Consumer Affairs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4809/all en-US 4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_sale_sign_000081444051.jpg" alt="Woman spending more with store&#039;s liberal return policy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retailers are notorious for finding clever ways to separate you from your hard-earned money. Many of these tactics, at first glance, seem completely harmless. After all, who doesn't like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-free-things-that-arent" target="_blank">free shipping</a>, or an awesome return policy? But it's not until we dig a little deeper into the motivation as to why these &quot;perks&quot; are offered, that we see the real reasoning. Here are a few of these so-called &quot;perks&quot; and how we can avoid the retail traps.</p> <h2>Liberal Return Policies</h2> <p>Have you ever been in a store, trying to decide on a purchase, and told yourself you'll go ahead and buy it and just return it later if you don't use it? If you have, you're in the same boat as 91% of Americans who <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/allbusiness/AB4353479_primary.html">factor in the store's return policy</a> when making a purchase. But what you probably don't know is that the store is banking on you making this decision and often has a liberal return policy in place to help sway your buying decision.</p> <p>The fact of the matter is stores use their return policies as a way to pad their bottom-line because they know a percentage of shoppers won't ever bother to return the item. Instead, they'll keep it lying around, with a bunch of other stuff they don't need. The evidence even shows that the longer return window a store gives, the <a href="http://www.becomingminimalist.com/return/">less likely we are</a> to return the item. We tend to get attached to it, forget we even have it, or use good ol' procrastination to tell ourselves we have plenty of time to return it.</p> <p>So the next time you're standing in the aisle ciphering over a significant purchase, don't let the store's return policy trick you into making the purchase. Instead, make the decision based solely on need and a competitive price. If you use a liberal return policy as the deciding factor, be aware that you're playing right into the retailer's hand.</p> <h2>The Psychology of Free Shipping</h2> <p>Online retailers know that free shipping is a big deal for shoppers. As a matter of fact, 96% of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a <a href="http://www.inc.com/peter-roesler/why-free-shipping-is-a-must.html">website that offers free delivery</a>. But don't let free shipping blind you to other important factors you should consider. Namely the price of the item, how costly it might be to return the item, and the reputation of the website. In other words, don't let the attractiveness of free shipping keep you from doing a quick price comparison with an app like&nbsp;<a href="http://shopsavvy.com/">ShopSavvy</a>. After all, free shipping isn't that big of a deal if a competing retailer has a better price, even when factoring in shipping costs.</p> <h2>Attractive Rebate Offers</h2> <p>When I worked in the paint department at The Home Depot, we periodically had a &quot;rebate weekend&quot; where you got $5 back on a gallon of paint and $20 back on five gallons. But the rebate wasn't instant &mdash; it required you to mail in your receipt and wait for the rebate check to show up in the mail a few weeks later. You wouldn't believe the number of repeat customers I'd talk to that would buy paint with every intention of mailing-in the rebate, but would fail to do so.</p> <p>The fact of the matter is that rebates are still in the &quot;snail mail&quot; stone age. This is for a reason &mdash; retailers want to make them as hard as possible to redeem so shoppers will put them in the desk drawer and forget about them. And guess what? It works. Redemption rates hover in the 40%&ndash;50% range depending on the size of the rebate.</p> <p>The takeaway here is to always mail in the rebate as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to not take the time to get your money. I strongly recommend keeping the rebate in your bill pile and fill it out the next time you sit down to pay your monthly bills.</p> <h2>&quot;Cheap&quot; Add-On Items</h2> <p>Just the other day, I was purchasing a workout program online and was happy to see it would only cost me $39.99 for several DVDs and a meal planning guide. Then when I was checking out, the site kept promoting these add-on products before they would let me get to the actual checkout page. Having only paid $40 for the program, I found myself intrigued and ended up spending another $30 for a bonus DVD, water bottle, and a couple cool trinkets.</p> <p>After I finished my purchase and was reviewing my order, I realized that I had played right into their hands. They offered a product for less than what I expected to pay, then persuaded me into buying some relatively expensive add-on items that do nothing but pad the store's bottom-line. You see this technique done all the time with infomercials and most recently with Amazon, which forces Prime customers to bundle purchases that include add-on items. Buyer beware.</p> <p><em>How do you avoid spending more when the deal looks too good to pass up?