Smells like a SCAM.
I believe that the Attorney Generals in all the States should make sure that this practice of collecting "shipping and handling charges" on items purchased via Television Ads, Internet, and other means, should be abolished or curtailed, especially when cancelling an order before it reaches the shipping department or when "it is not yet in the system.
I am not blaming the employees for this; they are only doing what they are told to do. The blame goes to the one who institutes this practice. I can't even blame the CEO; it is usually the upper-scale employee who best qualifies as the "Madoff" of the company, although the CEO is responsible for his employment and actions.
I am going to try at this writing not to mention names, but if the order I placed at 1:oo am this early morning of June 28, 2010 (by calling a number shown on the TV-ad) is not cancelled as per my request approximately ten hours later, and was informed "it is not yet in the system", then I shall come back and expose the name of the company. Who, in spite of my early cancellation and the fact that "it is not yet in the system" will ship the order, charge me for the product, plus shipping and handling charges. Then when the product arrives, I can refuse the product. After it is returned and again redeemed by them, they will issue a full refund for the product, less the shipping and handling charges.
Now you have no product, but they have gained a revenue of about Six Dollars by shipping a product which you cancelled before it was even in the system. In this particular case, the shipping and handling charges are $6.95. I am willing to bet that the actual mailing would be less than a dollar. A profit to them of about $6.00 on an order that was cancelled before 'it was in the system'.
If the cancellation is made before it is in the system, I just cannot understand why it could not be retrieved before it reached the shipping department. The response can only rightly be that the moment you place an order, you are charged immediately.
If I go to the supermarket, the store clerk does not follow me around with a calculator and ask me to pay for items I have not yet placed in the shopping cart. When I get to the shipping department (in the supermarket, it is known as the 'cashier's counter), each item is charged, wrapped and placed in the cart. It has been 'shipped' to me and charged properly.
Nothing is free. Be especially aware of those that offer a Free Gift with the purchase of a non-tangible offer, but charge 'shipping and handling charges' on the free gift which can only be used with the offer. Here's the catch: You are allowed to cancel the so-called offer and receive a refund. But what are you going to do with the Free Gift that you cannot use, on which you paid rather steep shipping and handling charges which are not refundable, and on which they paid a miniscule amount of money to mail to you.
You can believe all of the above or not. In several weeks, God willing, I will be 100 years old. I worked in the business world until I was eighty years old and saw the many changes that took place and reveled in them most of the time. I am a clipper and a saver and want to assure you that I can prove with actual documents, that the postings I have submitted are not fairy tales.