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Why do Blind Companies offer Free Shipping - then charge for 'Handling'
By Seth
9/7/2010 12:23:00 PM  
A business practice within our industry that gets on my nerves is our competitors offering blind with Free Shipping, but then once you get to the cart, they charging a handling charge. What the heck is this ‘charge’? When you go to the website of the biggest online window treatments retailer and are about to purchase you blinds you will see there is an Order Processing Charge of $4.95. In effect this allows them to pass on an additional charge to the customer for no good reason - and by the time the customer sees it, she has already made up her mind on the purchase, and likely just “accepts it”. But just because a customer accepts it does not make this practice acceptable.


May I suggest that rather than handling charge it should be called a “we-would-like-you to-pay-more, but-did-not-want-to-disclose-this-until-now-charge”.

 

Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for companies charging whatever they want. Profits enable growth, new jobs and all the wonderful things that the US stands for, but don't bury those charges by using semantics.

Check out most of our major competitors, they all seem to do it. And then they seem to explain it in an innocuous way so that the customer doesn't realize she is essentially being hornswoggled. On one site, I even see this the explanation tugging on the customer’s heartstrings, “fuel prices in the industry have gone up, but we only pass on a tiny bit of this causing the need for this handling fee”.

 

Oh, so you didn't just think of raising the prices of your product, which is what most other industries do when costs go up? Instead, you create some ridiculous little fee that you don't present until the customer’s credit card is on the table

 

Payless Décor Blinds offers Free Shipping and does not insult your intelligence by then offering a Handling Charge or Order Processing fee.  Sometimes for oversize blinds we get charged quite a lot by Fedex to ship them, but we not only include this in the price, we also make the charges transparent on our ‘free shipping explanation page’.

 

The next time you see a $4.95 shipping fee at a website that touts 'Free Shipping' in big letters on their homepage, I recommend you contact the company and say, “Sorry I was going to purchase from you, but now I am going to take my business elsewhere to a company that actually discloses their prices.” I’ll bet you that company will offer to waive the fee, but that’s when you should say “sorry, too late.”

 

A vote with your dollars is the best way to drive change.


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Tags: Shipping, Handling, Ethics
Categories: Online Blinds Retailing
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