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Rates charged by Canada Post are outrageous, says local businessman


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TRURO - Mailing out a business package to an international location is almost enough to make Jim Small's blood start to boil.
"It's outrageous," he says of the rates charged by Canada Post for the service. "There's no defending it. Why does Canada Post rip us off like that?"
That statement is based on the difference in rates he has discovered between what Canada Post charges to deliver packages compared to that of the U.S. Postal Service.
"I'm in the mail order business ... so I know something about shipping things," the Lower Onslow resident said. "Everything I sell I have to ship, so I use the post office all the time.
"What puzzles the heck out of me," Small added, "is the incredible gap in costs to ship stuff overseas," where many of his customers are from.
His calculations, taken from the official Internet sites that both Canada Post and the U.S. Postal Service offer their customers for that purpose, show that the Canadian service for some destinations can cost nearly 10 times as much as the American system.
Small, who counts on overseas orders to support his business, which often involves shipping out assembled plastic models (ships, planes, science fiction space craft, etc.), believes his client base could be much larger if not for the prohibitive mailing costs. He said those costs can be considerably higher than the value of the product he is shipping.
"It's clear we are paying way more," he said. "I want somebody to explain to me why the rates are that high."
As an example, he refers to one recent package that carried a value of about $200, while the cost to ship the item to its European destination was $516.
"Canucks in the mail order business like me are getting seriously hosed," he said. "We just can't afford to ship stuff overseas. This is why I have a lot of 'would-be' customers instead of customers. Nobody can afford the insane rates Canada Post charges."
And those rates make even less sense given that the Crown corporation generally posts annual net profits in the tens of millions of dollars, he said.
Canada Post media director John Caines said Small's comparisons do not "make any sense at all..." because "Our prices are generally competitive."
While Small agrees that may be true when comparing Canada Post rates with Canadian courier services, it does not hold up when compared to the American postal
system.
"I have no idea what their rate system is," Caines said. "We're competitive with anybody else in Canada. What another country charges, I don't know."
Small said he does know, however, and he is not happy with the information.

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

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