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Messages - WayOutWest

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1
That right there is the pisser with regards to Amazon. You come up with a good idea, and they try to horn in on it.  And, the more diversified the business, the harder it is to continue to do things well.  Typically one's core business will suffer.  Which, I'm seeing more and more complaints about poor packaging in regards to Amazon. Part of that, though, can be attributed to them simply selling more items.  Still, though, it's obvious they're not satisfied with making tons of money. They want to be the only corporation and in charge of it all.

It's gotten to where even *I* have started buying from other companies more often.  For example, I used to buy my toilet paper from Amazon. Their price on Scott 1000 is way cheaper than I can get locally. Their packages used to be such that the rolls individually wrapped inside the package (great for the RV).  Now, they have the same packages that the grocery has and they no longer put it in a box unless you opt for that version at an upcharge.  If you don't opt for that, they slap a label on it, UPS will tear the plastic, and your toilet paper will arrive already filthy.  Now I buy it from Boxed.  Boxed prices are slightly higher, but it comes in a box, is here in a day, and they have the individually wrapped rolls.
2
Amazon is wanting to grow their catalog in certain categories, so they're running a promo.

Amazon has announced that they are reimbursing sellers for FBA storage fees for new ASINs now through Sept 30, 2017.  FBA storage fees will be incurred after Sept. 30th. 

ASINs must be new to Amazon.
Only the storage fee will be reimbursed.  Other FBA fees will still apply.
New listings created by bundling or multi-packs of existing ASINs do NOT qualify
Only items in New condition will qualify
Fee reimbursement is capped at $50

Applicable categories:
Kitchen
Patio
Lawn & Garden
Cell Phones & Accessories
Computers (Personal Computers)
Furniture and Décor
Pet Supplies
Sporting Goods
Home & Garden
Office Products
Sports Collectibles
Automotive
Arts
Crafts and Supplies
Major Appliances
Musical Instruments Equipment & Accessories
Tires
Industrial and Scientific
Camera and Photo
Entertainment Collectibles
Outdoors

See details at: https://services.amazon.com/fulfillment-by-amazon/asin/overview.html


When you get to looking at it, it's not that great of a promo.  Only two months of storage fees are reimbursed and maximum reimbursement is $50.  Still, that'll pay for a nice dinner for two.

I predict we will see a huge amount of generic item listings being created as seller brand.  The exact, same made in China items will grow from having 5 or 6 identical listings to having 10-20 identical listings.
3
* Amazon Central / Re: 2017 Holiday Selling in Toys & Games on Amazon
« on: July 17, 2017, 01:36:23 PM »
Looks like they're going to throw the doors wide open Jan 5 this time around :( 
4
And don't forget that they discontinued the neutral packaging last year. Now everything is branded Amazon. That alone (even if I could afford the fees) makes me refuse to use it. I'd rather have stuff sit around my house in boxes for years before I'd ever use MCF and have my customers on other websites get an Amazon package.
Yeah. Crazy to advertise another place with your outgoing shipments. Plus it can confuse ppl having an Amazon box show up when they bought on ebay, etc
5
Agreed. It sounds like a great idea, but the fees are in crazy land.  There are a lot of companies providing fulfillment services around the country (even FedEx has this service) and I'd lay dollars to doughnuts that you can find one that will do it cheaper than Amazon, and they'd probably do a better job at it.
6
They've changed the terms of the Prime subscription extension, if your Prime order is late.

It was (for yearly subscribers), up to 12 1-month extensions, every year.  So, say you last paid on October 1st of 2014, you could get 12 extensions between October 1st, 2014 and September 30th, 2015. Then, come October 1st, 2015, you could get 12 more extensions up through September 30th of 2016.  Enough late shipments and you never pay for Prime again.

Now (again for yearly subscribers), it's up to 12 1-month extensions every subscription payment.  So, if you last paid in October 1st of 2016, you can get 12 extensions between then and September 30th of 2017, but come October 1st of 2018 you have to pay again. And, any late orders from October 1st of 2017 and September 30th of 2018 will not qualify for an extension.   However, you can usually get a $5-$10 credit because of the late shipment.

