Adafruit shipping costs == (unintentional) price padding.

Update: 2010-03-19.  You should probably read the comments, as well as the post after this.  Adafruit fully refunded all shipping, something I never asked for, but much more usefully, they overhauled their shipping weights calculator.  This a Good Thing™  My original order now calculates out to 0.9 pounds including packaging, or 43% less than originally.  (Still a touch high, but nothing to complain about, and as long as they still want to work in fractional pounds, it’s probably as good as can reasonably be expected)

Original below…..

So, adafruit make some great products, and is a great resource.  That said, their shipping (at least internationally) is rather obscene.  I recently received a parcel charged for 1.6 lbs USPS shipping, $18.52.  Ok, that’s pretty much what USPS says for shipping with an allowance for packaging.  No big deal.

Until I thought about how much 1.6 lbs really was. And what the parcel actually weighed.  (I’m sorry, I don’t have a weight before I opened it up.)

  • 2x XBee adapator kit, in packaging.  12g each  ==> let’s be generous and say 40g.
  • 1x half size breadboard. 40g  ==> let’s say 50g
  • 8xmagnets, wrapped in paper, another 50g  ==> let’s say 100g!
  • 1x padded envelope ==> 50g, let’s say 100g again!

So, even being generous, I’m up to…..300g. 0.66lbs. not 0.75 lbs.  Not 1.  Certainly not 1.5, and one hell of a long way from 1.6!

So, really, this just pushes me to get my board designs finished up so I don’t have to use her xbee adaptor boards anymore.  And, adafruit just goes on the list of companies with rather less than ideal international shipping policies.

(digikey still takes the cake for screwing international customers as best they can though)

  1. hi karl,

    we’re not sure why you post this without contacting us first – seems unfair since you did not give us an opportunity to review your order or make a correction if one was needed. as you noted, you did not actually weigh it either.

    that said, this is the first complaint we’ve seen or heard for any international order. we do not “pad” shipping costs ever, we do not make money from shipping costs. we do our best to estimate what the shipping is and it’s weighed as it leaves. we also insure all orders, no other electronics kit company insures 1st class international orders.

    is it perfect? no, but it’s an unfair to not give us an opportunity to see if there was an error before assuming the worst and posting something like this. we work really hard, around the clock to provide the best service, support and kits.

    please send us an email and if partial shipping is in order we’ll gladly refund it.

    we’d appreciate it if you updated your post and your title since we *do not* do any type of “padding”.


  2. Didn’t even know anyone read this :) Barely been in bed an hour and the first actual human feedback to anything is here ;)

    One thing I wanted to mention that I forgot last night was that one thing adafruit does unlike any other other place I’ve shopped at, is to label _all_ their products with international Harmonized System numbering, in a clearly accessible (without opening the package) customs form. This is a very nice touch for countries with militant customs, and speeds processing here by at least 3-4 days.

  3. And the reason I didn’t contact you, is because I don’t expect, nor am I asking for a refund. Your shipping is very clearly laid out up front, and I felt it reasonable/affordable. I’m not asking for perfection.

    But your weight calculator still adds things up strangely. 0.2 pounds are added to account for the packaging, which is totally reasonable. Insurance is very reasonable. But 1.4 pounds for product weighing less than half a pound is not quite so clear.

    It’s just the price of doing business, and that’s fine, but I personally would prefer to see higher product prices than artificially higher shipping costs.

    Again, all of your prices were up front, that’s a good thing, so don’t stress :)

  4. hi karl,

    thanks for the kind words about our international Harmonized System numbering and our support. we spend a lot of time on this for our international customers and we’re told we get orders out faster than any other electronics company, hassle free.

    we’d appreciate it if you could update your post and title, we do no pad costs.

  5. we’re replying here too so folks can see the updates :)


    hi karl,

    we asked if you’d like us to review your order and refund any shipping, either way since you devoted a lot of time to this we refunded your shipping while we audit the weights of some of the items. as we said before we do our best to get the right weights and take many things in to consideration from packaging to envelopes, to boxes and how orders are commonly shipped.

    to be clear, again, we do not make any money on shipping and we do not do “price padding” – this is the first and only time anyone has mentioned this is in any way. we think it’s unfair to say we’re “price padding” and that’s why asked if you planned to change the title or the post after we addressed this nearly instantly when we saw your post. all we asked if you’d update your post or title since we don’t price pad.

    we’re going to review our weights and shipping to see if we can better improve what we’re doing. we decided to refund all of your shipping, so either way – shipping is on us this time :)

    please email us if you plan to place a new order before we audit our shipping system, we’d like you to test it once we’re done.


  6. Adafruit looks like they are on top of things!

    I just posted an order on Adafruit with 3 day air shipping. I can’t wait for my package. :)


  7. I can confirm the high prices. For Brazil, in South America for example: to buy a simple 14.95 USD ADS1115 16-bit ADC, the shipping cost is going high as USD 65,00. Unfortunatelly we have gave up buying there for our university projects.

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>