Tag Archives: online shopping

Online Retailers Often Say ‘Sale’ When It Really Isn’t

As we wrote a short time ago, companies are not always transparent or honest when they say an item is ‘on sale’ when it really is not: “Unfortunately, many retailers misuse the term ‘sale.’ And shoppers are often persuaded that a product is on sale even when it isn’t. According to Evans and Berman’s Marketing in the 21st Century: Price advertising guidelines have been set by the FTC and trade associations such as the Better Business Bureau. The FTC’s guidelines set standards of permissible conduct in these categories.”

STILL not convinced that all ‘sales’ really are sales? 

Then, consider these observations from David Streitfeld, writing for the NY Times:

“The perception of a bargain is fostered by online retailers’ use of something variously labeled list price, suggested price, reference price, or manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Whatever its name, the implication is that people are paying much more somewhere else. But with many products online, you could not pay the list price even if you wanted to. That is because hardly anyone is actually charging it. It is a sales tactic that is drawing legal scrutiny, as well as prompting questions about the integrity of E-commerce. If everyone is getting a deal, is anyone really getting a deal?”

“Here is one recent example of how retailers use list prices to motivate online buyers: Le Creuset’s iron-handle skillet, 11 ¾ inches wide and cherry in color. Amazon said that it would knock $60 off the $260 list price to sell the skillet for $200. Sounds like a bargain, the sort of deal that has helped propel Amazon to over $100 billion in annual revenue. Check around, though. The suggested price for the skillet at Williams-Sonoma.com is $285, but customers can buy it for $200. At AllModern.com, the list price is $250 but its sale price is $200. AtCutleryandMore.com, the list price is $285 and the sale price is $200. An additional 15 or so online retailers charge $200. On Le Creuset’s own site, it sells the pan for $200.”

 

Click the image to read more from the NYT.

A Le Creuset 11¾-inch skillet sold for $200 at more than a dozen Web sites, but the list prices they quoted varied. Photo Credit :Gretchen Ertl for The New York Times

 

Zarb Prof’s Tips and Quiz for Being Safer Online

Although it’s nearly impossible to totally protect ourselves (whether a person or a company) against identity theft and an invasion of our online privacy by hackers, there are several things that we can do to make it tougher for hackers to get into our online accounts and social media.

How big is this problem? Take a look a look at this chart on cyber crime based on November 2015 data generated by Hackmageddon. Cyber attacks on U.S. sites dwarf those in the rest of the world.


 
Watch the two videos highlighted below to see some of the things we can do. Can YOU pass the quiz in the second video?
 

 

What Happens to Our Privacy If a Company Is Sold?

Most of us are not fully aware of the privacy policies and rules that go into effect if a company sold is sold or goes into bankruptcy. Suppose we signed up for a Web site that had specific restrictions on how our personal information could be used, such as not providing it to a third party. Do these restrictions remain if the company is bought by another firm?

Not surprisingly, our privacy rights are not as strong as they should be in these situations. Therefore, we need to give out personal information very carefully — and monitor its use.

As Natasha Singer and Jeremy B. Merrill recently reported for the New York Times:

“The privacy policy for Hulu, a video-streaming service with about nine million subscribers, opens with a declaration that the company ‘respects your privacy.’ That respect could lapse, however, if the company is ever sold or goes bankrupt. At that point, according to a clause several screens deep in the policy, the host of details that Hulu can gather about subscribers — names, birth dates, email addresses, videos watched, device locations, and more — could be transferred to ‘one or more third parties as part of the transaction.’ The policy does not promise to contact users if their data changes hands.”

“Provisions like that act as a sort of data fire sale clause. They are becoming standard among the most popular sites, according to a recent analysis by the New York Times of the top 100 Web sites in the United States as ranked by Alexa, an Internet analytics firm. Of the 99 sites with English-language terms of service or privacy policies, 85 said they might transfer users’ information if a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, asset sale, or other transaction occurred, the Times’ analysis found.  The sites with these provisions include prominent consumer technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, in addition to Hulu.”

Click the image to read more from the NY Times.