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December 8, 2014

There’s Free Shipping, Then There’s Really Free Shipping

Filed under: Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:37 am

 This is a tale of two giant retailers — Walmart and Target.

Target made headlines this holiday season when it announced free shipping for everyone, not just its REDCard holders.

Target

*MOUSE PRINT:

None.

Then comes Walmart claiming its got free shipping for everyone.

Walmart

*MOUSE PRINT:

Of course, the claim has an asterisk indicating that a $50 minimum purchase is necessary.

I’m sorry. The appropriate way to make this type of claim is to be straight about it, saying right in the headline — “Free Shipping with $50 or More Purchase.”

And how nice of them to provide free returns if you bring the item back to the store yourself.

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6 Comments

  1. The almighty asterisk – facilitating retailer deception for decades.

    Of course Walmart wanted to advertise free shipping for “ALL”. I guess “Free shipping for ALL…who purchase $50 or more” isn’t as appealing. This ad is definitely on the legally questionable side. They practically negate their entire claim with a footnote.

    I think the free returns refers to people who order online and want to return items by shipping them back. It would be hilarious if stores charged people to return typical items. I know there is a restocking fee for many electronics, but for everyday items that would be ridiculous.

    Comment by Wayne R — December 8, 2014 @ 9:21 am
  2. AND the asterisk is on the end of the sentence, not at the beginning as is typical, causing consumers to easily miss it. (I missed it & went searching for it…)

    Comment by Cathy — December 8, 2014 @ 9:22 am
  3. I’m the *last* person to defend Walmart, to be sure, but at least this isn’t as egregious as most ads of this type. The inclusion of a shipping cost table in a readable-size font at least provides more clarity than most deceptive ads. (And the table is immediately below the eye-catcher text.)

    I’d grade this a D+ effort rather than a complete failure.

    Comment by Todd Vierling — December 8, 2014 @ 10:44 am
  4. I agree with Todd

    Comment by richard — December 8, 2014 @ 11:30 am
  5. It is free shipping for all, just not to your house 🙂

    Comment by Peter — December 8, 2014 @ 11:42 am
  6. I agree with Todd. The headline is shady, but the table does spell out the details. It’s not as if you find out the shipping isn’t free when you are almost done placing an order.

    My guess is that they will justify by saying that “ship to store” is still free for orders under $50.

    Comment by Marc K — December 12, 2014 @ 2:28 am

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