What would you do?
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15 posts in this topic

Long story (sort of) short:

 

I have two separate pending orders from an online store that qualified for free shipping.

They weren't shipped yet because one of the orders is a preorder.  They will ship together. 

I purchased another book from their store the other night (only one copy was available, so I grabbed it). 

They offer free shipping for orders over $100.  My order was under that amount, so $8 was charged.

I sent this email immediately afterwards (they don't have a "note" section at checkout):

"Hello,
Could you please combine this order with my previous order, #5949, and refund the shipping charge?
I presume that #5949 hasn't shipped yet because it's going to be combined with a preorder book that I purchased back in June (Khamunaki Zombie Tramp - Order #5750).  Is this correct?
Thank you"

The next day, I received this response:

"Your package is all boxed up and is ready to ship. As a rule, we don't combine orders that already contain free shipping. Adding books causes weight to the package, costing more to ship.
Thank you"
 
I followed up with this (I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, to possibly reconsider, maybe someone else is answering emails and the owner will take over and resolve this, etc.):
 
"Good morning,
I'm not sure I understand.  Are my previous two orders already packaged and ready to ship, and the Penny for your Soul book will ship separately?  Or, are you saying that separate orders- e.g. one with free shipping which hasn't been shipped yet and one without - can't be combined?
Best regards"
 
I waited all day today for a response which never arrived (not the first time, either).  Instead, I received a tracking number for that single book.

 

Most likely, they didn't read my original email, packed the book up, then saw my message and gave me the BS answer about not being able to combine shipping because of cost.  It's difficult for me to interpret this as anything other than an insult to my intelligence because it obviously makes no difference if I purchased another raw book alongside the previous larger order, or now - the weight would be the same.  What matters is whether the package was shipped or not.  Also, one raw book being added to a few others and a slab likely won't make a difference in Priority Mail shipping cost.  Keep in mind that this "rule" of theirs isn't mentioned anywhere on their website.

Yes, it's only $8 and yes, they offer free shipping to begin with.  However, this stings on principle alone, never mind that I've spent thousands of dollars in purchases from them.  And then not even bothering to reply?  I certainly wouldn't treat a customer this way.  I'm considering cancelling the previous two orders since they haven't shipped yet, and the thought of making another purchase there leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

 

So, I'm curious: what would you do if presented with this situation?

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On 8/5/2022 at 5:37 PM, The Lions Den said:

Personally, I'd go ahead with the orders this time around, but once all your orders come in it's certainly your prerogative whether you want to do business with them again (although I must admit, this incident doesn't strike me as completely outrageous on their part).

And I wouldn't interpret this as an insult to your intelligence, I'd interpret it as the cost of doing business...

Your answer surprises me.  How is this even remotely a cost of doing business?  Their reasoning doesn't hold any water and their answer is to not respond.  Bad business, perhaps, just because they didn't want to unpack the book or, to squeeze a few extra dollars out of me. 

I'd understand if the preorder books came in and the previous orders were packaged and about to be picked up/shipped.  Bad timing, it happens (although personally, I'd open up the box and combine the orders if there was time, especially for a repeat customer.  I sell books, too.).  But if all they have to do is add one raw book to my pile that is just sitting there, which already had free shipping, and instead choose to charge me an extra $8 for First Class Mail, then I don't see how anyone can reasonably side with that type of business practice.

If I'm wrong, I'd like to know how.  This is why I created the thread - to see if there's a piece of information that would change my perspective before I make a final decision about how to proceed.

Thanks.

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The practice does seem borderline indefensible, but it's also become commonplace over the past 20 years. Some places prattle on about inventory control methods, items held at different warehouses, or whatever, but for whatever reason many businesses will not combine orders placed at different times. I don't like it, but I've also never been caught unaware by the practice and would be pissed if I was. I generally try to find enough to qualify for free shipping on each order, and if I can't I decide on a case-by-case basis whether I need the item enough to pay the shipping.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/5/2022 at 6:38 PM, mtracy64 said:

The practice does seem borderline indefensible, but it's also become commonplace over the past 20 years. Some places prattle on about inventory control methods, items held at different warehouses, or whatever, but for whatever reason many businesses will not combine orders placed at different times. I don't like it, but I've also never been caught unaware by the practice and would be pissed if I was. I generally try to find enough to qualify for free shipping on each order, and if I can't I decide on a case-by-case basis whether I need the item enough to pay the shipping.

