The NYTimes wrote an expose on e-commerce sites exploiting customers looking for a “deal”.
What the sites do?
- Websites (e.g. Overstock, etc.) show expensive prices to portray expensive merchandise
- Websites show discounts to convince customers that they are getting a deal.
- Some websites (e.g. Amazon, eBay) have timed-deal to create urgency.
Are there problems with these tactics?
There is no problem if the prices the e-commerce sites are showing have some honest basis to them. Instead these listing prices are intentionally boosted beyond the suggested manufacture’s price.
Consider the following:
“If you’re selling $15 pens for $7.50, but just about everybody else is also selling the pens for $7.50, then saying the list price is $15 is a lie,” said David C. Vladeck, the former director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “And if you’re doing this frequently, it’s a serious problem.”
You can’t say you’re selling pens 50% off for $7.50 so that customers think the pens are more valuable. That is deceitful.
We pray that apps like Uber, Lyft etc. will also behave and not increase ‘surge’ pricing.