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Amazon Raises Free Shipping Threshold to $35 Depending on Location

You may now have to spend more at Amazon.com in order to qualify for free shipping if you are not a Prime member. (Prime members pay $139 a year for free shipping with no minimum order size.)

For years, as long as a non-Prime member made at least a $25 minimum purchase, you got free shipping. Now there is a new $35 minimum but it does not apply to everyone. Who has to pay more? Believe it or not, that seems to depend on the delivery address — the zip code where you live.

For example, if you live in downtown Seattle where Amazon is headquartered, free shipping comes with only a minimum purchase of $25. If you wanted to buy this test item, you would need to purchase two packages to avoid shipping charges.

Amazon in Seattle


But, if you live in the next city over in Bellevue, Washington, you would need a $35 minimum purchase and would have to buy three of them to get them shipped free.

Amazon Bellevue

The same is true across the country, in certain geographic regions and in some neighboring towns. So for example in New York City, Manhattanites are treated to the lower $25 threshold, while those in Brooklyn have to spend $35 or more.


NY shipping charges vary

Live in Beverly Hills? You get the $25 minimum. But reside in Westwood right next door and you will need a $35 purchase to get delivery there free.

If you call Lincoln, Nebraska home, you have to spend at least $35 now to get free shipping to your house. But, if you live in Omaha, just 58 miles away, your minimum purchase threshold is only $25.

In Massachusetts where MrConsumer lives, customers in Revere only need a $25 purchase to get free shipping, while those in Lynn, the next town over, have to spend at least $35.

We asked Amazon why they implemented the higher free shipping threshold in some areas. Is this some type of market test? Is this just the first step in extending the $35 minimum to all non-Prime members? Or are they planning to make this two-tier system permanent?

In a statement to Consumer World, a company spokesperson said, “We continually evaluate our offerings and make adjustments based on those assessments. We’re currently testing a $35 minimum for non-Prime customers to qualify for free shipping.”

It is unfortunate when consumers are still struggling with inflation and higher product prices that Amazon has chosen to pile on and charge for shipping that previously was free.

What do you think of Amazon’s change?

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J. Crew Sued Over Data Collection at Register

J.CrewThree consumers from California, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island just filed a lawsuit against J. Crew, the preppy fashion retailer, for alleged privacy violations the company engaged in while they were trying to make purchases using their credit cards.

In particular, when checking out, the cashier is said to have asked each of them for their email address or phone number so they can be provided with a receipt. They explained that the company no longer gives out printed paper sales receipts. If the consumer refuses, shoppers are allegedly told they would have to speak to a manager because there was no way to give then a receipt in the store. [Apparently in some cases, there was actually a hidden receipt printer available.]

The problem with J. Crew’s policy is that each of these states has a specific consumer privacy protection statute that prevents merchants from requesting personal identification information from credit card customers as a perceived condition to processing credit card transactions.


For example, in Massachusetts the law provides:

No person, firm, partnership, corporation or other business entity that accepts a credit card for a business transaction shall write, cause to be written or require that a credit card holder write personal identification information, not required by the credit card issuer, on the credit card transaction form.

Obviously, this law was written when credit card transaction forms were common. Today, transactions are recorded electronically through the cash register and PIN pad.

The consumers further allege that the requirement of giving an email or phone number was a pretext to send them advertising and to collect and use their information in databases. In fact, one of the plaintiffs said she was sent almost daily emails from J. Crew after her purchase amounting to some 238 advertisements in just a six month period.

The lawyers representing the consumers allege violations of state purchase privacy laws. Oddly, the complaints do not allege violations of state unfair or deceptive acts and practices regulations.

So what do you think? Should retailers be allowed to require that you provide personal information in order to get a receipt? Do you feel this is a privacy invasion?

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Conagra Skimps Again: Wish-Bone Salad Dressing Watered Down

Shrinkflation’s evil cousin is “skimpflation” – where a manufacturer quietly reformulates a product with cheaper ingredients. And that is what Conagra just did to Wish-Bone House Italian salad dressing. They literally watered it down.


Wish-Bone House Italian

They reduced the oil content (and calories) by over 22-percent, and it appears they replaced it with water and over 30-percent more salt. (Water was already the primary ingredient in the dressing before this change.) Oddly, the amount of garlic was also reduced.

If this scenario sounds familiar, that is because last fall we spotlighted Smart Balance margarine when Conagra inconspicuously reduced its oil content by almost 40% and replaced it with water. That move made the front page of the New York Times, and drew outrage from regular users who posted over two thousand one-star reviews on its website. The backlash forced the company to reintroduce the original recipe earlier this year.

We asked Conagra about the watering down of their salad dressing including why they did it (we can guess to save money), why there was no flag on the label alerting shoppers, and whether they taste-tested the new recipe with users (we guess they didn’t). They have not responded to our questions.

If you want to post a complaint about their watered-down salad dressing, you can do it on the Wish-Bone website.

Thanks to Richard G. and Reddit for spotting this change.

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