Yes, I've run into that as well, and it would be a completely different scenario if they'd mention this upfront on the website or, at the very least, communicated this differently when I asked about it.  Like you, I usually try to qualify for free shipping, but I didn't think it would be an issue in this case. 

They do have it written that they reserve the right to combine free shipping orders with preorders or other free shipping orders, so they do it when it benefits them (I don't think different locations are involved).  And to top it all off, they didn't even give me the opportunity to add another book to qualify for free shipping as some sort of resolution - just silence and a tracking number. 

The more I think about it, the more it looks like they packed the book up before checking their messages and didn't feel like unpacking it so they gave a BS excuse - customer be damned.  It's a shame because this place always had great customer service up until recently.

Edited by isiTrue
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On 8/5/2022 at 6:25 PM, isiTrue said:

Your answer surprises me.  How is this even remotely a cost of doing business?  Their reasoning doesn't hold any water and their answer is to not respond.  Bad business, perhaps, just because they didn't want to unpack the book or, to squeeze a few extra dollars out of me. 

I'm not saying that I condone this type of thing, but I do understand how and why it happens. To be fair, many companies these days have similar practices which are designed to maximize profit while minimizing cost and effort. 

And if you really want excellent service for a fair price, I'd suggest shopping here on the boards...  :wink:

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On 8/5/2022 at 7:38 PM, Scrooge said:

The orders are technically separate. The free shipping was applied as advertised to the first order. The new order does not qualify for free shipping therefore shipping was applied. They do not have the obligation to combine both orders to save you shipping. This is something you should either request ahead of completing the new order or be ready to pay the additional charge listed at the time of the second order.

This. 

You made an assumption, and that's where it fell apart.  And you moved forward before knowing for sure.  That was the cost of making sure you got the "only copy available".

Could they help you out, do you a courtesy?  Sure.  But if it's the company I think it is, not going to happen.

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A business that does large volume has a process and a system.  What seems like a minor thing to a buyer can be a nightmare when a hundred different buyers ask for things. Streamling the process often makes substitions much harder. 

 

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On 8/5/2022 at 8:22 PM, shadroch said:

A business that does large volume has a process and a system.  What seems like a minor thing to a buyer can be a nightmare when a hundred different buyers ask for things. Streamling the process often makes substitions much harder. 

 

Totally agree. Buying from some dude on ebay who can go back and change orders on the fly is completely different than a large company, who presumably has a complicated fulfillment process. 

Besides, as a seller, I can sympathize with this to some extent. I would just eat the $8; it's not life altering. 

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On 8/6/2022 at 3:02 AM, Lpgk said:

Buying from some dude on ebay who can go back and change orders on the fly is completely different than a large company, who presumably has a complicated fulfillment process. 

Some ebayers are large companys

dont make that assumption. Communicate first before paying

i cannot tell you how many times a buyer has paid then communicated what he/she would like me to do with the packing/shipment of the item

 

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On 8/6/2022 at 5:04 AM, jsilverjanet said:

Some ebayers are large companys

dont make that assumption. Communicate first before paying

i cannot tell you how many times a buyer has paid then communicated what he/she would like me to do with the packing/shipment of the item

 

I want all your Spawns, in steel boxes, shipped monthly till I have the set

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On 8/5/2022 at 7:38 PM, Scrooge said:

The orders are technically separate. The free shipping was applied as advertised to the first order. The new order does not qualify for free shipping therefore shipping was applied. They do not have the obligation to combine both orders to save you shipping. This is something you should either request ahead of completing the new order or be ready to pay the additional charge listed at the time of the second order.

This response sums up most of my thoughts on the situation.

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