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Shipping your OWC Order to Canada, eh?!

Recently, we have received a few inquiries from our Canadian customers regarding shipping, brokers fees, customs & taxes and what is the best course of action for them to take when shipping products to Canada. We have investigated the situation, and have come up with these helpful insights to those affected.

If you choose to have your OWC order shipped via UPS or FedEx, OWC now includes all brokerage fees in our shipping costs to Canada. However, there still may be duty taxes and/or custom fees that would be charged separately by the carrier, on behalf of the Canadian Government, and are usually due upon delivery of your order.

If you choose to send US Postal (First Class, Priority or Express), please remember that for international shipments, First Class can take up to 3+ weeks to arrive. Priority usually takes between a week to a week and a half and Express shipments typically arrive within a week.

As far as tracking your parcel goes, typically USPS First Class is the least expensive option and, as such, does not come with any tracking information. Priority shipments will have a reference number that can sometimes show the major happenings like pick up and delivery. A neat trick that many may not be aware of is that the USPS tracking information can also be tracked using once the parcel has entered Canada!

However, for full and complete tracking information, you probably want to use either USPS Express, UPS or Fed Ex.
Below are some links that should help our Canadian customers make a more informed decision concerning buying and shipping products from OWC:

OWC would appreciate any feedback on these links, or others that may be of help to our Neighbors To The North! Please make your comments and suggestions below.

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  • Just wanted to share my experience.

    I ordered an item priced at $628 USD which had a $40 USD instant rebate on top of that bringing the amount down to $588 USD. I decided to choose the DHL shipping option which cost $16.30 USD, to be shipped near Toronto, Ontario.

    I was informed by DHL that the total cross-border cost would be $120.64 CDN, which consists of 13% tax on the Canadian value of the item plus a brokerage fee of $14.75 + tax. The Canadian value of the item was calculated to be $799.76 which is the price of the item ($628) converted at an exchange rate of 1.2735 which is right about where the rate should be at this time. The tax on the brokerage fee was $1.92 CDN. So everything adds up.

    DHL told me that there is NO DUTY on computer parts, which I’m happy about. They also told me that I have the option of getting the DHL brokerage fees refunded if I choose to fill and submit the customs forms myself instead of having DHL do that on my behalf. So if I wanted to, I could drive to the nearest customs office that handles accounting to get that done.

    The only gripe that I might have is that I would have preferred to pay tax on the DISCOUNTED amount of the item AFTER the $40 rebate was applied and not on the full price of the item. But I understand that this rebate behaves like a mail-in rebate which gets applied after the fact… but customs didn’t need to know that!! ;)

    In the end, the total cross-border fees for this purchase make sense and I’m happy with it. Always a pleasure to order from OWC. Thanks!

  • Right, So I just ordered about $200 of RAM and Canada Post charged me 40$ of duty/tax. Unbelievable. That’s pretty much 20%. Ultimately I am pleased with OWC, not their fault, you know. I know that a lifetime warranty on RAM is honored with OWC, whereas a good deal on amazon or ebay or whatever… good luck with the warranty let alone a return if you manage to get a dud on arrival. They’ll make you pay the shipping AND a 20% restocking fee then tell you that you can buy another! Ultimately, I would still order from OWC for that piece of mind. But beware of CanadaPost, I don’t even know what to expect anymore.

  • Unfortunately my harddrive arrived late to Canada via Canada Post. It was also untrackable – and there was a ‘Customs Fee’ of $70 payable upon receipt. The harddrive cost $490 and shipping was around $5.00. It seems Canada Post is charging brokerage fees now.

    However my 2 8 Gig RAM barrettes (Cost $200) mailed separately arrived quickly without broker fee. Post cost $3.99. No GHT. Lesson? Buy only small things from the US?

    Canada Post no longer has a phone number we can use to get help. It’s really too bad. OWC is great though.

    • Good Afternoon Dawn,

      Thank you for letting us know how your experience was. I’m sorry to hear you had such high fees. It seems strange to me to see such a large jump between one that’s $200 and one that’s $500. That said, unless the policies have changed typically shipments under $50 via Canada Post don’t incur any extra taxes so you are right that the lower the cost the easier it is to feel good about ordering from the US.

      If you would like I would be happy to contact the carrier to see if we can confirm why the charge was so high. Sometimes the product is just categorized by customs incorrectly which leads to a higher charge than there should be. I can’t say for sure if that’s what happened here without taking a look at the receipts. If you’d like to send it over, I’d be happy to help. All I’d need is the invoice number and a copy of the receipts from Canada Post. If you send us an email to, and make it Attention: Laura it will find me every time. (It’s nice to be the only Laura at the company!)

