Not that costly for the sender (which is why many senders from US use it), but high cost for receiver. Surcharge customs "brokerage" fee that really just seems like extortion from UPS billed to end receiver. Usually 2-3 times the original cost that the sender paid to have item shipped. Example: Say you buy a hat for $35 dollars, have it shipped from US to Canada via UPS ground for $20. Upon delivery in Canada UPS will demand payment for somewhere between $40-$80 just for "clearing customs" and paying the GST on that (GST of $1-$2 or so on original item cost).
The fees charged are posted only here: http://www.ups.com/content/ca/en/shipping/cost/zones/customs_clearance.html
Sounds like a great deal? Better off using air or USPS! Will be cheaper!
I can't recommend another private company because DHL, Fedex and everyone else all do this. Its a big money maker for them. The only exception is USPS: Surface mail or Global Express are reasonable and we Canadians only have to pay a $10 "brokerage" fee along with the GST or PST due on the item (compare in my example above: $12 vs. $40+).
The alternative to ground shipment is to use air, but this is more expensive obviously. Not a good way to save money!
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