USPS is the best (cheapest) way to Canada by far. Forget UPS. Fed Ex is next best choice.
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I just shipped a package to Canada via USPS. It was a Line conditioner. Shipping with USPS is simple especially if it weighs less than 6 lbs, you fill out 1 Form. If it weighs more than 6 lbs, or has a significant value, or contains unusal items or materials, then there is a more comprehensive form. Either way don't be scared, the clerks are usually pretty helpful and it just requires filing out an extra piece of paper. Also, i think most of the time, it helps if it is a low-value Gift.
My policy is to make all out of US sales final, with an agreement with the buyer that I take no responsibilty once it leaves my hands.
I also vote for USPS.Never had a problem and ,believe it or not,delivery has been quick and whole.
As mentioned by JUSTLISTEN it is VERY helpful if you make it a GIFT or at the very least devalue the item (shame on me).Then it doesn't get bogged down at Customs.
I have ordered many a IC's ,CD's etc ,from the US, and shipping has been a good experience.......so far.
As a side note ,I have larger more expensive items shipped to a border store and pick them up personally.
On shipments to Canada, UPS seems to tack on extra charges which others don't, notably brokerage fees. They have managed to break things for me in the past where others have not. Their claims process (if what they put me through can be dignified by that name) was an utter nightmare.
FedEx and the Post Office have both come through for me every time, but there are two points which make me choose the mails. First, if I am not home, they leave the package at a nearby office and I can go and get it any time during their (long) opening hours. Second (and I hope Canada Post is not reading this), about every second package seems to get through without any extra charges.
Normally I would have to pay about 15% taxes and a $5 handling fee on everything I received, no matter where it came from, as well as duty on goods not made in the U.S. FedEx is very conscientious and always collects these.
i've received things simply dropped in the mail, such as tubes and cartridges and they arrive faster and with less additional costs than the other options. it also seems that the brothers of usps communicate well with the brothers of canada post. if the items is small and less that $250-300, usps is the way to go for me.
Tvad has hit it on head...express mail is the way to go...I ship 10 to 15 items a week to Canada via express mail and have never had a problem...I tried lower cost shipping and it either took too long...or got lost...and they charged the buyer a hefty duty fee...express mail to Canada is cheaper than if you were sending it to the lower 48 states...so my vote is USPS to Canada...just remember to get the phone number of the buyer and put it on the form...you will find most Canadian buyers ask for USPS...good luck
I just sold some gear that I need to ship to Japan and Taiwan. I was going to use Fed-ex, but now you have me thinking. My business sends things overseas about every other month. We've always used Fed-ex and have never had a problem, at least one that we could understand. Chinese yelled into a phone is totally incomprehensible, so who knows? But it is expensive and we always get an additional charge about a month after we ship for duties. So it is almost impossible to tell how much the shipping will cost. Does anyone know how the USPS is at shipping to the far east? And how long it takes?
Mike_z, perhaps you should make this a thread of its own to get more responses. For my part, having shipped to Japan only once, I can say that Canada Post Xpress to the Far East worked very well, and in the time promised. The only surprise was that they could not track a package past the port of landing. If the package went to Narita, for example, tracking stopped after that.
One of my Far East correspondents says that USPS is if anything, faster than Canada Post.