Only Canada or both USA & Canada getting dinged on "FREE" shipping from Europe?
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  1. #1
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    Only Canada or both USA & Canada getting dinged on "FREE" shipping from Europe?

    OK, there's a lot of folks getting dinged with extra fees and charges on orders that are supposed to be shipped FREE from European suppliers (PBK, Wiggle, Ribble, etc.).

    Unfortunately, many of the posters don't bother to say what country they are in when they tell their tale of woe.

    What I'd like to know (and the purpose of this thread) is whether the ripoff extra charges are only being levied on Canadians, or both Canadians and USA'ers. From what I can determine, it's only Canadians; but impossible to tell for sure.

    Also it would be very helpful if future posters on this topic will say what country they are in. Thanks.

  2. #2
    HERKWO
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    I am in the US and use Ribble.com as my go to internet cycling shop. I have NEVER been charged any additional customs or brokerage fees through them. Used to use Probikekit.com too but have not and likely will not again since they have begun sending through a brokerage company.
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  3. #3
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    In the thread I started, the PBK customers were nearly all US based as was the broker that was the subject of complaints. PBK has a Canadian site and the issue did not arise with Canadians who wrote.

    The Wiggle issue was with the use of DHL, and that applied equally to Canada and the US I believe, but to Canada for sure.

    Only one problem EVER with shipments from Ribble has been reported as far as I can tell. It looks like a bit of an anomaly.

    Myself, Mike T, Armstrong and Jlandry are all in Canada. After a while one just knows. Also the profile usually indicates the country of a member.

    What country is OP in by the way??
    We just don’t realize the most significant moments of our lives when they’re happening
    Back then I thought “well there'll be other days”
    I didn’t realize that was the only day
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9yrupye7B0

    There's sometimes a buggy.
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    So let's just say I'm drivin' this buggy...
    and if you fix your attitude you can ride along with me.
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  4. #4
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    I still continue to order from Ribble as everything has come in with Canada Post. I've placed 3 orders in the past 3 months and all have been Royal Mail/Canada Post.

    I haven't tried the other guys lately because I have read the posts and will avoid until I hear otherwise.

    So is PBK still safe for Canadians? I know that last few times I used them the shipments took forever but came through with Canada Post

  5. #5
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    Thanks, guys.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that
    USA customers are safe from unexpected charges except when dealing with PBK.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
    Thanks, guys.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that
    USA customers are safe from unexpected charges except when dealing with PBK.
    That broad of a statement is incorrect. I have had packages from Ribble and Shinybikes mistakenly get routed through customs and misclassified. In those circumstances I paid the duty and fees and protested based on customs using the wrong item classification. In each case the duty was refunded (90 day process) BUT the fees were not.

    I would say your statement is accurate 90-95% of the time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
    Thanks, guys.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that
    USA customers are safe from unexpected charges except when dealing with PBK.
    Or Wiggle if it's routed through DHL. I'd get Wiggle to confirm in writing that DHL will not be used if "free" shipping is selected for your basket.
    We just don’t realize the most significant moments of our lives when they’re happening
    Back then I thought “well there'll be other days”
    I didn’t realize that was the only day
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9yrupye7B0

    There's sometimes a buggy.
    How many drivers does a buggy have?
    One.
    So let's just say I'm drivin' this buggy...
    and if you fix your attitude you can ride along with me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekiIMh4ZkM

  8. #8
    Recycle King
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    I am from the U.S. and had purchased from PBK twice and from Ribble twice. My last purchased from PBK was in April and from Ribble was last 2 December ago. I received each package via Royal Air Mail with no additional charges besides what I paid for during checkout. After reading a number of complaints from members on here, I don't see myself shopping from them until I heard that they have change their policy.
    "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." - Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner

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  9. #9
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    I ordered some stuff from PBK last week — drivetrain parts, mostly. I haven't received them yet but will see if I get charged extra beyond what I've already paid.

  10. #10
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    OK, let's try this:

    USA customers are almost always safe from unexpected charges except when dealing with PBK.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
    OK, let's try this:

    USA customers are almost always safe from unexpected charges except when dealing with PBK.
    It is about the shipping company used more so than the vendor. Yes PBK has changed from Parcel Force to AirCityPost which causes issues, particularly on packages valued over $200.

