RTIC online shoppers hit with 'tariff surcharge' as U.S. trade war with China impacts goods

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- At RTIC, an online outdoor retail store based in northwest Houston, the company is showing customers just how much the U.S. trade war with China is costing them.

For some items, they're paying about six percent more. That means a $100 cooler will now cost $106 when customers check out online.

"I would appreciate it because that tells me what I'm spending my money on as a consumer," said Houston resident Renee Presa.

"I'm like, 'What is this?" commented Houston resident Christina Blackshear. "People shouldn't pay that. What is it necessary for?"

ABC13 Eyewitness News reached out to RTIC requesting further explanation for the tariff surcharge, but did not receive a response.

On the company's website, it says it added the cost to be in compliance with recent U.S. government tariffs.

RELATED: Chinese media turning up the heat as US-China trade war drags on

"I like the transparency, but of course, I'd rather not have the charge," said Houston resident Rob Espey.

Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy senior fellow Steven Lewis studies China.

He said RTIC's move was bound to happen, but did not expect for it to occur so soon.

"It's a little unusual at this point to see American producers adding on the surcharge," Lewis explained.

Right now, Chinese goods are charged 25 percent more to enter the U.S.

It's a move President Donald Trump implemented last month to reach deals with the foreign country.

Prior to the tariff, Lewis said U.S. companies bought extra Chinese imports to avoid the price hike. But he says not all of them did, which is why you could soon pay more on goods such as clothing, cars, and electronics.

"Most of them will just put it in the price if they can get away with it," Lewis said.

That means, you'd pay more without knowing exactly why.

While RTIC customers are paying more right now, some are glad to see an explanation.

"I like full transparency," Espey said. "I like to see that in pretty much everything we get as consumers."

While the tariff surcharge is impacting purchases made online, it's unclear what it means for RTIC's products in stores.

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