Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
35 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients» Forums » General

Subject: Why is FFP Collecting 10% Tax On Webstore Sales? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Graham Martin
United States
Ellicott City
MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I went to buy a SoB item directly from Flying Frog today and saw that they were adding 10% "tax." I live in Maryland and they appear to be headquartered in Lynwood, Washington. The sales tax in both of those areas is about 6%. (A few cities in WA have a surcharge tax that would bring it up to ~10%, but Lynwood is not one of them, and I am not sure if such local taxes apply to internet sales.)

I believe it is illegal in most jurisdictions to claim to collect money under the claim that is is a mandated "tax."

Anyone have any clarifying info on this odd behavior? Amy I missing something or are they really that scummy?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Martin
United States
Ellicott City
MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
PS: Further research confirms my understanding of the illegality of overcharging sales taxes. From the web:

"Overcharging sales tax can lead to civil penalties. The punishment for overcharging varies from state to state, and it is severe for companies that intentionally overcharge sales tax with the intention of keeping it. For example, in Missouri, the law requires a merchant who overcharges, intending to keep the extra money, to pay a penalty of 100 percent of the amount of the error in addition to any other penalties due under other laws. In Virginia, the penalty is 30 percent of the overcharge, plus an additional 50 percent if the overcharge was fraudulent."
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Martin
United States
Ellicott City
MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Upon further testing on their website, if you move past the cart page and pick shipping, the "tax" appears to go away and be replaced with the "shipping" cost.

I don't know if the tax was added to shipping. I had added 15 supplemental packs to my cart and they were charging me $17 for USPS regular mail to Maryland, which seems incredibly high for something that small/light compared to every other online company I have ever dealt with. (E.g., I just ordered the Feral Vampire pack from GameNerdz and shipping was $5.)

Are other people seeing that much in shipping from FFP?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hugh G. Rection
United States
La Mesa
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
FWIW, their shipping calculator has always been a bit goofy.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C M
msg tools
mbmb
A quick add of 15 supplement packs shows shipping of $11.05 along with the 10% tax (which is correct for locals since they are in Kirkland). As soon as I select the shipping method I want and hit the "update shipping cost" button the tax goes away and the shipping remains $11.05.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Martin
United States
Ellicott City
MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cormor321 wrote:
A quick add of 15 supplement packs shows shipping of $11.05 along with the 10% tax (which is correct for locals since they are in Kirkland). As soon as I select the shipping method I want and hit the "update shipping cost" button the tax goes away and the shipping remains $11.05.
Thanks! I did same test the evening I made the OP and found the same odd behavior. It is so frustrating that such a good game comes from such a shitty company. Oh well...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derry Salewski
United States
Augusta
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
I'm only happy when it rains...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So having a slightly weird checkout process that seems to function in the end makes them a shitty company?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Martin
United States
Ellicott City
MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
scifiantihero wrote:
So having a slightly weird checkout process that seems to function in the end makes them a shitty company?


Not at all.

Having a crappy website, being unresponsive to customer inquiries, having next to zero customer service, preventing distribution of fan-made materials while refusing to produce and sell them yourself, charging $11.00 shipping on a pack of cards that costs (at the most) $1 postage, and otherwise nickle-and-diming everyone on everything makes you a shitty company.

The fact that they have a crappy shopping cart solution makes them one iota more shitty.

And yet I throw my money at them for this game.

The market has spoken!
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Hercules
United States
Land O' Lakes
Florida
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Something else I want to add about Flying Frog and their lack of ethics. They offer product reviews on their website. However, they censor them and only post the positive ones. I've tested this a few times and any time I give a product less than 4 or 5 stars they refuse to post it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken H.
United States
Amherst
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DBZMagus wrote:
Something else I want to add about Flying Frog and their lack of ethics. They offer product reviews on their website. However, they censor them and only post the positive ones. I've tested this a few times and any time I give a product less than 4 or 5 stars they refuse to post it.


Ethics or common sense? Who pays for their server, I wonder.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gavin Downing
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Grahamers2002 wrote:


Having a crappy website, being unresponsive to customer inquiries, having next to zero customer service, preventing distribution of fan-made materials while refusing to produce and sell them yourself, charging $11.00 shipping on a pack of cards that costs (at the most) $1 postage, and otherwise nickle-and-diming everyone on everything makes you a shitty company.


