Originally Posted by shaunw
I figured I would follow up on this as a precautionary warning to others that are interested in alden makeups that are only available from international retailers. THis was my first time buying aldens from a non US retailer and it will definitely be my last. I will say that Frans Boone customer service was very good and I think that with the exception of shipping through UPS, they did try to keep shipping and customs costs down. Unfortunately I wasn't home when the package was delivered and my wife stroked a check to the UPS delivery driver for the required $117.20 USD. The check was made out to "UPS Brokerage". I suffered through some long phone calls with UPS as I tried to substantiate the $117.20 charge but they really wouldn't explain anything and simply stated that the charge was from US customs and that they were required to charge me for it. Had I known I would have never made this purchase so I figure I will try to let others learn from my experience.
Frankly, it is my opinion that the UPS rep you spoke with is full of shit. Canadians are well aware of UPS' extortionist brokerage charges. In Canada, most of the fees charged in a case such as yours would be going straight into the UPS coffer, with only the absolute required amount remitted to the government. For example, a Timbuktu messenger back I ordered several years ago got charged with an extra $80 in fees (for a $180 item). I told them the to send it back. A few days later, the local UPS people phoned me to say that I can broker it myself. I did so, at a cost of an hour of my time and $20 in tax. All I had to do was go to UPS, pick up some paperwork, go to the Customs office (not very far from UPS) and clear my parcel, then go back to UPS to get the goods. I realize geography may not make this viable for many of you, but it is for me. Over the years, I've cleared many of my UPS deliveries myself. Even so, I try to avoid using the company as much as possible.