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-cant-save-if-you-dont-try">You Can’t Save if You Don’t Try</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-shipping-and-online-discounts-across-the-web">How to Get Free Shipping and Online Discounts Across the Web</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-10-20-on-online-purchases-every-day">How to Save 10-20% on Online Purchases, Every Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping fake perks free shipping rebates retailers return policy sales tactics Secrets Thu, 28 Apr 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Kyle James 1697848 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways You're Being a Terrible Customer http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000030046612_Large.jpg" alt="he&#039;s being a terrible customer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know the old saying &mdash; the customer is always right. Except, that's totally wrong. The customer is <em>not </em>always right. And if you firmly believe that you, as the customer, are always right &mdash; no matter the circumstances &mdash; then you're probably a terrible customer. Here are nine scenarios in which you're a customer service rep's worst nightmare, and how to be better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-be-the-perfect-customer?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Be the Perfect Customer</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Think the Customer Is Always Right</h2> <p>Let's begin where all customer relations issues are born: with the customer thinking they're always right. We've all heard someone in a retail shop drop this line during a heated discussion with an associate, and we might have even said it ourselves at some point. While I contend that the customer is sometimes right, &quot;always&quot; is a misnomer, and we rely on it too heavily &mdash; even when we know we're wrong.</p> <p>The problem with that mentality is that it inherently implies you're owed something, and in most cases you're not. Especially if you're ranting and raving like a lunatic. Instead, consider the circumstance thoughtfully and think about how it can be resolved without pointing fingers or making demands. I think you'll find that most of the time &quot;blame&quot; doesn't have to be assigned, so long as the situation can find a peaceful and amicable resolution.</p> <h2>2. You're Making Frequent Returns</h2> <p>Not only is making frequent returns ethically, morally, and sometimes legally wrong, it's also incredibly annoying. Sure, every once in awhile you might need to return an item because it's ill-fitting or maybe damaged, but if you're in the same store over and over again to get your money back for purchases that you decide you don't want anymore &mdash; for whatever reason, like you already wore it and you don't have any use for it again, or you couldn't afford it in the first place &mdash; you deserve to get the side-eye. It also affects the retailer's bottom line, which can hit smaller businesses particularly hard.</p> <p>AJ Saleem, a business owner for five years, says frequent returns are one of his biggest peeves.</p> <p>&quot;While I may not say anything, when I receive several notifications of returns from the same person, I often get frustrated,&quot; he says. &quot;Each return costs me a large portion of my profit margin, and when I do not receive any money in return, I have no choice but to write it as a loss. This forces me to raise prices.&quot;</p> <h2>3. You Try to Blame Everything on the Retailer</h2> <p>If a retailer sells you a faulty product and refuses to replace it or refund your money, you have grounds to pursue the issue until you're satisfied with your purchase, or you get your money back. On the other hand, however, there are dozens of other variables that go into your purchase that you need to consider before you start jumping down people's throats, some of which may be your own fault.</p> <p>Devorah Neiger is an owner of an online medical supply retailer, and she has some experience with customers who point fingers without considering their own part in the transaction.</p> <p>&quot;We have countless customers who order the wrong item, don't contact us for a return for months or who don't need the item anymore, and concoct a story about how it's our error to get out of paying for it,&quot; she explains. &quot;This even happens with customers who order directly from our site and never spoke to a rep. Customers should take ownership of their mistakes.&quot;</p> <p>You can't expect the retailer to eat the cost of your laziness, or error in ordering, or lack of need for the item. You also have to recognize that there are return policies in place, and if you file a complaint or try to return an item outside of that window, you might be SOL.</p> <h2>4. You're Flat-Out Lying to Get What You Want &mdash; Like a Refund</h2> <p>I can almost guarantee you that the highest instances of customers lying to get what they want &mdash; especially a refund &mdash; derive from issues with tech products, like mobile phones and the like. You dropped the phone in the toilet when you were two bottles of wine to the wind, you put it in a jar of rice for three days because the Internet told you to, and now you want a new device because your futile attempts to save it failed. Except when the associate asks you what happened, you tell them that it just spontaneously stopped working &mdash; they must have sold you a dud, right? And you deserve a new phone.