Tips to avoid being cheated while shopping
All of us at one time or the other have have fallen victim to tantalizing offers by traders or have got taken in by misleading advertising. Here’s a reminder of the traps we could fall into, many of which we are familiar with but still get caught in!
Be alert for the following trading practices:
1. Enticing customers by talking about ‘sales’ and ‘discounts’ but actually keeping limited items on sale. The customer is then lured to the other, higher priced goods.
2. Prices being hiked up and then slashed to “show” reductions.
3. When you see signs like up to 50 percent discount, it does not mean that all items are on such a heavy discount. Often very few are.
4. Shops with continuous ‘offers’ and ‘sales.’ Signs outside the shop give the impression that the sale is temporary and that you better come and get it before the stock is over…but there are retailers who have these sales on all the time.
5. At times discounts can be minuscule and unless the original selling price (OSP) is clearly mentioned, customers can get fooled. This is assuming that the OSP is genuine!
6. There have been cases where discounts are not taken into account in the final bill. So check that out, particularly if the discount is substantial.
7. Free gifts are usually not provided unless asked for.
8. When you come across a buy one get one free offer on a food product, check expiry dates. And if it is not a perishable product, check for defects. Ask if the products are ‘Seconds’.
9. Buy 1 get 1 free offers are tempting and tempt one to buy products which may land up lying around the house unused.
10. With regard to clothes, not all have washing instructions issued on them. If not, ensure that you find out. Thin silk easily tears when you hand-wash it and cotton bleeds.
Be alert when you come across the following type of advertising:
1. When you are told that everyone else is doing it and so must you. Or that buyers of the product are just like you.
2. Advertisements which give incomplete information or there is something in the fine print that you don’t notice until you buy. The phrase ‘Conditions Apply’ is a red flag! Often so-called “lifetime guarantees” are not lifetime at all.
3. Advertisements in newspapers which appear like articles or inside of articles, but are actually product placements and paid for.
4. Product placements in movies can be misleading…be aware that they are being paid for.
5. Ads which try to sell a dubious medical product or treatment not backed by scientific evidence. This can range from ads which promise to get rid your glasses to those which guarantee to make you thin.
6. Even authentic testimonials by real people can be edited, and not quoted in toto, and if this happens, they can be misleading. The words of these people could also be taken out of context and presented to you in a misleading way.
7. Never ever forget that celebrities rarely use the product they advertise. I once read of a famous model for a fancy skin cream who actually used Vaseline on her skin! If anyone is being paid to say they use such and such cream, why should anyone give it any credence? In any case remember that you are not going to be able to contact anyone for verification.
8. There is research which says that people unconsciously trust the printed ad more than a tv commercial. But print ads can be equally deceptive.
(The photographs are copyrighted to me)