Tech Shakedown: Kodak's Web site charging outrageous per-photo shipping fees

Tech Shakedown: Kodak's Web site charging outrageous per-photo shipping fees

Summary: Proving that the devil is in the details when it comes to shopping online (and how shipping fees can easily wipe out any potential savings), Kodak's online photo gallery is charging an outrageous 4 cents per photo when someone orders 4x6 prints for delivery. The issue was brought to my attention by my wife who, in the course of ordering 2055 4x6 prints for delivery, discovered the shipping fee was going to be a whopping $83.

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Proving that the devil is in the details when it comes to shopping online (and how shipping fees can easily wipe out any potential savings), Kodak's online photo gallery is charging an outrageous 4 cents per photo when someone orders 4x6 prints for delivery. The issue was brought to my attention by my wife who, in the course of ordering 2055 4x6 prints for delivery, discovered the shipping fee was going to be a whopping $83.55 for the site's slowest form of delivery: 3-5 days (continued below......)

Kodak Online Shipping Charge

...continued from above

As can been see from both the graphic above as well as the attached video, the charges for faster forms of delivery are even higher ($113 for 2 business days and $139 for 1 business day).

This gets to one of the big problems with online photo services. Once you start using one extensively as we have, switching to another is difficult if not impossible because of the work that would be involved in moving your pictures to a new service. In other words, now that we are dissatisfied with Kodak, how might we switch to another service with so many of our photos trapped in Kodak's Web site? The problem is identical to the one where you become reliant on proprietary software to the point that converting your data would be so prohibitively expensive and/or time consuming, that you just suck up whatever costs the software provider decides to hit you with down the line.

As you can see from the video, there is a way to get free shipping on orders of $50 or more. But here again, Kodak gets bad marks because, instead of simply applying the special offer to qualifying orders as it should do, in order to take advantage of the free shipping, the customer must (1) know that that offer exists, and (2) enter a special coupon code (FREE2SHIP) during the transaction process in order to take advantage of the special offer. Today for example, when I visited kodakgallery.com, the coupon was not listed prominently on any screen that a user might typically encounter in the course of ordering prints for delivery. It is however listed under a link on left-hand side of the home page that says "View Current Deals" (which leads you to this page). In other words, this is a deal that's currently available to site users, but perhaps not always. Additionally, the fine print on Kodak's Web site makes it clear that once you use a coupon, you won't be able to re-use it in the future. The coupon's restrictions proviso says "One coupon redemption per customer."

Before taking Kodak to task over these fees, I paid a visit to Qoop.com, one of the partners to Yahoo's Flickr.com photosharing Web site. Qoop is a service that will drop ship prints of your Flickr photos for you. The site has an interactive shipping calculator into which I plugged the number 2055 for the number of prints and it offered the following results:

  • DHL Ground: $19.18
  • DHL 2 Day: $48.13
  • DHL Next Day: $35.19
  • USPS Standard Mail: $39.04

In other words, for less than half of what Kodak charges for it's slowest form of delivery, I can get next day delivery from Qoop! (excluding special promotions or memberships, both sites charge the same standard per-print fee to make the actual 4x6 prints: 15 cents).

I've already done one Tech Shakedown of Kodak (regarding Vista incompatibilities that so far, to the best of my knowledge, have yet to be resolved). But this was another that I couldn't let slip. The fees are ridiculous.

Update: Kodak has issued a response to this Tech Shakedown

Topic: Browser

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15 comments
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  • We need a Federal LAW that states:

    No company can charge more that 3% of ACTUAL shipping costs on any product or service delivered in the continental US.

    Most retailers that work with Amazon.com for instance only charge what it really costs to ship products.

    Thats what Amazon needs next.. a photo processing site.
    pcguy777
    • Why is this a federal issue?

      Or even an issue of law of any kind? You're too lazy to shop around for better prices?

      <p>More laws and more government is <i>never</i> the right answer!
      Henrik Moller
    • no law needed.

      If you set up a law stateing the max that can be charged, you WILL be charged that max amount, then have a bit more of your taxes sent to the new department set up to keep tabs on it.

      Vote with your money. if someone charges too much for shipping, shop elsewhere, They'll soon get the idea and lower the fees or go out of business.

      My photos are on my system or on DVDs, if I want some professionally printed I send the ones I want, or physically take them. They're my photos, no company needs to be involved.

      ken.
      merc2dogs`
      • Yes, annoying as it is...

        Vote with your money! Every time the government gets into anything, they screw it up.

        Just don't buy from them. Show them you will not put up with price gouging.

        They have just screwed up royally as far as I am concerned. I was already ticked off due to their required backweb crap in their software and now this?!

        And the camera we have didn't make it to a year old before the batteries started hardly lasting at all.

        To me, that's three strikes against Kodak. I'm done.
        LilBambi_z
    • No new laws

      The last thing we need is more laws. As the man said, "vote with your pocketbook".
      Non Compos Mentis
  • thats why i take my memory card to walmart and only buy from sites

    thats why i take my memory card to walmart and only buy from sites that offer free shipping.

    like newegg.
    SO.CAL Guy
  • RE: Tech Shakedown: Kodak's Web site charging outrageous per-photo shipping

    These are digital picture files from a digital camera?

