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Warning to potential Camelback Toyota/Scion online parts customers:

Camelback Toyota's "free shipping" claim is a misleading come-on. There is a good chance your order will NOT qualify for free shipping. In fact, you will be charged a $3 "handling" fee and may be overcharged for shipping.

Their webpage states: "Free shipping on most orders over $150.00*" That may be _technically_ accurate, but there's no way for us to know. "Most orders" implies (at a minimum) over 50%. It would be interesting to know what percentage of orders actually qualify for free shipping.

At the very bottom of the page, in the tiniest font known to man, is a minuscule [*] and the statement: " *See our Policies For More Details". I had to use [Ctrl F] to find it. Really, it's that small.

Just about every other company website I've seen either states "Free Shipping" or "Free Shipping on Orders Over $xx". If not, then shipping is charged on all orders. Whatever the case, they are up front about it. I've never seen, "Free shipping on orders over $xx -- except for a; b; c; d; e...". I'm sure many people glance at the Camelback main page and think their policy is similar to almost every other online retailer in the country. Sadly, it isn't.

The webpage goes on to say:

"** We do not ship any type of fluids, paints, or batteries, with the exception of silicones.**"

"**We do not ship any body parts, bumper covers, or sheet metal of any kind.**"

That's understandable. I can see why they would either not ship those items or charge extra for shipping them.

I was planning to purchase A/C parts and knew the total order would be ~$450 (3x their minimum order amount), so I had no reason to think that there would be any problem, or additional shipping charge.

Unless the customer reads the small print before ordering, they do not find out until late in the order completion process -- after providing all personal and billing information -- what Camelback's unique definition of "Free Shipping" is. It's similar to one of our modern US presidents' definition of the word "is". Quote:

"Free Shipping: We will ship one 36" x 24" x 12" package or upto 25lbs or smaller for free (must meet the minimum purchase of $150.00). You will be responsible for additional,larger package fees or hazardous material fees. Offer is limited to the continental United States and does not include Alaska or Hawaii. Excludes any oversized items."

I had checked prices at other OEM Toyota parts suppliers and found Camelback's prices to be reasonable. There was at least one vendor that had lower delivered prices, but I'd ordered from Camelback before, and saw they have a good BBB rating -- whereas the other company, ToyotaOnlineParts.com, is not a BBB member. The price difference wasn't that great (<$20), so I decided to go with Camelback.

It wasn't until I got to one of the last pages in the ordering process that I found out that in addition to their already higher prices, Camelback expected me to pay an additional $45+(!!) for shipping (surprise sucker!) -- oh, and a $3 "Handling Fee".

They're playing classic 'gotcha' games. It's very frustrating when online retailers spring additional charges on you at the very end of the ordering process -- after you have invested a significant amount of time confirming you have selected the correct parts, entering all of your personal and billing info, etc.

What Camelback is doing is not illegal, but it is unethical -- or at the very least, just plain sleazy. As I said above, I've ordered from them at least once or twice before with no problem, so this surprised me.

Needless to say, I'll be ordering from ToyotaOnlineParts.com (or some other vendor). ToyotaOnlineParts charges for shipping, but they are upfront about how much it will cost, and the true/delivered cost for this order alone will be ~$64 less -- $501 vs $437 -- a significant savings.

I see no reason to do business with Camelback Toyota. Their prices are higher and they clearly do not respect their customers enough to be straight with them regarding shipping and "handling" fees.

Buyer beware.
 
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