</p> <p>Mmhmm, I've got your number, but hold it right there. Own whatever mistake you made that damaged or destroyed your product and purchase a new one if that's what it comes down to.</p> <h2>5. Your Standards Are Too High</h2> <p>For some customers, the retailer can't do enough to please them. That's a really poor outlook to have, and if this is how you roll, you're going to be disappointed, like, 90% of the time. You also want to consider that the people behind the counter are people too. Sure, they're working, but keep in mind that they're not specifically working for you. Nobody's a slave to anyone else, so don't treat anybody like they are.</p> <h2>6. You're Downright Rude</h2> <p>&quot;You get more bees with honey,&quot; is what they say, so why is your face screaming vinegar? Here's another one for you: Do unto others as you want them to do unto you, unless you want to be escorted out by security.</p> <p>&quot;We have customers who will call and be extremely rude and condescending to our reps, and we have told our employees that they do not need to put up with that behavior,&quot; Neiger says. &quot;In the same way we demand of ourselves and our team to treat everyone with utmost respect and understanding, no one deserves to be treated that way. Just because we service our customers, does not mean we will allow employees to take abuse. They matter, too, and we will not allow them to be a punching bag for someone's bad day.&quot;</p> <p>Also, you should probably get off your cell phone when you're interacting or speaking with an associate. Your mother taught you better than that.</p> <h2>7. You Look for Faults Instead of Promoting the Positive</h2> <p>I'm convinced that Yelp and other review sites were created specifically for the type of people who never have anything nice to say. While I believe that companies should be taken to task for doing a customer wrong, it's not the end of the world if they make a mistake that they fix. On the flip side, when an employee or the company itself goes out of their way to satisfy you as a customer, it's important to let people know that their customer service game is strong. I see this all the time with restaurants in particular. People want to complain when the food or ambiance missed the mark (in their opinion), but they don't have time to talk about how great something is.</p> <p>A fair and balanced approach to reviewing is necessary, with a focus on the positive.</p> <h2>8. You're Data Mining Associates &mdash; Then Spending Your Money Elsewhere</h2> <p>It's not fair to a retailer &mdash; no matter how &quot;giant&quot; you think they are &mdash; to data mine the associate for product intel or advice and then buy the item elsewhere. This sort of thing is happening more and more. You go into Best Buy and chat up the associate for 30 minutes about TVs, then go home to buy the one you want on Amazon. There's nothing wrong with doing your research, of course, just don't be lazy. Do it yourself instead of taking up the retailer's time by having them do it for you, without any kind of payoff.</p> <p>&quot;When customers go back and forth with us for hours and days to try and find the right product, and once we advise on the correct product, they promptly buy it elsewhere,&quot; Neiger reveals. &quot;Obviously, customers don't owe us to purchase from our store. However, many customers take up a lot of our time without ever having any intention to buy or who take the information to buy elsewhere. We are very competitively priced and have a price match guarantee, so it's not about price. We aim to help customers with our vast knowledge and personal customer service, but many customers take advantage of this.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some other ways people are terrible customers? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-be-the-perfect-customer">10 Ways to Be the Perfect Customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-the-best-customer">How to be the best customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">How to Effectively Complain to the Manager</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ordering-online-versus-calling-it-in-which-is-better">Ordering Online Versus Calling it In: Which is Better?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping customer customer etiquette customer service etiquette service industry shopping etiquette Thu, 14 Apr 2016 10:31:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1689970 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery_store_employee_000018778379.jpg" alt="Man discovering retailers with the best customer service" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The idea of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money">spending more on quality items</a> that will stand the test of time is a very smart aspect of frugal living. After all, nobody likes replacement or repair costs that can easily be avoided. This idea carries over to retailers as well. Here are seven such retailers that offer such great customer service, that a possible higher upfront cost will easily pay for itself over the lifetime of the product.</p> <h2>1. Zappos</h2> <p>For years, the customer service team at Zappos.com has been leading the way in terms of putting the customer first. If you're not familiar with their website, they sell popular shoes, handbags, and apparel. While their prices may not always be the cheapest, their amazing customer service is what keeps shoppers coming back time and time again.