Category Archives: Consumerism.

Newegg.com charges 30$ to ship 20 6-inch cables – Updated!

UPDATE:
Alex V., A newegg Customer Service Professional, discovered this blog post and has contacted Michael W. in an effort to resolve this issue. Michael is incredibly satisifed with this resolution, and his faith in Newegg.com has been restored.

We commend Newegg and Alex V. for their amazing customer service, and happily reinstate our endorsement that Newegg.com is the web’s best computer hardware vendor.

Michael’s response to newegg can be found here.

Original Post Below:

/faceplam on Shipping
A friend of mine frequently makes all of his computer-related purchases from online vendor Newegg.com. He’s sworn by it for years, so much so in fact that I have made several purchases based solely on his recommendation.

This morning, Michael had an incredible time making a purchase when Newegg wanted 30$ to ship 20 6″ cables.

Ordinarily, Newegg ships multiple order items together. For example, if I purchase two hard drives and a motherboard, shipping is calculated to ship all of those items together. However, as you’ll see from Newegg Customer Service Member “Tiana”, apparently shipping 20 cables, Newegg says there is a possibility they’ll ship all 20 cables seperately, and therefore need to charge for shipping accordingly. Essentially this prices the order at $39.80 for 20 cables, and $29.48 to ship them on the cheapest method available.
A similiar cable
That’s a total cost of $69.28 to purchase 20 6″ cables cables that weight next to nothing.

Even better, during a chat with Newegg customer service, Tiana chats the wrong message to Michael, apparently because she’s helping too many customers at once. She then ends the chat with a classic “Thanks for calling. Later loser”.

You’re welcome to try the linked Newegg.com URL and see for yourself.

Chat and Screenshot enclosed:

8:26:35 AM Michael W.

Initial Question/Comment: Shipping

8:26:40 AM System

Tiana has joined this session!

8:26:40 AM System

Connected with Tiana

8:26:40 AM System

Hello my name is Tiana. How may I help you today?

8:27:12 AM Michael W.

Hi I have a question about combining products on an order. I think there might be a problem with the auto update shipping amount

8:27:19 AM Michael W.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812119238

8:27:21 AM Michael W.

is the item

8:27:29 AM Michael W.

and its a cable that weighs virtually nothing

8:27:40 AM Michael W.

when I try and add say 10 to the order, my shipping is like $20

8:28:01 AM Michael W.

the shipping should be around $5-$8 or so, as I’ve ordered a bunch of cables through Newegg before

8:28:14 AM Tiana

I do apologize about that Sir, please give me a moment and see what I can do for you in this matter. For reference Sir, each item that is added to your cart has it’s own shipping prices and once it adds 5 items or more the shipping charges are discounted. If possible can you please provide me with your account information? This way I can review your account and see what we can do for you.

8:28:16 AM Michael W.

and the only time shipping has been remotely close to $20 was with a case

8:28:59 AM Michael W.

I have not pruchased these yet, as I think the shipping is wrong

8:29:06 AM Michael W.

my account is under my*****@hotmail.com

8:29:20 AM Tiana

The shipping is correct and as a courtesy I can offer you 10.00 off shipping.

8:30:29 AM Michael W.

I guess I dont understand why the shipping is so much, they are cables, they weigh virtually nothing

8:30:44 AM Michael W.

I should be able to add 50 cables and the the shipping shouldnt be $10

8:30:50 AM Tiana

That is how much we list them for shipping sir.

8:30:56 AM Tiana

Shipping for that cable is 2.99.

8:32:27 AM Michael W.

If I order 20 cables, what are the shipping costs at that qty level?

8:32:50 AM Tiana

What is your zip code?

8:32:53 AM Michael W.

84043

8:33:35 AM Tiana

It is 29.48.

8:34:18 AM Michael W.

ok, that’s just ridiculous. I order everything from newegg, as you can see from my account, and the prices on shipping for these cables is just wrong

8:34:31 AM Michael W.

I will just buy them locally at those prices

8:34:37 AM Michael W.

or from another online vendor

8:34:46 AM Michael W.

that is just not correct for shipping

8:35:02 AM Michael W.

they can be combined into a flat rate box, they are tiny cables

8:35:07 AM Michael W.

I just dont understand

8:35:50 AM Tiana

They cannot be combined as a flate rate because again we charge shipping per item. Once it adds 5 items or more the shipping charges are discounted.

8:36:08 AM Michael W.

so, if I order 20 cables, I will get 20 packages?

8:36:25 AM Michael W.

they wouldnt be combined like EVERY thing else Ive ordered?

8:36:30 AM Tiana

You may or you may receive them all in one box. We may not have all the cables in one warehouse.

8:37:00 AM Tiana

*You may or you may not.

