What pisses me off? Misleading advertising of prices…

Mar 23, 2014

What pisses me off more than anything is the way companies try to mislead and bamboozle us over the prices of their products.

The motor trade is one of the prime movers. You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure. They advertise some new car for sale, saying the price is, for instance $31,000 dollars. Then, in small type alongside, usually in brackets you find the message “Plus on-road costs $2,800”. Now as far as I am concerned, the “on-road costs” always have to be paid on new vehicles so they aren’t a plus at all. They are just part of the regular price of the car, which should have been listed as $33,800!


half price prices


The same occurs when you purchase anything from numerous mail-order companies. They will advertise something at a dazzling price, say $39.99, then in (again) small type, if you’re familiar with the system, you see there’s a note saying “p&h $15.00.” Or they might call it a handling charge, or any one of a myriad of reasons for adding a bit on. So I believe that the product should have been listed as $54.99. I fully accept the fact that there’s a charge for the delivery of the goods, and that those businesses who say “postage free” are merely including the postage in the cost of the item, but at least you know exactly what you have to pay, without hunting around for the small type!

And that reminds me of another of my pet hates… The trick of always indicating the price for something as, for instance, “$29.99.” With today’s small currency going no lower than a five-cent coin, it’s absurd to quote a price including ninety-nine cents, as shown above and then rounding the price up to $30.00. If the business can’t possibly sell the goods at the price indicated, then they should be required to round the amount down to $29.95. The only reason they do this with prices is to make them look a little less in the eye of the customer, who subconsciously see the price as $29.00 rather than $30.00 (the actual price). This trick is also employed, even in the case of large, expensive products. For instance, how many times have you seen a lounge suite advertised for $2,999? The reason here is exactly the same as above… Just to make the price appear to be $2,000, rather than the actual $3,000.

Then there’s the store that advertises an annual sale, with everything “UP TO 50% OFF!” All too often, you go in there for a quick fifty per cent off bargain, only to find that there is only one item (not a very desirable one at that!) that offers the major discount, while everything else is about 10% off. Now I know none of this is illegal but I certainly believe it comes under the heading of shonky practices! Target stores are much fairer in their sale advertising and you know just where you stand with them. Their sales are usually advertised as a much more reasonable as well as more honest “EVERYTHING IN STORE 20% OFF” or whatever percentage they are deducting.

Especially with the amazing increase in on-line shopping, I think it’s time that the government, to stop all this misleading advertising, applied firmer rules. If only to provide some protection to those members of the community who may not be able to figure out just what is going on, for themselves.


What annoys you about commercial advertising of prices? Have you ever been tricked? Tell us in the comments below…



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