trade show in Florida. Geoff accidentally told his client, who then insisted on using UPS again. Using "three day select with Guaranteed third day delivery", the package arrived after six days, one day after the trade show began.

27 April 2001

Andrew sent a message about what happened when he sold a computer monitor through EBay. He shipped the monitor via UPS. After packaging it according to the requirements indicated on the UPS Web site, Andrew insured the shipment.

The buyer received the package damaged. The monitor case was cracked, and the monitor does not work anymore. UPS refuses to honor its insurance, claiming that Andrew did not package the shipment correctly. (This reminds me of the IRS, which asserts that anyone following its advice can still be penalized for filing an incorrect tax return.)

When buying, request shipment by a carrier other than UPS. When selling, do your customers a favor and choose a carrier other than UPS.

8 July 2001

The following message is from another UPS employee.

From: G <>
Subject: ups brokerage

I have been an employee of UPS canada for 9 yrs. There have been frustrating times with management over those years, but all in all it has been a good company to work for.

The one thing that I, and most of my fellow drivers dread is the brokerage tags (COD fee). UPS's fees are outrageous. I get at least 5-10 a month RTSed [returned to sender] because the fees often outprice the goods. It is embarassing to go to the door and try and collect 35-40 dollars for gifts, hats, sometimes printed materials that have a declared value of 20-30 dollars. I tell customers to use the Post Office-they only charge 5 dollar broker fee plus taxes.

The drivers call the brokerage tags 'extortion fees' since most customers have already paid for the goods with credit cards and are loathe to refuse the shipment for fear of not getting their money refunded. Drivers have never been trained to explain to consignees the brokerage charge. (They (UPS) can't really come out and say it's a scam, which is what it really is.)

I feel bad having to collect these fees from people who had no knowledge of it. Management does not even discuss it with the drivers- "It's a COD tag and has to be collected." they say.

If you live in Canada and order or have sent goods from the US don't send it UPS.

20 July 2001

John, who now lives in the Canadian province of Ontario, sent me E-mail. He ordered $150 worth of clothing from a U.S. source. In addition to federal and provincial sales taxes and customs (about $39), UPS tacked on an additional $100 for the customs broker. (This $100 did NOT go to the Canadian or provincial government; it went entirely to a UPS subsidiary that acts as UPS's broker.) When John lived in the province of Nova Scotia, such orders were delivered by Purolator, which did not add any broker's commission.

24 July 2001

From: Peter
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 01:26 EST
Subject: UPS - Thank you…

Thanks for keeping this alive.

I was lame enough to get burned twice. I didn't really notice the first time since it was a more expensive item and one of the first cross border purchases I made. But I purchased a small RF transmitter for a CD player that was $29 US. I was charged about $12 US for UPS shipping (which I thought on the high side). Then when it arrived they extorted another $20 Can from me for their "brokerage Fee".

Since then I have requested USPS shipment and get much better service from Canada Post, with a charge of around 7$.

I constantly warn other Canadians away from UPS.

Using an exchange rate of $0.65US = $1.00Cdn, the brokerage fee was $13. UPS charged a total of $25US for shipping a $29US purchase! Peter then notes that using the U.S. Postal Service and Canada Post would have cost less than a third of that!

In Anne's case, the shipment apparently started and ended both in Canada.

From: Anne <>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 15:30:54 -0400
Subject: UPS Sucks with Canada as well…


I am another person who stumbled across your webpage… while looking for precedents in law.

Last week I sent an envelope (with $400 Cdn in it) to my son. I have sent cash before to people but by FedEx with no problem — both within Canada and to the US.

It was enclosed in a letter clearly addressed to my son with his address and phone number, as well as mine.

The driver delivered it, apparently, to the wrong place. To a business, apparently, as it was signed by S. Stockwood, in "Reception".

My son lives in a residential apartment building that has no "reception" area.

