Free Shipping at Net10 By Any Other Name
Net10 routinely offers free shipping but don’t be fooled — there’s no free shipping in their current system. We were buying a phone as a favor for an employee of one of our subcontractors. Simple enough, right? Just put in the order and watch the credit appear in the shopping cart, no?
This is a little off-topic from our usual Austin passive solar discussions, but we believe in delivering on our commitments and we’re a little shocked when we find a company as lousy at doing it as these guys.
The Free Shipping Lie: Exhibit A
Okay, here’s the banner from their website. Looks like free shipping, no? (Click the ad for a full-size view.)
Here’s a screenshot of the Net10 shopping cart from today, Feb 9:
Again, click on the image to see it full-size.
And the final tally: yup, they charged for the “free shipping.” Click to see the fullsized image.
Conclusion: No Such Thing As Free Shipping
We thought Net10′s free shipping would appear in that dropdown on the checkout page, but no. We also thought that the cost of shipping would be credited on the purchase confirmation page. It wasn’t. In fact, there’s no purchase confirmation page; if you fill in valid credit card information on the checkout page, clicking “okay” fires off the live transaction.
Having heard horror stories of hourlong wait times on the Net10 customer service phone lines (see link below), we sent an email to their customer service address. It bounced — no such address. The email came from their equally disreputable parent company, Tracfone.
Net10/Tracfone, How Do You Do It?
For a company as large and profitable as Tracfone, you’d think that failing to deliver on one of their major promotions would be impossible, especially deep into the promotion duration. Instead, this seems to be a standard business practice, just like their lousy customer service wait times. If you search the company up on couponing sites like Retailmenot.com, you’ll see that others ran into this too. Is it possible that Net10/Tracfone knows about this problem, and only fixes it for people who complain? What kind of business model is that?
On my personal time, I took this information and filed it as a complaint with the FTC, which handles problems like bait-and-switch sales. Hopefully this kind of backhanded profiteering will get the disciplinary action it deserves.