8:39:35 AM Tiana

Thank you very much for holding. Unfortunately your credit card declined again. Since we have verified the credit card information in our system is correct and your card-issuing bank has not authorized the payment, we may need to conduct a manual authorization. A manual authorization consist of us contacting your card-issuing banks merchant line to request an authorization number. There is a slight risk of being double charged. If this were to happen, we will fix it immediately and refund you the 2nd charge… Would you like us to conduct a manual authorization?

8:39:40 AM Tiana

I’ve noticed that you have been idle for 3 minutes; would you still like to continue this chat?

8:39:43 AM Michael W.

uhm

8:39:49 AM Michael W.

I didnt ask you to verify my credit card

8:40:00 AM Tiana

Disregard the last paragraph.

8:40:05 AM Tiana

It was not meant for you, I apologize.

8:40:18 AM Tiana

Do you have any other questions, or is there anything else I can assist you with today?

8:40:37 AM Michael W.

no, I am just appalled with the shipping

8:40:40 AM Michael W.

I dont know what to say

8:41:05 AM Tiana

Thank you for visiting Newegg.com. Please feel free to contact us anytime.

8:41:05 AM System

Tiana Disconnected

Check your paychecks – You may owe taxes at the end of 2009

Disclaimer: This is independent research. Check with someone smarter than me before going and screwing up your life.

Remember how our paychecks suddenly got a little heavier, as our federal taxes decreased?

The reason for that is that President Obama’s first stimulus act (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) included a $400 tax credit (Making Work Pay Credit) for the 2009 tax year. Unlike a lot of tax credit’s we see however, this one was included at the employer level, paid out over the year in the form of tax deductions. In other words, you’re getting a $400 tax credit, but rather than take it off your 2009 tax bill, they’re giving it back by giving you more of your withholding money.

However, it was a poorly planned tax credit. Unfortunately, in a variety of circumstances, average-joe families may have several hundred dollars in money they’ll need to take out of their 2009 refund, or worse yet, if they usually break even, they’ll end up owing it back.

Situations in which you may be overpaid (Consumerist, CNN, other):

  • Anyone who holds more than one job
    • You will get paid the Making Work Pay Credit twice, up to $400 ($800 for a joint filer) from your first employer and up to $400 ($800 for a joint filer) from your second employer
  • Joint filers whose spouses work
    • Each spouse will end up being paid the credit for married couples by each of their employers. There’s a twist, too. Because of the way the withholding tables were set up, each working spouse may be paid up to $600 this year – instead of up to the $800, Mezistrano said. In other words, the husband would receive $600 at his job and the wife $600 at her job, for a total of $1,200. Since they’re only entitled to $800 total as a couple, that means they would have to pay $400 back to the IRS – or see their refund reduced by that amount
  • Anyone who receives income from a rental property or investment, such as interest and dividends.
    • Your employer only knows about the income you earn at the company. If you receive other income that increases your modified adjusted gross income – or even pushes you past the income limits for the credit – you may end up owing the IRS some or all of the credit you received in your paycheck
  • The credit phases out for couples who file jointly and have adjusted gross income between $150,000 and $190,000. So if one of you is getting it withheld, you’ll just end up owing it back at the end of that year, because you never actually qualified to receive it
  • Anyone who started receiving their credit at the end of Febuary or anytime in March.
    • The withholding tables are structured so that payments starting in April will add up to $400 for single filers and $800 for joint filers by year end. If payments start sooner than that a tax filer may actually receive a bit more than he’s due by Dec. 31 Conversely, if your employer doesn’t start your payments until the end of April or in May – there’s no penalty if an employer doesn’t meet the April 1 deadline – you may end up getting a little less of a credit than you’re entitled to, in which case you can claim the rest when you file your 2009 tax return
  • If anyone is like me, there could also be in trouble (maybe). Last year, before this tax credit, I made a change in my withholding, claiming many more dependents than I actually had to help get a more accurate withholding scheme. Getting more money in my check each money, while still withholding enough to not owe the IRS anything. This is recommended by the IRS. Unfortunately, once this tax-credit is applied, my withholding is so low that I still may not actually meet my 2009 tax withholding obligation. If I don’t change my withholding to withhold more money, I could potentially end up owing money to the IRS for the first time at the end of this year.

http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/dont_mess_with_taxes/2009/03/making-work-pay-withholding-considerations.html

http://consumerist.com/5192031/good-news-you-got-a-tax-cut-bad-news-you-might-want-to-adjust-your-withholding

NBA needs $175 Million loan – Spends $2.1 Billion on salaries

The NBA is apparently in need of a $175 million dollar loan. Essentially a bailout from Bank of America and JP Morgan, which in turn were bailed out by US Taxpayer funds.

http://www.breitbart.com/
The National Basketball Association will borrow 175 million dollars to serve as aid to teams that might struggle in the weak global economy, Sports Business Journal reported Thursday…

Half of the league’s 30 teams agreed there was a need to go through with the borrowing, according to the report…

That’s fantastic.  Apparently even major league sports are really hurting in this tough economic times.

