Great (free) publicity in the media for Amazon declaring it’s ‘temporarily’ giving free delivery ‘for 50 million eligible items’ when shipped to Israel if one purchases above $49. Sounds too good to be true? It is.
Amazon doesn’t give away at its state-of-the-art website which are these ’50 million eligible items.’ Only when you get to checkout, it will specify if your items are ‘eligible.’ They will also pre-charge you for VAT (over $75) and customs (over $500). This all makes everything very efficient and transparent. Yet, how to profit from free delivery to Israel stays elusive.
I’ll give you an example.
I fancy a nice book produced in the US, not available in Israel in any store. What’s more compact and suitable for free delivery? I don’t care if I’ll get it in a week, a month or three months. Only, the price should be good.
The book costs $76.29. That’s quite a price but it’s for quite a book.
I thought I’ll drop in another item for $17.99. What would that cost me?
Delivery costs – gasp – $50 to $100, depending on how quickly I want it.
Gotto be kidding. I’ll drop the small item. Delivery costs: half of it. That’s nice but not free. That’s a third to two thirds on top of the book’s price.
Also, VAT comes in because it’s ($1.29) over $75. If really concerned with their Israeli customer, they’d sell the book to Israel for 74.99.
I decided to chat with them – free! Quite a search to find the chart button.
I am told that for free delivery, I need not to order from their website but directly from their Book Depository. Not mentioned in the news. There, no shipping costs and no VAT! But I need to enter again all personal details.
However, this still doesn’t work as well as it should. The book at the Amazon site is sold for a bargain price of NIS 272.93 (plus 102.96 shipping, totaling 375.89 before 68.87 VAT) but at the Amazon Book Depository for a whopping NIS 355.92, apparently without discount, without shipping and VAT. That is NIS 102.96 less shipping but NIS 75.99 more for the book.
Time for a new chat.
I wrote: I wanted to order a book from Amazon with free delivery to Israel. In a previous chat with Amazon, I was told for free delivery to order it from the Book Depository. Now I see that the $25 delivery costs disappeared but the book is now $20 more expensive. That doesn’t help much. It will even make me pay more VAT. Is there anything I can do to get the price from the Amazon website without delivery costs? Their answer: Sadly, we cannot offer the same price, we are two different websites.
So, in Israel, I’d need to pay for a $75 book about $20 plus 17% VAT extra instead of $25 shipping. I understand the trick but can’t appreciate it. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. There is no such thing as a free lunch and no such thing as an Amazon free delivery to Israel.
On slightly related news, the owner of Amazon has now decided that the field of contenders of the Democratic Primary race for 2020 isn’t pleasing him. He has asked his little brother Bloomberg to do something about it.