Why customers don’t like paying a “fuel surcharge”

07Apr11

Occasionally, I place an order with an online grocery delivery service, mainly to stock up on heavy and bulky items that are difficult to lug home from the store. However, something on the most recent receipt surprised me: the vendor had added a “fuel surcharge”, in addition to their delivery fees.

I was rather annoyed to see the charge on there, and it made me wonder how customers react to this approach in general. My guess is that people don’t like paying a “fuel surcharge” for several reasons:

– The word “surcharge” has a negative connotation, almost like it’s a penalty or fine.

– Fuel is something that should already be accounted for in the delivery fees.

– The relatively small amount of the charge feels like nickel-and-diming.

Given these concerns, it’s best to avoid listing a “fuel surcharge” on your invoices and receipts. If possible, the customer-friendly approach is to either absorb the costs, or increase delivery prices to compensate for them. Either way, your customers will appreciate receiving a more straightforward bill, which should increase their overall satisfaction with the purchasing and delivery process.



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