Archive for the ‘Bait and Switch’ Category

Service of Fiddling with the Price

Monday, January 15th, 2024

Fiddle with the price, change it a few times in succession or cause a client to question your charges is the fastest way to lose a customer. I keep thinking of a used car salesman who declares, “Oh, you wanted a steering wheel with that?”

A friend fell victim to just such a potential flimflam regarding a beauty procedure. Her specialist left the place she’d used and she didn’t like the other operators. She tried another place in the same building that offered a Groupon discount. She went last month and was told that they would honor the same discount should she return this month–$46 instead of $95.

When she called for an appointment last week she mentioned she expected the Groupon rate as promised. But when she arrived the specialist pointed to the $95 charge on the pricelist and said she’d give her a 20 percent discount.

My friend said, “no that’s not what you told me-it’s $46.”

Then the operator asked for a screenshot showing the discount. As she had been the person who told her about the deal—and didn’t write it anywhere—my friend had nothing to show.

The operator ended up honoring the $46 and wrote on a loyalty card for next month: “$95 less 15 percent.”

My friend corrected her, reminding her that she’d said 20 percent earlier. She then revised the loyalty card.

But my friend has lost confidence in the shop. She wondered if the service provider thought she was stupid or a pushover. She tipped $5 less than the first time [and in my opinion, very generous especially under the circumstances]. Even with the 20 percent discount, the charge is higher than the original place, where they include the tip in the fee.

Do you think my friend should return to the second shop? Have you experienced a service that similarly slip slides around with its prices?

Service of Switch and Bait Marketing

Monday, August 15th, 2022

Morgan Library garden

I visited the new $6 million garden at the Morgan Library and got into an argument about it with a friend who told me what was obvious: Much of the money couldn’t have been spent on the garden but on upgrades, such as cleaning of the adjacent building. She started to detail the structural and evident superficial improvements that justified the expenditure.

“STOP,” I pleaded.

“Why,” I asked, “were the sponsored social media postings about the $6 million garden which, compared to many others in the city, is a nonevent?” [Plus it’s rarely open to the public.] “Why didn’t they promote the remedial work on the resplendent building as well?”

If the idea was to entice me to visit the museum to see the garden they won. But it will be a long while before their promotions catch me again because I don’t like switch and bait style marketing.

I’m particularly sensitive to this because I’ve spent much of my career tamping down clients’ exuberant claims which might work in advertising or make a client happy but would not pass the smell test with me in PR. “This unique leaf-patterned wallpaper or textile,” for example, would never see its way into my press release copy when said motif is a traditional fern or banana leaf. In fact, the word unique doesn’t apply to most leaf motifs. Nor would I reference a $6 million garden when short of a rip-off, that’s probably not where so much money went.

Politicians do this. They ask for money to support a situation–say a lawsuit against them–and divert the money to something else. Their supporters don’t seem to mind as they keep on giving.

Do you ever feel bamboozled by a promotion, reminiscent of a shell game, that disappoints?


Image by Yousz from Pixabay

Service of Discounts II

Monday, January 18th, 2021

I’m a lifelong discount shopper and I love sales.  I wrote about false advertising six years ago and a year before about a restaurant sued by an anti-religion group because it offered a discount to those who said grace before eating. Bait and switch irritates me most.

In the days I bought shirts for my husband at a well known haberdashery I was fooled year after year by signs in the window touting a 50 percent discount. You learned inside that you had to buy three shirts for the discount to kick in. I’d always hoped that they’d stop the shenanigans.

The words “UP TO” hidden in mouse type–in emails and online as well–get me too. It would take crack FBI detectives to find the one reduced item at “up to 70 percent off” usually available only in size extra small. Why not offer a generous 30 or 40 percent to all discounted items?

I ordered stationery online from a small company. The sponsored Facebook posting that caught my eye offered a 15 percent discount [they rarely if ever discount] and once on the site I responded to a request for my mobile phone number so they could send me texts. For this information they offered a 20 percent discount. I hesitated buying anything when I saw the total and I left the site. In an email, they offered me $5.00 to place an order.

But I got no discounts when I finally placed the order so I immediately wrote customer service–it was New Years weekend–and heard back promptly on the first business day. Meanwhile they had shipped my order. Customer service agreed to return 15 percent to my credit card in spite of my reminding the clerk about the 20 percent and the $5. I love the cards–I’ve bought from them before in person and online usually at full price–but will think 20 times before ordering again.

Are there discount practices that irk you? What percentage do you think is enough to move you to consider buying an item on sale–20? 30? 40? 70? Have you avoided retailers or manufacturers because you felt flimflammed by their sales practices?

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