Huh. Their customer service has always been absolutely stellar in my personal experience; the only fan-made stuff they've shut down were things they felt undercut their sales, and they've encouraged other fan-made stuff; and if you think they're getting rich on inflating shipping fees, that's so ridiculous as to not bother debate you further.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Hercules
United States
Land O' Lakes
Florida
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
What difference does it make who pays for the server? It's dishonest to post reviews and then filter out everything that is not 4 or 5 stars with no disclaimer. Frankly I think it says a lot of the character of anyone who would excuse that kind of behavior.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Klutz
Canada
Quebec
flag msg tools
I am a "certified" art critic.
badge
I am a professional BGG commenter.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rubric wrote:
DBZMagus wrote:
Something else I want to add about Flying Frog and their lack of ethics. They offer product reviews on their website. However, they censor them and only post the positive ones. I've tested this a few times and any time I give a product less than 4 or 5 stars they refuse to post it.


Ethics or common sense? Who pays for their server, I wonder.


Ethics, clearly.

If you present "customer reviews" as being unbiased and unfiltered, but filter them... that's unethical in my book.

If they were presented as "customer testimonials" and were clearly a curated selection of good reviews, then it'd be fine.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
fightcitymayor
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
"This is a really weird game, and you’ll find that most people will not want to play this."
Avatar
mb
Grahamers2002 wrote:
...and otherwise nickle-and-diming everyone on everything makes you a shitty company.
They are indeed the current kings of nickel-&-diming their fanbase. But, as long as the fanbase keeps paying, I guess it's fair play. After all: Many people continue supporting Games Workshop products as well, despite a myriad of other, less expensive, less greedily exploitative choices for your minis gaming dollar. IDK.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Martin
United States
Ellicott City
MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gavindowning wrote:
the only fan-made stuff they've shut down were things they felt undercut their sales


The number one thing - BY FAR - that 1) people want to buy from them that 2) they don't sell and 3) that they have asked to have removed from BGG AND card-printing website are cards for town items, mutation, injuries, etc.

They have been asked "OK...when will you start selling this stuff" and their answer is silence.

At once an example of oppressive IP practices and poor customer communication.

Quote:
if you think they're getting rich on inflating shipping fees, that's so ridiculous as to not bother debate you further.


1) I didn't realize I was in a debate...just a conversation about our mutual experiences. I was asked for examples and I gave them.

2) I didn't say that they were "getting rich" off of inflated shipping fees. I just pointed out that they were doing it. They charge, BY FAR, the most $ / unit of weight shipped that I have ever seen online.
I am not even talking about Amazon with it's huge volume shipping discounts. Sites like Miniature Market and GameNerds charge ~$5 shipping for the same product that FFP charges $17 shipping. Those sites also offer free shipping above a certain $ purchase. ($75 for Game Nerdz and $99 for MM). Hell, ebay sellers with zero postal volume charge much less.

So, while I am not claiming that they are "getting rich" off of this...they ARE making money on it at the expense of their customers. Which is the point I made.

In the end, however, I stand by my conclusion, above. The market has spoken and it, like I, loves this game.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken H.
United States
Amherst
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DBZMagus wrote:
What difference does it make who pays for the server? It's dishonest to post reviews and then filter out everything that is not 4 or 5 stars with no disclaimer. Frankly I think it says a lot of the character of anyone who would excuse that kind of behavior.


Seriously? You honestly expect a small business to host negative reviews on their own private server? There are plenty of places you can post negative reviews -- it's idiotic to expect the designer to host them.

Like, if somebody calls you a "jerk" or whatever, are you going to paint the word jerk on your front door? If not, where are your ethics? Shouldn't you be required to pay for publishing anything that anybody says about you?



KevBelisle wrote:

Ethics, clearly.

If you present "customer reviews" as being unbiased and unfiltered, but filter them... that's unethical in my book.

If they were presented as "customer testimonials" and were clearly a curated selection of good reviews, then it'd be fine.


They are clearly a curated selection of good reviews. Happy?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Martin
United States
Ellicott City
MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rubric wrote:
Seriously? You honestly expect a small business to host negative reviews on their own private server? There are plenty of places you can post negative reviews -- it's idiotic to expect the designer to host them.

Like, if somebody calls you a "jerk" or whatever, are you going to paint the word jerk on your front door? If not, where are your ethics? Shouldn't you be required to pay for publishing anything that anybody says about you?


You miss his point, entirely. This is not about what they can or cannot do. It is about if they ARE doing this, is it deceptive? They, of course, have every right to curate reviews. But I agree that IF they do curate them while presenting an interface that implies that they do not, they are engaging in deceptive practices.

So...what do they actually do? They list things simply called "reviews" for each product along with a 5-star rating system. When you write a review, you are asked to give it a rating on that five star rating scale. Each review is listed with a user-supplied title, along with a user name and a "posted" date. All of this strongly implies, especially absent other information or disclaimer by FFP, that users "post" reviews directly to a review section of a product listing. If this is not what FFP is doing, then I agree that that is deceptive.

Next question: DO they delete unfavorable reviews?

