Can a shipping company force a US recipient to pay brokerage fees for a package sent by someone else?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2014

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Can a shipping company force a US recipient to pay brokerage fees for a package sent by someone else?

After a package (value of less than 200 euros) arrived from Europe sent by a vendor there the shipping company sent the recipient in the US a bill for brokerage fees without their prior agreement or consent. The amount is small but this has happened before. Can they legitimately charge those fees and enforce through court or collection agency? What recourse is available to the recipient?

Asked on January 3, 2014 under Business Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, they may not: a person is not obligated to pay shipping or other fees unless he or she has in some  fashion agreed  to accept them, such as by agreeing to certain terms of sale which stated that shipping would be billed to the recipient. Only if there was such agreement, could the recipient be held liable.

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