Service of Too Good to be True

February 9th, 2017

Categories: Quick Fix, Sales, Scams, Shipping Charges

F rated

David Segal, “The Haggler,” wrote in The New York Times about Lola Backlund’s experience with exorbitant shipping and handling fees—almost $50–after purchasing a $10 bottle of furniture scratch remover featured in a late night TV commercial. She estimated that the box might have cost $12 to wrap and send. While the Tarrytown NY marketer of the product claims it will refund money for its products, customers won’t see a cent back for its sky-high shipping charges.

Segal investigated and learned that the Better Business Bureau gave the marketer, SAS Group, an F rating and posted 169 similar grievances. The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office ordered SAS in 2011 “to pay restitution to consumers who said they were overcharged for shipping and handling fees after buying as-seen-on-TV products.” In addition, it “was prohibited from making false and misleading statements in future.” No more promoting a free product when it wasn’t really: Shipping and handling charges count.

SAS returned Ms. Backlund’s money immediately after the Hagglerreturning money intervened. But the point is that they—and others like them—continue to entice gullible viewers with claims of miracle products which may not be [though Ms. Backlund didn’t mention whether the scratches are gone from her furniture] and cheat on the transport charges. By the way, rubbing olive oil into a scratch or stain on wood will often tone down the wound.

We all wish for a phenomenal product that dices and slices, dusts and irons, sews on buttons and makes dinner in 10 minutes for $19.99 and sometimes we fall for the pitch. Have you? Were you sent shipping or other charges that were more than anticipated?

Shipping boxes

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10 Responses to “Service of Too Good to be True”

  1. Larry Said:

    Wow. I never knew that. Grateful to be warned

  2. ASK Said:

    Always try to find out shipping costs before placing an order and have cancelled online orders when I found out what the shipping charges were. I can’t say I have ever been seduced by TV pitches. One memorable product was a magic “egg” removed the smell of onions or garlic from your hands. Sounded good until I remembered that all you have to do is rub your hands on your metal faucet and the smells go away. Saved me $29, including shipping and handling…

  3. jmbyington Said:


    If a shipping charge is excessive like you I delete the whole order. If it costs about what a round trip subway or bus fare would cost I’m in. The charges that drive me nuts are the ones based on the amount of purchase. You could buy something the weight and size of a postage stamp and if it costs, say, $600 you could be paying $ zillions for shipping.

  4. jmbyington Said:

    Larry I have never before ordered something based on a TV commercial but I can just imagine in the heat of the moment picking up the phone at 3 a.m,\., ordering a dicer or slicer, giving a credit card number and hanging up totally forgetting to ask about the shipping costs, which of course is what they count on. Not only is it probably very cheap to advertise in the middle of the night the advantage is that the caller may be half asleep.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Most infomercials keep repeating the same message, citing unusually high success when adopting an “infallible” method to rake in the dollars or by using “miraculous” products. Undoubtedly enough people get taken in, or viewers wouldn’t be bombarded by long and boring programs.

    It’s difficult to find much sympathy for shipping victims when the numbers are easily visible. It’s being 3:00 a.m. is no excuse for not protecting ones pocketbook! That said, it’s gratifying to learn “victims” are fighting back. It’s just sad that they fall for what’s mostly shoddy merchandise in the first place.

  6. hb Said:


    It all reminds me of those people in the aisles of Woolworths when I was a kid. There would be a pile of people watching a stain come out of a piece of cloth; a cucumber sliced in a second etc. and suckers to buy the stuff that rarely worked as well if at all at home.

    I wonder if anyone has tried the MY PILLOW that is advertised on radio so often I want to toss the thing out the window. There’s makeup called Chamonix that’s supposed to wipe years of wrinkles and lines off my face. Anyone tried that? I’d love to know.

  7. hb Said:

    I’m suspicious of anything bought on the internet. In my experience, unless you know exactly what you want and all shipping charges are clearly stated, you are likely to be “had,” one way or another. I’d prefer any day to “kick the tires” before I buy.

  8. DManzaluni Said:


    Glad you mentioned MY PILLOW, isnt there a boycott in place? (not that he cares). He has figured out how to tap into a rich seam, – the crushingly dumbest people on the planet, – Trump supporters.

    Actually I am not sure I care about people taking advantage of suckers who profess themselves loudly to be quite THAT dumb?

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I never felt this way before the last election. I once wanted to help and protect those who due to lack of opportunity and education –or maybe simply because they didn’t need NYC street smarts to make it through many days–were be cheated. Now I feel that they have cheated me and that they are to blame for electing a madman to the White House.

    However, I don’t agree that corporations should trample us willy nilly with dirty air and water for starters by lifting all oversight to save them money and increase the bonuses of citizens of the C-Suites. I also don’t agree that stock brokers should be allowed to give the elderly advice that is to their advantage, to the detriment of their defenseless client– which now they are permitted to do.

    As for the pillow man, is he on the DJT black list or did he do something nasty? I’m with hb: He should be shot for those commercials. Argh.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    If an item is standard–like toothpaste, shampoo, OTC remedies–I look for the least expensive source. If it is via the Internet, so be it. You take a risk in buying something you’re not familiar with. I bought a magnificent coat that is well made of topnotch fabric for my husband. It was on tremendous sale but it is so heavy neither of us can lift it! He toughed it out for a few winters and then……

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