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UPS has announced rate changes that go into effect on July 11th of this year.  Among the changes, UPS is changing the measurement that determines whether the UPS Additional Handling charge will be applied, reducing it from 60" on the longest side to 48" on the longest side.

In addition, the Remote Area Surcharge (a.k.a. Extended Area Surcharge, a.k.a. Delivery Area Surcharge Extended) will be reduced.

For more information and to view the published retail rates that will be in effect on July 11, visit

The updated 2016 UPS Rate and Service Guide will be available for download on July 11, 2016.
Since retail arbitrage is, to some degree or another, a part of the business plan of most online vendors such as ourselves, I though everyone here might find this of interest. 

Walmart has eliminated price matching in 500 of their stores, but won't say which stores -- you have to physically go to the store to find out.  Meanwhile, Target has increased the number of .com sites that it will price match at their brick and mortar locations.

Although Walmart has discontinued price matching at 500 of their stores, they will still price match at those stores (something that walmart used to not price match).  In addition, they have their Price Catcher program, which will rebate you the difference, should a local competitor be offering the same item at a lower price. However, Price Catcher only has the advertised prices from the larger shops.  It won't know about the sale flyer from, say, the local family run grocery store down the street. 

Meanwhile, Target is moving in the opposite direction, expanding their price matching program to include a total of 29 retailers (both their website and their B&Ms, if they have physical stores).  That being said, some of the retailers that Target has added carries primarily their own branded goods, which Target won't have, or heavily stocks product variants that are specific to their store.  The list of retailers that Target has added to their price matching program, regardless of whether or not they have a local B&M:
   Babies ‘R’ Us
   Bed Bath & Beyond
   Best Buy
   Barnes & Noble
   Buy Buy Baby
   Dick’s Sporting Goods
   Office Depot
   Sam’s Club
   Sports Authority
   Toys ‘R’ Us

For more information on Walmart's policy change:
For more information on Target's policy change:
As most of ya have seen me write about, it's a violation of U.S. FTC regulations to refer to something as gold, when it's not solid gold of at least 10K.  We see it all the time, though, on eBay, Amazon, and other sites where people market jewelry, watches, belt buckles, etc. as gold, when it's actually only gold-tone or gold-plated. 

I gotta say, it's pretty bad when CHINA gets it right (even though it's a U.S. regulation), meanwhile tons of sellers in the U.S. routinely get it wrong

Walmart (or Wal-Mart for the old-schoolers) has a new payment option for their brick and mortar stores, called Walmart Pay.  Using Walmart's smartphone app, you select Walmart Pay, use your phone's camera to scan the QR Code displayed by the register's payment terminal, pay with the linked payment method of your choice (debit card, credit card, or Walmart gift card), and the e-receipt will be loaded into the app.  You can then push the receipt over to Walmart’s Savings Catcher, which automatically reimburses you for the price difference, should a local competitor be advertising the same item for a lower price (assuming Walmart has loaded the competitor's advertised price into the database).

Walmart Pay is first being introduced in 3 states (Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas) before being launched nationwide.  The nationwide roll-out is expected to occur in June.

It would be faster and easier for the customer to use Android Pay, Apple Pay, Capital One Pay, Samsung Pay, or any of the other digital payment methods that use a phone's NFC antenna, than it would be to deal with using a phone's camera to scan a QR code.  Instead, though, Walmart has opted to use technology that is antiquated, slow, and less secure.  The apparent reasons for the move are to make phone based payments be more widely adopted by Walmart's customers (since only the more expensive phones have NFC ability and thus a large part of Walmart's customer base isn't likely to have a way to use Android Pay, Apple Pay, etc.); because it keeps the customer entirely in Walmart's ecosystem, giving them more access to their data; and perhaps most importantly to Walmart, because the payment is processed entirely by Walmart's system, rather than relying in part on another party's system, Walmart can save a tiny bit on each transaction.

Heads up. All Microsoft, Sony, and Nikon products are now restricted on Amazon.  Some where already restricted, but it's been massively expanded.  In the process, they also restricted used and collectible.   They have supposedly fixed that, but be on your toes, for it might not be fully fixed and, as is the way on Amazon, might reappear.