This change explains why I have been unable to get any more free months of Prime added to my account even though my year anniversary was last September.  The last time I actually paid for Prime was back in 2014.  Some condemn me for hitting them up for the free extensions and credits, but what part of Guaranteed 2-day Shipping means not really guaranteed?
7
Just read a thread about another product price glitch. This one was for the Segway Mini Pro.  Current Amazon price $499 but due to a glitch last night, people were getting the black model for $184 - $189.   No telling how many glitches happened yesterday.  Hopefully no 3P FBA prices were affected.

Looks like Amazon is trying to get people to sign up for business accounts again.  Now they're giving away the Echo Dot to business accounts http://www.amazonbusiness.com/echodot  Account creation requires submitting EIN.  Not sure if existing business accounts are eligible.

Hope everyone had a good Prime day event.

8
I still have a drawer full of cassettes and some 8 tracks

Just saw this that is going to hurt some of the 3P sellers - not only does Amazon have several books on sale today, but they have a $5 off $15 promo for books and reportedly works on calendars too.  Coupon code: PRIMEBOOKS17

They're also having tons of glitches today. Some people are having trouble getting that coupon to stay applied (it'll say it's applied but then it takes it off after you finalize the purchase).  There was a glitch earlier that let some people buy the Echo for $0.01, and a similar glitch let people buy TP-Link wifi outlets for $8 each.  That one was simply by asking Alexa to buy it.  The Echo one was ask Alexa to buy it, say no when it asks you to confirm, add it to cart manually, and at checkout it came out to $0.01.  It was discovered because person tried to order it via Alexa but Alexa said it'd be full price instead of the Prime Day price, so he said no and manually added, but when got to last step of purchasing, lo and behold...

It seems most of the glitches are Alexa ordering related, so hopefully it wont mess up 3P vendor sale prices.



9
I was a little reluctant to switch my TMobile to Sprint, because one of the things I love about TMobile is that customer support is done here in the U.S., so you can actually understand what they're saying, Vs. Sprint's use of overseas call centers.  Plus, I know that TMobile has been increasing their tower capacity in the various cities I travel to (they did a massive tower overhaul in Houston right before the Super Bowl), resulting in few times of congested towers.  So, I decided to open a new line on Sprint's promo of switch to us and get a year free (so can run side by side with TMO and compare service), even though you're supposed to actually switch carriers to qualify.

What I did was to create a new google voice number, pay the $3 fee to unlock it for porting, created a PIN code to associate with the account (necessary for porting), and used that number.  It worked flawlessly.  It did require two phone calls, one to set up the Sprint account and another to finish the porting, but. . .


My experience with this promo, using a new, unlocked Moto G5 Plus and a Google Voice #

Used a SIM from amazon, which I was skeptical of using.  The listing only mentions Apple (phone is Android) and Sprint is known for having both device-specific SIMs AND promo specific SIMs.  In fact, according to Sprint reps last month, this promo required a specific model of SIM (SIMOLW506C).   Amazon listing says  SIMGLW436C but they sent a SIMOLW416C
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OE78KS4 (initially bought it intending to use in an iphone but since I had it...)   

If you want to play it safe and use the recommended SIM (SIMOLW506C) you can buy it on Sprint's website at https://m.sprint.com/shop/mobile/shop/accessory/ao/accessory_details.jsp?accSKU=105500049   From my experience, the whole thing goes much easier if you have the SIM before you call.

Edit - It looks like I simply got lucky in getting the right sim for my phone (Moto G5+).  Just read that the Moto E4 requires the 416 SIM

Anyway, regarding the promo and porting a Google Voice number:

Went to Google Voice, paid the $3 and created a PIN code.
to pay the $3 unlock fee: https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/unlock

Set up a PIN code - go to Google Voice, click the More icon on left column, click Legacy Google Voice, click gear icon on far right, select Settings, click the Voicemail and Text tab, enter a Voicemail PIN code.

Tried to use the website https://www.sprint.com/content/Sprint/sprint_com/us/en/shop/bring-your-own-phone.html?phone=byod but when I put in my IMEI and phone # (which it said was fine), and it tried to load the next page, it sat there with the loading icon doing nothing.

called 866-782-8777

Told agent I wanted to sign up for the transfer a number and get a year free promo.  When it came time to tell him the carrier and phone number, I said I was transferring a Google Project Fi number.  Used phone # as account # and gave the PIN number I set up in Google Voice.

