Saturday, July 12, 2008

Christian Rip Offs

I'm bored again, so it is time to address one of my pet peeves: high shipping and handling fees. Is it Christian to charge way more than it costs to ship an item? Any time you question it, people always bring up that nebulous word, "handling". Ok, how much does it really cost to "handle" a package?

Case in point: there is a new group I like,
33Miles Christian, with a country sound, who is coming out with their second CD in 2 months. If you pre-buy it, you get a better price, and can download the whole album before the release date. I decide to check it out and see what the price is. It takes me to Lifeway Christian Stores website to pre-buy it. Price: $9.97, shipping discount, $3.00. I' m like, awesome! They must ship it for free! I go to the next screen and it has taken the $3 off, making the CD $6.97 - very cool, then I look down, and it says estimated shipping, $6.00! You have got to be kidding. It still costs under $2 to mail a CD. Add in 50-60 cents for your padded envelope, you could still mail a CD for not much more than $2. I am sure they will tell me it is the "handling" charges that make up the difference. OK, lets look at "handling" charges:

Bookstores and places of business get their shipments picked up, so no gas surcharge needed here. So, we are talking just paying an employee to pack it. How long does it take to put a CD in an envelope and address it? 5 minutes? Say they are getting paid $8, I'd say good pay for that job, that means they get paid about 65 cents to package the CD, add that on to what it is costing, and you might hit $3 or close to it - where does the other $3 go? Oh - that goes into their drawer, and is extra money that they don't have to pay taxes on, because it was for "Shipping".

People on ebay, even Christian ebayers, are notorious for this. I have seen people charging $100 to ship an Ipod, and doing the sell price low - that way, Ebay only gets a cut of the selling price, and any money after the actual shipping cost is pure profit.......of course, not all high shipping and handling fees on Ebay are that much over, but a lot do a few dollars more on CDs than they need.

Thing is, we aren't supposed to take advantage of people, and when does charging a "handling" fee become that? I am careful when I sell, and try to not go over the actual shipping charge very much, but what about the people who are charging $4 and more to ship you a CD they have a couple of bucks in the cost of mailing it - isn't that wrong? And you really run into it with mail ordering from companies, even Christian companies.

I will put a plug in here for
CBD. They charge a certain amount based on dollar amount purchased. If you buy a bunch of cheap clearance items, it has got to cost them more sometimes to mail out the stuff than what they charged. And THAT impresses me.

I know even with the $6 shipping of the CD from Lifeway, it is still a fairly good deal, but it is the principle of the thing. I refuse to pay them $6 and be ripped off on shipping. I'd rather buy it at Walmart for $11.99, or better yet, get it even cheaper through a CD club. Lifeway Christian Stores has lost me as a customer on this, and any future mail orders.

An even better deal is companies who offer free shipping. Amazon does that with orders of $25 or more, and
CBD has been doing it with $50 or more offers. Bring on the free shipping, and down with overcharging!