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Pierluisi asks 15 e-retailers to explain refusal to ship to P.R.

Puerto Rico is often excluded from the list of places to which many online retailers will ship.

Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi this week put the spotlight on some of the most popular online retailers, asking them to explain why they will not ship to Puerto Rico arguing among other things that the island must abide by the same federal trade and consumer protection laws as all of the 50 states.

According to an analysis conducted by his office, about 80 percent of the top 100 U.S.-based e-retailers currently ship their products to Puerto Rico. However, companies such as Overstock.com, Microsoft, Dell, Staples, Sears, Sony, FTD Group, Kohl’s, Hewlett-Packard, Avon Products, Buy.com, Nutrisystem, NBC, Nike, and Yoox, exclude the island from the places they will ship their goods.

“My office has reviewed the shipping policy contained on company websites, and it appears that [those] companies ships their products to all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska, but do not ship their products to consumers residing in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico,” he told the retailers in letters sent Friday.

“Puerto Rico is a U.S. jurisdiction that is home to 3.7 million American citizens, many of whom are potential purchasers of your company’s products,” he said in the letter in which he asked companies to explain the reasons why they have adopted a policy to leave Puerto Rico out and whether they would consider changing their position.

“Given that we are entering the holiday season, when shopping is at its peak, I would very much appreciate your prompt attention to these questions,” he said in the letter in which he also stressed that Puerto Rico is within the U.S. customs and immigration zones.

Puerto Rico government officials have been putting the pressure on stateside retailers who do business online to end discriminatory practices against the island. In September, the Consumer Affairs Department announced the creation Anti-Discrimination Commercial Office to go after companies that could be violating local consumer rights.

Topping the list of companies is Amazon, which the agency said in October it would be suing for incurring in discriminatory practices against Puerto Rico by discontinuing its “Free Super Saver” shipping option after offering it for a decade.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 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 Comment

  1. CH December 19, 2011

    Same old..same old. Why dont they 1st fix the PR retailers…who charge more money for the same product then in the states. the markup of about 10% is illegal now. Before..when they have the import duty to pay to ie PR Excise duty….it made sense…but now…with no Excise duty…& we paying 7% IVU….the retailers continue to charge them & pocket a cool 10% in their pocket. Disgrace.

    They should try to go after them 1st..& fix it before going to e-retailers….& even if they are successfull in getting them to ship…they will follow Amazon policy & charge good shipping cost (as International I guess).


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