After going through all of the hoops of setting up a new account, was told to turn phone off (if not already off) and turn it on in about 10 minutes.

Went about doing other stuff and checked a couple of hours later, and still not working.  So, decided to check status of porting of number at https://shop2.sprint.com/en/wlnp/check.shtml
it said that transfer had been authorized by my old provider, it was now waiting for port activation, and to call Sprint at 866-437-1818.  I called the number and the person answering took my Sprint info (# and Sprint PIN). After a little bit he said that it was now activated.

Waited a few minutes then turned phone on.  In order to get internet to work, I had to go into settings / carrier settings and tell it to update device config and PRL.

Phone worked straight away for incoming and outgoing calls, internet on phone, and outgoing messaging. Incoming messaging took a few hours to start working.

I tried repeatedly to sign up for My Sprint using ported phone number (going through the main Sprint site), but it kept saying "Device is not active or has been cancelled".  Nor was I able to sign up using the link they sent to my email. When trying that link it says "Invalid email"  Eventually (a few more hours later) I was able to create a My Sprint account by going through the website https://mysprint.sprint.com/mysprint/pages/sl/common/createProfile.jsp

Interestingly, it says my device is available for upgrade despite the fact that the terms of the promo are such that you're not supposed to be able to do that for 90 days, that doing that before 90 days is up will void the promo.  Other people have reported that their account shows they can't upgrade until October.

Edit - now it says that my device won't be upgrade eligible until July 1, 2019 (a year after the promo ends).  The terms of the promo is that it's supposed to be Oct 1, 2017.  Pretty much a moot point though since I doubt that I'll be financing a phone on the line.

Signed up for AAdvantage rewards.  It's still unknown whether or not that promo will work with the free lines.


10
Thanks. It's been a hair-puller, that's for sure.

Just got an email from Magemojo. They've identified the bug that's causing dovecot email to be killed and will be pushing out an update to fix within the next couple of weeks.
11
Some things to stack with the Sprint deal or Best Buy deal (which is below)

Up to 25,000 AAdvantage miles and $400 rebate (for $400 must activate 3 lines & at least 1 must be a ported number) https://promo.sprint.com/Registration/AAdvantageLanding

Port in your numbers and get $50 - $100 for each line, deposited to your credit union account (must sign up for a credit union account to claim). Takes a few weeks so will have to pay for at least a month's service
http://www.lovemycreditunion.org/sprintcreditunionmembercashrewards

* Cannot do both the credit union deal and the AAdvantage deal

6 months of Tidal HiFi subscription for free
https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/services/tidal.html?ECID=vanity%3Atidal

Sprint referral program - get $50 per line that's referred. Note: can't refer self and they have different terms in different places, some places saying only 1 customer line will qualify for referral, some saying both parties get $50, other places saying each line qualifies, and other places saying only you get the $50.
http://sprint.com/referral  Referral program takes 6 weeks, so will have to pay for 2 months service. Reportedly doesn't work with the free lines deal.

ebates Sprint rebates

BestBuy now has some iPhones on sale for Sprint with $75 best buy gift card included. Note: you pay taxes on the full retail price and there's a $30 per line activation fee that you might be able to get waived by calling Sprint.  Buy the phone on payment plan, sign up for a new, regular line for it with referral from spouse on their own acct, activate it with a Verizon SIM card (dont turn on with Sprint SIM!) and automatically unlock it (only works for some models), call Sprint and pay off the phone, if Verizon SIM card trick didn't work call Sprint and get it unlocked domestically and try as many times as needed until success, once unlocked cancel the line (you have 15 days to cancel a line without fees but may have to wait longer to cancel if claiming credit union monies), sell phone for profit on ebay or elsewhere or keep it and enjoy.

Normally, how these discounted phones promos work is that they finance the full retail, bill you 1/24th of the retail price each month (for 2 yrs) and give you a credit each month for the discount.  That way you have to stay locked in to the cell company for 2 yrs to actually get the sale price.  For example, if the MSRP is $480, sale price is $240, they finance the entire $480, bill you each month for $20, and give you a credit each month for $10.   However, according to numerous people on Slickdeals, Sprint and BestBuy aren't doing that in this instance.  Instead, they're only financing the discount price. Using my example numbers of $480 MSRP and 1/2 off, they'd only be financing the $240 and billing you $10 each month.  So, you can pay off the rest of the sale price right away over the phone with Sprint and cancel the service immediately before any bills are generated, if you want. 

