DHL Express and Processing Fees

So DHL Express (Canada) Ltd. just delivered my latest order of Duilleog from CreateSpace. I had ordered from them many times whilst in the US and never blinked. Today I was met at the door by the DHL dude demanding $18.35 CAD for me to take possession of my books. I said, “Wuh?”and then paid while complaining the entire time.

Then I examined the invoice. I paid $44.98 for six books from Amazon. The GST/PST/HST they charged me was $2.25. That seems reasonable and is perfectly in line with duty rates of 5% for books being imported into Canada.

The remainder of the amount was $11.30 for a “Processing Fee” and $4.80 for a “Transaction Fee” (those amounts include GST). That means that on top of the $2.25 duty I also paid $16.10 in fees. That, my friends, is BLACKMAIL, pure and unadulterated. You see, I cannot take possession of the books unless I pay on the spot for their fees. They hold the box firmly unless I succeed to their demands and pay their ransom. Once paid the goods are handed to me with a smile.

This is criminal. I have no doubt of that in my mind. In essence I paid over 6 times the duty just so this company can deliver the goods. This is on top of what I already paid to Amazon to ship and handle my order. I feel dirty and angry and I have no recourse,  or method to dispute the charges. No power at all.

I called their 1-800 number for an explanation. “Someone will call me tomorrow,” they said. I now suspect some thug will pistol whip me as I walk down the street to work, toss me in the back of a panel van, and I will wake up under a glaring light, tied to a chair.


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  1. Doug Zwicker

    I thought that duty was supposed to go when the so called free duty happened , sometimes when I order things there is no charge and other times I am gouged too , who can figure

    • No, there are many things that are still subject to duty. Books being one of them at 5%.

  2. Ouch. That’s a base cost of $10.56 per book. You’ll have to see it for at least $18,00. I’ll be making an order soon because I’m running very low on books. I’m terrified of the exchange rate. I believe it’s below 75 cents. This means my usual $200 order will only bring me $150 worth of books (including shipping).

    If it’s any consolation, even on a $200 order, I still pay about $20 for duty fees. It’s not fair, but the more you buy at one time, the more money you save.

    But as time proves, the dollar goes up and down. A few years ago, we were enjoying the benefits of having the higher dollar. I predict in about three years, we’ll be on top again.

    And you are right; we are powerless against huge companies. We either play their game or walk away.

    • Ouch indeed. Unexpected and abhorrent to me. Whatever they did at the border in no way could it equate to $16.10 in fees. That is ludicrous. I understand the need for a fee but it needs to be representative of the actual labour.

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