The shipping & handling scam is one of the prevalent scams within the infomercial industry. If you consider how much it actually costs to ship a product, these companies make a bundle by marking up the S&H costs. And, in a lot of cases, the shipping times are ridiculously slow considering how much is actually being paid to ship it. Most of the companies that have such horrible S&H fees and services do so in order to lessen the financial loss when a refund is initiated.
Most products that you see on TV infomercials have a “30-day Money Back Guarantee.” It’s crucial to note that the “money-back guarantee” essentially means that you can get a full-refund of the product cost (less shipping) if you return the product within 30 days (usually of receiving it, but sometimes the “trial” begins when shipped). That means that whatever you paid for S&H will not be refunded, and furthermore, you’re liable for the expense of shipping your product back. So in some cases, you’ll be out twice the cost of shipping!
And not only is the average cost of S&H extraordinary in this industry, but also the average shipping time painfully long. Take, for example, Scalp Med, a product “regrows your own hair”. If you order a 2-month supply, the package weighs a pound (2 2-oz bottles of Vitadil, 1 4-oz bottle of Nutrisol, and 1 8-oz bottle of Cortex Enlarger), and costs $18.81 to ship, with an expected delivery time of 3-4 weeks. They also offer priority shipping for another $9.95, which cuts the wait to just 10 days or less.
To put that price tag in perspective, if you went to Amazon and paid $18.81 for S&H on something that weighs about a pound, you would get either overnight delivery, or 2-day delivery. Scalp Med’s S&H policy is ludicrous, and it indicates to me that they probably get a lot of refund requests, and are trying to minimize how much they have to give back by inflating the cost of S&H.
Stay tuned for Part II, where I’ll provide a detailed list of the S&H policies of various infomercial companies. I’ll start with those whose S&H times are slow, and/or fees exorbitant, give examples of balanced S&H policies, and share some of the most exemplary companies out there.
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