For certain international shipments, UPS imposes a "broker fee" when they have to collect customs duties and import taxes from the recipient. These fees aren't included in the cost of the shipping, so your recipient will have to pay them to receive the package.
When your recipient will pay UPS brokerage fees
Most commonly, brokerage fees apply to the international service UPS Standard for shipments going to Canada. Since UPS delivers Standard shipments via ground transportation across Canada's border, they charge this fee for clearing packages through their customs department.
The amount of brokerage fees UPS will charge you depends on the value of the items, which you enter when you fill out your customs form.
For Canada, you can see the "Entry Preparation Fees" aka Brokerage Fees that UPS charges here: https://www.ups.com/ca/en/shipping/zones-and-rates/customs-clearance.page
Note: For Canada, UPS offers free customs clearance for all other international services except Standard, which means brokerage fees are covered for Worldwide Saver, Worldwide Expedited, and Worldwide Express. However, if your shipment includes more than 5 items, your recipient may still have to pay brokerage fees for this more complex customs clearance procedure.
How to avoid paying these fees
Brokerage fees can be an expensive—and unexpected—financial burden on your international shipments. If you want to avoid your recipients from paying these fees, here are a few options:
Use a different UPS service
UPS Standard® is the only UPS international service that always has brokerage fees applied (over certain value thresholds). If you use any other international UPS service, brokerage fees are included for free for shipments containing 5 or few items or less. Shipments containing more than 5 items may still be subject to brokerage fees.
Ship with Simple Export Rate®
Simple Export Rate is an invite-only international service exclusive to Pirate Ship, and by far the cheapest way to send lightweight international parcels under 4 pounds.
To activate Simple Export Rate for your account, just chat with us or email us at email@example.com - we'll enable it for you so you can start saving booty right away 💰
Ship with any international USPS® service
Another way to avoid UPS brokerage fees is to use any of the international USPS services on Pirate Ship: First Class Package International Service®, Priority Mail International®, or Priority Mail Express International®.
None of the international USPS services impose any additional brokerage fees on top of what you pay for your postage. Once you click the green "Get Rates" button when making your label, you'll see all the international USPS services that apply listed in the Choose a Service drop-down menu.
Any questions? Chat with our Support Crew and we'll do our best to steer you to clearer waters 😃