TNT has recently dropped a bombshell right before Christmas with less than a week's notice. They are making massive increases to their residential delivery fee charges.
For items that are over 100kg in chargeable weight, they will incur an ADDITIONAL charge (as well as the normal freight charge) of nearly $200. By chargeable weight I am referring to weight that is applied to the volume of the product. Products over 30kgs but under 100kg will incur a $60 charge.
Like a lot of businesses we are fuming that such a massive change would be done with such little notice - at any time of the year. But this is happening right at a time when we are trying to get out orders to customers before Christmas. There is no way we can get the necessary changes done to our freight calculation system on our website in this short time.
For online orders we will have to contact customers with a revised freight amount - and you are free to pull out of the sale if you choose to do so. We fully understand this considering the magnitude of the increase.
When we contact you we will try to offer some alternatives - you can go and pick up from a depot which will be cheaper. We will give you a rough indication of what vehicle you would require. If you can get it delivered to a business address with forklift onsite that is also a lot cheaper and easier.
We are racking our brains to think of alternative carriers - like a lot of other TNT customers are doing right at this very moment. The problem with this is that any carrier offering cheaper services will be further swamped at their busiest time of year. They might not be able to efficiently handle the extra volume.
Also we would have to set up an account first and get their systems integrated - we will struggle to do this with the lack of notice.
Shipping gym equipment to residential addresses has always been a nightmare in Australia. We have always managed to navigate through the issues, and we will figure out a way through this. What really annoys me is that we bust our gut to keep our prices down to give customers the best deal as possible - but then they get screwed by the shipping which we have no control.
Prior to this rate increase I was already complaining about the big transport companies in Australia. They would all introduce new fees all around the same time. I am not saying they are colluding, but when there is a lack of competition and one puts up their rates, the ones that don't get extra business. Once they get stretched they can put their rates up too.
I thought as these companies were swallowing up their competitors our rates should be going down, or at the very least staying the same.
As a result I started emailing the ACCC. The case number is REF2618138 - if you feel like contacting them, use this as a reference. Maybe if enough people make some noise they might look into it further. This is not purely related to TNT, but in relation to all the big transport companies.
What prompted me to do it initially was that they would charge us for extra weight or volume - shipping gym equipment is pretty easy to get right. Four twenty kilo plates on a pallet will weight 95kgs tops. However they could charge us for 180kgs and we have to provide evidence to get a credit. Their scales are wrong, but somehow we have to demonstrate this to them.
If you are unhappy, you can not take your business elsewhere, they do it all the same. That is why we have stuck solid with Northline. They are not perfect, but they at least listen.
I should state that I am all for the free market, but as a small business owner I find it really difficult to navigate through all the rules, regulations and red tape. Big companies have an advantage at this and is the reason why the big end of town gets bigger, while we just battle away. We can not transfer our profits overseas to avoid local taxes. We do not have in house lawyers etc to deal with all the rules.
When a competitor starts growing and taking market share, they just buy them up. Once again I would not mind this if rates were going down or staying the same, but this is clearly not the case.
Well that is my rant and hopefully we will have some better news soon!