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March 11th, 2004

eCOST’s Shady Pricing

If you use a shopping search engine like Froogle, Dealtime, or MySimon, you’ll notice that when you search for computer products, eCOST frequently comes up with the lowest prices. But when I placed an order with them the other day, I figured out how they’ve managed to get their prices so low.

After placing the item in my shopping, noting that they also had a “FREE SHIPPING!” deal for any orders over $25. But as I moved through the checkout process, I noticed a new charge had been quietly thrown in: “Handling and Processing: $5.95.” Wait a second… shipping is free, but “handling and processing” is $6? Doesn’t sound so free to me. And isn’t “processing” something usually built into the price of a product?

Yes, and that’s where eCOST gets you. Yes, they may have the lowest price on an item and offer free shipping, but expect to have another $6 thrown into your order, making it not quite such a great deal (although in this case, the price came out even with the next closest competitor). If you ask me, that’s some shady business. Especially when you bury that cost explanation deep in your site (it takes two carefully calculated clicks to get to it from the front page), where no normal shopper is ever going to see it.

I complained to eCOST through the Bizrate form after checkout, so we’ll see what they have to say.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday March 11, 2004 -- 9:38:59 am
Handling. Bah. Processing? Bah.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday March 11, 2004 -- 9:41:12 am
That better be some pretty fancy handling for $5.95. Carrying the item on a white pillow with attendants nearby to spot it, in case it slides an inch either way on the pillow.

On second thought, maybe I don't want to know what kind of "handling" they are talking about...never mind.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday March 11, 2004 -- 10:42:19 am
To top it off, the handling and processing isn' t based on weight or size, but price of the item. My item was over $100 but weighed well less than a pound, yet I still had to pay the same $6.

FROM: Mario500 [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday March 11, 2004 -- 12:58:25 pm
More proof that "freedom" comes at a price. Did anybody catch that?

FROM: Alex
DATE: Thursday March 11, 2004 -- 3:03:55 pm
Some over paid, stiff shirt in a fancy office came up with the marketing ploy to change the shipping fee to a Handling and Process fee to lure more dollars to the site. I think we could all do without that type of creativity.

FROM: Ace High
DATE: Thursday March 11, 2004 -- 5:29:23 pm
What a bunch of cheating pigf***ers.

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