To get approval (even for selling used) they now want either invoices from an approved distributor or a letter from the brand owner (Sony, Microsoft, or Nikon). 

requirements for approval:
3 different purchase invoices for Nikon/Sony products from a manufacturer or distributor
Are dated on or after Feb 14, 2016 (within 90 days)
Include your name and address
Include the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor
Show the purchase of at least 30 units across all invoices
Show the purchase of at least 5 different products of Nikon/Sony across all invoices
Omit pricing information
* Amazon Central / info on the Amazon store card
« on: May 15, 2016, 03:19:53 AM »
I have long had an Amazon branded, Chase, Visa card.  So, when I started seeing the Amazon store card advertisements at checkout, I ignored them.  Recently, though, I decided what the heck and applied.  Well, it has 5% cash back! The cash back is automatically applied to your credit balance, rather than being sent to you, which is what I prefer (I often forget to go to the rewards webpage on my other cards).  The other part of it, though, is a crazy high interest rate.  I don't know how much of it was based on my info (my income, my credit score, and my debt to credit ratio) Vs. how common it is for the rate to be super high, but the interest rate I was given is a whopping 26.24%  :o :o   Granted, with the high cash back, they have to make that up somehow, but still. . .

So, the down side is (besides the fact it's not a MC/Visa) the crazy high interest rate; the up side is 5% cashback!  As much shopping on Amazon as I do, I really like that aspect of it. Last month I got $33.48 back  :D!  I was only given a $2200 credit limit, but with that interest rate I don't need it to be higher because I'm not going to carry a balance on it.

Anyway, just thought I would post about it for anyone that's considered getting it. The cashback is a huge plus, but be prepared to pay it off every month because of the high interest rate.

Edit to add - once you get approved for the card, you will find yourself looking and looking for how to access it online, especially since it takes forever for your first bill to be generated and you start getting worried because you don't want any of that obscenely high interest rate being applied.  Well, they don't provide the link until you get the card in the mail (or at least I didn't see it anywhere else).  The link is
* Amazon Central / MOVED: Free PDF with Amazon purchase...say what?
« on: May 02, 2016, 03:59:00 AM »
Because of recent posts, this topic has been moved to the more private area Advanced - Amazon discussion.
There was a time when Amazon would refund the difference, if an item sold by Amazon dropped in price within 30 days of purchase.  In 4th quarter of 2008, they discontinued this policy.  However, unknown to most (myself included), they will still do this if the price has dropped within 7 days of the delivery date.

This only applies to items sold by Amazon themselves.

Amazon has made two announcements regarding their Prime service and their Prime Video streaming service.

If you don't want to pay $99 for a year of Prime, you can now get it on a month to month basis for $10.99/month.

Or, if the only Prime feature you want is the Prime Video streaming, you can get it for $8.99/month, which is a dollar cheaper than Netflix's most popular plan.

The Prime monthly option figures out to $131.88/yr.  The Prime Video streaming figures out to $107.88/yr., which is still higher than the $99/yr option.  It makes me wonder if they're planning on raising the yearly price of Prime once again, or if they're going to completely phase out the yearly option.   I hope neither of those is the case, and that the monthly thing is merely for letting people try out the services without paying for a full year, but considering the large price difference. . .
* General Discussions / Tax time
« on: April 17, 2016, 05:46:15 PM »
All done!  Just finishing filing this year  :D! :D! :D!
A whole 31.5 hrs before the deadline. *lol* I think that might be the earliest I've ever gotten it done  :-[
* General Discussions / Interesting article on food fraud
« on: April 14, 2016, 10:16:22 AM »
Most of us in retail know that there's a lot of fraud and deception in retail. For example, one of the nation's biggest jewelry store corporations was caught a few years back paying bribes to get their gemstones certified as being a higher grade than they actually were.  And, more than once I've personally come across major retailers selling fake, synthetic stones (such as turquoise and coral) as real. I've also encountered wholesalers and manufacturers who were lying about their stones, country of origin, and even selling fake silver as real.

