That sucks to hear OP, but most places will put the details in the fine print stating that they don't do free shipping to Hawaii and Alaska. The advertising is mostly
correct. If they advertised free shipping to all fifty states it would be a different matter, but I don't see it.
About price gouging to make up for free shipping, vendors will often do price matching and you still maintain your free shipping, so I don't see how it can be overinflated too much. There are always options, but you have to be able to work the system a bit.
I hope you get a satisfactory resolution to your issue though.
Edit: Not to dump salt on the wound, but here is American Muscle's
shipping policy as an example. The link is right on their homepage, and it does state free shipping to all 48 continental
states, although to your credit they state all locations
which isn't correct. It's free freight shipping to all commercial
locations in the 48 states.