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Shipping Policies and "Why No Free Shipping?"

Return Policy

Your order left us in the best of condition. If you have received a package that has been damaged so that the hay and pellets are wet or unusable, please contact us so that we may file a claim with the shipper. The box may reach you looking much the worse for wear, but hay is a hard item to break, so the contents should be fine. You MUST keep the package in case the shipper needs to inspect it prior to issuing a claim. If you have discarded the packaging, bags, or items, then no claim will be filed. When the claim has been approved, we will ship you out a new order, free of charge.

If, within 15 days of delivery, you are not satisfied with the quality of your hay or pellet purchase, return your order and we will gladly refund your purchase price, minus shipping and handling.

If your address is incorrect and the shipper cannot deliver, you will be charged for shipping and handling regardless, and you will be charged again to re-ship your order.  If your order is returned to us, that charge will also be deducted from any refund amount due you.

For example:  You order 10 lbs of pellets and pay for USPS flat rate box which is $13.95.  The pellets are $12.  Your total is $25.95.  You delivery cannot be made.  You don't get a refund for the shipping of $13.95, so you would get a refund of $12.  But if the box is sent back to me, that costs me $13.95.  There would be no refund at all.

Why we don't offer free shipping

First of all, there is no such thing as "free shipping."  If any company anywhere is offering that, the cost of the shipping has been added to the price. This is especially true of my industry, with hay and pellets being relatively inexpensive and heavy and bulky.

The three reasons companies do this are listed below.

  • "Free" looks great to customers
  • Figuring honest rate shipping prices is very time consuming and sometimes nearly impossible to achieve
  • The companies can pocket the additional money it didn't cost to ship close to home

Companies who use free shipping figure the highest possible cost to ship an item and then build that into the price. For people on the far end of the country, the prices are pretty close. For people who are on the same side of the country as the company, the markup is significant.

At KMS Hayloft, I get a good negotiated rate on shipping from UPS, FedEx, etc. When I set my shipping prices on my site, I use those rates and pass them on to you. I don't make a dime on shipping. I pay what you pay except for a $3 handling fee that covers the boxes and the labels.

Here are some examples:

1. For me to ship a 45 lb box of hay from here in Washington to New Jersey the price breakdown is this:

  • The hay is $28.00
  • Handling is $3.00
  • Shipping is $35.51
  • Your total price: $66.51

Another online hay store uses "free" shipping if you spend over a certain amount. Here is their breakdown

  • $89.99 for the hay
  • And "free shipping." You can do the math.

2.  For me to ship a 45 lb box of hay from here in Washington to San Francisco, CA, the breakdown is this:

  • The hay is $28.00
  • Handling is $3.00
  • Shipping is $22.18
  • Your total price: $53.18
  • That same online hay store charges $89.99 for 50 lbs,
  • Again with "free shipping."
  • They are pocketing the extra $35+ dollars.

Let's say you don't qualify for free shipping, you just want 5 lbs of hay.

3.  For me to ship a 5 lb box of hay to Everett, WA, the price breakdown is this:

  • The hay is $7.00
  • Handling is $3.00
  • Shipping is $10.70. 
  • Your total price: $20.70
  • That same online hay store charges $29.99 for the hay
  • Flat $5 for shipping
  • Total price to the customer is $34.99

I'm not saying I won't ever use "free shipping." The many hours I've spent over the years negotiating with the shipping companies and working closely with them to get their programs to configure a perfect rate has not been easy, and I still have no control over the shipping rates they set.

But for now I am pleased to put in the time and effort to give you the best deal possible and not make extra money by padding the price of the product to cover shipping.