ConsumerWatch: Free Shipping May Not Amount To Savings

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A woman shopping online. (CBS)

A woman shopping online. (CBS)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) – With Black Friday showing a slight increase in sales, online retailers are trying hard to find similar success by luring holiday shoppers to their sites.

According to a survey by National Retail Federation’s Shop.org four out of five online retailers will include free shipping at some point between now and Christmas.

“The trend for free shipping is way up,” said Luke Knowles, founder of Freeshipping.org.

“They’re encouraging you to spend more money than maybe you had intended,” Gene O’Neil from the Better Business Bureau warns.

Consumers should be aware that many free shipping deals require a certain amount be spent.

For those avid online shoppers, programs like Amazon Prime and Shop Runner could be a deal. For a $79 annual fee, items are sent within two days. Holding off on holiday shopping until December 17th could mean even bigger savings. About one thousand companies including Macy’s, Sears and Victoria Secret will ship for free that Friday.

“The shoppers love it because it’s kind of a last chance for them,” said Knowles. “Order it now or you’ll have to go to the mall and get it.”

While free shipping may be convenient, the Better Business Bureau warns it’s also leading to a holiday scam where bogus emails that appear to be from Fed-Ex and UPS are in fact deceptive phishing schemes.

“If you open this email, they’re going to ask you for personal information and steal your identity,” said O’Neil.

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