Hard to tell. Almost all of their products have a rating 5-stars or no reviews at all. Scrolling through their product listings does feel very North Korea "Dear Leader."

That said, after some digging, I did find two or three products with less than three stars. Example: http://flyingfrogproductions.mybigcommerce.com/shadows-of-br....

I found nothing less than 3-star reviews.

Importantly, their review submission form contains the following disclaimer by the field in which you supply your email address: "We promise to never spam you, and just use your email address to identify you as a valid customer."

How will they use my email to verify I am a customer if I bought my game at my FLGS or on Amazon? Does this mean that they only post reviews of people who bought directly from them? If so, are they using this little disclaimer as an excuse to weed out bad reviews from customers not int heir customer database but let good reviews from such customer remain without disclosing to their users that the reviews are curated while being presented as if they are not?

Who knows!? But if they are, it is deceptive. THAT was the point.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken H.
United States
Amherst
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Does anyone honestly feel deceived?

I can't even believe this is a discussion. To me, it just looks run of the mill Frog-bashing that crops up from time to time. (Referring to the review issue, not the legitimate tax question.)

But whatever -- I'll drop the subject. Sorry if anyone was offended. I didn't mean to hijack your thread.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Martin
United States
Ellicott City
MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rubric wrote:

Does anyone honestly feel deceived?

I can't even believe this is a discussion. To me, it just looks run of the mill Frog-bashing that crops up from time to time. (Referring to the review issue, not the legitimate tax question.)

But whatever -- I'll drop the subject. Sorry if anyone was offended. I didn't mean to hijack your thread.


Ah, but you didn't drop the subject did you? First, you take an off-center swipe at the person who suggested deception by FFP before saying you will drop it.

The reason your swipe is off-center is you ask whether anyone "honestly" feels deceived, strongly imply that someone is lying, and then call their claim "just run of the mill frog bashing" - another attack at the poster's honesty and motives.

You do this without addressing the multiple points I took the time to document, above. I was honestly attempting to engage in an analysis of their trade practice. I researched their site. I tested the method they provide to "post" reviews. I looked at other e-commerce sites. I spent valuable time trying to craft a thoughtful, fair analysis that analyzed evidence from both sides. I concluded, "Meh...I am not sure if they are doing this or not. If they are, it is deceptive."

It is a closer call than if this was Amazon doing this. It's somewhere between movie posters/book-covers and something like Amazon.
With posters/books, 1) there is no implication that it is an open forum, and 2) the custom and practice is for those publishers to find people who say good things about their product and quote them. On the other hand, with Amazon, you have a third party selling products with a clearly-posted policy about reviews. (They remove any with foul language, etc, but everything other than that stays up.)

Here, we have a mix: Unlike Amazon, FFP's store sells only their own products, not third-party products. BUT, the interfaces and chosen language on FFP's site could reasonably (in my opinion) lead someone to believe the reviews are open, like Amazon. That they don't have a published policy further confuses the issue.

I am trying to engage in this type of analysis, but you simply imply someone is not being honest, issue a "sorry if you were offended" non-apology, and walk away?

Maybe you weren't calling someone a dishonest. Perhaps you will claim that you were attempting to argue (poorly) something like "When I asked if you 'honestly' felt deceived, I meant that even if FFP WAS trying to deceive you, if you didn't feel deceived then you can't complain or say FFP is deceptive."

Whether or not anyone on this thread "feels" deceived, the suggested FFP behavior, if true, is likely deceptive. Example: If a child, face covered in cookie crumbs, says to you with a straight face, "I didn't eat a cookie," they are lying, right? I.e., they are being deceptive. You don't believe them, but that isn't the point. They engaged in deceptive behavior that did not have an affect on you. In short, when one attempts to deceive, one is being deceptive, whether one succeeds or not.

Look, I get it. You experienced FFP's practices one way and you can't fathom how others may possibly have a different life experience than you. So, because you take as a premise the concept that "everyone thinks and experiences things just like me," when you are provided with evidence to the contrary (e.g., someone in this thread suggests that FFP is being deceptive but you don't think FFP is being deceptive) the only way you can square that person's claim with with your premise is by concluding that that poster isn't being completely honest. "They must have experienced what I did, therefor they are lying."

But perhaps, just perhaps, you should question your premise, instead. Perhaps other people CAN have different life experiences than you? Perhaps people can honestly disagree with you without lying? Perhaps people come from different backgrounds and cultures where expectations re: business practices and transparency are different than yours?

I humbly suggest that assuming people in a discussion/debate are acting honestly and with good intentions and then engaging their logic instead of their motives is a better approach than taking a cheap shot before sticking your fingers in your ears and walking away. But that's just me.