</p> <p>Let's start with their 365-day return policy. If you order something from them, not only will you get free shipping, but you can return items for free for an entire year. Items must usually be in new condition, so feel free to order several sizes or colors, try them on at home, and mail back the ones you don't want at no charge. Also, if you have a problem with your shoes after you've worn them for a while, they've even been known to overnight a replacement pair and refund the entire cost to the customer as well.</p> <h2>2. Nordstrom</h2> <p>Similar to Zappos, Nordstrom also offers free shipping and returns on all orders via their website. The free returns aspect essentially makes shopping on their site risk-free as you can order whatever size and color you want and simply return the items you don't need at no cost to you. But what makes their return policy truly amazing is there's no time limit and returned items can typically be worn. When pressed on this issue, a Nordstrom live-chat operator told me, &quot;From time to time we cannot accommodate a return but we definitely do our best to take care of you and stand behind what we sell, so we completely understand.&quot; So it's safe to assume that as long as the item doesn't show excessive wear, they'll typically take it back with no questions asked.</p> <h2>3. Amazon</h2> <p>In recent years, Amazon has clearly stepped up their customer service game and created many loyal shoppers in the process. Whether it's their seven-day price protection policy on purchases fulfilled by Amazon directly, or a $5 credit to your Prime account if items don't get delivered in two business days, they always strive to put the customer first. Also, many Amazon shoppers aren't aware that they'll overnight a replacement item if yours gets delivered in non-working or damaged condition. In many cases, typically when the items has a value less than $30, they won't even ask you to send back the damaged item as they realize it's an inconvenience.</p> <h2>4. Apple Store</h2> <p>In the tech industry, Apple has taken customer service to a whole new level. What other company has a specific part of their retail location set up to do nothing but help customers with problems they might be having with their products? This is exactly what the Apple &quot;Genius Bar&quot; does and it has created millions of loyal users over the past 15 years.</p> <p>Whether it's with help operating a new device, or help troubleshooting a major problem with your Apple product, the Genius Bar is a great (and free) place to start. They also have the reputation of replacing products on the spot if they can't fix a problem, even if it's beyond the warranty period. Also, by having so many retail locations across the country, it's fairly easy to walk into one today and walk out with your problem solved.</p> <h2>5. Kroger Grocery</h2> <p>Kroger understands that there role in the community goes way beyond selling grocery items. This was best exemplified recently when&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-love-kroger-2015-3">after a devastating hurricane</a>, when they were the only grocery store to open their doors the following day, even while mopping standing water out of the aisles. It also doesn't hurt that they pay their employees $14 per hour, on average, well above the industry standard. With that hourly wage, they're able to find and retain employees who are willing to go the extra mile for their customers.</p> <h2>6. L.L. Bean</h2> <p>Do you own an old pair of L.L.Bean boots or clothing item? If you do, you're probably keenly aware of just how much effort they put into creating quality items that stand the test of time. So much effort that they actually stand behind their items with a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.llbean.com/customerService/aboutLLBean/guarantee.html">Lifetime Guarantee</a>. Amazingly, they don't even require a receipt to get a refund or store credit. This level of customer service stems from their founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, who once said that he didn't consider a sale complete &quot;until goods are worn out and the customer still satisfied.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Whole Foods</h2> <p>Whole Foods does a nice job of empowering their employees to make a customer's experience excellent. In the process, they create loyal customers for life. For example, a Forbes columnist recently&nbsp;<a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140317191929-8019905-whole-hearted-approach-to-customer-service-at-whole-foods">documented her experience</a> with a broken cash register at Whole Foods, and subsequent delay in checking out. Not only did the supervisor on shift apologize profusely for the delay, but ended up giving her $50 worth of groceries for free.</p> <p>While some would say that such a gift hurts the bottom-line, it can be argued instead that such a gift has a value way beyond the $50. She now hollers from the mountaintops about the amazing customer service she received &mdash; word-of-mouth advertising that is incredibly powerful and very difficult to put a price tag on. None of that would have happened if Whole Foods didn't empower their employees to exceed customer's expectations.</p> <p><em>Would you be willing to pay more upfront in exchange for strong customer service?