questionsis there a consensus on what "free shipping…

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My $.02: free is free, no strings. No minimum purchase amount or additional purchase/somersaults required. Any caveats should be noted in the post description, and 'free shipping' should not be included in the post heading.

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You are correct. Free shipping should only be checked if it's absolutely free.
If free shipping is available but with requirements, then it should be stated in the description.

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@hizzo87: Thank you very much. Would it then be okay for @lichme to add that phrase to the official Unofficial FAQ? (Yes, I know that seems terribly redundant, but on this sort of matter it seems safer to get a solid, unarguable answer.)

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@magic cave: Updated to "Free shipping is only free shipping if it is to your house with no charge, and no strings attached. If you need amazon prime, or another subscription to get free shipping, or if it is only free shipping to the store, or a minimum purchase applies, note it in your deal, but do not check the free shipping option."

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@lichme: Boy, you're fast! Many thanks!

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@zippy the pinhead: I would also say it is free shipping if there is a minimum purchase required, but the item in the deal meets the minimum purchase requirement. For example, a blender that costs $50 on Amazon and ships free because it meets the $30 minimum purchase to qualify.

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If it's "free... when the following additional strings are attached...," don't check the box, and explain the strings within the body of your posts. Repeat violators must be ostricized. Or mocked, at least.

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Thanks for bringing this up. Sometimes it really bugs me when I see it the box checked and it shouldn't be due to strings. Deception and all that are not good.

Of course, the fact that "free shipping" is built into the cost of the item is something all together another beast. Don't get me started !! =P

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Thanks for asking this. I have been berated in comments for NOT listing something is free for those who have Prime. I don't have Prime so I rarely even think about that, but since that is an "attached string," I am glad to see that it will not meet the official unofficial rules describing free shipping.

And on the subject of freedom:

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing don't mean nothing honey if it ain't free, now now.
And feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues,
You know feeling good was good enough for me,
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.

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@belyndag: As my mother used to day, "damned if you do, damned if you don't."

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@belyndag: Kristofferson {the writer] or Joplin ?
I prefer the the former

But this is pretty hard to beat too :

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:::laughing::: My stalker tally has increased: I now have two of them!

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@magic cave: I'm glad you knew the right people to address this, and I thank you for taking it to them so quickly! Now if only the official FAQ linked to the unofficial rules, the noobs could find them quicker...

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@johnson487682: Thanks! I agree -- it would be simpler if the official FAQ included everything, but looking at it realistically, I think most newbies would glance at it, think "TL:DR!" and skip it. I suspect there are also corporate reasons not to get too picayune about details.

Quite some time ago there was a lot of discussion about this, and a Wooter suggested we provide input for an unofficial FAQ that would provide guidelines that we knew were used by the mods but weren't codified anywhere. Thus was born the current document, on which we rely heavily.

Last Fall, after months of piteous whining from the Wooters, the official FAQ got majorly revised, which is why I doubt there'll be any significant changes to it in the near future. However, TPTB support what I now refer to as the official unofficial FAQ, which is why I include links to both of the FAQs whenever it seems useful.

And thanks for your explanation of the push-back yesterday -- look what you got accomplished!