I am an avid shopper, donator, and advocate for our local Goodwill in Austin - this is not a complaint about them. When I heard there were online Goodwill auctions I got excited about finding some good deals.
I purchased a few items at a great price. All of the shipping charges were sky-high!!! (I know what USPS and UPS charge through eBay so I am basing my perceived 'normal charges' from that). From what I can tell each Goodwill determines their own shipping charges locally; i.e. the Rochester, NY store may have different charges than the Tacoma, WA store.
For example: Tacoma Goodwill. I purchased a Polaroid camera (vintage) for my wife, who had been wanting one. This camera came in a case with a couple of flashbulbs, but according to the auction weighed 4 lbs for shipping (less than 2 lbs including the box and wrapping material when I weighed it at home. Hell, it stated the weight on the label!!!).
Here is the final total:
Item: Polaroid Square Shot Land Camera
Price: $6.99 Qty: 1
Shipping and Handling: $16.82 ($10.55 on the UPS website!)
Order Total: $23.81
USPS Priority: $7.95 (Gets here in half the time!)
Almost $17 for a $7 item, of normal size and shape, shipped in a regular 24"x24"x24"x24" box, ground (5 days + to get here) UPS. $2 was the 'handling charge.' After receiving the email with the above shipping and handling charge, I immediately emailed them to ask if they could send it priority flat rate or first class from USPS. Here is the response:
"Our exclusive shipping partner is UPS-- so we can't offer USPS shipping-- However I should note the camera also includes a padded case which may contain other items-- If you would just like the camera and not the case, I will be happy to have our shipping warehouse re-weigh the item and see if the shipping cost can be reduced."
Rather than get 'blackballed' from future auctions, since some of the stores and deals can be somewhat reasonable even with their shipping prices, I paid, but sent a reply telling them they should re-evaluate their 'partnership'.
Chattanooga, TN Goodwill
Item: 4 Vintage Barbie Outfits
Shipping and Handling: $13.43
Order Total: $44.43
Weight: 1 lb (less than that, actually)
Handling: 5% of final charge ($1.55)
Total Shipping Charge: $11.88 ($9.00 on UPS Website for same service!!!)
USPS Priority: $5.25
Omaha, NE Goodwill
Item: 1962 Black Barbie Case with Clothes and Dolls
Shipping and Handling: $9.47
Order Total: $30.47
Weight: 3 lbs
Handling: 5% of total ($1.05)
Total Shipping Charge: $8.47 (Note: this is pretty reasonable - $11.00 from UPS website - good job Omaha!)
USPS Priority: $10.80
El Paso, TX Goodwill
Item: Keystone 8mm Camera
Sales Tax (I live in Texas, so expected this): $1.34
Shipping and Handling: $10.26
Order Total: $17.60
Weight: 4 lbs.
Handling: 5% of total (plus insurance on a $6.00 item?): $0.30
Total Shipping Charge: $9.96 ($12.00 on the UPS Website)
USPS Priority: $6.25
On heavier, bulkier items, I could justify paying that much shipping. But they are blatantly ripping their customers off. Do they have a shipping calculator? Sure. I found that out AFTER the last auction. But it contains the jacked-up pricing as well. For a 'company' supposedly doing good in the community, there otherwise good idea for online auctions is nothing but a scam. Care about your customers and you will put more people to work. Rip them off, and they'll find another charity/thrift store to support.