    If so surely you've got a master archive of all your photos on one of your own computers, maybe even on a DVD.

    So you could switch services and slowly over time rebuild your cloud photo collection.

    I see Kodak has provided a way to upload photos. Is it one at a time or can you batch them. It's not obvious though if you can later retrieve them via a download process. How about deleting them as well as view and edit option they show?

    I just don't trust Microsoft, Goggle, Yahoo, etc. enough to ever put any of my personal private sensitive files out on their servers(i.e. cloud). It will almost surely be stolen by some criminal(s), or the cloud organization will suddenly decide to jack up the fees to access your own data once they've conned enough people into using their service.
    What_the
  • Who in the world

    does Kodak have doing their shipping for them???
    Shelendrea
    • Very rich people? (nt)

      ;-)
      No_Ax_to_Grind
  • That's why

    I refuse to fool with companies unless I'm forced too. They'll find some way to milk you for every dime you have. Instead of using Kodak, I'd put all my photos onto dozens of DVDs, CDs, external harddrives, and print out the best before I'd pay what - $83 for shipping? For that amount, I could buy a decient photo printer, and <I>print</I> them myself.

    Sometimes I wonder if people have more money than they have sense. Guess it helps to ahve a multi-million dollar job, not like us working joe 6-packs who have to spend their money on practical things; rent, food, insurance.

    Sorry not picking on the author, but most americans seems like have more money than sense at times.

    - Kc
    kcredden2
  • RE: Tech Shakedown: Kodak's Web site charging outrageous per-photo shipping

    Way to go, David! We need more investigative consumer-oriented reporters like you.
    I used to send my 35mm exposed film to York Photo Labs or Seattle Filmworks. Ever since I began taking digital photos a few years ago I print the memorable photos out on an Epson Picturemate that costs about 29 cents per print, but a couple of thousand prints or even hundreds - I think I would go for a commercial online solution also.
    Did you happen to check out your local Walmart store for its prices?
    hgh9mrp@...
  • RE: Tech Shakedown: Kodak's Web site charging outrageous per-photo shipping fees

    I upload my photos to Walgreens, order online and am able to pick up in two hours. For large poster prints, 24-hour turnaround is available!
    ECREWS@...
  • That's why I triple store on disk and use WinkFlash

    I have 3 copies of all my photos - at home - my laptop and on two separate disks. I also upload to flickr (but that is just insurance) where I pay annual membership dues.

    I use www.winkflash.com (a friend of mine recommended it) for printing. They provide guaranteed 12 cents a copy and 99 cents flat rate per order shipping.

    It has worked fine with me and should work for you too!
    SaiN
  • RE: Tech Shakedown: Kodak's Web site charging outrageous per-photo shipping fees

    This is the problem with much internet business these days. I do virtually all my shopping online, and it is important to check shipping and "handling" prices for any purchase. All those vendors that charge outrageous shipping prices might begin to notice the large number of people who fill up a cart and then leave it sitting there.
    pegntim@...
  • RE: Tech Shakedown: Kodak's Web site charging outrageous per-photo shipping fees

    I just received an email from Kodakgallery that started off with "Act now or your storage will be deleted!" huh?
    So I replied with the letter below. I guess I'll be going to Snapfish, I think they have unlimited storage for free...can't beat that.I'd be happy to pay them $20 a year to keep mine. I won't be spending a dime on Kodak anymore.
    Here's what I wrote them:
    To me the name Kodak always evoked a sense of trustworthiness and comfort, knowing that a well-known, respected company was behind my photo products.

    I was glad to sign up for Kodakgallery. I never thought there'd be any minimum purchase agreement for the little bit of storage I have. I nver thought anyone would hold my family photos hostage.

    I find this approach extremely rude and insulting. This is a very disappointing customer retention strategy. Holding my photos hostage for $4.99 a year?? Are you out of your minds? Your VP of marketing really ought to look into different methods.

    Go ahead and delete all my photos you have stored in my account. Please be sure to delete my entire account. I expect to be removed from you emails as well. Your updating software is messing up my computer something fierce. You can take that too. Please. I no longer have any confidence in Kodak gallery.

    The small print explains your new storage qualifications but that is hardly an appropriate way to launch this strategy. If you have new terms of service, fine, but send a nice letter saying you value and appreciate the business and then explain that for some reason you have to start charging a fee. Don't start threatening customers that they may lose their photos if they don't spend money with you! Act now or we'll delete your pictures of aunt Betty, Grampa and cousin Sally's new baby??!!! Come on....be serious...what kind of marketing is this??

    I have spent money on Koday gallery for a couple of albums and have ordered prints and reprints through your site. I have also recommended it to family and friends too. But I'm sure Snapfish, Flikr or a myriad of others can do equally good work. Your company has disappointed me greatly and I will share THAT with my family and friends as well.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,


    Mechtelina M. Liera
    Mickey Liera