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesome-art-of-getting-great-deals-online">The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-sneaky-online-price-changes">6 Ways to Avoid Sneaky Online Price Changes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-time-for-summer-shopping-in-europe">Best Time For Summer Shopping In Europe!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">8 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Customer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping Amazon clothes customer service groceries retail return policies Tue, 05 Apr 2016 09:30:32 +0000 Kyle James 1682550 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things You Should Never Buy on Groupon or LivingSocial http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_stressed_computer_000081007957.jpg" alt="Man learning what not to buy on Groupon or Living Social" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Groupon and LivingSocial can save you a bundle on a lot of things &mdash; from restaurants to gifts to vacations. But these daily-deals sites aren't <em>always</em> the best bargain around. Check out these items you should steer clear of when shopping on these super-savings behemoths.</p> <h2>1. Makeup</h2> <p>I don't wear or buy makeup (okay, maybe a dab of concealer here and there; no shame in my fleek game), but I know well enough that you shouldn't buy makeup from third-party vendors. You don't know where it's been or possibly even what's in it, which can be very problematic when you're putting it on your face or generally have sensitive skin. It's just a good habit to practice buying your makeup directly from the source in safety-sealed packaging.</p> <p>Jenn Haskins, who writes popular fashion and beauty blog hellorigby.com, recently had an unfortunate experience with makeup she purchased on LivingSocial.</p> <p>&quot;I purchased makeup on LivingSocial that appeared to be an expensive makeup brand, but what I received instead was an unlabeled counterfeit product,&quot; she says. &quot;Luckily LivingSocial refunded me, but I definitely won't be making that mistake again.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Hotel Rooms</h2> <p>We all want to save as much as we can when we travel &mdash; myself included &mdash; so deeply discounted hotels on Groupon and LivingSocial are quite attractive. Sometimes they're a great buy, while other times you could be paying more for the room than if you had made a reservation directly through the hotel. Mike Catania, consumer savings blogger and co-founder of PromotionCode.org, provides more detail into the dynamics of renting hotels on daily deal sites.</p> <p>&quot;Because hotels only offer a limited number of rooms to a certain provider, Groupon/LivingSocial can offer them near cost because they're making the commission from the hotel for running the offer,&quot; he explains. &quot;If demand surges and you've already booked the hotel, you very well could save up to 40% off the available rate. Alternatively, if demand lags and the booking dates are approaching quickly, the hotel will drop the price beneath what they offered it to Groupon/LivingSocial and you could end up having paid a 20% premium for buying the Groupon/LivingSocial offer when they released it instead of waiting for the best time to buy.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Generic Gadgets and Tech</h2> <p>As a general rule, I tend to regard high-priced electronics and gadgets as higher quality than their less expensive counterparts. That's perhaps not true 100% of time, but I'd give it a solid 98% accuracy rating considering that I've typically had great experiences with tech that cost a pretty penny opposed to bargain buys. My philosophy gets a bit iffy, however, when Groupon and LivingSocial get into the mix. In fact, if the tech deal seems too good to be true on these sites, it probably is, says Kristin Cook, managing editor for BensBargains.com.</p> <p>&quot;Groupon and LivingSocial are notorious for rebranding generic items and giving them ridiculously high &quot;retail&quot; prices,&quot; she reveals. &quot;Before buying anything, do a quick Google Shopping search. If the only site selling the brand is Groupon, odds are high you can find the same item under its more generic name on eBay or Amazon.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Store Vouchers With Lots of Restrictions</h2> <p>When it comes to Groupon and LivingSocial vouchers with a long list of restrictions, buyer beware.</p> <p>I had an experience once with a carpet-cleaning service whose Groupon deal promised a $70 cleaning. What I didn't recognize until after the fact (because some of the details weren't even listed) was that there were additional charges for the type rug, size of the rug, and more. What I thought would save me money cost me way more than I anticipated &mdash; hundreds of dollars more, in fact, which was nearly the cost of a brand new rug &mdash; plus the service itself wasn't that great.</p> <p>&quot;Many stores include rules and restrictions making the voucher almost useless,&quot; Cook says. &quot;Specifically avoid vouchers that can't be used for items on sale or can't be applied to shipping/handling costs.&quot;</p> <p>In other words, read through all the restrictions before you buy the deal, and try not to let that low, low price suck you in without being fully informed.