Amazon Stops Free Shipping

SEATTLE– has halted free shipping for multiple orders of books, compact disks, videos and digital video disks after a two-week promotion that a company spokesman said was a test run.

The action was taken Wednesday, shortly after began offering a similar discount and after some customers said Amazon raised some prices by factoring the cost of shipping into its listings.

Amazon spokesman Bill Curry said Thursday that most prices were unchanged, adding that the promotion was a test to determine whether customers could calculate their bills easier without a shipping charge.

A recent Jupiter Media Metrix study indicates 63 percent of online shoppers stop short of completing their purchases after shipping charges are computed at the last step, known as the checkout line.

With the end of the free-shipping promotion, Amazon lowered prices that had been raised.

Customer criticism had nothing to do with the moves, Curry said.

“That’s why you do a test is to get a reaction and to see how people actually behave,” he said. “We completed two weeks of it and feel we’ve got enough data that we can make sense of it.”

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