Gosh! If only there were a way to cut back some of the spending from this crucial organization. Maybe like, oh I don’t know, work over some of their salaries?

The NBA Spends over 2.1 BILLION Dollars a year a salaries alone!

The League Minimum Salary for the Calendar year 2008 was $412,718 per year. And few players are making the NBA’s minimum wage.

The top 30 highest paid players in the NBA make over 14 million dollars a year. Kevin Garnett from Boston ringing in at number 1 with a $24,750,000  salary. At the bottom of the top 30 is Lebron James with a yearly salary of $14,410,581.

The New York Knicks spend almost $100 Million dollars a year on salaries alone. And that’s just one of 30 teams!

You know, sports has it’s place in the world. But this is disgusting.

SalariesSource: HoopsHype

TurboTax Online caused me grief this year

The semi-comprehensive e-mail I wrote to Intuit explains why TurboTax caused me some difficulty this year. Rather than detail it out, I figured I might as well just share the e-mail I wrote:

Intuit,

I need your help correcting my recent experience as a 6 year customer of TurboTax. I recently filed my 2008  State and Federal Tax Returns using TurboTax Deluxe Online. My taxes aren’t the most complicated, but I find that TurboTax has always been helpful in organizing my financial thoughts, and making sure I’m taking advantage of the latest deductions.

This year, my E-Filing was successful without any difficulty. I received a notification that my Federal return had been accepted by the IRS the same day I completed my filing (02/17/2009). A day later, I received an e-mail from TurboTax indicating that my 2008 State return was accepted, but that an “Extra Form” was required.

The e-mail indicated that I needed to send in an “extra Form” via mail to my state. The E-mail made no indication of which form to file, nor where to send it. The E-mail simply said I could find the form amongst the papers that TurboTax printed for me.

No such form, or instructions exist in the printed documents, or the PDF. I re-downloaded my return from TurboTax.com to be sure.

Once I was sure that no additional forms or instructions could be found, I used the TurboTax support site to get an Incident number (xxxxxxxx) and a phone number to call. I spoke with a representative who spent exactly 25 minutes speaking with her supervisor about navigating help on the TurboTax Website. At the end of the call, she indicated that perhaps there was a bug in the TurboTax software, but she isn’t sure. She told me that I should call the State Tax commission myself, and review my documents with them to make sure the Form TurboTax has told me I need to fill out, isn’t missing.

I currently have no confidence that the Turbo Tax STATE product has properly filled out my tax information. TurboTax has told me that I am missing forms which NEED to be submitted to my state, but TurboTax is unable to tell me what forms I must fill out, or where to send them. I have spent the last 2 1/2 hours working with the State tax commission’s forms and website, as well as other state tax payers to determine what forms I may or may not be missing.

I am requesting a full refund for the TurboTax State Product, which according to my order is $26.97 after tax. I am not requesting a refund for the TurboTax Federal product, as it has so far proven to be accurate and satisfactory.

I look forward to your response.

XXXXXXXXX

What’s really funny about this is that the phone call, which I didn’t feel I need to berate in the above email, was absolutely awful. It’s actually a lot worse than the e-mail let’s on. She points me to several forms that could be the culprit, all of which the state forms clearly say “Don’t fill this out unless you’re a millionaire disabled leper on welfare”. Needless to say, that’s not me.

Naturally, knowing the phone call was going to be golden, I recorded it. if there is any interest I’ll see about “beeping” out the personal information and posting it on the website.

Update (2:03 PM MST, 02/20/2009):

TurboTax responded to my e-mail today, nearly 48 hours after I originally sent it. The e-mail contained this:

Dear XXXXXXX,

Thank you for contacting TurboTax Customer Service & Support.

I understand that you will like a refund for the state product. I will need you to call so, Turbo Tax can confirm information over the phone. I do apologize for the inconvenience.

You may receive a survey from us through e-mail in approximately 24 hours asking you about my performance on today’s contact, as well as comments you may have in regards to the TurboTax product. So we can continue with our promise to provide our customers with the best support available, please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

Respectfully,

XX_XXXXX

 

So, apparently after waiting two days for my personalized e-mail response, I need to call in and get my issue taken care of. What number do I call?

Turns out, in order to get a support number you have to go to turbotax.com and fill out a brief support ticket to get the phone number. Shame I didn’t write it down the last time I called.

I called and after 15 minutes of holding, a nice lady (surely based in India, unlike the last one) spent another 15 minutes conferring with her supervisor (about what, I don’t know… there was no discussion of why I was requesting a refund) and finally issued me a confirmation number.

Sweet victory. After only over an hours worth of phone-call holding, and 2 1/2 hours of State tax form research, I have $26.20 on my way back. I’m not sure what happened to the other $0.77 in my refund… but I wasn’t going to argue.