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Monday, November 2, 2015

Does Amazon Deceive Customers at Checkout?

I have been an avid Amazon.com shopper for many years. I highly recommend their vast amount of goods, competitive pricing, and excellent customer service. With that being said, there is one questionable practice that Amazon engages in that to me is an outright deception. Here are some screenshots to walk you through.





Screenshot #1: I have chosen a pair of Bluetooth headphones. It has free shipping if the order exceeds $35.00. So I'll just find another item I need for at least $6.10. As you can tell by the picture the FREE Shipping is in bold. Now to add another item...





Screenshot #2: I found an armband. It's $7.99 so that brings that total to $37.89. This item also ships free if the order is over $35.00. I love Amazon! I'm going to get free shipping! Right? Right??



Screenshot #3: So I've hit the checkout button. Good thing too I need to get off here and do some stuff and.......hey wait, where is my free shipping? I don't understand. What did I do wrong? So after rechecking everything......






Screenshot #4: Bingo! I found the problem! I had to scroll down a bit. Amazon distinguishes between Free Shipping (5-8 days) and Standard shipping (4-5 days). So I have to CHOOSE Free Shipping....(thought I already did when the total exceeded $35.00.) So now I will check Free Shipping...



Screenshot #5: And look what happened! I get my Free Shipping! Oh and by the way, why was it 6.25 when I was going to have to pay it but 5.25 when they issued the credit? (I've yet to figure that one out, but it had no effect on the total cost.)

By now you should see where I'm going here. Why doesn't the cart default to the free shipping option if it meets the requirements? If this is not bait and switch it is very close to it. I discovered this discrepancy a few years back when ordering something in a hurry with my smart phone. Realizing Amazon had charged for shipping a few minutes after getting the confirmation, I contacted them to complain and they promptly refunded the shipping.

Can you imagine how many customers don't catch this? Good for Amazon's bottom line, not so good for unaware customers.

To those of you that wonder why I don't sign up for Amazon Prime which offers free 2 day shipping on eligible items, stay tuned, I have a few things to say about that in a later post. Web designers that work on shopping sites like Amazon are top notch. Every word and picture and placement thereof are extremely calculated. So what do you guys think? Is this much ado about nothing?