January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Kozmo tells customers to ante up

Kozmo.com introduced a twist to its under-an-hour delivery model-a fee. The company that touted free delivery began charging $1.99 for all orders under $30 on Dec. 1. Orders more than $30 are still free. Kozmo's spokeswoman says the fee was put in place to offset the companyÕs expanded product offering and service area Some Kozmo critics have boasted of ordering a single can of soda a day or a box of candy to hasten its demise and prove the model does not work. In July, Kozmo instituted a $5 minimum order, which remains in place. A month later, the company laid off 300 employees because of improved automation. Kozmo says the fee was planned, but will not say for how long. The company says the timing of the fee had nothing to do with the holiday season, which it expects to be its busiest time of the year. The company has gotten some negative feedback from customers regarding the fee, but overall customers don't seem to mind, the spokeswoman says. This is just a nominal fee for a great service, she adds.

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