How to ship moped parts internationally

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I just wanted to share my experiences and let some of the people newer to shipping or careless about shipping know about what various shipping companies do internationally (mainly regarding customs and broker fees) and hopefully save some people some money down the road!

I will try to make it as short and sweet as possible, I hope others can add their experiences as well – as I am writing this from the point of view of a Canadian. I don’t know what it’s like to receive parts from Canada or anywhere else into the States, so I will just assume it’s the same as US -> Canada or very similar.

I don’t know where to start to make this really clear other than just dipping straight in to what companies do or don’t do. PLEASE read this. It is very important to know what’s going on more or less if you care about the person on the other end when shipping – scroll to the bottom to get the bottom line!

Private Brokers

Regarding International Shipping

UPS uses private customs brokers. This means they use a middle man who is licensed by your country to broker imported items and determine taxation for them. I am unclear as to why they do this other than to speed up the shipping process and to make themselves more money. This also applies utmost to any ‘private courier’ service (meaning not the local government-endorsed post office).

What does that mean?

That means that when you ship something ground from the US to Canada, they are going to ding you $50 in broker fees PLUS the normal taxes no matter what the item is worth. This amount could be even higher depending on what its written value is. I have ordered $50 parts and had $70 custom fees on them. Whether this is true for Canada -> US, I don’t know, but I suspect it is the same as they would likely use the same broker bi-directionally. Citation is needed, so please share your experiences.

The Government System

Local government-endorsed post offices use the country’s border customs agency, not private brokers.

What does that mean to shippers and receivers?

This means that your package is going to take longer in customs, but the usual broker fee is only about $5, and then the normal applicable taxes. In my personal experience, there are almost always no fees whatsoever. For some reason they just usually ignore the customs and send it on its way.

Normal (non ground) shipping is usually cheaper in broker fees, but still soar sky high with private brokers versus standard shipping companies.

The Bottom Line

  • Unless the package you are sending is refused shipping from USPS or Canada Post, there is NO reason to ship with a private courier, other than speed of delivery. Both methods offer tracking service, and purchase insurance.
  • Shipping with a private courier is a nice way to slam the person on the receiving end for brutal and unnecessary brokerage fees in most cases. If for whatever reason you don’t like the person – feel free to ship away UPS style and laugh as the importer lines UPS’s dirty pockets with ‘brokerage fees’.
  • On the other hand, ship USPS or Canada Post please – it saves you money (it’s cheaper than UPS anyways!) and makes the person on the other end happy as can be when their part/s arrive duty-less 90% of the time!
  • Always, always be as descriptive as possible when describing items on customs slips. Don't say 'moped parts' when shipping 5 things. Separate each item on a line and say 'Moped intake, moped gaskets, moped carburetor', etc. This will speed up the customs process and possibly stop them from opening it up and looking inside.

A fairly interesting side note: If you’re one of those people that works full time and can’t be home to personally receive your package, UPS will screw you big-time. I have had parcels returned to sender after I paid for them because of the UPS driver ‘forgetting’ to leave the slip at the door saying where to contact for pickup. If there is a brokerage fee, and they try for 3 days to deliver – they will return it after that without notice. USPS and Canada Post deliver to your local post office, then you can pick it up on your own time after work/whatever!

Anyways, that's pretty much it. Feel free to please add anything you have experienced to the guide! It betters everyone to know this stuff!