    You can/will run into issues with other vendors if you select expedited shipping as they typically then use UPS/FedEx/DHL or similar which, like AirCityPost, use customs fees as a profit center.

  12. #12
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    So far bike components have come to me in the USA without much hassle, especially if they arrive by USPS.

    It is usually Freight purchases for non bicycle related purchases that come with unexpected charges. I had some tiles that I didn't even realize were coming from outside of the USA, but I had custom fees, shipping inspection fees, and even the freight company charged me about $20 extra to load the pallet onto my trailer.

  13. #13
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    I'm in the US/Hawaii.
    Recent orders from Europe (all orders were made AFTER the issue had been brought to light):

    Merlin Cycles - Shimano groupset with the cheapest shipping option - received via FedEx, $20 in fees.
    PBK - Wheelset with cheapest shipping option - received via USPS, no fees.
    Wiggle - bunch of jerseys - received via USPS, no fees. (I did leave a comment in the order telling them NOT to ship it via courier)

    All of my Ribble orders have come via USPS, but these orders were made before the issues were brought up.

  14. #14
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    I'm in the US and ordered a couple of tires from Wiggle a few weeks ago, no charges sent so far.

  15. #15
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    I'm in the US and recently purchased from Merlin and Chain Reaction with no additional fees. Both offer free shipping to the US.

  16. #16
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    ordered from PBK and merlin several times so far no fee's. I have an order from PBK I'm waiting on right now so we'll see in a couple weeks, no tracking info has been sent which has been typical in the past so I'm hopeful. Last order before this was back in feb shipping to NY.

  17. #17
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    FWIW, I ordered a set of pedals from Ribble last week and they arrived today. They were shipped by Royal Mail and arrived without any extra charges. I read the other thread and decided to roll the dice anyway because they were half the price I could get from anyone in the US, so I figured even if there were brokerage fees tacked on it would still be a bargain.
    Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.

  18. #18
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    I got one order placed with free Royal mail delivery, that got routed from Parcel Force to FedEx. So far it seems to be an isolated event. I have tried to do some digging and trying to get a response from Ribble without sucess.

    Here are the details for your information, I spoke to 2 customer representatives at Ribble:

    If your package has a higher value (more than $200, I believe) they will ship it using a traceable carrier. They use Parcel Force. From here on, things can get a bit nebulous as "for some unknown reason" there is a small chance that they could relay the parcel to FedEx or other international courier, like USP/DHL. They confirmed to me that the usual route should be Parcel Force to USPS.
    As to why I got a package routed from Parcel Force to FedEx, I don't understand. I personally spoke to 2 ribble representatives and they could not explain it. They would not confirm that this would not happen in the future. It seems that once it leaves their loading dock, it is in Parcel Force's hand. Likely they have a scouting dept that subcontracts with 2rd carriers for space on their shipping racks for overseas.

    I had had communications with Alan Gray at Ribble in the past regarding orders. I asked the same question from him and at he wrote that Parcel Force would not relay with FedEx. Yet there is at least one documented case (mine) in which this happened. I forwarded all my info, including tracking data and FedEx's bill (which arrived a few weeks later) to him as evidence. I kindly asked Gray to comment or investigate on this issue. I have never heard back despite having reached out to him via email on 3 occasions and one phone call.

    So there you have it. Hopefully this will not happen to others.

  19. #19
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    Parcel Force is (was?) the parcel division of Royal Mail. Recently, the UK has been planning to privatize the post office, so I wonder if there is any connection with this and the for-profit companies suddenly appearing in the mix? Maybe someone from the UK could comment. Ribble is one of my favorite UK vendors and if I am going to start get slapped with those idiotic Fed Ex/UPS brokerage charges, I will think twice before using them. These are not customs duties, but pure profit for the shipper, done because they can.