After continuous phoning back and forth, someone at UPS in Canada finally spoke to the driver who now states that he delivered to the right building but gave it to a woman who signed for it.

I have told UPS that, regardless of what was in the envelope, I wanted it "back". It could have been an original Power of Attorney for someone since declared incompetent. I raise this example as I was in the position of holding P of A for someone with Alzheimer's. This would not have been replaceable. It could have been … baseball tickets … Doesn't matter.

The letter was clearly addressed.

When I was told that now the driver remembers going into the building and delivering it to this … woman. (allegedly). I asked … "Well, if he was in the building, why didn't he go to Apartment 306 where the letter was addressed…????"

The answer was … "We can't speak to that…".

I've also been told they are not liable. In 20 years of dealing with Couriers, I have never have never suffered this level of incompetence. This driver can apparently … well, I just delivered it to the wrong place, too bad, so sad … then change his story … "well, I delivered it to right place but just gave to someone." and that's the "end of it".

I think "not"! I don't think he was ever in the building at all. I "want" a description of this "woman".

It's going to be reported to the police. I believe that mail theft/tampering is a criminal offence. The only question is if couriers are classified as mail deliverers in our Criminal Code.


As far as I'm concerned, money should always be sent via registered and insured mail (e.g., via the U.S. Postal Service or — in Anne's case — Canada Post).

An E-mail from John in Canada describes how he ordered parts for a projector from a U.S. supplier. The cost was $39US; with the exchange rate still around $0.65US to $1.00Cdn, this was about a $59.52Cdn purchase. On that, UPS billed John an additional $9.30Cdn in GST/PST (national and provincial sales taxes) and $28.62Cdn in customs brokerage fees, almost half the purchase price additional. It would not have been so bad if UPS actually paid the $28.62Cdn to an independent customs broker, but (as both he and I discovered) UPS acts as its own customs broker and uses the brokerage fee as a source of additional profits. It's outrageous that UPS can charge such high fees to clear customs on shipments that enter Canada duty-free and (in my daughter's case) tax-free.

10 August 2002

From: "xxx Group" <>
Subject: UPS
Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 17:15:31 -0700

You don't know the half of it. UPS from the vendor side sets ridiculous standards for packing shipments. They have told me a box must be able to be withstand a 10 foot drop. I think to myself why? I do not want anyone dropping my goods ten feet.

If you buy insurance most likely you will never see your insurance money if your item is damaged. They have a host of ready made reasons and you have virtually no real recourse. Here are some: reused corrugated, inadequate packaging, and on and on.

I together with another computer parts recycle tried to get a class action suit going against UPS. I got a class action specialist and he was excited about the whole thing. I sent him over paper work documentation of problems with UPS. He did some research and got even more excited. As time went I didn't hear from "my lawyer."

I finally harassed him into returning my call and suddenly the reasons we had a very good case against UPS were the basis of having a very poor case against UPS. I can only think that UPS purchased my lawyer.

Also, if you follow the news you'll find that UPS tried to move the insurance company that handles its claims offshore to avoid taxes on the insurance money collected only to have the IRS and FTC tell them this was illegal. Which forced UPS Insurance back onto US territory.

This also brought them back into jurisdiction for several lawsuits pending against them. I enjoyed this immensely. The President of UPS I believe his name is James Kennedy is a former UPS driver. He is also a moron who tells the stock holders football stories at annual meetings from the podium.

All in all UPS is a very very unethical crooked organization.


Date: Fri, 2 May 2003 16:05:01 -0500
Subject: UPS Horror Stories
From: Tim <>

I received a damaged parcel for which I paid the shipping. UPS told me that they would pick up the item and the box in which it was shipped. Two months later I heard nothing so I called UPS. They told me that they are responsible only to THE SHIPPER (mailboxes et in CA) and that I have to call them in California. WHAT!? Then mailboxes et. will send a check to the guy from whom I bought the item on ebay. They take MY item that I paid for and that I paid shipping on, that they broke and they give restitution to a guy who I don't know?! Now I am out the price of shipping ($75.00) and the price for the items ($42.00). I would have tried to fix it had I known. I told them that I was going to start "" and take them to court .

