Complaints Information Shopping

Unlimited Shipping for 5KD a Month

So last week I posted about DesertCart and ever since that post I’ve been searching for other items I want but wouldn’t be allowed to ship with Aramex. While adding one such item to my cart, I got an option to ship for free if I agreed to become a DesertCart Plus member where for just 5KD a month I would get unlimited free shipping. That didn’t make any sense. Does that mean I could order a bowling bowl every day and not pay shipping for it? I decided to investigate things further.

Firstly, DesertCart already has a flat shipping rate of 3KD for items valued under 30KD and free shipping for items over 30KD. That alone is a great deal. But when you read the fine print on their website, (which also applies to their “unlimited free shipping” offer) you’ll see the big “but”:

We have a flat 3 delivery charge for all orders below KWD 30. If your order is KWD 30 or above, your order is delivered for free! You can see the final cost of your order after adding an item to your cart. If the item you have ordered is oversized, an extra shipping charge may apply. If your item exceeds a courier’s standard dimension or weight, they may charge an additional fee. We will communicate this with you before we charge your order.

I highlighted in bold the sentence that caught my attention so I got in touch with customer support via their live chat to get clarification on what exactly constitutes being oversized? What a frustrating and waste of time that was. Their support staff seemed to have been trained to maneuver around a straightforward answer but I kinda managed to squeeze out a number from them, 1-1.5KG. According to the first live chat operator (yup I contacted a bunch), as long as the item was below 1 to 1.5kg, they would ship it for free.

That’s actually not a bad deal, 5KD a month to ship an unlimited number of items that weigh around 1KG. But why isn’t that information on their website, why not make it clear or mention it in the fine print? I needed someone else to confirm that to me. So I got in touch with customer support a second time on a different day and no matter what I asked I couldn’t get an accurate answer from them. Instead, I was fed with the generic answer below:

We do not have the option to check if the item is considered oversized. Normally, if the item has large dimensions or is heavyweight, the international merchants apply the extra shipping charges before shipping the item.

At this point, we notify the customers if they are willing to proceed with the order by accepting the additional shipping charges or the customer can cancel the order from the order status page.

The merchant can only confirm the shipping charges once we proceed with the order.

When I highlighted to them that the “merchant” is Amazon and they don’t charge extra for heavy items, they responded to me with the following:

We are not affiliated with Amazon. Desertcart ships products from merchants around the world mainly from the UK, US, and India, and some from local UAE merchants. We cannot confirm what are items considered as oversized as the merchant can only confirm the shipping charges and not us. But in my experience, items that are 5kg is considered as heavyweight and the merchant might ask for the extra shipping cost

This is where their lack of transparency really bothered me. They ARE a storefront for Amazon and they ship the items to their warehouse (forwarding address in Delaware) before shipping to the UAE and then to Kuwait. You can copy-paste any product name no matter how it’s written on Amazon and DesertCart will pull up the exact same item, with the same photos and the same reviews. The customer support person got very defensive when I called them an Amazon storefront.

They were also still being very vague about what weight wouldn’t be eligible for free shipping and the fact you need to purchase the item, pay for it, and then be told if you would pay shipping is bad practice. So I kept at it trying to find out more, I decided to give them a call which didn’t result in anything new either since the person over the phone was also programmed to reply the exact same way. They recommended I email them which I did only to be also given a generic reply.

I really want to like these guys but they’re making it really difficult. They’ve also scored terrible on Scam Detector which doesn’t help their case either.

But, I still wanted to see how this free shipping works so I decided to order a lightweight and cheap item that I needed but wasn’t worthwhile to ship with Aramex, an adapter for my tire inflator. Even trying to order that was a horrible experience. The item on Amazon would have cost me around KD2.200 with tax and shipping to my Aramex address. The price on DesertCart was listed as KD2.900 which is slightly more but they need to make money as well plus currency conversion, etc, so that’s fine. But, when I would select the item to add it to my cart, the price would jump up to 7.5KD (check above). It kept happening over and over and not only with this item but with others as well. I can’t tell if it’s a buy-in their system (they have a ton of them) or if that’s part of their business model. I’d search and find an item I want and the price would say 3KD, when I click on it changes to 5.9KD. It was very frustrating. But after exiting the page and coming back in, and trying it out from the iPhone App and different browsers, I finally managed to click on the item and not have it triple in price. I added the adapter to my cart, chose to become a DesertCart Plus member (it’s free for the first month), and placed the order with free shipping.

We’ll see how it goes, I’ll also try and order a few more items of varying sizes to see what will pass and what will be considered “heavyweight”. I’ll post another update once everything arrives. If in fact, this all does work out, they might be a good option to ship items that Aramex won’t as well as ship items that aren’t too heavy. Let’s see.

15 replies on “Unlimited Shipping for 5KD a Month”

Desert Cart is completely opaque.

i would never recommend it for recurring use. it’s best used for one-off items that are cheaper than the alternatives, items that don’t ship to kuwait, or you don’t want to bother with forwarding or extra complexity.

Desert Cart is a dropshipping website.

they just copy and paste the link from other website to their site, once someone order they order the item to the certain website or supplier, but they add extra price like 50-75% .

Yeap they are dropshippers and do poorly at that because of the lack of competition in this space. We are better off using Aramex (as much as i hate to give them business) or shipment consolidators such as fishisfast, myus etc..

I agree but I’m trying to figure out their advantages. So like last time when I need to order a battery, Aramex would have rejected it and MyUS would have cost me at least 10KD. They charged me just 3. And now I ordered an item that costs 2KD and didn’t pay shipping, Aramex would have charged me at least like 3.5-4

Desertcart does not have authority to sell the items it lists on their platform.
They list items from ecommerce platforms of other countries and hurt local businesses.

I avoid it because i feel it is unfair and unethical.

If I can order something myself from Amazon, pay shipping and customs and US taxes and still end up saving a considerable amount compared to your prices, then you’ve got a broken business model. Businesses get hurt because they are either too greedy or were set up incorrectly so don’t blame the consumer.

Good for you for trying out the system.
However no matter how good the deal is, how can a customer waste all this time trying to get the correct price. Plus with the lack of transparency is a bloody joke.
Good luck with your experiment.

I have been using desertcart since the past 2 years and ordered tons of items from them. (Yesterday being the latest item ordered, a Leather Jacket from US)

I was on their plus membership which was 3 kd per month, You can order whatever, and how many times you want and never pay anything for customs or for shipping or handling services, which is 3 kd for every item delivered. So this 3 kd for every item is not charged if you are on their plus membership.

This year i switched to the annual subscription, which came out to be 30 kd. so thats 2.5 kd per month. and again no need to pay 3 kd for each and every item delivered cuz of plus membership.

I never ordered any item more than 5kg until now, so I am not aware of any extra charges are there or not for heavy items.

You are right about the part where it changes the price of items randomly, you search an item shows you one amount and then when you select it, it displays another amount. No idea why. I just keep searching and find the lowest price available, read the reviews, and make sure it stays that price on selection and finally order it.

I do have a MyUS account too, but use that only for ordering stuff for my Harley Bike from US as those are priced very high on desertcart.

Desertcart basically dropship from Amazon, not completely weird though, average consumers here don’t know about this stuff/dont care about this stuff anyway.

This overweight thing sounds like an extra money grab though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *