June 11, 2001
Update: I don't recall specifically, but I think my review really describes UPS standard service, while most of it applies to the other services, the customs brokerage fees for express and expedited services are included in the original shipping price, see this rate table. They do still have other fees associated with importation with duty and/or taxes owing and these exceed the $5 Canada Post charge and the free service from Fedex.
Update 2: As of August 11, 2001 Fedex now has an additional fee as well. If duty and/or taxes are owing Fedex will charge a $7 CAD fee unless the recipient has a Fedex account and they can link the package to the account. Fedex accounts are free by the way.
UPS is decidedly worse on all counts that its competitors.
Speed: FedEx and Purolator and several others are faster, even standard post sometimes beats UPS. Things are also hampered by the difficulties in retrieving packages from the central office when you are not home to receive them. It recent times it has taken several days to make arrangements to pick up the package, whereas FedEx, Purolator and even Canada Post allow you to pickup the packages the evening of a failed delivery attempt.
Cost: UPS is more than the USPS and about the same as other couriers. Where they loose is on customs brokerage fees. UPS's brokerage fees are astronomical, usually far more than the taxes and duty owing, sometimes even more than the value of the package. FedEx, on the other hand, includes the brokerage fee in the original shipping cost and most other companies charge a flat fee, such as the $5 fee of Canada Post.
Service: I've had UPS drivers refuse to carry a package up the stairs to my apartment. Drivers that can't figure out how to ring button 303 for apartment 303. Phone operators which are very slow and require far too much information and require it to be read to them very slowly. Delivery notices that don't stay stuck to the door and often wind up way down the hall or missing completely. The office that doesn't keep extended hours to facilitate package retrieval. The generally damaged condition of all boxes shipped through UPS. On a side note, occasionally a FedEx Rep will call before a package is delivered to tell me when it will be delivered and the specific amount of taxes/duty owning on a package, extremely handy if your waiting for a delivery person or heading down to the office to pick it up. Now you know what it will cost before they show up and have the proper payment on hand.
I personally find no reason to use UPS and try to avoid using them whenever possible.
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