Shopping Traps and Scams: TIPS

Deceptive marketing and consumer awareness information.
Tips to avoid scams, rip-offs and costly bad purchases.

Where is the corporate ethic going? We don't know for sure but it seems to be getting meaner each year, so consumers should be aware of shrewd marketing techniques so as to save money and avoid frustrations.

We are shopping more than ever in this continuous commercial expansion of the past century. In most recent years there has been very rapid change in the manner of transactions and the experiences of consumers.

The business side of the equation continuously becomes evermore crowded with new companies and more wares to sell. The always present need to increase sales and profits in this environment has seen a gradual lowering of merchandising standards as marketers leap frog over each other and grapple for customers. and profits

New tricks and traps are sprouting like stubborn weeds throughout the marketplace. The shopping adventure has become an encounter and it is not taking place in an arena of fair play.

Scams, bad deals sold as good buys, are particularly troublesome when they are costly and have strained your budget.

TIPS and cautions for the pricier stuff.
  • Be suspicious that it may not be a bargain at all. What can be wrong with this? Surcharges for service, supplies, delivery?
  • Beware of advertising that is carefully and deceptively designed to make you BUY.
  • Time is important if you have it, shop around and compare products and prices.
  • Ask friends and co-workers about experiences and opinions which may be very valuable.
  • Fast talking sales people can sell stuff that you will regret ever buying. Wait and return later if it still seems like a wise purchase.
  • It's necessary to have a good warranty and return policy but are they clearly defined in writing?
  • Very important: Read the fine print! An agonizing task perhaps but that is where the tricks are buried.
  • Paying by credit card is an option as you may be able to dispute a charge.

Even the less expensive traps can be costly and unpleasant as they add up.
  • SALE usually means a price reduction but it may still be too high.
  • Terms like SPECIAL HOT PRICE can be empty words to lure buyers.
  • Running out of stock immediately after the bargain priced sale begins.
  • Study sale display signs or you may checkout paying a non-sale price.
  • Bring the ad with you and crosscheck the sale price with the actual paid.
  • Reduced prices not computer updated, happens just too often.
  • Double scanning and double pricing occurs now and again.
  • Check the prices on the display screen as they are scanned, and/or
  • Read the sales receipt printout item by item, preferably before leaving.

Miscellaneous suggestions.
  • Retailer price-matching policies are often provided to match or beat a competitor's price. Ask.
  • Many stores will give you a rebate if the item goes on sale 30-90 days later. Another reason to keep the receipt and it's easy.
  • Search websites to compare prices, perhaps for stores in your area.
  • Plan for and gather information on future purchases. On the spot buying can so often be so regrettable.
  • Shopping as a pastime? Read, play, exercise, enjoy nature, and live a free and healthy lifestyle.

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