IT'S JUST TOO MUCH!
If there's one thing that I don't like paying for, it's Post & Packing. I know it can't be considered as an overhead of the business, but neither should it be considered as a means of making additional profit.
At my own business, we have one charge of £9.50 for anything up to 5Kg in weight which, I know, is not exactly cheap, but (if you order before 2pm) it's guaranteed NEXT DAY delivery!
So how do our (UK) HAM RADIO retailers fare in this respect? Not too well as far as I'm concerned (they're already in my bad books as you can see from this previous post).
Okay, let's put it to the test. Lets go online and find an item from all the big online-resellers and see what the deal is. We'll order something that they all should reasonably have in stock - a small rubber-duck antenna.
WATERS & STANTON
Well congratulations to RadioWorld for being the cheapest. The worst performer here was ML&S at almost £9 to stick a tiny item in a jiffy bag and pop it in the post.
None of the resellers actually explain the level of delivery service you get for the advertised charge except RadioWorld - whos default P&P is openly declared 2nd-Class Royal Mail - so you can only assume from the information provided (or omitted) that the others are all 2nd-class too unless you pay extra for next-day express delivery.
So basically, when you order online, you have no idea when your item is likely to arrive. You don't know when it's going to be picked and you don't know when it's going to be posted. Not even when you pay up to £17(!!!) for Next Day delivery can you guarantee your order will arrive the day after.
Many online resellers don't even bother to inform that the item has been dispatched and provide no pre-delivery tracking details. And if you think I'm talking about service levels during the Covid-19 period, I'm not.
Some resellers may say "Hold on - our product is cheaper than our competitors" and that may sometimes be true, but product prices are a separate issue. And rather annoyingly, some of these websites don't even display the shipping costs until you reach the shopping-cart!
I should point out that I ordered a V2000 antenna last Thursday from ML&S and their standard fee for an antenna is £12 but at least it arrived the next day and I was grateful for that and thanked them.
So there you have it - it's a funny old world and it's clear (to me at least) that our suppliers haven't got it right. I've spent a small fortune with some of these online resellers and I don't think they appreciate how important it is to customers that they are provided with clear information regarding P&P.
I am going to start voting with my virtual feet from now on. Unless a website provides me with clear, simple, pre-cart guidance on how much the P&P is and the expected delivery date, I won't use them. The end.
UPDATE : June 2020
Recently ordered an "IN STOCK" MFJ-557 Morse Code Oscillator and after paying £12 for postage, I was sad to see it arrive some 12 DAYS later! It was also BROKEN due to the fact that this vulnerable item had been packed in a cheap, light weight jiffy bag. It was inevitable that it wouldn't survive the journey across country.
I returned it immediately, not because it was broken, but because I'd had to wait 12 days with ZERO COMMUNICATION from the supplier. And I then had to go into town to post it back to them at a cost of £3.70 plus the cost of proper return-packaging.
Sure, I got my money back with an apology, but I didn't get my return costs back nor the 12 days wasted time!!
So here we are a few days after that and I decide to order some UltraFlex-7 coax. P&P is shown as £5.95 but when I put it in the cart, it almost doubles!
At first, I thought it might be because I'd added some PL-Plugs, but no. The reason is that I ordered more than 3 metres!
Well hold on a minute, WHO is going to order anything less??? You buy this coax because you want to reduce losses on a long run! What a farce! Another example of misleading information.