Walmart to issue refunds for overseas military shipping costs
December 23, 2009
Walmart backs off extra charge for APO/FPO shippingSome retailers inflating costs to ship to APO addressesWIESBADEN, Germany — Retail giant Walmart says it will issue refunds to customers who paid extra charges to have items shipped to APO and FPO addresses.
“We are in the process of contacting customers (by e-mail) that shipped to an APO address to reimburse them for the difference in shipping charges,” said Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. He added that the refund will apply to FPO customers as well.
Stars and Stripes reported last week that Walmart charged more for shipping to APO and FPO addresses than to stateside addresses. Shipping charges on a $120 order to an APO were nearly five times the cost of shipping the same order stateside.
Earl Small, postmaster at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, said last week that when companies ship to APO addresses in Europe, the order is shipped to New York. The Department of Defense then picks up the tab to get the package from New York to the APO. According to the Military Postal Service’s Web site, military mail first moves to one of its major processing centers on the East Coast, or to San Francisco for Pacific-bound packages.
Soon after the article was published, Walmart issued an e-mail statement that it had revised its APO shipping costs to coincide with stateside shipping costs.
Walmart has repeatedly declined requests for phone interviews with Stars and Stripes, including on its most recent announcement on refunds. The company did not specify if there would be a time limit on when orders had to be placed in order to get a refund. It also wouldn’t say how many customers it expected would get refunds.
“We’ve provided all that we can at this time regarding this matter, and are not planning to provide further comment,” Jariwala said in an e-mail.