Free Shipping* at Buy.com

My son got a new free cell phone that doubles as an MP3 player, so he quickly decides he’s going to download his entire iTunes collection. After about 7 songs, the phone memory is full. Nothing is ever free…

So now it’s time to order some more memory — gigabytes of it — on one of those tiny little micro memory chips that you insert into the phone with tweezers. (By the way, are these chips available for the human brain??)

I do the obligatory online shopping search to find the merchant with the best price for this commodity. The lucky winner: Buy.com. Even better, they are offering FREE SHIPPING! I give my son a high five and take out the credit card. But I didn’t see the fine print.

After placing the order, I notice a shipping charge was included, and it was anything but FREE. Too late — the order had already been completed. I emailed customer service, and to their credit, they responded promptly. Their defense was that only ECONOMY shipping is free. They charged me for STANDARD shipping, which was apparently the default setting. To me, “standard” meant basic, no-frills, run of the mill. To Buy.com it means ka-ching.

They directed me to their shipping policy at:
http://www.buy.com/corp/promos/freeshipping_051402.asp

Get out your reading glasses folks and follow those little colored trucks. Seems to me, if you can’t fit your shipping policy on, say, a 3×5 index card, it just might be a little too complex.

Buy.com did eventually refund the shipping fee, but I still left the transaction feeling like I had been duped, bait-and-switched, and generally taken advantage of.

From now on, I’ll have my son read the fine print.

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