Dont forget to get the phone unlocked domestically after paying it off!  BTW, Sprint has domestic locking and international locking. Unlocking domestic will unlock both intl. and domestic. Unlocking international does not unlock domestic. 

Phones that come with the $75 gift card
Apple - iPhone SE 16GB - $2.49/month for 24 months
Apple - iPhone SE 64GB - $4.99/month for 24 months

dont forget 1% bestbuy ebates

Can get $25 in best buy reward points for each additional line (1st line doesn't count) http://www.bestbuy.com/site/clp/my-best-buy-mobile/pcmcat748300506854.c?id=pcmcat748300506854

They also have some other iPhones on sale that don't come with the gift card but that are still a good price, such as the iPhone 6s 64GB for $9.99 for 24 months click here for all iPhones on sale, sorted by price

Worth mentioning - all of these Sprint deals, even the free line deal, will result in a hard pull on your credit report for the initial creation of your account.
12
Just got an email from USPS about this and thought I'd share.   Who's buying, what, and why.

All of this is worth a read, for it does provide some valuable insight as to what consumers are wanting out of a website.  One of the biggies is people being worried about their financial data being secure. Which is something I've noticed with many sites - their failure to communicate what sort of steps they have taken (if any) to keep the customer's card info secure.  With many sites it's hard to tell at the time of submitting the info whether the card info is being emailed to the company for manual charging without even being encrypted, if it's being saved to the server, or if it's being securely passed through a gateway at the time of purchase and not being stored.  Some of it is also a bit of a chuckle (see China section for what I mean  ;))

According to a PayPal/Ipsos trends report:

Brazil
67% of adult internet users bought something online. 45% of them shopped on international sites.
The top categories of items they bought from international sites were:
    Clothing, Footwear, and accessories
    Cosmetics/beauty products
    Consumer electronics
Reasons they bought from international sites they purchased from:
    Free shipping
    Safe way to pay
    Customer support in their language
Reasons they abandoned a purchase from an international site:
    Shipping charges too high
    Delivery time too long
    Concerns about web security

Canada
62% of adult internet users bought something online. 63% of them shopped on international sites.
The top categories of items they bought from international sites were:
    Clothing, Footwear, and accessories
    Entertainment/education (digital)
    Travel & transportation
Reasons they bought from international sites they purchased from:
    Free shipping
    Lower overall cost to buy items from another country
    Costs shown/payment possible in their local currency
Reasons they abandoned a purchase from an international site:
    Shipping charges too high
    Having to pay customs duty, fees, or taxes
    Currency conversion rate not favorable

China
84% of adult internet users bought something online. 26% of them shopped on international sites.
The top categories of items they bought from international sites were:
    Clothing, Footwear, and accessories
    Cosmetics/beauty products
    Grocery, food, drink, alcohol
Reasons they bought from international sites they purchased from:
    Secure way to pay
    Proof of product authenticity
    Costs shown/payment possible in their local currency
Reasons they abandoned a purchase from an international site:
    Delivery time too long
    Difficult process to return items
    Concerns about security of financial or personal details
    Delivery shipping costs

Other countries listed in the article are: France, Germany, Japan, Russia, UK
Full article at: https://www.uspsdelivers.com/cross-border-e-commerce/
13
The 4 months of Amazon music for $4 is particularly annoying to me.  I just signed up for a year of it for a discount price of $59  ($20 off) ???  I knew I was making a mistake, dang it!  At the time I thought, "hey, this will be great for when I'm on the road - driving, during booth setup, etc."  :( :( :(

In the UK they temporarily slashed the price of Prime to £59, from the regular price of £79. 
14
Banking is a huge source of income, especially if they become recognized as a bank.  As a bank they can then do fractional reserve banking (loaning out way more than what is deposited, thus basically creating money out of thin air).

There are, of course, pros and cons to being recognized as a bank, primarily all of the banking regulations, which is why PayPal fought so hard to not be recognized as a bank, even getting an FDIC ruling stating that they're not. http://www.zdnet.com/article/fdic-decides-paypals-no-bank/

I'm not sure Amazon wants to become a full-fledged bank, but they certainly want all of the benefits of one and are trying hard to get consumers to see them as more paypal-like.   

