|From:||Dave Hennessey||Electronic:||dave -A- toyhouse.org|
|Subject:||Exorbitant Shipping Charges||Date:||Tue Jul 12 22:37:31 2011|
There's been some traffic on the Exchange lately about exorbitant shipping charges, and other hidden charges that give you a big surprise when you get the bill.|
If you ask what the TOTAL bill will be BEFORE you give your credit card number, there won't be any surprise. If you don't like what you hear, either negotiate, or say "No, thanks" and shop elsewhere.
Some reputable companies (like McMaster-Carr or Mouser Electronics) charge actual shipping charges. Often times, the weight and size of the box determines the charge, not what's inside (like a 18-cent resistor that weighs .00001 ounce), so the minimum charge is around $5.
I don't like the $5, but it's not a surprise - they tell you upfront. The alternative is for me to drive into town ($3 gas round trip), and maybe Radio Shack has that same resistor - but there it costs $1.95
Some companies do use "shipping and handling" as an excuse to make some extra profit. And some are truly exorbitant. You gotta ask up front. If they can't tell you immediately, ask them to call you back before completing the sale.
When you're shopping on the Internet, you'll find that most web sites make you go through the entire "Checkout" process and won't tell you the shipping charge until the very last screen. They do this on purpose - they're hoping that you will be lazy and just click the "Place Order" button no matter how outrageous the shipping charge is, instead of going to other web sites and going through similar ordeals.
But the shipping charge varies widely from web site to web site. You can often save considerable money by shopping around, but it takes work.
There are a lot of people trying to make a quick buck these days. Actually, that's been true since the beginning of time.
Exorbitant - back in the days of the Roman Empire, the known would was pretty much the "circle" of lands around the Mediterranean Sea. So the Latin "out of the circle" really meant "out of this world".