Toscana Fireplace ScreenIt’s getting cold again here in Georgia, and after the first time using our fireplace this season I remembered how much I need a screen to protect our hardwoods and rug from the hot embers that sometimes pop out onto the floor. After searching online for about an hour, I settled on a nice (but expensive) fireplace screen from Frontgate.

As I was browsing their site that was advertising a 30% off promotion in multiple places, I was served a pop-up promising free shipping on my first order if I signed up for the email list. I signed up (even though I’m already on their email list) so I could save a few extra dollars on shipping since I was sure this was a heavy item. Nowhere on the popup did it say free shipping would not work with other promotions.

When I was still being charged shipping in the shopping cart, I called Frontgate sales and explained that I was trying to check out but it wasn’t giving me the free shipping. The rep looked around for a minute before explaining to me that the free shipping promotion could not be used with the current 30% off. If I wanted to take free shipping and save $60, I would have to forego the $180 savings from the 30% off. Doesn’t sound like that great of a deal!

Here I was about to give him my credit card for a $450 order and he was trying to argue with me over the $60 shipping. A quick search through my emails showed they routinely offer 30% off and free shipping, so it’s reasonable to assume these two promotions (advertised on the same page) would work together.

Still, the polite sales representative wouldn’t budge, so I hung up the phone and Frontgate lost out on $450 in revenue. Maybe I’ll purchase the fireplace screen next time I get an email from them for 30% off plus free shipping, if I haven’t found one somewhere else by then.

The Lesson for Online Retailers

Most online retailers, even small niche retailer