Over the past few weeks I’ve ordered a number of things online and received shipments for all major shipping companies. My building has conceige that can sign for all packages that don’t require a payment for duty or COD. Its very interesting to see the process each company uses handle deliveries and collect the duty/COD charges:
Purolator doesn’t leave a door hanger or and indicator that they’ve visited. Even if there is money owing or its the final shipment. Apparently this is a security feature to prevent someone from paying the duty/handling charges and stealing my shipment. They will attempt to call you if they have a phone number ( often they don’t ) or you have to use your mystic skills and call them when you think your package is due. The only pickup depot for Toronto is actually in Etobicoke. Once your pay any duty or COD charges the package is sent the next day. By far the worst experience…
DHL has decided to partner with Loomis in Canada for local delivery. The DHL number 1-800 number brilliantly says to call Loomis in Canada and then hangs up. Calling Loomis you are immediately told that DHL handles shipment from international destinations and you need to call them. If you’re lucky you can convince the Loomis rep to transfer you to the DHL otherwise its best to call the DHL US number via Skype and get transfered to DHL Canada. Once you pay the Duty or COD charges the DHL can contact the driver wirelessly and tell them to just drop off the package. This often doesn’t work though and the package will not be delivered until the next day. I wasn’t able to figure if my package would be a Loomis or DHL depot in Toronto, probably not aware near downtown.
UPS borrows from DHL with a single 1-800 that works in Canada and US but seems to transfer you to the US when the Canadian reps are busy. The US reps seem unaware/able to handle US packages. This means you have to keep dialling and hoping that a Canadian rep answers. The single UPS pickup depot is located up by York University, easily an hour trip on Transit or Car to get my package. And again once you pay the Duty/COD charges UPS can notify the drive but the connection process doesn’t seem very reliable and most of the time the package will be delivered the next day.
By far the best experience so far. If there is no duty due the package is dropped off without issue. If there is duty due then its a short walk to the Post Office, where I can pay the fees and walk home with my package. Canada Post has offices throughout Toronto and by far the easiest solution to deal with. If I were Canada Post I would make a stronger emphasis of their shipping benefits.
So I will be using USPS or Canada Post where ever possible. Its not an option with most online stores though and I would image that cost and easy of shipment these choices.
In my ideal world I’d love to be able to receive email notifications on shipments and pay duty/cod charges online. I’m really surprise that none of these services offer this yet…