Finding the most affordable shipping service to sell to Canada is one thing, but understanding how the international returns process works is a whole different ballgame. To help clarify this process for U.S.-based online businesses, we’ve put together the following article, which will break down how returns work for USPS international shipments.
First, there are two types of returns to understand: undeliverable and deliverable.
USPS International Returns: Undeliverable Packages
Undeliverable packages either did not make it to the intended address or went to the intended address, but were refused by the recipient in the foreign country. Common reasons for nondelivery are an incorrect address, or the recipient may have moved or refused to pay duties and taxes. The method by which the USPS and its foreign delivery partner (say Canada Post) treats these rules vary by product.
- First-Class Parcel International Service, Priority Mail International ®Small Flat Rate Boxes, and Envelopes:
American online businesses shipping with the USPS are not provided options for returns. However, all undeliverable packages are returned to the sender at no cost. Not bad, huh? Especially since you get to ship with one of the lowest cost shipping services.
- USPS Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express International:
For these two services, the U.S.-based business is given three options for an undeliverable package: a) return to sender b) abandon or c) forward to another address in the destination country (i.e. forwarding the shipment to Toronto instead of Montreal). The good news is that more options are provided for these services. The bad news is that fees may apply for American merchants who choose to send the goods back to the United States.
Here is a handy chart for USPS undeliverable packages:
*Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes included in this option
USPS International Returns: Deliverable Packages
Deliverable packages are those received by the customer, but the recipient doesn’t want to keep the product – the item doesn’t fit, it’s not the right color, or it just doesn’t work (not related to shipping).
The USPS has limited options for handling returns like these. It has a new service called “International Merchandise Return Service,” available for larger customers who have a customized mail agreement and are shipping with a permit under a CAPs account.
For businesses that don’t fit those requirements, Endicia has partnered with Canada Post to create a seamless 100 percent postal-based international shipping returns solution.
How does it work? Well, much like our integration with USPS international, we are now integrated with Canada Post International services. We can take your USPS export order data and populate it into the Canadian requirements for export. This will allow you to pay for Canadian postage (in U.S. dollars) and email the pre-paid return label to your buyer in Canada.
Your buyers just need to drop off the package with the pre-paid label at one of the many convenient Canada Post locations. We affix the right information for customs to ensure the package does not get taxed coming back and that it is delivered by the USPS.
We supply three returns options: a) Economy b) Standard and c) Expedited. The best way to think about these options is that they are very similar to the USPS export services. Here’s how:
- Economy = First Class Parcel International
- Standard = Priority Mail International
- Expedited = Priority Mail Express International
We know that not all online businesses see returns the same way. Some might want to save cost on the return, while others prefer to get their product back as soon as possible. Luckily, Endicia’s Canada Post Returns program provides a great amount of flexibility to meet your returns needs.
To learn more about our returns solution for Canada, please visit: http://www.endicia.com/canada/returns
For more on selling to Canada, checking out our International Shipping page.