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Amazon slashes free shipping option to P.R., other U.S. territories

In what may seem like a case of “adding insult to injury,” Puerto Rico consumers who opt to shop online for their books via Amazon.com will find that the company is no longer offering its “Free Super Saver” shipping option to the island.

The online retailer eliminated free shipping to all U.S. territories just weeks after Borders announced the closing of its last remaining store, cutting back on book buying alternatives at reasonable prices that don’t entail paying an arm and a leg to ship.

Amazon.com Spokeswoman Sally Fouts said Thursday the company’s policy has always been not to offer the free shipping benefit to Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Marianas.

However, News is my Business is aware that a limited number of Puerto Rico residents have been able to get their purchases of $25 or more shipped for free in the past.

Fouts said those addresses slipped under the radar “due to a bug in the system that was recently fixed.”

“I don’t know what the reason is for not offering the free shipping option to Puerto Rico or the territories, but that’s always been our policy,” Fouts said, unable to confirm the exact date the “bug” was fixed.

Eliminating the free shipping option to Puerto Rico is especially puzzling, given that Amazon.com’s courier of choice is the U.S. Postal Service, whose shipping costs to the island are pretty similar to those of the 50 continental United States. Ironically, Hawaii residents still qualify for the “Free Super Saver” shipping option.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.


  1. Marco August 19, 2011

    Deberian de poner el email de la señora para escribirle que hacen mas de 7 años estamos comprando con free shipping. Esto es absurdo, Despues el costo del shipping es mucho mas caro de lo necesario!

  2. Isabel Palacios August 19, 2011

    Free shipping to Hawaii but not to Puerto Rico…go figure! “Great” news for those of us who regularly shop at Amazon. My address used to qualify for free shipping, so with the “bug” fix guess that went out the door. I’ll check next time I shop there.

  3. Gabriel August 19, 2011

    Barnes & Noble still offers free shipping to Puerto Rico. Hopefully it will take them longer to correct the “glitch”

  4. CH August 19, 2011

    No more purchase from Amazon. Thanks but no Thanks. Waiting for the day…when Amazon also shut down & go bankrupt like Borders.

  5. Jennie August 19, 2011

    I am from Puerto Rico and recently discovered that I was not eligible for free shipping anymore. I decided to try out B&N. Barnes & Nobles offers free shipping for us with no problems. Also, there is the BookDepository who offer free shipping worldwide. I found these websites recently, and will not be using Amazon any longer. It’s a shame because I did all my purchases there.

  6. ccorrada August 19, 2011

    Weird. They should know better. I’m sure they have negotiated rates based on their volume and we are exactly the same as the contiguous 48 states. Also pretty sure we buy from them more than other territories…

  7. Osvaldo August 19, 2011

    yo llevo desde sus comienzos!! tengo la visa, el store card, mis sortijas de matrimonio, televisor, playstation TODOOOOO es de amazon. Mis hijos me hacen su lista de navidad en en wishlist! Gente, escriban a amazon…es la unica forma!

  8. AJ August 19, 2011

    Totalmente absurdo, debido al volumen de envios q hace Amazon a PR USPS le cobra lo mismo q cobra con los envios US Continentales… Me perdieron como cliente de ser asi.

  9. Socorro Rivera August 19, 2011

    Hawaii es un ESTADO ESTADO ESTADO!!!!!!!!

  10. M. Martinez August 19, 2011

    Yo hacía compras semanales de libros con Borders gracias al Rewards Program. Ahora estoy obligada a pagar los $3.99 de Amazon y también los $3.99 de B&N ya que el free-shipping de esta última cadena no cubre libros usados. Si alguien hace una página en Facebook acerca de “Unfair Shipping Practices to PR by Amazon” puede que hagamos una diferencia en esta política arbitraria de la compañía.

  11. Eduardo August 19, 2011

    Absurdo. B&N here I go!! Amazon.com Spokeswoman Sally Fouts should be fired. She should know why the policy is in place.

  12. Joel August 19, 2011

    No haré más compras en Amazon, donde e gastado miles de dolares. Seguro hay otras opciones como B&N o algunas ofertas de Ebay. Million dollars less for amazon and will lose thousands of customers. ;P

  13. MRA August 19, 2011
  14. Jowei August 20, 2011

    Bueno eso es sencillo. A comprar en eBay.

  15. Enrique F. Bird September 14, 2011

    I have been an Amazon customer for over 15 years, since 1996. In that span, I have purchased an average of well over $1,000 yearly from this retailer, to the detriment of Borders, Movies Unlimited, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and others. SInce they have eliminated Super Saver Shipping to Puerto Rico and since Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million both offer the equivalet, I have decided to leave Amazon. On Sunday, I cancelled over $1,300 in pre-orders (usually order items as soon as they offer them) and erased over 420 items from my shopping cart, emptying it. Also, have been in communication with friends and relatives who are Amazon customers and they have agreed to follow suit. Many of these started out with Amazon following my recommendations.
    I guess even though I see in the postman’s car many Amazon boxes, Amazon does not need us any longer.

  16. Jen Irizarry October 16, 2011

    They’ll lose customers plain and simple. They’re being ridiculous, when I go to the post office it clearly says United States Postal Service and here I am in PR. I’ll just buy elsewhere, if anything I was kinda buying a lot of junk from them so yay, more money in my pocket.

  17. maya December 1, 2011

    I am Puerto Rican living in Hawaii and the statement of “Ironically HI residents still qualify is ridic. Hawaii is not a territory. It’s one of the 50 states. But I wish they would ship also to PR mi gente pero, Hawaii is a STATE people

    1. Michelle Kantrow December 2, 2011

      Thanks for your feedback. The irony isn’t whether Puerto Rico is a state or not, it’s regarding the fact that we use the same U.S. Postal Service as Hawaii, or any other state, and geographically speaking, we’re closer to the U.S. mainland than Hawaii is. So, truthfully, Amazon has no reason to refuse free shipping to Puerto Rico, other than possibly ignorance or discrimination.

  18. Sammy December 15, 2011

    Si hablamos de libros, Barnes and Noble es tremenda opcion con envio gratis

  19. wil January 8, 2012

    this needs to go further. why are items on the island still more costly than in the states? I read an article that shipping companies were carteling transport prices to PR. I would like to see more articles on News is my business regarding this. hint hint

  20. LUISA GARCIA January 12, 2012

    hola es un placer poder informarles que nuestra librería K-L Medical & Books esté en remodelación y ahora somos una librería general con libros de todos temas. los esperamos en 1201 Ave Américo Miranda, San Juan, PR 00921 787-783-6541, 787-706-9504.


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