MiddleFingerhut.com Would Be A Better Name
Written: Jul 30, 2001
The Bottom Line
If this is your last chance for credit, pay with cash. Avoid it at all costs!
You’ve seen the postage paid cards inviting you to receive a free catalog, you’ve seen the advertisements for free shipping and handling and without doubt you have seen a catalog or two while doing laundry, at a friends house or while dumping the trash. Do yourself a favor and avoid Fingerhut, Fingerhut.com and Axsys Bank at all costs – or you might just end up paying triple for your purchase.
While the site may be easy to navigate, the prices are a different story. And beyond that, you do get gouged for shipping and handling unless you have a promotional code or offer from and email to have this waived.
Fingerhut.com is the more advanced version of the shop-at-home catalog mega giant Fingerhut. They offer a wide variety of products including bed linens, home furnishing, air conditioners, clothing, toys, video games, electronics and gift suggestions. The site is fairly easy to navigate but be prepared for slow loading pages if you don’t have a cable connection as well as some pages that need to be refreshed often to see the images. The site is available in both English and Spanish, however I am not sure if all the products are included in the Spanish translations side.
I have done extensive research on Fingerhut, Fingerhut.com, Axsys Bank and Federated Department Stores – the whole owner of the Fingerhut conglomerate [purchased in 1999]. The mission statement of Fingerhut.com is to provide higher quality merchandise, better pricing and superior customer service. If you would like more information on the Fingerhut.com / Axsys credit card please visit this site for further assistance, www.creditadvantage.com.
All items found in the catalog can be purchased or viewed online. If you become an established customer you are offered incentives or perks to encourage more frequent purchases. This is also achieved by driving customers to the site through affiliates and by the use of sweepstake promotions that are often on the front page of the site.
I’ll give you an overall price comparison between Fingerhut.com and other online and off line retailers. While Fingerhut.com does have a few items that are lower than other online stores and shops, they are a far cry from any off line store.
Playstation 1 – WWF Smackdown 2
Fingerhut.com $49.99 [monthly payments as low as $3.03]
Talking Scooby Doo Doll
Fingerhut.com $29.99 [monthly payments as low as $2.00]
Game Boy Advance
Fingerhut.com $129.99 [monthly payments as low as $7.23]
Walmart.com $89.99 [lower in retail store]
Target.com Not sold online at this time.
[$79.99 - $89.99 in retail store]
Dirt Devil Ultra Hand Vacuum
Fingerhut.com $69.99 [monthly payments as low as $4.18]
Fingerhut and Fingerhut.com both offer a monthly payment plan, but depending on your credit you may end up paying double, or even triple the original price. The interest rate varies from cardholder to card holder so don’t buy into the spiel of 18%, some are as high as 27%. That standard interest rate quoted on the credit card application is 23.40% The rate of the interest is calculated each month by adding 16.4% to the Prime Rate [obtained and published in the Wall Street Journal] with the minimum being 19.9%. What do all those numbers mean to those of us that aren’t up on our ‘credit-speak’ – get ready to get spanked people – and chances are you won’t get kissed first.
Getting Raped Again, The Shipping Fees
I will be the last person to stand on a rock and say “don’t buy things over the internet’ or any time you have to pay shipping and handling. Fingerhut.com tens to skirt this issue until you are on the last page of your order. Even then you are reminded that all the fees are incorporated into the monthly payment plan don’t worry, we’ll come for your internal organs if need be…. Fingerhut.com calculates the shipping fees according to some type of internal system that is only know to three people and resembles something written ages ago in Sanskrit. The shipping fees are listed next to the item but vary from product to product [one video game costs one price while another of the same weight, size and price costs more].
Lets take the WWF Smackdown 2 video game and see how much it costs to get it to my doorstep.
WWF Smackdown 2 PSX Video Game $49.99
Shipping Fee $10.66
While we are having a good laugh, let’s check out how much the Dirt Devil Ultra Hand Vacuum will set us back.
Dirt Devil Ultra Hand Vacuum $ 69.99
Shipping Fee: $13.62
I won’t bore you with more numbers, have you seen enough yet? Still not convinced that this is the ‘last ditch effort’ kind of company? Read on dear consumers.
I am a shopaholic. Catalogs, internet, malls and retail outlets know me by name. My introduction to Fingerhut and eventually Fingerhut.com was from a postcard asking me if I wanted three free gifts with my first order - and free postage, shipping and handling. Now, I ask you, how can anyone pass that up? Much like the record clubs and movie clubs that offer you 200 free selections if you promise to buy 12 selections over the next three years – it’s the basic principal that free items up front usually mean double the cost of the fulfillment items later.
