eBags: Where Even The Free Stuff Costs $7
from the you've-won-a-lovely-parting-gift dept
As e-commerce matures, it seems like some online retailers are at pains to re-invent the process and innovate with unnecessary, bloated new features on their sites — that are often poorly thought out and implemented — or to make questionable business decisions to wrench another drop of revenues out of their customers. I found out the hard way yesterday that eBags, a site I’ve ordered from before and considered reputable, has resorted to some very shady (and incredibly obnoxious) tactics to boost its sales. I ordered a bag for an upcoming trip, and all was well until I got the order confirmation email and noticed some funny language at the end saying they appreciated my business, and were awarding it with a “complementary” subscription to some magazine about television: “The price of your subscription is included in your order. If you later decide that you do not want a subscription to Inside TV, we will send you a check for $7.00. To receive this refund, send a self addressed stamped envelope to… Make sure to include a copy of your credit card statement verifying your paid order.” You have got to be kidding me — padding the price for $7 for some stupid magazine subscription that I can get back by sending in a copy of my credit card statement? Why not just take $7 off the price of the bag, and let me order the magazine subscription if I want it? I guess I don’t have to worry about ending up on some mailing list, either: “Your name will only be shared to fulfill the subscription and will never be sold or solicited to a third party outside of Inside TV or eBags” — yeah, that makes me feel comfortable. Needless to say, I cancelled the order. I was under the impression that eBags was a reputable company, but this kind of bush-league e-commerce trick definitely makes me think otherwise. I thought this type of subscriber referral deal only happened with online porn, but apparently it applies to luggage as well. Instead of trying out all these gimmicks, why not stick with the original premise of e-commerce — low prices and high convenience? That’s a model people are pretty happy with.