</p> <h2>5. Things That You Can Get for Cheaper &mdash; Or Even Free</h2> <p>It seems like a no-brainer to not pay for something you can get for free, but it's easy to overlook that fact when Groupon and LivingSocial are waving &quot;unbeatable&quot; deals in your face. Ultimately, however, your eagerness and laziness could cost you.</p> <p>Stefanie O'Connell, Millennial finance expert and author of <a href="http://amzn.to/1SRp8FW">The Broke and Beautiful Life</a>, talks about the time she found an awesome deal for a museum &mdash; except it wasn't really a deal at all.</p> <p>&quot;I live in New York City and love using Groupon as a resource for low cost activities, but I found one particular &quot;deal&quot; I stumbled across to be incredibly off-putting,&quot; she says. &quot;Groupon was advertising a deal for $18 admission to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The MET admission, however, is a suggested donation. The full suggested donation amount is $25, more than the $18 Groupon price &mdash; but it's still suggested donation, meaning you could just as easily give $18 directly to the MET, without Groupon taking any part of that cut.&quot;</p> <p>O'Connell's tip is probably the best tip when browsing Groupon or LivingSocial for deals &mdash; compare other existing prices to the advertised daily &quot;deal&quot; to ensure you're getting the best discount. Online coupon codes, discounts from direct-marketing emails, and other savings may work out better for you than the one-and-done approach you take when purchasing from Groupon or LivingSocial.</p> <p><em>What are some things you'd never buy on Groupon or LivingSocial? Have you ever been burned by these deal sites? Let's talk about it in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-always-ask-yourself-before-making-a-big-purchase">8 Questions to Always Ask Yourself Before Making a Big Purchase</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-all-that-stuff-the-police-seize-and-its-cheap">How to Buy All That Stuff the Police Seize. And It&#039;s Cheap.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping coupon sites deals groupon hotels knock offs livingsocial online shopping rip offs too good to be true Wed, 23 Mar 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1675387 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Be the Perfect Customer http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-be-the-perfect-customer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-be-the-perfect-customer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000025732617_Large.jpg" alt="being the perfect patrons" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We drink and eat at bars and restaurants. We stay in hotel rooms, get our hair cut, and take flights. But how many of us actually stop and consider what kind of patrons we're being? Are we good customers? Are we making things easier on ourselves, or harder? Here's how you can make your life as a customer a whole lot better.</p> <h2>1. Tip Your Bartender With Cash Early On</h2> <p>Your bartender is relying on tips to make ends meet. However, if you open up a tab immediately with a credit card, he or she will have no idea how generous you are going to be. And bartenders are not in the habit of just giving away free drinks, or long pours, to just anyone. So, start the evening with cash. Order a drink, hand over a $20, and you will undoubtedly get a bunch of $1s in the change. Drop a couple of those on the bar for your first few drinks, then open up a tab. Your bartender will now be way more open to giving you the occasional double for the price of single, free drinks, and even free apps.</p> <h2>2. Don't Snap Your Fingers or Wave</h2> <p>It may seem like a natural way to get someone's attention, but in a bar, pub, or restaurant, it's actually quite rude. Unlike friends or coworkers, your server or bartender knows that their number one priority is to take care of you. That means they keep an eye on you. They look for small signals, they pay attention to how much of your drink is left, or what's on your plate. They may be very busy, but they will get to you. It's their job. So, clicking, waving, shouting, snapping &mdash; these are all unnecessary, and actually have a negative effect. No one likes to be summoned like a dog. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-lessons-in-manners-from-around-the-world?ref=seealso">12 Lessons in Manners From Around the World</a>)</p> <h2>3. The Customer (You) Is Not Always Right</h2> <p>It's something that is ingrained in American culture, and it has become a very difficult point for establishments to live up to. Whether you're in a restaurant, a hotel, a plane, or even the gym, you may feel very strongly about something, but it doesn't mean you are in the right. So, before making a scene (which, most of us don't do), make sure you have all your facts straight. It could be that the restaurant does not have to honor the coupon you have, which happens often with franchises. It could be that the hotel really is full, and there are no &quot;special&quot; rooms available for friends or famous people. Just be sure. And if you are right, argue your point politely and with respect. It will get you much further.</p> <h2>4. Never Give a Hard Time to People Who Handle Your Food</h2> <p>Or your drink, for that matter. This one is just common sense. After talking with bartenders, servers, and even flight attendants, the dumbest move you can ever make is to treat these people with little-to-no respect. If you do, they have ample time and plenty of motivation to do something unsavory. From spitting in your salad, to wiping the steak around the rim of a toilet bowl (this one was caught on camera), it's never a good idea to be mean to people who are alone with your meal. If you know someone who's been a real bully, and later complained of an upset stomach, you can guess what happened.