So, if you would like to convince someone, why don't you either 1) address my analysis point by point, or 2) really walk away (i.e., just not post in this thread again?)

As I pointed out above, I am not sure the described FFP behavior is true, but if it is, I believe it is an attempt to deceive, ergo deceptive behavior.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jacob
United States
Elkhorn
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
get off of the computer.
badge
play the games you have.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just want to point out that the actual cost of shipping an item over 1lb from Washington to Maryland is probably closer to 17 dollars than it is to 5. If that sounds like a lot, that's because it is. Postage is expensive.

But yes, lots of companies (Gamenerdz, CSI, MM, etc.) do subsidize those postage costs, which is why they charge only 5-6 bucks for postage. It definitely costs them more than that.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Graham Martin
United States
Ellicott City
MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
emodiu5 wrote:
I just want to point out that the actual cost of shipping an item over 1lb from Washington to Maryland is probably closer to 17 dollars than it is to 5. If that sounds like a lot, that's because it is. Postage is expensive.

But yes, lots of companies (Gamenerdz, CSI, MM, etc.) do subsidize those postage costs, which is why they charge only 5-6 bucks for postage. It definitely costs them more than that.


I am not sure where you got your info, but a Priority Mail 2-Day™ Padded Flat Rate Envelope (what they used) from Lynwood to Maryland is $7.20. (And the envelope is free.)

USPS rates listed here.

FFP charged $17.65 for shipping.



 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Daniels
United States
Missouri
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Grahamers2002 wrote:
emodiu5 wrote:
I just want to point out that the actual cost of shipping an item over 1lb from Washington to Maryland is probably closer to 17 dollars than it is to 5. If that sounds like a lot, that's because it is. Postage is expensive.

But yes, lots of companies (Gamenerdz, CSI, MM, etc.) do subsidize those postage costs, which is why they charge only 5-6 bucks for postage. It definitely costs them more than that.


I am not sure where you got your info, but a Priority Mail 2-Day™ Padded Flat Rate Envelope (what they used) from Lynwood to Maryland is $7.20. (And the envelope is free.)

USPS rates listed here.

FFP charged $17.65 for shipping.





I'm not going to say that's not too high or even outrageous, but they're probably charging the good ol' "handling fee" in there. Somebody has to pay the dude that packs the stuff up.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Brady
United States
Arlington
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just ordered the "buy 2 get 1 free" $20 supplement deal from FFP last week, and the shipping was $4.14 to VA, fwiw.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jacob
United States
Elkhorn
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
get off of the computer.
badge
play the games you have.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Grahamers2002 wrote:
emodiu5 wrote:
I just want to point out that the actual cost of shipping an item over 1lb from Washington to Maryland is probably closer to 17 dollars than it is to 5. If that sounds like a lot, that's because it is. Postage is expensive.

But yes, lots of companies (Gamenerdz, CSI, MM, etc.) do subsidize those postage costs, which is why they charge only 5-6 bucks for postage. It definitely costs them more than that.


I am not sure where you got your info, but a Priority Mail 2-Day™ Padded Flat Rate Envelope (what they used) from Lynwood to Maryland is $7.20. (And the envelope is free.)

USPS rates listed here.

FFP charged $17.65 for shipping.


Okay, sure, working under the assumption that they can jam whatever you ordered into the padded flat rate envelope, they could ship it for that amount. I am not familiar with the specific product you're trying to order, so I can't comment on that. It sounds like they did, so okay.

But my assumption is that most things they sell, i.e. things in boxes, would not ship in those (or any) padded envelopes, and their store probably has shipping tiers based on weight, price, or otherwise (likely price). The fact that you happened to buy the lightest / smallest items for your dollar is going to put you on the end of the scale that makes postage seem egregious, whereas if you spent the same 100 dollars or whatever on a core set box and paid 18 bucks for shipping, they'd be losing money on 18 dollar postage charges. A 2lb package from them to you is anywhere from 10-20 dollars based on the size of the box.

If you purchase the same dollar amount in larger products, is the postage cost the same? My guess would be yes.

I honestly don't really care about this debate either way, I just wanted to point out that postage can be very expensive, especially going coast to coast. If they did ship it to you in a flat rate bubble mailer, then yeah, they made a few bucks on it.

So, to answer your original amended question: Why do they charge 18 bucks for shipping? The answer is probably: Because the postage of the store is based on price, and for the majority of their products (games), that is a reasonable average estimate for shipping them to you.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C M
msg tools
mbmb
emodiu5 wrote:


So, to answer your original amended question: Why do they charge 18 bucks for shipping? The answer is probably: Because the postage of the store is based on price, and for the majority of their products (games), that is a reasonable average estimate for shipping them to you.


Because they can.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.