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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Lawmakers Want Shipping And Handling Charges Disclosed

Alan Levine

Oregon lawmakers want to make sure you know how much you'll ultimately pay for those nifty gadgets hawked on TV. The Oregon House Wednesday passed a measure that would require companies to fully disclose shipping and handling charges in advance.

Ever drift off to sleep on your couch and wake up to this type of pitch?

"Order during this commercial and we'll give you a complete second set of Samurai Shark and Shears absolutely free of charge. Just pay the shipping and handling!"

Democratic Representative Margaret Doherty saw that ad a few years ago. It was an offer she couldn't refuse.

So she picked up the phone and was soon the proud owner of a pair of brand-new knife-sharpeners, for the low, low price of $9.95. But wait, there's more.

"When I got the bill, the shipping and handling was $13.20," Doherty says.

In other words, the shipping charge was more than the cost of the actual product. Doherty's bill wouldn't cap the amount companies can charge for shipping. It would just require them to fully disclose the amount before you pay.

Most Republicans voted against the measure. They said it was unnecessary and could subject businesses to lawsuits.

On the Web:

HB 3070: Disclosure of shipping and handling charges - Oregon Legislature