We have written many articles about why it is important to pay attention to shipping costs when comparing prices online, but this one actually really set us off! Technically, the listing is legitimate. Well, kinda sort of…it all depends on the definition of what “IS” is. And at holiday time, when many shoppers are looking for the best deals, these type of things happen more often than usual.
Actually, this pricing/shipping ploy it is quite misleading and frankly outright deceitful. The merchant is either really unintelligent, or was intentionally playing games to show as the merchant with the “lowest price” for this item. Well, we know for a fact that this product’s manufacturer has a MAP (Minimum Asking price/Minimum Advertising Price) for all of their products. For the record, the MAP for item shown is $199.99 for most small resellers.
The screen capture is at the highest resolution we can provide within the confines of this blog. If you can’t see it clearly, the “base price” is $155.68 with shipping costs of $38.38. The reason this is sleazy is that the seller can’t possible sell the product for $155.68, and either he / she is not very bright, or they are intentionally low-balling the price to get that coveted “Best Price” spot on Google.com. This basically provides the store undeserved traffic and free advertising.
The total cost: $191.88, within the range of most Google listings for this product. So, the price of $155.68 is bogus, and the merchant had to know it. We think this tactic is Elephant Dung! None the less:
Mission Accomplished, the seller had great (though short-lived) high visibility and free advertising from Google as they showed up as as number one for product searches, having the “lowest price” on many search engines. But when the shipping cost is added the cost is comparable to other vendors.
We know our competition and prices and know this is an intentional ploy by a relatively new e-store to get to a #1 price comparison slot on Google’s shopping list, which basically provides the store with free advertising. But come on! The final price of the item (a very high quality solar lamp) is $191.88. We tried several different zip codes across the US and were given the same shipping price. Which is impossible for a legitimate shipping fee.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: consumers must watch out for sneaky tricks played with shipping costs. We are we aren’t posting the name of the merchant (even though truth is a defense for libel or slander), because we think this store has had enough free advertising already.
If you want more info on our research, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll gladly provide all details, including screen captures and name of the store. But for now, we think these Bozo’s have gotten enough free advertising.