      I did also find some phone numbers for Canada Post here: if that helps.

      Thank you for the compliment as well! It’s always nice to hear.

      Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help. Have a great day and thank you for shopping with OWC!

  • My $300 order shipped by USPS/Canada Post to Nova Scotia (delivered in 2 weeks to the day) was charged 15% HST and $9.95 for ‘handling costs’. The mail carrier needed cash (no credit cards or cheques).

  • UPS is the worst at least in my experience. I live in Toronto and UPS will only try to deliver once and if you are not home to receive it, they take it back to Concord, Ontario where you have to pick it up. I can’t believe they don’t drop it off for pickup at any of their UPS storefronts in Toronto, one being a 1 minute drive from my home. Instead, Concord is about 1 hour from my home. Other couriers such as FedEx and Purolator will drop off the package at one of their locations within Toronto that is closest to the delivery address. Once back at UPS in Concord, I just tell them to send it back to the seller unless I really have no other alternative.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Alan! I’m sorry to hear you’ve had some bad experiences with UPS.

      Most carriers will typically hold at a local facility for pick up if delivery isn’t possible. (ie. signature is required) What is strange is the distance.

      I have to drive out to the next town over to pick up my UPS packages, but for me the next town over is all of 10 minutes! Since it sounded a little off I checked with UPS to see if this is just normal handling for your area. The rep said it sounded strange to them as well that it would be so far away in such a big city. I’ve been there many times and it seems like there would be a UPS Store on every other corner, like Tim Horten’s! They confirmed that they do have to hold at a UPS Store specifically, the local drop off locations and hubs can’t be used for customer pick ups so this may explain.

      UPS couldn’t confirm for me without any tracking or zip code information if there was some kind of error but they did say that if you call them (800) 263-8125 that they will happily re-attempt delivery, especially if the store is so far away from you! The rep I spoke with agreed with us that it seems strange for it to be held so far away and she confirmed that with a quick phone call they’d always be happy to help find some resolution for you.

      I hope this helps!

      Have a great day Alan!

    • Oh! I am sorry, I almost forgot.

      About refusing the package I would like to give you a heads up that this may not always be the cleanest resolution.

      Carriers like to charge ridiculous shipping charges for return shipping when a package is refused. (From what I’ve seen it seems to be about 3 X the original cost!) Any duties or taxes that are due are still charged too. OWC deducts only the amount of the original outbound shipping to help account for some of the return charges and any duties or taxes that are charged and that is all. We take on the bulk of the excessive return shipping fees but one look at our reviews will show you we’re not like other companies! We can’t say how others out there would handle these kinds of charges so be careful, Alan!

      I can also say for sure that OWC will always help you try to work it out with the carrier to get the package delivered or, if necessary, find the best option to return the package avoiding as many fees as possible.

      If any of our customers have any issues receiving delivery of their shipment, please just give us a call, live chat or email. We’re always here to help.

      Thanks again for participating in our blog discussion! It’s great to hear first hand what kind of experiences our customers are having.

      Have a great day! (And happy belated Thanksgiving to all of our Canadian customers!)

      • I would just like to reinforce Alan’s terrible experience with UPS. They are awful in Canada. I’m in Toronto, and had a big shipment from Apple that they tried to deliver twice to my house at 11 a.m. Not too surprising that I was not home!

        UPS will not give any indication on delivery times, except that they do NO deliveries after 5 p.m. and NO deliveries on Saturday or Sunday. Again, not terribly useful for those who work outside their homes.

        When I tried to have the delivery rerouted to one of the UPS stores, they refused — supposedly because with Apple orders, any change in delivery has to go through them. I called Apple who were very helpful and contacted UPS right away. The next day I checked online and my package was being held at (drumroll please) Concord, ON! The same spot Alan mentioned. It’s way way way in the far north of Toronto. As I live downtown and don’t drive it would take me over three hours to get there and back.

        After an afternoon on the line with painfully unhelpful UPS reps (in the Philiippines) I was ready to give up. The only reason I ever got my package was through calling UPS out on Twitter. It’s crazy, but their Twitter help guy seems to be the only one with any ability to get something done.

        Still, an awful experience. Now if I see someone in the U.S. or elsewhere ships with UPS I just say “no thanks.”

  • Does OWC still include all brokerage fees in their shipping costs to Canada? Moreover, USPS does not ship internationally any product containing lithium (like batteries). Does anyone have any recommendations?

    • Good Morning Neil!