I get a call from Brian Westbrook of UPS saying that they are going to call the local Sheriff because I threatended to "blow up a UPS facility and post on a website that I had done so". UPS just made this crap up to try to intimidate me. They didn't count on the fact that I record all my calls. When I told Mr. Westbrook this he became less specific about supposed bomb threats. I have contacted several govt agencies about UPS tactics and am currently waiting on a reply.


A few years ago I sent my pool cue to Viking to have a shaft made. UPS shows up with my cue and new shaft the COD was $50 something.... I give the guy a hundred.

UPS Dude: "Oh i don't have change for that"

me: "OK just take the hundred and then mail me a check for the differance."

UPS Dude: "can't do that. Maybe tomorrow I will have change."

me: "OK then" (getting a bit disgusted) "come back tomorrow knowing that I am going to pay with this bill and just make sure that you have change."

UPS Dude: "OK"

NEXT DAY---------
Same thing!!!!!! "no change" but they only deliver three times then the item gets sent back to the sender.

UPS Dude: "Hopefully tomorrow I will have change"

me: "'hopefully' that's not good enough. I have the money to pay, you have my item and I told you to be prepared to bring change. I have kept my side of this contract I have the money to pay, you didn't tell me that I have to have exact change otherwise the item would be sent back to the shipper. Now give me my cue!"

UPS Dude: "Can't do that."

I went into the house and scrounged for a bunch of bills and change and was able to pay without using the large bill. Otherwise it would have been sent back to Viking.

I live way the heck out in the country and I would have had to drive 34 miles round trip just to get change. "The tightest ship in the business" would rather make three trips to my home then send the parcel back to the sender rather than just give me change. Incredible…

I received an E-mail message from the wife of a UPS driver, who asked me to put a link to her Web site on this page. UPS Lawsuits is about various legal actions filed against UPS by its "happy" employees. This proves the falsity of the messages that claim UPS is a great place to work.

12 October 2004

Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 08:47:14 EDT
Subject: UPS Issues I read on your site

Greetings, I saw on your site you had issues with UPS and wanted to get them resolved. My car was hit by a UPS truck last November, and a few weeks ago I launched a little message board on my domain name I would recommend posting your story there, as I get Emails and letters from their lawyers all the time so it is definitely getting attention with just MY story on it.


From reading Josh's forum, it appears that a UPS truck hit the side of his car while the truck was pulling out of a driveway. The UPS driver persuaded Josh not to notify the police and that UPS would pay for the damage (more than $1,400). More than a half-year later, UPS has paid nothing; so Josh is suing.

Actually, Josh made a major mistake by not notifying the police immediately. The police should be called immediately — before any vehicle is moved — so that the facts of the accident are on file in case a lawsuit is necessary. I don't know what the law is in New York (where Josh lives), but California law mandates a report also be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days whenever the damage exceeds $750.

Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 16:02:00 -0700
From: Dave Westerman <>
Subject: UPS


I have to thank you for the page you put up about UPS' practice of charging exorbitant brokerage fees for cross-border shipping.

I recently experienced a similar incident. Actually, it wasn't the first -- a company I worked for years ago had the same problem when we had to ship items back to the US for repair by a certain company. At one point we had 5 packages come back with this brokerage fee due! (Note that for repairs on items purchased from the US, there are no duties or taxes payable to Customs in Canada).

Unfortunately, I had forgotten this point when I placed an order from an online shop in Florida. The only thing is that this time they didn't hold my package! Several weeks later, I received a bill in the mail for the fees. The total was over $100 -- just under the actual cost of the items I purchased. Granted, SOME of the amount was for taxes due, the rest was for a brokerage fee.

