Free Shipping Day Not so Free for Some

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Consumers in Hawaii, Alaska, Guam and Saipan excluded from some merchant’s free shipping offer because of geography.

Residents of Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. Territories may not feel the Christmas spirit when they visit the web sites of some merchants participating in Free Shipping Day, Thursday December 17th. The idea behind Free Shipping Day was to encourage shoppers to continue shopping online later into the Christmas season. But consumers need to make sure they read the small print, warns Darrell Houghton, President of Aloha Forwarding (, a package forwarding service based in Denver, Colorado. “Some merchants put restrictions on their free shipping offers,” says Houghton. “Usually addresses outside the continental United States don’t qualify.”

So why are some merchants such Scrooges when it comes to shipping beyond the 48 contiguous States? “If a merchant ships exclusively through UPS or FedEx, they can’t offer free shipping to Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Territories because it’s too expensive,” explains Houghton. “The challenge for consumers is to find merchants that also offer the option of shipping via Priority Mail.”

As any resident of Hawaii, Alaska, Guam and Saipan knows, that’s no easy task. Houghton, who lived in Hawaii for 5 years, knows the frustration of going through the checkout process of an online merchant, only to find out the merchant either didn’t ship to Hawaii, or the cost of shipping eliminated any savings to be had by shopping online. “Some online retailers don’t even ship to Hawaii or Alaska,” scoffs Houghton.

For online shoppers that don’t qualify for free shipping because of their geographic location, all is not lost. “Aloha Forwarding was born from a need I knew was out there,” says Houghton, who started his package forwarding business in 2008. “Now you’re not limited to where you can shop online. If a retailer only offers delivery via UPS or FedEx, just have your package shipped to Aloha Forwarding and we’ll forward your package to you via Priority Mail.” You still need to pay for postage and a small handling fee, but when the alternative is UPS or FedEx, the savings can be substantial. For example, a 2-pound package shipped from the mainland to Hawaii via UPS is over $38. That same package shipped through Aloha Forwarding, including postage and handling, is only $13.25.

“This is a service I wish I had available to me when I lived in Hawaii,” says Houghton, who has expanded service beyond Hawaii and Alaska to include Guam, Saipan, and Canada. “We’ve even forwarded a package to a client in Russia,” exclaims Houghton.

In the spirit of Free Shipping Day (, Aloha Forwarding would like to offer $1 off the handling fee on every purchase made on December 17th. Just enter coupon code “DollarOffDay” when you fill out a Forwarding Request form at the Aloha Forwarding website. The coupon is good only on December 17th.

Darrell Houghton
Aloha Forwarding LLC
Fax: 866-931-1391

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