Speaking of such things, I still don't get why so many sites accept PayPal but don't accept Amazon Payments.  Is it that it's too much of a pain to integrate Vs. PayPal? Or is it that consumers are less comfortable using Amazon Payments?  :?

15
Virgin Mobile, which is a Sprint MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) just announced that they're doing the same sort of plan. Buy an iPhone (starting at $280) from them and get 1 yr of service for $1 AND get a free companion flight to the UK plus hotel stay. After the year is up, it becomes $50 a month.  Plan is unlimited voice/text/4GLTE data with 800 minutes domestic roaming and 100mb domestic data roaming. Virgin's plan does NOT include tethering (Sprint's does).  Like Sprint's, Virgin's expires at end of July.  Unlike Sprint's, Virgin's can be used by existing customers.

16
Yeah.  Even though I think I'm playing right into their plan of world domination, I did the add $20 to account thing today (for two different accts) and was super easy. Both the CVS person and the convenience store person knew what to do.  The $10 bonuses were credited immediately.
17
I'm thinking of giving it a go myself. At the very least running it side by side with my TMobile phone at shows to see which I like better and which has fewer days of congestion. 

Huge thread on it at Slickdeals. I suggest the first page or two and then start reading around pg 338
https://slickdeals.net/f/10235008-one-year-of-free-unlimited-data-at-sprint-then-60-mo-for-line-1-40-mo-for-line-2-30-mo-line-for-lines-3-5?page=338#comments

Theres also discussion around pg 338/339 about getting phones not on official list, but that have the correct radios for CDMA, working on the deal.
18
Forgot to add: phone needs to be unlocked so can use it on Sprint.  Some of those phones already are, but not all.  Can buy unlock codes on ebay for cheap if needed.  And, some of those phones come in different flavors (GSM only versions -- aka ATT/Tmobile, and CDMA only versions -- aka Verizon/Sprint).  Make sure it's CDMA compatible, especially if buying  one to get in on this deal.
19
Yes, you read that correctly. Switch to Sprint and get unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and unlimited 4GLTE data for a year!  Even includes 10GB/month hotspot service.

The fine print - must sign up for auto-pay and you will have to pay the taxes, so that's going to be anywhere from $5-$17 a month.

The other fine print - only certain phones qualify for the promo.  Some have said they've been able to use other Sprint-compatible phones by calling in, but others have had their promo all messed up by the reps that work the phone bank. So. . .

Offer ends July 31st (originally ended June 30th but they extended it).  Depending on how you work this program, you may need them to ship you a SIM card, so don't wait until the last minute to sign up since it'll take a few days to get the SIM card and get things sorted out.

https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/offers/free-unlimited.html?ECID=vanity:1yearfree

The webpage specifically mentions Verizon, but people have been able to switch from a variety of service providers.  For those that didn't have service that they wanted to switch, they bought prepaid sim cards from competitors, activated them, and then used that for switching.  Some have even said that they ported their Google Voice number over.

Official list of phones that qualify
Apple iPhone 5C (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone 5S (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone 6
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6S
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
Apple iPhone 7 (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Verizon only)
Apple iPhone SE
Google Nexus 5 (AT&T and Verizon only)
Google Nexus 5X
Google Nexus 6
Google Nexus 6P
Google Pixel
Google Pixel XL
Motorola E4
Motorola Z2 Play
Motorola G4
Motorola G4 Play
Motorola G4 Plus
Motorola G5 Plus
Motorola X Pure Edition
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy S7 Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy S8 Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy S8+ Special Edition

Moving more than one phone line?  Sign up for their referral program and then move the rest of them. 

Once you're signed up, get 25,000 free miles for American Airlines frequent flyer program by keying in your AAdvantage # here: https://promo.sprint.com/Registration/DisplayLanding?ECID=vanity:AAdvantage&LandingPartial=AAdvantageLanding
20
* Web Site & Search Engines / Re: Photobucket and their greed.
« on: July 01, 2017, 03:56:01 PM »
Talk about crazy price!  Sheesh! 

I'll use my free space on google drive, microsoft onedrive, and dropbox, thank you very much.
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