Sunday, January 17, 2010

UPS Sucks Large, Brio sucks a little.

My first experience with UPS "brokerage" fees this week.  Those are the ridiculous charges they levy to 'broker' a package through customs. I'm very careful when I order stuff or bid on stuff from the US never to spend over $20.  If you import something worth less than $20, you pay no duty.  Over $20 you do.

Anyway, I recently ordered a couple of brio trains for the boys from the brio web page.  $9.09 USD each.  Total $18.16 USD, or about $18.70 CAD.  I also specified shipping by US Postal Service, since it was quite a bit cheaper. 

Imagine my surprise when a UPS guy bangs on the door wanting money.  A COD package for $20.63.  Yikes.  I was confused for a second... besides having asked for the trains not to be sent UPS, I had already paid for them.  Why would I pay for them again?  Turns out it was for "brokerage" fees totaling almost more than the value of the items in the package.  Thanks but no thanks little man dressed in earth colours.  Since it would be harder to get money back than get it sorted out so as not to pay in the first place, I declined to cough up the cash.  According to the invoice left with me, it broke down to $0 in duty, $2.68 GST, $17.10 Brokerage Fee, $0.85 GST on aforementioned Brokerage Fee. 

Checked UPS web site.  Packages valued under $20 are not supposed to have any brokerage fee.  Called UPS, who said package had two items, each valued at $10 US, for a total of $20 and some cents Canadian.  The some cents triggered the $20.63 in fees.  (Incidentally, also according to UPS web site, packages with a value of $20.01 - $40.00 have a brokerage fee of $7 so don't know how they came up with $17.10)

I nicely explained (there is no point ever raising your voice to the peons) that the invoice I paid clearly says the items cost me less than $20.  She explained that I would have to get an updated invoice faxed to UPS, pay a $10 fee, and not have to pay the brokerage fees.  I think it was some kind of buy off attempt.  Tempt me with some small savings...  not biting, since I shouldn't have to pay anything extra at all.

Phoned Brio.  After I battered my way through "I'm sorry, but we aren't responsible for brokerage or customs fees" it turns out they made an error in their warehouse.  I bought the trains on super duper sale, only the sale price was written on the manifest.  I would just have to pay the fees, fax them the invoice, they would send me money.  Grrrr.... a) I don't want to pay more money and then hope to get a rebate and b) I don't have a fax machine and live in the f'ing boonies and don't want drive 10 minutes then pay $6 a page to fax long distance at the local office ripoff store.

Since it was your error, I suggested sweetly (but probably less sweetly than I should have - their muzak while on hold was driving me batty), can't you fix it from your end without costing me any more time or money?  "But all we could do is reship the trains."

I kept my biting sarcasm on hold.  "Gosh, that sounds like it might work."  Mostly on hold.  I reminded them to send via USPS.  Should be here in 7-10 days.

By the way, the trains are rechargeable battery powered ones that run on your standard Brio/Thomas wooden train tracks.  Odin is mad for trains right now, we get the bin out every day and play with them.  Sale price on the web page right now is $10.09 (down from $34.99).  There is a trick to get them for $9.09.  I wanted to see how much S&H would be, but it wouldn't tell me without entering all my mailing info.  Did so, decided it wasn't worth it for one train... and two trains would have totaled more than $20, and we know what kind of problems that leads to.

I said screw it, but the next day got an email saying "We noticed that you left our site with items in your shopping cart." and that if I went back and bought, I'd get another 10% off, or only $9.09 per train. Good marketing.  S&H was the same for two, no duty or tax since they were under twenty bucks, good deal, should have been easy.


No comments:

Post a Comment