58 posts categorized "retailers"

Friday, May 30, 2014

June 2-3 in New York: Part #3 of J&R Auction Sale

As you may have already heard, J&R World closed down and their inventory is on the auction block. Part #3 of the auction sale of their inventory will take place on June 2 and 3 in 2014 in New York. This is a real-world auction, so you must needs be physically in New York. Details at the auction announcement page.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

PSA: eBay asking users to change passwords after compromising cyber attack

eBay officially announced that a successful cyberattack on the company compromised a database of encrypted passwords and other data. They will be asking eBay users to change their passwords. Detailed coverage of this situation at various tech websites can be found via Techmeme.

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 13-14 (New York) Huge Auction Sale of J&R Inventory

As you may have heard, the iconic J&R World electronics store in New York closed. On May 13-14, there is going to be a huge auction of their inventory. If you happen to be in New York, you may find this of interest. Details at the J&R website and auctioneers website. This is a real-world brick and mortar physical auction, not an online auction. Among the auctioned items, per above:


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Plan Ahead: B&H Photo Passover Schedule

If you are planning to place time-sensitive orders from B&H Photo this month, keep in mind that B&H Photo, as usual, will be closing for the Passover Holiday. The cut-off date to place orders is Sunday April 13 at 12pm eastern (but don't wait until the last minute). The B&H store and offices will be closed between Monday April 14 through Tuesday, April 22 in 2014. They will re-open on Wednesday April 23 at 9am eastern (New York City time). Orders placed during the Holidays will be processed after B&H re-opens... Speaking of time-sensitive matters, the Tax Filing deadline for the 2013 tax year is fast approaching!

Friday, January 31, 2014

PSA: Amazon may increase the annual price of Prime by $20 to $40

During their latest quarterly results conference call, Amazon revealed that they are considering the possibility of raising the price of their annual Prime membership by $20 to $40 to cover increased costs of the service. The current Prime service includes free 2-day shipping, plus a streaming video library, plus a free e-book rental per month, plus a free Kindle First new e-book release per month. If you follow the news, both shipment costs and video content costs are rising. They did not give further details whether they plan to create multiple tiers, for example, some people only want the free 2-day shipping and don't care for the video/e-book features.

This is not an official announcement of a price increase, but if they mentioned it during their conference call, they are probably preparing the ground for it. As of the time of writing, the Amazon Prime membership remains $79 for 12 months for new subscribers and renewals. If there is a price increase, it will affect future renewals and future new members. They currently offer a 30-day free trial, so if you are on the fence on this service, this may be something to consider.

We've already seen Amazon make adjustments to counter the increasing costs of shipping. They created the Add-On program (some sub-$5 items are not eligible for free 2-day shipping for Prime members unless they are part of an order of $25+) and increased the free Super Saver shipping threshold from $25 to $35 for non-Prime members. Also, some heavier and more-expensive-to-ship items now may cost more than $4 if you select 1-day shipping as a Prime member.

Via Techmeme, The Verge.

Friday, January 10, 2014

PSA: Target hack even worse: up to 70 million compromised

The Target hack is even worse-r than previously anticipated. A new update from Target reveals that the data of up to 70 million individuals were compromised during their Black Friday 2013 hack attack. Target will offer one year of complimentary credit and identity monitoring services. More details via Tech Crunch et al.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

PSA: Target was hacked, up to 40 million cards affected

This is a PSA. Target was apparently hacked and up to 40 million credit and debit cards may have been affected between November 27 through December 15 in 2013. At risk are the payment card data from credit and debit card purchases made at Target stores during that time period. Details at Target and CNet News and Tech Crunch and The Verge.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Amazon increases Free Shipping minimum from $25 to $35

All good things come to an end, Amazon has now increased the minimum amount required to get free Super Saver shipping from $25 to $35. This includes most physical goods sold by Amazon itself or fulfilled by Amazon. Magazines also count towards the $35 limit, but digital content purchases (ebooks, mp3s, digital video, software downloads, apps, etc) do not count towards the $35 limit. Also not counting are products purchased from third-party/marketplace sellers that ship directly from the marketplace sellers.

The tech blogs are speculating that this a move by Amazon to encourage more people to try out Amazon Prime with a 30-day Free Trial. For $79 for every 12 months, you get free 2-day shipping for qualifying items (sold and shipped by Amazon itself and fulfilled by Amazon warehouses), along with an increasing number of TV shows and Movies to watch for free, and one new Kindle e-book rental per month.

The Amazon Add On Program
One feature that was quietly effectively removed from the Prime program the last few weeks/months is free shipping on some small items that cost under $5 (not every sub-$5 item, but some of them). Amazon calls this the "Add On Program". Amazon's explanation is that these are items that they wouldn't be able to carry otherwise, but by adding this restriction, they are now able to carry them.

In order to be allowed to buy "Add On Program" items, your purchase total must be $25 or more, regardless of Prime member status. Even if you want to pay shipping out of your own pocket, the shopping cart won't let you buy them. As of now, the minimum purchase limit for these remains $25, it hasn't increased to $35.

