Hidden Charges: Class Action Lawsuit Against DHL Express

In Canada, a class action lawsuit has now been brought against the DHL Express Parcel Service. The company is said to have enriched itself with hidden fees.

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In addition to import duties, which consist of taxes and customs fees, customers who order goods in this country outside the European Union and are delivered via DHL Express must pay a capital saving commission. However, this is not a government fee, but a processing fee that goes directly to DHL. A Vancouver-based law firm filed a class action lawsuit against this exact fee.

Delivery is not visible to customers

In court documents, DHL has been charged with causing customers to believe that the fees they have to pay once a parcel arrives from abroad are import duties and government taxes – although a large portion of it actually goes as a “processing fee” for DHL. “I don’t think anyone has any problem paying the taxes and fees owed and owed properly,” said Scott Stanley, the Vancouver attorney in charge of the class action. Quoted in CBC. “It is an additional fee. It is not clear what bother people.”

The lawsuit primarily relates to how transparent DHL handles fees collected from customers. As a general rule, the parcel service sends recipients an email with the subject line “Import Fees / Pay Taxes” asking them to pay the fees, otherwise they risk losing their package. According to court documents, customers pay the fees because they believe they are fees and taxes. “In fact,” the lawsuit statement goes on to say that the fees charged include “DHL processing or brokerage fees”. According to the lawyers, this is a “hidden fee.”

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DHL “unjustifiably influenced itself”

The attorney explained to the cbc portal that DHL is already getting paid for the delivery of packages by the customer, “They don’t do it for free. It seems that this is an additional fee that we think is not clearly described to the consumer.” The proposed class-action lawsuit alleges that DHL operated an “illegal regime” that represented an “unfair commercial practice inconsistent with consumer protection laws” in violation of all of Canada.

However, the class action has not yet been accepted, so it is still currently open if it will actually proceed.

German law does not allow class actions

Unlike in the USA or Canada, collective actions are not possible in Germany. Initial steps towards filing a class action were taken with the presentation of the model explanatory action on the occasion of the diesel scandal. Unlike a class action suit, in a typical demonstration procedure, a qualified organization, such as a consumer counseling center, has made a court clarification of whether consumers affected by a matter have a claim, for example for damages, against a company. The court’s finding then applies to all cases. However, consumers concerned must individually resist the amount of damages with the company, for example.

Publication date: April 19, 2021

/ written by Corina Fleming

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