$2,004 shipping for a water bottle?
February 16, 2016 6:19 AM   Subscribe

There's a company on Amazon charging $2,004 to ship a plastic water bottle. Is this a new scam? If so, how does it work? Is there more of this?

So in looking for a new water bottle, I ran across this Amazon listing . This is a typically a ~$30 bottle, here being sold for $75.08. Not a good price, but maybe someone will pay it...

The absolutely shocking part is the $2,004 shipping fee. Looking at this company listings page on Amazon, they've got that same fee for a number of their products.

This feels like some new, obvious scam to take advantage of sloppy shoppers. Am I missing something? Is this a thing?
posted by john m to Shopping (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Speaking as someone who has sold on Amazon before, I have done this to prices before after being shocked at some of Amazon's fees - to prevent anything else from selling while I adjust for their fees. I never did it for shipping, but I use FBA (so it is shipped free with Prime).
posted by getawaysticks at 6:25 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Probably a pricing bot gone awry: Amazon Lists Books for 23 Million Bucks
posted by bluecore at 6:29 AM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

If the seller is actually in Thailand as suggested on the store page maybe it was just an error? 2000 baht is about 55 bucks, not crazy for international shipping although still high. The broken English on various products and on the storefront pages means they might have misinterpreted something in Amazon's interface.

Though the pricing on some of the seller's other items is kind of erratic. Maybe they're just throwing shit at the walls and seeing what sticks.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:36 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I believe it's an error - it says "Ships from and sold by FineFine" and if you click on FineFine and check their Shipping rates you see $4.00 per item and then $2,000.00 per shipment for all products (excluding Books, Music, Video and DVD) but at the bottom, the Shipping Rates for Books, Music, Video and DVD sound entirely reasonable.

So to me it sounds like they may have meant $2.00 and instead ended up using a comma and maybe the Amazon system interpreted that as thousand separators and added the zeroes?

I know I can get a similar kind of error in spreadsheets when switching between different system languages using different decimal and thousand separators.
posted by bitteschoen at 6:56 AM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Except hmm... they also have some crazy prices for some of the products here and there, like this a water bottle for $73, and the crazy shipping rate on top of that, so maybe it's nothing to do with separators... unless the price was supposed to be $7.33 whatever, which is possible given the prices from other vendors for similar products.

Whatever it is, it still doesn't sound deliberate. I've come across weird pricing like that on Amazon before, maybe it is the pricing bots as in that link posted by bluecore?
posted by bitteschoen at 7:05 AM on February 16, 2016

I'm not aware of any cases where pricing bots gone awry resulted in bizarrely high shipping costs.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:23 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ostensibly great discounts are often not so when you click through. To give one instance of an Amazon Marketplace seller charging unscrupulous shipping fees, a children's rug that was about $150 below the regular price turned out to have a $100 shipping fee. Granted, rugs are heavy and bulky to ship. I have also seen high shipping fees for apparently discounted bulk candy.
posted by bad grammar at 9:00 AM on February 16, 2016

It would be an interesting way to launder money.
posted by theora55 at 10:16 AM on February 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

A bit of a stretch, but it even be used as a form of covert communications, via the prices.
posted by destrius at 10:47 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

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