Thursday, February 26, 2009

No such thing as FREE Shipping

This message is from someone who runs a business and who has worked in the mail order business - from pulling orders, to shipping, to taking orders, to customer service, to working the financial end of it. Recently.

Please don't complain about paying regular shipping costs. Please, DO complain about paying excessive shipping costs and/or handling fees. However, expect a handling fee if you return a used/dirty item that you just decide you don't want any more.

You can look up rates on USPS.com (US Postal Service) and UPS.com (United Parcel Service). Shipping is based on weight, package size, merchandise value, and where the package is being sent.

Remember, if you get "free" shipping, the shipping costs just get added on to the price of the merchandise to cover the retailers expenses. Shipping is expensive now. Period. (Shipping to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico is incredibly expensive. Shipping overseas can cost hundreds of dollars.)

Also, please note that if a company sends something by US Postal Service and the item gets lost, the retailer gets stuck for the cost of the lost item - even if it is insured. The Postal Service almost never pays on a claim. If they do pay it can take a year or longer for the sender to be reimbursed.

Shipping is a huge expense to a company. There truly is no such thing as a free lunch - oops - free shipping.

4 comments:

Janssen said...

Haha, point taken :)

Adrienne said...

Since I sell stuff on ebay it amazes me how often I get blamed for the cost of postage.

What's funny is sometimes when an item won't sell I'll relist at an opening bid which is higher by the amount of shipping plus another $5.00 or $10.00 and say FREE SHIPPING. The people will fight over it. LOL

How about when folks say "my health care is "free" from my employer". Ah, no it isn't!

motherhen68 said...

I'm guilty of the bidding on an item with "free shipping" LOL.

Bart said...

It depends on how competitive the market is. As long as a company in a competitive market (with low barriers to entry) strikes a healthy balance between low-margin customers who demand free shipping, and high-margin customers who don't question the shipping costs, the company doesn't have to eat it. The high-margin customers do.

You're right, though. There is no free shipping. It costs somebody, somewhere, and the trend is toward high margin customers and businesses in competitive markets because there's always a business willing to take lower profits to gain market share.

In less competitive markets, if customers demand free shipping, the costs will just be added to product prices, as you suggest, because other companies aren't able to steal market share away for whatever reason (often artificial, man-made constructs such as patents, copyrights, etc.).