Because of the things we retailers have seen, it's no surprise to learn that fraud and deception is rampant in the food industry as well (though it should be a huge shock, considering the fact that this is our food we're talking about). In the news we've recently been informed about fake cheese being sold as real, fake olive oil being sold, and now there's this. Food distributors and restaurants lying about their products. Be sure to read the comments section as well.
From what I was just reading, including an email from a wholesaler, the NFL is blocking 3rd party vendors from selling official NFL products online.  They're saying that online vendors can only sell NFL licensed products on sites where the vendor owns the domain name (you can sell on your own website, but not on Amazon; Amazon themselves can sell on; etc)

Of course, you could still sell as used and on eBay, but if you're buying the stuff wholesale (as opposed to retail arbitrage), you'll risk losing your ability to continue buying it wholesale.  On Amazon, it wouldn't surprise me if they falsely file counterfeit complaints with Amazon, thus causing one's account to be suspended.
* Amazon Central / FBA Removal Orders Promo(?)
« on: April 01, 2016, 01:44:21 AM »
Amazon is having a promo for FBA sellers to pull slow moving inventory.  The catch is if you pull it, you can't send any of the SKUs back in until after Oct 1 unless your inv. level for the SKU falls below what you've sold in the past 4 weeks.

Hello from Fulfillment by Amazon,

You may have slow-moving or low-selling inventory. Starting today, March 31, 2016, FBA is waiving fees for any removal order for return or disposal of your inventory that is currently in U.S. fulfillment centers. This promotion ends April 30, 2016, after which time normal removal-order fees will apply.

If you remove units as part of this promotion for which you paid a Long-Term Storage Fee in February 2016, we will reimburse 66% of the fee that you paid per cubic foot for those units.

FBA remains dedicated to supporting your growth and ensuring that our U.S. fulfillment centers have the right quantity of products. This promotion is designed to free up space for products that are selling fast.

Learn more about free removals (sign-in required).

How will this work?

You can create a removal order from the Manage Inventory page in Seller Central. Learn more about removing inventory (sign-in required).


If you filed a removal order for stranded or unfulfillable inventory on or after February 29, 2016, you will be reimbursed for these removal-order fees.
If you file a removal order for sellable inventory on or before April 30, 2016, to dispose of this inventory or have it returned to you, you will be unable to send in additional units of these ASINs until October 1, 2016. If your inventory level falls below the number of units you have sold of this ASIN in the previous four weeks, you can send this ASIN to Amazon.

How can I check my inventory levels?

To view your current inventory age, download the Inventory Age report in the Fulfillment Reports section of Seller Central. If you have a Professional selling account, you can view the FBA Inventory Age page on your Inventory Dashboard (sign-in required).

You can check your February Long-Term Storage Fee charges in the Long-Term Storage Fee Charges report in Seller Central (sign-in required).

Thank you for selling on Amazon.


The Fulfillment by Amazon team
* Amazon Central / A good lesson on why NOT to commingle
« on: March 12, 2016, 11:00:55 PM »
I ordered two units of a widget from Amazon. When it arrived, it was two 3-packs rather than two singles. None of the units had a FNSKU code, the price I paid was low for a single unit, so no way would it have been for a 3-pk, and there are 2 or 3 sellers on the listing whose price is sky high for a single.

My guess is that two listings were merged by a bot (one for singles and one for 3-pks), and that some of the sellers on both listings( incl the seller I bought from) commingled their items.

If it had a FNSKU, I would return it, but since it doesnt have it, there's no way for Amazon to give it back to the correct vendor. It also means that those who sent in 3 packs and commingled will be out 2/3 of their product, even if they recall their items (since they'll get back whatever is pulled out of the bin on the recall).

Anyway, it's an excellent example of why FBA sellers should not commingle, especially if your units are things like twin packs or triple packs.
from UPS

New Lithium Battery Regulations Effective April 1, 2016
Service Update
Updated February 26, 2016

The international regulations applicable to air shipments of lithium batteries have changed. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has approved amendments to the lithium battery provisions in the ICAO Technical Instructions. Compliance with the new regulations is mandatory effective April 1, 2016. These amendments include:

  • Passenger Aircraft Ban for Lithium Ion Batteries:All shipments of lithium batteries without equipment are prohibited as cargo on passenger aircraft. As a result, all lithium ion battery shipments must display the Cargo Aircraft Only label. Due to UPS's reliance on passenger aircraft to transport packages in some parts of its network, this change will restrict the origins and destinations available for lithium ion batteries. This limitation does not affect lithium ion batteries packed with or contained in equipment.
  • State of Charge Limits: A 30 percent state of charge (SOC) limit on lithium-ion cells and batteries, including Section II cells and batteries, will now apply. This does not apply to batteries packed with or contained in equipment.
  • Restrictions on Package Quantity: A shipper is not allowed to offer more than one Section II package (batteries only) per consignment.
  • Restrictions on Overpacks: Overpacks may contain no more than one Section II package - 8 cells or 2 batteries - (batteries only).
  • Battery Package Separation: A shipper must offer lithium battery shipments (batteries only) separately from other cargo.

