This week Amazon dropped a bombshell on its millions of UK customers – delivery would no longer be free for items costing less than £10.
“Amazon.co.uk has introduced a £10 minimum spend to qualify for Free Super Saver Delivery in a number of product categories, effective 23 July 2013,” the company told people who had used this service in the past.
This means delivery costs add almost 50% to the price of a £6 ballpoint pen, where before it would have been free.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to take it lying down. Because there’s a loophole.
“Orders that include books, DVDs, Blu-rays, music, video games and software products continue to qualify for Free Super Saver Delivery with no minimum spend threshold,” Amazon explained when telling customers about the changes.
And that means you can get still get goods delivered for, if not nothing, certainly less than the price of a first class stamp.
[Tricks to save money when shopping online]
How to get around the charges
The simplest method is to wait. If it’s not something you need right away, put it in your Amazon shopping basket and then hold off on heading to the virtual check out until you have £10 of goods in there, meaning you pay nothing for delivery on any of them.
The second simplest option is to look for the item on a site that still offers free delivery. In the case of the pen mentioned above, a quick internet search showed it was available with free delivery from a shop in Bolton that sells through eBay. The initial cost was higher, but the cost once delivery was factored in was less.
A string of big brands – from John Lewis, to Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Next – offer also “click and collect” services. These let you buy online, then pick up the items you’ve ordered from your nearest store for free.
And then there’s the Amazon loophole. There are rather a lot of “books, DVDs, Blu-rays, music, video games and software products” that cost less than £2.99 and would mean your order qualified for free delivery.
For example, HotUKDeals member dalipsinghno1 spotted the ‘World Cup Fever’ album for just 37p – less than the cost of a stamp – saving £5.64 on the delivery cost. The CD sold out at that price quickly, but it was far from the only product. Another user quickly found the CD single ‘Who's That Girl’ by Deckwrecka for just 83p. Have a look at Amazon’s Bargain CD page to see if there’s anything cheap you can add to your order.
And those aren’t the only ways to use Amazon’s policies against it. You could also make extra orders taking the price over £10 (or including an item that qualifies for free delivery) and return the unwanted items free for a refund. Or you could sign up for the free three month trial of Amazon Family or 30 day trial Amazon’s Prime – both of these services come with free deliveries.
“You can then go in your account settings and turn off auto renew so you don't get charged £49 at the end of the three months,” HotUKDeals member Jimmyboy explained.