I was tempted to trash it, but thought I'd just hang on to it without paying it to see what would happen. I called UPS customer abuse, but they weren't any help, so I continued to wait. After a couple of months, they sent me to a collections agency! Without a second notice/final notice or anything! I have NEVER seen a company that doesn't at least make a second attempt themselves before forwarding to collections!

Well, my good credit was NOT worth fighting this issue, so I sent a cheque off to them (UPS, NOT the collections agency -- I refuse to give them money for the way they think they can treat people).

After that point I vowed not to use UPS for any more shipping whatsoever. I order products over the Internet from eBay and other online stores and when I get shipment via USPS, FedEx, or DHL I *NEVER* get charged anything beyond the taxes & duties -- no 'brokerage' fees at all.

I wonder what someone of a legal mind might think of this practice? It is a charge that is clearly not made known to the recipient before the order is shipped. Is this something where a class action might be considered? I mean, each individual case is only $30 or so, but adding it up -- it's ill-gotten gains as far as I'm concerned!

Anyways, thanks again for the page. It gave me a place where I could vent! It's like the old saw "A shared pain is lessened".

Best Regards,
Dave Westerman

Once again (in Westerman's sixth paragraph) we see that this is indeed a UPS problem. It is not a problem with shipping between the U.S. and Canada, and not a problem with the Canada Border Services Agency (which collects customs duties). Other shipping services don't charge brokerage fees. Only UPS does this.

Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 19:18:47
From: Brent <>
Subject: Another UPS horror story

Hello David,

I just spent the day resolving a dispute with UPS and decided to do some further research when I came upon your site. I was surprised to see that I was not alone in my battle. If you can use it I'll tell you what happened.

I am legally blind (note the large font) and as such I was reluctant to rebuild a vintage Dynaco audio amplifier. There are lethal voltages inside these amps and during servicing voltage measurements must be taken. This was not something I wanted to attempt. My friend Mike in Kentucky offered to to the work for me so I happily sent the amp from my home in Edmonton Alberta Canada. I found out what I needed to put on the shipping documents directly from the UPS website. I printed off my bill of lading and called for a pickup. The amp arrived in good condition and Mike worked his magic and sent it back. This is where things fall apart.

UPS charged me sixty five dollars for Brokerage Fees and levied GST, our federal sales tax, based on the declared value of the shipment. This is the interesting part, aside from the fact that this was my property being returned to me. UPS used the Declared Value for Transport, a declaration required in order to obtain shipping insurance, to assess fees. It was clearly stated on the weigh bill that the Declared Value for Duty, a requirement imposed by the US Customs Agency, was zero. It was also stated clearly that this was not a commercial transaction. I was then told that because I did not use the exact phrase "Canadian Goods Returning" the shipment was taxed and assessed brokerage fees. It's rather funny that Canada Customs says they don't require any such statement. in any words. I was told if the reason for the shipment is clear and shows that it was my amp coming back to me then UPS should have used common sense. I agreed.

It took me four months to argue successfully against the charges but I had to apply to the Canadian Government to recover the GST charged.

Then I got a bill in the mail from UPS.

It seems nobody paid the Entry Fee when the amplifier went back into the US. I asked why was there an Entry Fee on US made goods coming back into the country. I asked if it was US Customs who was receiving this Entry Fee and if it was a required levy from US Customs. The UPS rep answered that NO it was not a US Customs fee and that UPS would receive the money. For what?, I asked. For clearing Customs I was told. What customs?, I asked. She tells me that everything over the value of two hundred dollars has to clear customs. I said not on US goods exported and then returned but NO she says it's on everything. I confirmed my position with US Customs whose agent assured me if the weigh bill and signed declarations showed the goods originated in the US then there were no fees. UPS is charging as a matter of policy because the goods fall into the un-regulated or informal group of products having a value between two hundred and two thousand dollars. I pointed out that those regulations covered commercial shipments and she said it made no difference.