These amendments are detailed in a lithium battery update document found on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website:

For additional information regarding the shipment of lithium batteries, please contact the UPS Hazardous Materials Support Center at 1-800-554-9964 or select the following link: Shipping Batteries or Devices with Batteries.

A few months back, Chase replaced one of my cards with one of those new, chip-enabled cards.  This card has only been used on Amazon. Yesterday, I got an alert from Chase, questioning a charge from Brazil!   Someone in Brazil used it to charge an $8 charge to the mass transit system there.

Because the card is still in my possession and has only been used on Amazon, it leads me to believe that either the info was stolen from Amazon or it was stolen from Chase.  Either way, it appears to be part of a much bigger data heist.   

It is possible that my computer is compromised and the data stolen when it was originally submitted to Amazon, but that's highly unlikely since my system is scanned daily by Norton and I don't open email attachments unless it's something that I'm expecting from someone I know (such as the pdf invoice I opened yesterday that was sent from a sterling silver chain manufacturer, after I emailed them my order).

Be on your toes and watch the charges on your cards!
* Great Deals / Amazon Echo for $119 + Possible 6.3% Cash Back
« on: November 27, 2015, 11:32:09 PM »
- Go to Bed Bath & Beyond and sign up for their coupon (use the email you'll use at checkout)
- Become a member of (if you haven't already) and shop BBB through their link (this is for the possible cashback)
- Search for echo in the search box and add the Amazon Echo to your cart
- Start the checkout process and use the email you used for the coupon, checking out as guest (if you don't have an account)
- Apply the 20% off coupon that's for online only (the other 20% off coupon wont work with this)

If for some reason the working coupon isn't there, you'll have to go back and request the coupon using an alternate email address and use that address for checkout (checking out as guest)

Additional info regarding befrugal - when you register, go to your account settings and it'll then tell you that you have to create a password and will walk you through the steps to do so. Then go back to settings and input your details and configure your payout method.  After you do all of that, you'll be set to shop.  If you select Amazon gift card as payout method, you'll get even more cashback.

Note: The befrugal FAQ say that many sites will disallow the cashback if you use coupon codes. So the cashback may or may not work on this deal.

With the ability to control things like Insteon wall switches and outlets, and the ability to run IFTTT ( recipes, Amazon Echo is a truly remarkable device.
* Great Deals / Obi200 and Obi202 VOIP on sale $29.95/$49.95 - NewEgg
« on: November 27, 2015, 04:47:28 AM » has the Obi200 and the Obi202 on sale with free shipping.  Amazon had it as a lightning deal for the same amount. 

The OBi200 is on sale at $29.95 with free shipping with code EMCKKNV68 or the OBi202 on sale for $49.95 with code EMCKKNV86

In addition, if you spend $100 on newegg, you can get $10 off, or spend $200 and get $25 off, by using Visa Checkout with coupon code VCOBF15

If you're unfamiliar with Visa Checkout, it's a payment system by Visa but you don't have to use a Visa branded card.  If you have something with better cash back, such as Amex, you're free to use that card.
* General Discussions / Amazon Prime Video - The Man In The High Castle
« on: November 23, 2015, 01:53:23 AM »
Imagine if Japan and Germany had both been successful in WWII.  Imagine if the western portion of the U.S. was controlled by Japan and the eastern by Nazi Germany. What would life be like with many Americans swearing allegiance to their new leaders, an overwhelming portion going along with the flow (as is human nature), and the youth finding themselves growing up in a world where they've never known life in the U.S.A.? Add in some pockets of resistance,  some mysterious, secret films that show what might have been, and you have the story of The Man In The High Castle.

If you haven't seen it yet, it's a must watch!  Based on the story by Philip K. Dick.
* Amazon Central / Amazon Inventory Glitch
« on: November 05, 2015, 04:39:37 PM »
This apparently started with the launch of the new inventory page.  Sometimes, when you edit an existing product, the inventory count will multiply all on its own!  :o :-X

Edit something like condition notes or price and suddenly that inventory count of 2 might become 3, 12, or even 20!

Amazon is aware of it and has been working on it, but so far it's still not fixed.

When editing an item, be sure to keep on eye on the inventory count both before and after.
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