Australian consumers have been warned to shop around this Christmas to ensure they are not hit with hefty fees for the delivery of large appliances such as televisions, fridges and washing machines.
The managing director of online retailer, John Hughes, said some consumers who thought they had ‘bagged a bargain’ could be forced to pay an extra $60 or more in delivery fees.
Hughes said the addition of a delivery fee – which consumers often only discovered at the end of the transaction – could easily negate the saving consumers thought they had made on the original price of the goods.
He said an informal telephone survey undertaken by BigBrownBox on delivery charges had found that delivery fees for the same product – a 32-inch LCD television set – could be as high as $60, depending on the retailer.
The survey involved asking major retailers to quote the best price available at the time for the television, plus the cost of delivering the set to a fixed address in the geographical centre of Sydney.
“Our calls found that most large retailers have delivery fees which can easily add an extra five to seven per cent to the price of a television or a refrigerator,” he said.
“Often, the delivery fee is only revealed to consumers when they are about to pay for the goods, wiping out whatever money consumers thought they were saving in the first place.
“We know from our own internal research that consumers hate having to pay for delivery, especially when they are not told of the fees upfront, which is why at BigBrownBox we took a policy decision from the very beginning to do away with delivery fees.
“We feel it’s time for retailers to be upfront about delivery fees,” said Hughes.