Since Amazon announced last week that it was increasing its minimum spend to qualify for free delivery, ambitious deal hunters have been busy trying to find a way around the system. Now one has tracked down a method that lets you spend less than £20 on Amazon, and yet still get free delivery.
Tom Pritchard on Gizmodo revealed his solution was to just pre-order something that wouldn't be out for months. This will bump up the total value of the order, but because you won't be charged for the pre-order until it is dispatched, you only pay for the items you actually want. Once they arrive, you can cancel the pre-order with no charge and, he says: "no repercussions."
However, as he points out in his post, once Amazon becomes aware of the loophole, it will doubtless close it.
At the moment you don't have to rely on the loophole, because you can sign up for a one month free trial of Amazon Prime. It will offer next-day deliveries, alongside free video streaming and a number of other perks. The service usually costs £79, but at the moment is offering a month for free.
If you want a more long-term solution, you have a number of other options. The first is to combine orders. When you see items you want, you can add them to your shopping basket on Amazon, and once you reach £20 (or your order includes at least £10 of books) you can order it with free delivery.
If you're not great at waiting, then you could set up an informal club with friends or family who live nearby. You can then combine your orders, and get them delivered for free - just make sure you have a robust system in place to make sure that everyone pays for their items on time, or you could end up causing more problems than you solve.
In some cases you can buy the same thing from a major brand such as John Lewis, Next or Marks & Spencer - which will allow you to order online and collect for free at a high street store. As long as the shop is less than £3.99 more expensive, it will be your cheapest option. However, if part of the attraction of shopping online is avoiding the high street, this isn't going to work for you.
If the inconvenience isn't worth the saving, you need to do a price comparison that includes the cost of delivery. In some cases you can get a cheaper deal with a website with free delivery (which often sell through eBay). In the long term, Amazon's decision to make free delivery harder to access could encourage more online retailers to charge for postage too. But for now, there's the opportunity to find the items cheaper elsewhere.
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