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last month I ordered a computer from an American company that shipped it through FedEx. I paid for shipping when I purchased the computer and if I remember right I also paid a small import tax when the package was in customs. Today I received a bill from FedEx with a massive charge on it that included the following charges

Advancement Fee $10.53 HST on ADV/Ancillary Services Fees $10.25 Clearance Entry Fee $75.03 Canada HST $41.30

The Canada HST I found out I do have to pay but the rest of the charges don't look like any kind of legitimate government charges and I was completely unaware of them. Am I legally obligated to pay these random fees when I in no way agreed to pay them? I didn't even know there was anything owing on the package, I was told everything was paid for and I just had to wait. They were also supposed to get my signature at the door for proof of delivery but they failed to do that as well, they just left it at the door and left without even knocking. from what I know of Canadian law since I was not made aware of these fees I am not responsible for any of them besides the government tax, but I am concerned i may be wrong and I'm unsure of what to do.

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Online stores shipping stuff internationally usually include a clause in their Terms along the lines "buyer is responsible for all clearance/import fees and taxes".

What those fees and taxes are depends on:

  • destination country (the actual tax)
  • carrier (e.g. FedEx) (clearance charges as the carrier also acts as your customs broker)
  • value and, sometimes, what the item is.

The onus is on the buyer to check all those charges in advance before deciding to buy. It would have been naive to assume that, when you buy internationally, all that you pay is what the store gets plus import tax (unless you're ready to be present at the customs when the item arrives, fill forms and liaise with them yourself).

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