      Thank you for asking. We do still include brokerage fees in our shipping charges to Canada. :)

      UPS and FedEx each do have a relatively new additional fee that you may need to be aware of. I apologize, I can’t recall what they called it and no doubt it is a different term for UPS and Fed Ex. Essentially they pay all taxes due immediately upon import in order to get the product to you asap so they charge a small fee for the advanced payment of the fees. (on top of the brokerage fee that we are covering for the shipment)

      It’s my understanding there still aren’t any brokerage fees or extra fees like the one I mentioned above when using the USPS. You can use your provinces GST/PST/HST/QST to estimate what your taxes may be. It may not be exactly accurate but it will be better than being caught off guard!

      I haven’t officially been able to confirm this but having lived in Ottawa for many years I have several friends there still and the word on the street is that taxes aren’t charged until the order goes over $50.

      At the end of the day the best way to make the decision is to gauge how quickly you need it vs. how much you’re willing to pay for a faster service. UPS is fairly quick and Fed Ex Priority will get it pretty much anywhere in Canada in a few days but there will likely be taxes and a small additional fee. The USPS is great to avoid additional fees if you’re not in a rush. The faster USPS options are usually more costly than their UPS/FedEX counter parts so you may end up trading off an on-delivery fee for a higher up front shipping charge.

      That said, if you’re dealing with a battery then you’re correct, the USPS recently tightened up their options and will no longer ship these internationally. We’ve adjusted our shipping calculator to take this information into account. In your basket you will always see any and all available options. Once you’ve entered checkout you will only be offered options that will work for what you are purchasing and are available where you are shipping. The best advice I can give for checkout is to read through the info for each service so you can be aware of what to expect of it. Each time you select a shipping method there will be a little blurb that pops up under the selection field that gives all kinds of information about the method selected including if it has tracking and expected delivery times! We put a lot of effort into putting lots of information into such a small space so we hope it helps!

      Please let us know if you have any further questions! We want you and all of our customers to be 100% happy with your shopping experience and we’re always happy to help!

      Thank you for shopping with us! Have a great day!

  • I agree about UPS. Their cost is often greater than the value of the goods,extortion comes to mind. I just cancelled a replacement shipment as the shipping was so high. If I had shipped to the US, it would have been 0 tax and free shipping. The process does does not work unless you are desparate

  • If you’re purchasing this with a business account, you may be charged duties and require a shipping broker… as opposed to purchasing it personally.

    Another option if you’re nearby a border town is to have it shipped via Fedex or UPS to a depot location State-side, and indicate in the delivery options that you prefer to pick it up, instead of a delivery option.

    There is a $75 duty-free allowance per person per day ($750 per week) when crossing over the border, and anything over that will be entirely up to the discretion of the CBSA agent at the gate. Don’t try to sneak it in, just pay the taxes, as you’re probably getting a great deal to begin with, duties or not!

    And if you want a guaranteed delivery, not a ballpark-estimate, use Fedex, not UPS (pronounced OOPS!).

    Thanks, OWC, for being willing to work with your Northern neighbours on this stuff!

  • I needed a hard drive replacement for an audio session I was working on in a hurry, talked to the OWC agent on Friday and Monday it was at my door via FedEx. As I live in an area that doesn’t get to door delivery from Canada Post, this was ny best option. It was fast (actually faster than expected… and yes there was obligitory “customs” fees, in this case well worth it)… BTW the disk drive replacement for our Pro tools rig, plug and play… worked like a charm!

  • The US postal Service is the BEST low cost option to receive packages delivered in Canada from the US.

    For instances where I prefer to have an item delivered quickly I have been using a courier/postal drop in the US and then crossing the border to retrieve the package(s). By using this method I avoid the high shipping and brokerage charges levied by UPS and other courier companies. UPS charges a 15-20 percent premium to ship packages to Canada as opposed to a point just south of the border. They then add a $45 + charge for their customs brokering service makes the total cost of the purchase much more expensive. UPS has consistently refused to allow my customs broker to clear packages and it’s not been possible to connect with anyone in UPS to get clarification. The person I last spoke to simply quoted company policy.

    Some companies do not use the USPS and rely only on couriers. When there is no choice I cross the border to save money.

    I appreciate OWC’s assistance , thank you!

  • Nice! When I ordered in the past from OWC, I opted for the USPS/Canada Post option because they don’t charge an outrageous “brokerage” fee. It’s usually $5 for handling (if they even bother charging that) and you’ll usually only pay the taxes based on the value claimed (note that they often use the insured value and not the actual quoted or invoiced value – don’t bother over insuring your packages).

    UPS is by far the worst IMHO. Last time I had something shipped via UPS from the US, it cost me almost $50 in “brokerage” fees on an item that was duty exempt. Heck, it was being sent by a relative and was really a gift!

    Never again will I use UPS.