Name and shame – on crazy shipping fees

General, Online shops / Sunday, October 16th, 2016

As an avid netshopper, I sometimes stumble over companies that utilize business practices that are …strange.While I expect that from some shop owners in certain parts of the world, I do not expect the same from a big company in north america. When I was shopping around for some soap supplies, I was directed to a big company called Essential Depot. I always check shipment options on new websites, what they charge for shipping and handling to my country.

So I added an item in my cart, and proceed to checkout to get the shipment cost. I could not believe it. They wanted 215,24 USD to ship some mango butter to me. I checked out the weight of the item I had added, and it weighed 2,5 pound. This is probably some mistake I thought in their software, adding the most expensive option without me being able to change it. So I tested out with a lighter item, this time with 8 oz of mango butter, that is approximately 227 grams.

Notice how it says “Duties paid” right next to the amount they want to charge me for shipping.  There are no duties to pay for an item like this when importing to Norway. None. Now, of course even big companies like this can make mistakes. So I contacted them by email, pointing out the blatant error I just encountered. Since this was a big company, and the error so very obvious, I thought this was an easy fix. Not so…

This is their answer.

“Essential Depot shipping is calculated by distance and weight, for our international customers duties and taxes are paid by us. The quote you received at is correct.”
 So, the correct amount for shipping a 227 gram bottle of mango butter to Norway, is 215 USD. There are no one in that company that find that slightly over the top, at all? No one that even raise their eyebrow, and try to correct the blatant mistake?
 I contacted the norwegian custom office, just to be on the safe side. They confirmed what I already knew was true, that there are no duties or taxes to pay for this item, at all. And Essential Depot cannot charge these in US in any case, they are charged by Posten Norge when the package arrives in my country. The one I was talking to on the phone, suggested I stay away from a company like that.

Why does this company lie?  It’s not that the claim above from the company cannot be checked and double checked. Why waste time telling me something that clearly is not true? One reason is that they charge me a fee for a low cost order. There are a few companies that do that, and I have no problem with that, as long as it is clearly marked as such. Not here though. Maybe there are benefits for companies that offers their goods internationally,  in corporate America. That the shipping and handling fee is  high ensures that no one use that option. I don’t know, I find it weird for sure. If someone out there know why, please do share!

I  am a returning customer with many companies that offer other and better shipment options to my country. Metal is heavy, and often far heavier than the 227 gram of mango butter above, but I am happily importing that while being charged sane shipping costs. It can be done.