Customs & shipping issues, questions, etc.

Hopefully this is the right place. This post is half a warning to others and half to see whether anyone else has run into a similar situation.

I ordered about €800 worth of modules from Schneidersladen a few weeks ago, for delivery to the US. Everything was fine until I started seeing some weird tracking messages about a hold last Tuesday, shortly after the package arrived in the US. Even last Thursday, though, UPS was still insisting they didn’t need anything from me and that the package would be loaded onto a truck any day.

Monday I finally got the right information from UPS customer service and got in contact with UPS’s customs brokerage. And, Tuesday (today) I just got a bill for $152.31 in brokerage fees (from UPS) in addition to the $46.55 they actually paid in import fees to the government.

I’m having a hard time getting UPS to even break down the $150 in fees, but as best I can tell, much of that is from a $20/day hold fee.

I’m at a bit of a loss here. The $150 in fees seems to be rather extortionate, but UPS seems to be holding all the cards. If I pay, then UPS just gets to do the same to their next “customer” (victim?). If I don’t, they say they’ll destroy the package unless Schneidersladen pays both the fees and return shipping.

UPS just makes up these fees and you have zero recourse. I also had a shipment from Schneidersladen via UPS hit me with outrageous fees. In the future I’ll have anything from Schneidersladen sent via the post office. FEDEX is usually not as bad, but they can also come up with ridiculous “brokerage” fees.


Yep. Had the same from DHL, and UPS. :rainbow: Capitalism :rainbow: .


Thanks. That’s… something, at least.

UPS did try to hit me with some weird fees once in the past, but at that point they were collecting after delivery. I called them once at the time and asked them to break down the brokerage fees so I could see what I was actually paying for. I never heard back, so I never responded (and ultimately paid nothing).

I do try to choose a carrier that will get handed off to USPS whenever possible for international shipments, but that didn’t seem to be an option with Schneidersladen. At least fees I’ve seen in the past were comparable to the actual government charges, not 3x the amount (for service that amounts to delaying my shipment by a week, apparently).

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It’s not a shipping option built into their cart system, but I think you can special request shipment via post.

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Too bad if so. I would have done that.

It was a while back, but I got hit with something like this for a US->AU shipment. First and only time its happened, and I have no idea why.

I just put it down to the current perils of global manufacturing and shipping. Every order feels a bit of a risk these days.

Definitely. I am in the EU, so it wasn’t a customs problem with UPS that I had recently, rather that they decided my address didn’t exist and sent some rails back to Schneidersladen after days of claiming not to be able to find my house.

Herr Schneider was very helpful and re-sent the package with a different courier, so I’m sure they would observe requests for alternate delivery options.

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What’s frustrating is, this really isn’t just part and parcel of the perils of global manufacturing and shipping. I have no problem paying legitimate fees, though admittedly I prefer USPS because they tend not even to do that.

What goes over and above anything I’ve seen in the past is UPS deciding that it’s apparently okay to completely fail to notify a customer that they need to take some action, and then charge a fee due to the delay.

Schneidersladen was extremely polite in their response to an email I sent yesterday, but I hoped they would take the extra step of raising an issue with UPS over this behavior. Schneidersladen seems to be the only one with any leverage in this situation, so if they don’t make any noise, UPS has every incentive to do this again.

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One little tidbit that came out of this…. For anyone who needs to talk to an actual person at UPS, here’s the recipe:

  • Call in, wait for the prompt, and say “Representative”.
  • The system will tell you it needs to know the reason for you call. Say “Representative” again.
  • Now, just find a gibberish word the system doesn’t understand, and repeat it 3 times.

Until something changes, this will get you into the hold line in about 1 minute, and usually the hold times are actually pretty short from there.


I’ve had to deal with this in the past. I did not end up paying the “customs brokerage fee”.

The first time it happened, the driver who was delivering the package also apparently felt it was unfair, and they told me that I could refuse delivery and indicate that I want to clear the package myself through customs. UPS held the package at the main depot in my city, and I went to the customs office and cleared it myself. Once I had the paperwork I went back to the depot and picked up my item.

It was a bit of a pain, but it sure felt good to deny them that extra fee.


I think you have a valid case for UPS refunding the warehouse storage fees. You might want to start with a call to UPS customer service and see how they respond. Document everything. If the call doesn’t work, send UPS a registered letter detailing your problem and specific demand for compensation. If that doesn’t work, you can look into taking them to small claims court. Here in MD it only costs $34 to file <$5000 claims in District court.


Yeah, it looks like I may have finally gotten to the right person and I think the fees will be refunded. It would have been great if it didn’t take hours on the phone to get to this point, though, using every trick I know of to save time. (Hence figuring out how to get through UPS’s phone tree in about a minute.)

@unicity, I didn’t realize it was possible to self-clear with UPS, let alone after they’ve issued import charges for the shipment. That’s really good to know, and I’d absolutely have looked into clearing the package myself if I know that was an option. It may have even saved me some time in the end.


I wasn’t aware either, and I wouldn’t have been if it weren’t for the nice UPS driver taking pity on me.

Maybe it’s just a Canadian thing? I’m not sure, but here’s a decent description of how it all works:


I’ve done this with Schneidersladen after having a similar issue with UPS to the original message in the start of this thread. The Schneidersladen logistics team and customer support team were great and doing their best to help me through the UPS debacle (there wasn’t much they could do) and provided the option of DHL (post) for future shipments. One thing to note though is that DHL seems to be sent as whatever equivalent to USPS first class (i.e., slow service) so you might be waiting a few weeks instead of a couple of days with UPS. For me, this was fine because it took a lot of hassle getting the shipment from UPS and it ended up taking like 3-4 weeks to get it due to their shitty process.


Yeah, I’ve just been through a lousy experience with UPS, but going the other direction (from Florida to the UK).

The tax & duty charges were over $100 more than expected. But when I called UPS (and actually got off hold) the rep just kept explaining that you “have to pay fees” when importing from the US. Finally after asking to speak to a supervisor – I think my actual words were “someone who can do maths” – I was transferred to another department and told to raise a complaint via email. Still there was no response until the retailer kindly asked their UPS contact to assist.

It’s taken over a month, but UPS have now acknowledged that there was a paperwork error, and the charges were indeed incorrect. Sadly as the recipient shipping companies don’t really do much to hide how little interest they have in maintaining a business relationship with you.


What is your feedback about UPS vs DHL in receiving goods ordered? recently bumped in a UPS lost/stolen goods debate and I wonder how a delivery company such as UPS can handle this sort of disaster, tried to contact them to understand my final Custom fee but no avail. Will go through paypal so eventually I will get my money back BUT it would be a pain I know

Wow! I think it’s happening to me waiting for my Norns.

happy new year…

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My experience with DHL has been good, but it’s also limited to shipments of low enough value that no customs fees are required, and UPS has also been fine there.

I will say that my limited experience interacting with DHL customer service has been better than UPS. UPS is just about the only company where I regularly have had to figure out how to trick it’s automated customer service system into letting me talk to an actual person. That goes for something as simple as a hold request (an option they removed from their online system, so they can try to charge you for a hold at a UPS Store instead) to the hours I spent on the phone resolving the fees they charged here due to their own mistake.

By the way, I recently received a $12 bill in the mail from UPS for an adjustment to the fees they already agreed to refund (after said hours on the phone). Probably safe to ignore, since UPS no longer has the shipment, but yet another point against UPS. They’re just kind of horrible to work with.


Thanks…well in my case is … damn! in my order I included the UPS Worldwide Expedited
service as they claim to be the safest for Custom clearance and so on… :crossed_fingers: