Question your Customs Broker

Sometimes when companies begin to partner with their service providers it can be hard to see that they are actually doing a disservice. One of the worst is the relationship with a US Customs broker. In the past, Customs Brokers have been set up to pay US customs for their customers for a nominal fee and many times they would lay out the money to pay duty for their customers. Then they would bill the entire amount to the customer after the shipments come in. This is not only impractical, but it can be financially difficult for the broker. What can wind up happening is that they cannot keep up and eventually stop paying your duty. In this case, you will start to see pink slips sent to you by US customs talking about your entries and late payments. This paper means they are not paying your duty. If you ask your broker and they say that they are handling it, you should be questioning them. Another red flag should be that arranging your filings to direct ACH payments. If they are unwilling to accommodate your request, then you need to find a new broker. Lastly, if you are finding that there 10% or more of your shipments are being held by US customs and you do not already know why, there could be a problem with your broker. So many freight forwarding companies have in house brokerages that using a separate Customs broker can be unnecessary, but if your forwarder does not have this part covered in their freight forwarding services, check up on your broker with US Customs. While most of them are completely worthwhile, there are a few that will risk your standing with US Customs to benefit themselves.