If you haven't seen "Add On Program" Amazon listings before, here are some examples:
+ Yamaha Jack adapter for $1.17
+ Guitar Picks for $3
+ Guitar Strap for $4.95

And here is an example of a sub-$5 item that is not part of the "Add On program": iPhone 5 screen protector for $3.50. In other words, you can buy it for $3.50 and get free 2-day shipping.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Two changes to Best Buy Reward Zone effective 7/30/13

Best Buy has made a couple of changes to their Reward Zone rewards program. The changes will go in-effect on 7/30/13 and are outlined in this PDF file. There is one positive change, points accrued will no longer expire at the end of the year. They will continue to be alive as long as there is some activity in your account at least once every 12 months. The one negative change is purchases made with the Reward Zone Credit Card that take advantage of promotional financing offers will not earn points. But they will continue to count towards your Premier Silver status. Premier Silver status is achieved when you make $2,500 or more in purchases at Best Buy during the calendar year (or if there is any limited time promotion that gets you Premier Silver status faster).

For more details on their rewards program, check the Reward Zone website.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Planned outage: Best Buy website tonight

A planned outage heads up. The Best Buy website will be down for pre-scheduled maintenance between 11:30pm central tonight until 6am central on Wednesday June 19, 2013. Do not panic if you can't get to their website. It is planned maintenance.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Meta: Internet Sales Tax passes Senate with Veto-Proof majority

The Internet Sales Tax passed in the US Senate (actual passage of the bill, not a test/procedural vote) with a veto proof majority of 69 to 27. Two thirds are required to override a veto. The next step for the bill is to go through the House of Representatives and if it passes there, onto the President for signing or vetoing. Via Gizmodo, AP, Ars.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Amazon promotes their Global Shipping

Amazon is ramping up the promotion of their Global Shipping Feature. They ship to 65 countries that participate in the Amazon Global shipping program and promise simplified customs with import fee deposit and door to door tracking.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

PSA: eBay forces "The Feed" on more accounts

If you haven't been on eBay recently, beware when you return logged on with your account. eBay is now pushing "The Feed" on more accounts. If you see things jumping up and asking for confirmation, don't just click blindly to make them go away. "The Feed" is eBay's attempt to figure out what an individual's interests are and show them products that fit those categories. Needless to say, a lot of people find this irritating.

Continue reading "PSA: eBay forces "The Feed" on more accounts" »

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meta: National Internet Sales Tax possibly coming

The National Internet Sales Tax is a possibility now, as it is currently being debated in the Senate (C-SPAN2 as of the time of writing of this blog-post). The current situation is rounded up (as of a couple of hours ago) at The Verge.

Meta: PayPal testing Pay After Delivery feature for bank account payments

While making a nickle-dimer purchase with PayPal, I noticed a new feature, "Pay After Delivery". This is offered to verified PayPal users and works for bank account payments, not credit cards. I forgot to try this new service out, if I do with a future purchase, I will post a new blog-post about it.

The text that describes the promotion is pasted below, since the website that shows it is behind the PayPal login page, and it is bad internet practice to link to a webpage that requires a login - especially a financial services website (for security and other purposes). Long post, after the jump...

Continue reading "Meta: PayPal testing Pay After Delivery feature for bank account payments" »

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Best Buy (online and B&M stores) will price-match some of the internets starting March 3

Starting March 3 in 2013, Best Buy online and brick and mortar stores will be price-matching prices local retailers along with some of the major internet online sellers. For the brick and mortar stores, you have to ask for the price match and provide online proof of the pricing and you have 15 days to do it. This Best Buy hopes will end "showrooming". Not all the details have been revealed yet. Some of what is known at Bloomberg and Engadget and The Verge which mentions that 19 retailers will be price-matched online including Amazon, Apple, Crutchfield and Walmart.

Buy.com is now officially Rakuten.com

Buy.com has officially switched to Rakuten.com. Buy.com links automatically forward to Rakuten.com. Rakuten is the Japanese mega-company that purchased Buy.com a few months ago.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meta: Credit Card payment surcharges now legal in 40 US states (YMMV)

This a wallet-impact alert. As part of a settlement between the credit card companies and retailers, in forty (40) US states, retailers can now charge credit card fees on purchases made with credit cards. This is not mandatory, it depends on what individual retailers and retail chains decide to do. This will probably play out in the next few weeks and months, but it is something to keep an eye out for. The surcharge may be up to 4% of the purchase price. This only applies to credit cards, not debit cards.

The ten states that won't allow credit card surcharges of any kind are: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Mass, Maine, Conn, Oklahoma and Kansas.

It will be interesting to see whether this is applied more at the brick and mortar level versus online purchases, since cash and check payments for online purchases are not exactly ideal. It will be interesting to see how it is applied in interstate purchases where there are differences in surcharge laws.

Details so far at ABC News and Reuters and The Verge and Geek.com et al.

On the other hand, cash is not exactly without cost. Those big armored security trucks that come and pick up bags full of cash are certainly not free. If a store is robbed, the cash will fly away, but the credit card payments will not. Plus, credit card purchases offer consumers certain protections and flexibility that you can't get with cash payments.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Meta: NewEgg crashes patent troll in court (savings of 1% in patent troll fees)

Some meta action now, an interesting story at Ars Technica chronicles how NewEgg's lawyers headlined by Lee Cheng crashed a patent troll who wanted a 1% running royalty on all sales because of master of the obvious patents - eg the use of shopping carts for online shopping. (via Techmeme).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Retailer News: Buy.com will become Rakuten.com on 1/31/13

Some meta news now. Buy.com will officially change its name to Rakuten.com on January 31, 2013. There is a notice of this at the Buy.com website. As you may recall recalling, Buy.com was purchased by Rakuten (Japanese retail giant) a few months ago.

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