I saw an awesome wooden shelf that goes over the back of the sink – perfect for mugs, dry sponges and other odds and ends. Since I hadn’t been able to track one of these down in a retail store I decided to go ahead and buy it for $23.99. Now, I was curious to see what the free gifts were and how fast I would get my shipment. True to form, the first delivery is always the best. The box arrived packed with little inserts, mini catalogs, an invoice, my wooden shelf and my free gifts. What were my free gifts? Refrigerator magnets. Now, I understand that they are free but the number of magnets on my refrigerator has hit a grossly obnoxious number and I am convinced that it is having a negative effect on the earth’s magnetic positioning.
So I get the invoice and shove it in the pile of bills to pay, writing the due date on the outside and subtracting ten days so it will be received in plenty of time. Somehow my payment to them was sucked into a void that Fingerhut seems to have a patent on. I mailed it with plenty of time and it wasn’t processed until two and a half weeks later. So, that means I get hit with a late fee as well as receiving several letters from Fingerhut. Calling anyone in customer service is like having a conversation with a teenager who is playing a video game – pointless. They argue the facts, state that ‘just because you dated the check April 11th doesn’t mean that is when you mailed it”. So, I swallow my pride and write a check for the late fee and send it off. The check was never cashed, and , to this date is still floating around somewhere in lost-mail-land.
To make a long story short, the small and somewhat insignificant late charge fee has since snowballed into somewhere around $167.00 [and change]. How is this possible? Well, Fingerhut passed some of their billing off to Axxis Bank – and my original payment was never applied to the account. So, with the original purchase, late fees and penalties my measly little wooden shelf is costing me an arm and a leg. To real kicker here is that I came across the same identical shelf at Target for… [drum roll] $14.00. Trying to get a human on the phone is impossible – voice mail, enter your account number, invalid account number, enter your telephone number, invalid telephone number. I finally got some type of uncanned response when I sent this short, but meaningful letter to the Customer Service ‘team’.
I have tried on several occasions to contact you about my account with Fingerhut but have failed to reach a human being. When I enter my information, including home telephone number, account number or statement number I am told that the information is invalid. Since I cannot verify my account then I am assuming that the debt is not valid either. Therefore I would appreciate that you stop sending me statements every two weeks and calling my house with prerecorded message with extension numbers that do not exist.
One week later I received a letter from the legal department regarding my account. The letter stated that I had not responded to previous requests for payment and that my account was due to be turned over to the collections department.
I am still arguing with both Fingerhut and Axsys about the charges, interest fees, late fees and miscellaneous fees that they have tacked on. The cancelled check has been mailed, faxed and sent via email to all of the customer service departments but the issue has yet to be resolved. I will update this review when some type of arrangement has been met, but I will not pay another penny to either place of business.
If you are still interested in getting a catalog from Fingerhut you can visit the website and fill out a request form, but be warned, you will receive the catalog along with numerous other pieces of junk mail in about three weeks. Come on Freak, how do you know they sold your info? Simple. If I am curious as to a company’s privacy statement and request a catalog I add a middle initial or ad an extra letter to my last name – this way when the junk mail starts rolling in I know exactly who started the ball rolling. Even though I checked the box the specifically stated “I do not wish to receive information from other companies” I still found my mailbox stuffed with useless junk mail.
You can also register at the site and create an online account that will store your purchases, shipping information, upcoming events and billing options. The site claims to have encrypted engines but I have my doubts. If they can’t even keep their bookkeeping straight why should I believe that my credit card information would be sent securely?
They also offer an email alert system to notify you of sales, clearance items [hearty chuckle] and contests. Be warned oh weary shoppers, you will find your email flooded with useless junk from Fingerhut as well as all their affiliates. While I am always grateful of emails that save me money – this company just loves to mail bomb you with stuff that even my pets wouldn’t find interesting.
The Bottom Line
Fingerhut, Fingerhut.com and Federated are all last chance credit providers. The actively seek out those with less than moderate credit, lower income or those behind the eight-ball and rake them over the coals. The interest rates are sky high and the monthly payments only help to make it worse. If you think a traditional credit card is bad, or even Aria [online], then please do yourself a favor and hunt down that hard to find John Deere Cookie Jar someplace other than Fingerhut.com – or you might just be making payments on it for the same amount of time as the full scale tractor that adorns your south 40.
Fingerhut and Fingerhut.com both get big, fat, chocolate covered, middle fingers down [verses the regular dirty, thumbs down most get] for customer service, inaccurate billing entries, third party billing, selling customers names and addresses, over priced items and making returning an item almost impossible.
As always, thanks for stopping by...
^V^ Freak ^V^