Over the intervening five months I was told several different reasons for the fee and not one made sense. When I questioned the validity of the charge I was told that US Customs demanded it, when they don't. When I objected again their response was to blacklist me. I can no longer ship or receive using UPS. Such a punishment! I told the lady that that was a given, I would never do business with UPS again and that I was filing complaints both here in Canada and with the FTC in the States.

This practice is nothing but a cash grab. Customers are not informed up front about the charges and receive little or no support from UPS. It's a strict literal interpretation of customs regulations so they can generate fees which if you think about the scale of personal shipments is a great deal of money. Anyway, it's over and I did not pay the additional fees.

Thanks for the site and the work you've done, it was refreshing to know I'm not alone and that others are speaking up.


To summarize:

It is now obvious that, not only does UPS levy unwarranted, unjustified fees, but also lies when attempting to justify why those fees are levied. As before, I urged Brent to write to his Member of Parliament about this.

Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2005 19:18:47 PST
From: <>
Subject: Comment about UPS


Just wanted to comment that UPS is now requiring folks to give social security numbers and drivers license numbers to mail packages at their counters. Never heard of anything so lame. They of course are promising all of this means such better service and their security of private identity is fool proof. If you use a surcharge UPS Store then no proof of identity is required. Beyond all the other issues of the Big Brown now they want to collect personal identity which you know will be sold. After Congress cracked on banks compelling them to disclose any breaches of security on identity the Big Brown moved in. They are claiming there is a government law compelling them to do this. Funny part is they can prove no referance to such a law and FedEx, Airborne and other shipping companies never heard of such a law either. Feel this is a very important issue folks should be aware of and understand they need to complain to the FTC. This requiring of id only at their counters is outright discrimination.

We too shared experiences similar to yours with duty charges and had horrid experiences with loss/damage. We stopped shipping with UPS about four years now. We are a mail order martial arts supply firm. Have a handful of devoted UPS lovers that prefer the Big Brown. UPS launched this id required without any advance notice last week. They are entering drivers license numbers, dates of birth, social security numbers and even times when you are not home to accept deliveries. It wouldn't take much for any of their employees to misuse that information.


(Emphasis added in bold.)

Canada is not the only destination where UPS creates problems with international shipments.

From: <>
Subject: UPS
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 12:20:16 -0700

Hi David:

Does your website do any good? Has it actually brought a response from UPS? I would hope so.

My wife just got off the phone with UPS and she is in tears. She spent alot of time, energy, money and love putting together a package to send to our son who is in Mexico City for a couple of years. To make sure he got it, we were willing to spend extra to ship it via UPS rather than through the post office. The shipping on a box the size of a shoe box and weighing 3 pounds was $88.00.

Well, when it gets to Mexico the government won't let it in because the ties are made in China and we included some beef jerky (apparently no food items are allowed in).

We get a call from a great guy with customer service at UPS who says that the local UPS office should have advised us of Mexico's policies and should not have accepted the package. He was embarassed and very apologetic. He said that we needed to get in touch with the local office for them to request the package back. Of course there is no local number for the office so we have to wait for them to call us.

We get a call from some lady who is involved with the international shipping. She says it was all our fault; that it is up to us to know the laws of Mexico and what is acceptable to ship and what is not. She said that not only would we not have a refund coming we will have to pay to have the package returned to us or it will be declared abandoned.

My law firm spends several hundred dollars per year with UPS. No more.


I replied to Bret that, while I occasionally get responses from UPS employees (including lower-level managers) or their families, I have never received any official response from the company. All I can do is warn people not to use UPS for international shipments. I also advised Bret to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Of course, not all the messages I receive are supportive. I do receive messages that criticize me for complaining about UPS.

* My copyright does not apply to quoted E-mail messages that I received from others. Although I do not have a copyright on such messages, however, I do assert the right to publish any message I receive unless the sender explicitly requests within the message that I do not publish it.

Last updated 13 December 2005

Messages Supporting My Criticism of UPS — Part 2: 2006-Present

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