    FWIW, I have recently ordered some things here in the US which were sent out by UPS but transferred to the local US Postal Service for home delivery.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmoryl View Post
    Parcel Force is (was?) the parcel division of Royal Mail. Recently, the UK has been planning to privatize the post office, so I wonder if there is any connection with this and the for-profit companies suddenly appearing in the mix? Maybe someone from the UK could comment. Ribble is one of my favorite UK vendors and if I am going to start get slapped with those idiotic Fed Ex/UPS brokerage charges, I will think twice before using them. These are not customs duties, but pure profit for the shipper, done because they can.

    FWIW, I have recently ordered some things here in the US which were sent out by UPS but transferred to the local US Postal Service for home delivery.
    Royal Mail was sold off at the end of last year. Not sure to details as to how much of it was privatized. Current row in UK is that it was sold too cheap.

    I don't know what a brokers full business model is, but I'm guessing they could afford to offer a little commission to an outfit like Parcelforce in exchange for the business, when they have a captive consumer.

    Plus one day governments are going to wake up and realize how much duty and tax is being missed at present.

    Put the two together and I fear the days of no tax and duty free deals from the UK are numbered.
    We just don’t realize the most significant moments of our lives when they’re happening
    Back then I thought “well there'll be other days”
    I didn’t realize that was the only day
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9yrupye7B0

    There's sometimes a buggy.
    How many drivers does a buggy have?
    One.
    So let's just say I'm drivin' this buggy...
    and if you fix your attitude you can ride along with me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekiIMh4ZkM

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong
    The only answer is "You might pay or you might not".

    This is not a yes/no situation. Yet posters keep asking that over and over.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cinelli 82220 View Post
    The only answer is "You might pay or you might not".

    This is not a yes/no situation. Yet posters keep asking that over and over.
    To make an intelligent purchasing decision, a customer would be greatly aided by being able to estimate the probability of extra fees. Hence this thread.

  23. #23
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    I don't know if the US customs is suddenly going to wake up and realize the 'all the money that they are losing'. The customs duty is actually quite low for a lot of this stuff, and it isn't worth the effort to collect it. If you were an importer bringing in a container of components it might be different.

    On one vacation I brought back about a dozen bottles of wine from Europe, which I declared on the customs card. When I got flagged for a full customs search, the customs agent, who was a pretty nice guy, asked me 'do you have any idea why they sent you over here?'. I responded that it was probably because of the wine. He then said something like 'I probably shouldn't say this, but we don't really care about a dozen bottles of wine'.

    My hunch about what really got me flagged was my irritation at the gestapo-like interrogation by the immigration agent after waiting in a long line....

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmoryl View Post
    I don't know if the US customs is suddenly going to wake up and realize the 'all the money that they are losing'. The customs duty is actually quite low for a lot of this stuff, and it isn't worth the effort to collect it. If you were an importer bringing in a container of components it might be different.

    On one vacation I brought back about a dozen bottles of wine from Europe, which I declared on the customs card. When I got flagged for a full customs search, the customs agent, who was a pretty nice guy, asked me 'do you have any idea why they sent you over here?'. I responded that it was probably because of the wine. He then said something like 'I probably shouldn't say this, but we don't really care about a dozen bottles of wine'.

    My hunch about what really got me flagged was my irritation at the gestapo-like interrogation by the immigration agent after waiting in a long line....
    It's a little different in Canada (not sure about individual US States), where they are also missing out on 13% sales tax across the board, in addition to duty - prob 20% in total. My point being that Governments would probably like brokers to handle everything, since they would then be assured of some additional income. Brokers are doing the tax collecting for them, so it's not like they'd need to do anything extra - other than collect the cash.
    We just don’t realize the most significant moments of our lives when they’re happening
    Back then I thought “well there'll be other days”
    I didn’t realize that was the only day
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9yrupye7B0

    There's sometimes a buggy.
    How many drivers does a buggy have?
    One.
    So let's just say I'm drivin' this buggy...
    and if you fix your attitude you can ride along with me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekiIMh4ZkM

  25. #25
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    bikerjulio:

    The thing about brokers in the US is that Fed Ex and UPS bill you for customs brokerage even if there is no customs charge assessed! Presumably this if for filling out that little slip of paper, or something. And if there is a duty, the brokerage charge will usually exceed it on the kind of small orders we are discussing here. Canada seems a bit more diligent about collecting their actual duties and taxes.

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