Fingerhut.com - If You Have No Other Way to Buy This Stuff, You Have Issues
Nov 1, 2006 (Updated Nov 1, 2006)
I have been involved with Fingerhut for many years, its catalogue having first made it's way to my mailbox many years ago. I got suckered, I'll admit it. For years I have been hooked on the catalogues and later the website, thanks to what appears to be easy payment terms but I've finally kicked the habit.
Through their online presence, Fingerhut appears to be a very nice department store. Their homepage is one of the nicer ones I've seen, without too much clutter and lots of direction to their various shops. Unfortunately, one of the items that screams out at visitors is the invitation to Apply Now. Buy Now. Open a Fingerhut Credit Account. Online. In an Instant. I'll explain just why this is not a good idea a little later.
The selection is good and it's easy to shop online. Fingerhut carries a wide variety of products and I've always been a sucker around the holidays for items in their Holiday Shop for decorating my home. They also have good selections in Toys, Electronics, Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom, Furnishings, Jewelry, Apparel, Sporting Goods, and Jewelry. While you might not find every brand of DVD player ever made available for purchase at Fingerhut, chances are you'll find something nice to suit your needs. That goes for anything, from toaster ovens to lawnmowers. You won't find a huge selection to choose from, but there's a good chance that Fingerhut carries one product to meet your needs.
Shopping through the online store is easy. The search engine works quite well and I've never had a problem locating an item I was looking for.
If you're a good comparison shopper, the first thing that's going to stand out to you is that the prices at Fingerhut are generally higher than they are at other online retailers, and possibly local retailers near you. So what is the reason that I and others have ended up purchasing from Fingerhut? I'll confess, the catalogs looked nice when I first started making purchases from them. The spiel of small monthly payments next to the items was also enticing. But the main reason was at the time we were over-extended on the other credit cards we had.
That's what lures most people to Fingerhut. Their credit terms are very lenient, so just about anyone can open an account with them. This includes people who may have difficulties with credit in other areas of their life.
Most of the people who are going to fall for the spiel of the nice looking monthly payments arent going to qualify for the interest rate that payment is based on. I wont call it a low rate because even the lowest rate at Fingerhut is higher than most other revolving credit plans.
Back when I first started using them, my items were shipped with a little book containing all my payment coupons. Oh goody, all I had to do was tear off the coupon with my check for $6.83 (or whatever it was) and mail it in once a month. Cool, so I just purchased a new DVD player for a cup of coffee a month. But when you get right down to the nitty-gritty, I probably just paid about double what it would have cost me to go to a nearby electronics store and purchase the same one. Thats even figuring that the nearest store to me might be all the way down in Manchester, two hours and half a tankful of gas away.
Not only is the price high at Fingerhut, but the shipping charges are at least double what I have seen at other online retailers. From Amazon to Target to Wal-Mart, I havent come across another place with shipping charges as high as Fingerhut. Add into that interest rates well above 20% at the minimum, and that DVD player that was overpriced already at $125.00 is now costing me over $160.00!
Lets do a couple of comparisons, shall we? The model numbers are conveniently different, so its impossible to do a perfect match comparison. However, going by the pictures and the features, these are all the same models.
Panasonic Progressive Scan DVD Player
Fingerhut: $79.99 (as low as $7.99 a month)
And thats before the easy credit terms and the high interest rate. Just how many months will I end up paying just $7.99?
Hamilton Beach All-Metal Stand Mixer
Shipping: free super-saver shipping
Fingerhut: $259.95 (as low as $19.99 a month)
Get the picture? So if I were to purchase that mixer through Fingerhut, before Ive even started incurring their high-rate interest charges, Im already paying $123.03 more than I would buying the same mixer through another online retailer.
Run, do not walk, far, far away from anything you might receive from Fingerhut. In the long run, its just not worth purchasing through them. If this is the only way for you to buy something you think you want or need, I recommend really taking a hard look at your life and how youve managed to end up in that position to begin with. The solution to that is definitely not going to be making a purchase through this website.
© 2006 Patti Aliventi