I bought some products online and the seller, without asking me, decided it was a nice gesture to send the items through courier, even though I had paid for regular international mail to Canada. They used DHL for shipping and DHL charges a minimum of $14 plus tax in addition to the taxes and duties I owed Canada Customs. So, if you live in Canada, you have 2 choices: keep your purchase under $20 or buy enough to justify paying DHL's fees. Keep in mind they charge 2.5% of the product value or $10, whichever is highest + $4 C.O.D. fee + taxes. And when you call to ask them why are you paying $28 on a $36 package, they will tell you to take it with the government because taxes are so high. Then they tell you that, if you lived in the US, your threshold would be so much higher so the problem is that you live in Canada, even though the actual taxes are only $12 and the rest are their ridiculous fees. The DHL person I spoke to said they get lots of upset calls about their fees but; from what I gather, people pay them because they have little choice. What is the point of buying things online if you have to pay double the original price in the long run?
I'm pretty sure I will be stuck with the usless DHL $16 fee for knocking and my door and spending a minute at the customs counter. I know it's a matter of 1 minute because I have done my own brokerage at customs close to the Toronto airport and it literally takes no time. I can't do that now because I moved to a town 3 hours away from the GTA and I don't drive. Otherwise I would be there in a heartbeat. It's worth the drive just to make a point if you are close by.
DHL suggested I should refuse the package to avoid the fees and offered no other solution. My experience with FEDEX and UPS is that they are more understanding and will meet you in the middle depending on what you bought. They do have fees per line in the invoice and other stuff but they understand when their fees are just too high and will at least try and help you out.