</p> <h2>5. Give Compliments to the Staff</h2> <p>My nine-year-old daughter was eating her food and told me she loved it. Like, really loved it. I told her she should say something to the server, and she was shy, but agreed to. Not only did she get a big smile and a thank you, but a few minutes later, all the kids at the table got a free scoop of ice cream. So if you're having a great time, eating awesome food, or just love your server's attitude, say something. It will absolutely make their day, and sometimes, you get thanked in the nicest way.</p> <h2>6. Tip Your Server at Least 20%</h2> <p>Unless the service was exceptionally bad, you should tip at least 20% of the final bill. Servers require this amount to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/minimum-wage-tip-map-waiters-waitresses-servers">make a living wage</a>. The 20% amount is a good place to start, because the servers are making less than minimum wage without this. In fact, most servers earn less than $5 an hour, with $2-$3 per hour being quite the norm. When servers get tipped 20%, it brings their hourly wage up past the $10 mark, hopefully to $15-$20 per hour or more. For the amount of work, running around, memorization, and stress, that's a fair wage to say the least. So please, tip 20%, or more if you can afford it. And if you tip less than 15%, or not at all, try and remember that you are getting cheaper food and drink because of the miserly wage the servers get.</p> <h2>7. Know What You Want to Eat and Drink</h2> <p>When you get to your seat, the server will give you some time to settle in, look at the menus, and feel comfortable. The first time they come back, they're going to ask you what you'd like to drink, and perhaps if you want an appetizer. If you need a little more time, that's fine, but don't keep delaying, making &quot;uuuummmmm&quot; sounds, and changing your mind. The server will have a lot of tables to tend, and it's unfair to keep them hanging. Also, restaurants want to &quot;turn&quot; tables in a timely manner. They are not expecting you to take 20 minutes to figure out what you want to eat. Most restaurants and bars these days have menus on their websites, so if you are someone that has a hard time deciding on a meal quickly, look it up beforehand.</p> <h2>8. Remember Names and Make Small Talk</h2> <p>&quot;Excuse me&quot; is fine, but if you say, &quot;Excuse me, John,&quot; you are instantly in a much better place with your server. It may not seem like a big deal, but people like to be treated with respect, and using their first name is a great start. It means you made the effort to ask for it, and remember it, and it will be appreciated. It's also a friendly way to talk, and the more friendly you are, the better you'll be treated. Even better, ask how their day is going. Are they watching the big game that weekend? Do they have any plans for the holiday? Showing an interest in your server or bartender will ensure a better experience for you.</p> <h2>9. Stack Dishes and Glasses if You Can</h2> <p>&quot;Hey, that's not my job, why should I do that?&quot; Well, you really don't have to. You're right, it's not your job. However, it can take a few seconds for everyone at the table to just pitch in and stack the empty dishes. It takes longer for one person, the server or busser, to do it. And if you ease their burden a little, you can expect quicker, friendlier service. On the many occasions I have done this, I have sometimes received a free dessert to say thank you. It obviously doesn't happen every time, but the staff really does appreciate the help.</p> <h2>10. Don't Send Your Drink Back at the Bar</h2> <p>If you're at the bar and you receive a drink that isn't really to your liking, you have three options. One: You can send it back, saying it's not good. Two: You can suck it up, drink it, and order something slightly different next time. Three: You can have a friend drink it, and order something else. Most of the time, if you choose option one, you are guaranteeing a night of poor customer service. Bartenders I talked to agreed that unless the drink was just completely wrong, they really don't care for your opinion on the way a drink was mixed. If it's a busy Friday or Saturday night, and they are working up a sweat, remixing a drink is making their life hell. And next time you want service, you will become invisible. Just be nice.</p> <p><em>Do you have any tips that we all, as patrons, could benefit from? Share them in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-be-the-perfect-customer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">8 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-the-best-customer">How to be the best customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-dumbest-big-purchases-people-make">The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/double-coupons-they-could-cost-you">Double Coupons – They Could Cost You!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-to-scoring-the-best-price-when-buying-on-ebay">7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping customer etiquette manners patron shopping shopping etiquette tipping Wed, 09 Mar 2016 10:00:16 +0000 Paul Michael 1669477 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much Can You Trust That Food Label? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-trust-that-food-label <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-can-you-trust-that-food-label" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_food_label_000051747152.jpg" alt="Woman learning how much she can trust the food label" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fat-free. Organic. All-natural. Can these claims be trusted?</p> <p>Fact: A food product with less than half a gram of fat per serving can still be <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064911.htm">described as &quot;fat free&quot;</a> on the packaging. Same goes for &quot;sugar free.&quot; Foods labeled as having &quot;zero cholesterol&quot; need only have less than two milligrams. Clearly, the folks labeling food these days missed the memo on the absolutist nature of words like &quot;zero&quot; and &quot;free.&quot;</p> <p>Now, these are very small amounts that we're bickering about. But the verbiage, in some cases, can be misleading. It all prompts the question: What else are we being misled about?</p> <h2>Organic</h2> <p>Let's talk about organic &mdash; perhaps the biggest buzzword in food today. Research shows that many shoppers view organic food labels as no more than a big con to <a href="http://store.mintel.com/organic-food-and-beverage-shoppers-us-march-2015">get them to pay more</a> for their groceries. But the organic label appears only on foods that meet a strict set of requirements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration polices which foods get the label and which don't. Every claim of label abuse is investigated.</p> <p>So what exactly is organic? The <a href="http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&amp;contentid=organic-agriculture.html">requirements to get an organic label</a> stamped on your product are as numerous as they are stringent. Here's the gist: Organic farms and processors must preserve natural resources and biodiversity, support animal health and welfare, provide animals with outdoor access, only use approved materials, refrain from using genetically modified ingredients, receive annual onsite inspections, and feed organic livestock feed that is no less than 100% organic.</p> <p>There are different levels of organic. Foods labeled &quot;100% Organic&quot; are made of only organic ingredients. The &quot;Organic&quot; label means that at least 95% of the food product's ingredients are organic. Anything labeled &quot;Made with Organic Ingredients&quot; has at least 70% certified organic ingredients.</p> <p>It's important to note that there is <a href="https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Weighs-In-For-First-Time-On-Organic-Foods-For-Children.aspx">no evidence</a> that organic foods are more nutritious than foods that are not organic.</p> <h2>All-Natural</h2> <p>Foods billed as &quot;natural&quot; or &quot;all-natural&quot; have no universal standards. Not even those produced in the U.S. This has led to lawsuits for companies like Tyson, which once marketed &quot;100% all natural chicken nuggets.&quot; There has even been a &quot;natural&quot; claim on bags of Cheetos. The &quot;natural&quot; label is one of the most contested food product claims. So when you see it, be wary. Some of those products very well may contain artificial flavors or chemical preservatives.</p> <h2>Raw</h2> <p>The &quot;raw&quot; label is not regulated by the FDA. While the FDA has the authority to investigate a false &quot;raw&quot; claim, there are no universal standards to police which foods get the label to begin with. Typically, raw foods are considered those that have not been pasteurized and have undergone very minimal or no heating and processing.</p> <h2>Fresh</h2> <p>Foods that are &quot;fresh&quot; &mdash; think fruits and vegetables &mdash; are those that are unprocessed, unheated, and unfrozen.</p> <h2>Fresh Frozen</h2> <p>Foods with this label were quickly frozen shortly after harvest and while still fresh. Frozen fruits and vegetables are among the most common foods with this label, sometimes seen as &quot;frozen fresh.&quot; (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-best-frozen-food-values">The 12 Best Frozen Food Values</a>)</p> <h2>Fortified</h2> <p>A food is fortified if it contains added nutrients that don't naturally exist in the product. Salt, for example, is fortified with iron to curb anemia. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, a nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium.</p> <h2>Enriched</h2> <p>Enriched foods have contain added nutrients have been lost during food processing, but exist in them naturally. Wheat sheds its B vitamins when it's processed into flour, so enriched flour has these vitamins added back in.</p> <h2>Immune System Support</h2> <p>Food products that claim to boost your immune system typically contain an array of vitamins. But companies walk a fine line when advertising health benefits without proof. Exhibit A: The company that makes Airborne, an herbal supplement, settled a class-action lawsuit in 2008 over the wording &quot;boost the immune system&quot; on product's label. A judge ruled that the label qualified as <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/04/news/companies/airborne_settlement/">false advertising</a> because there wasn't ample evidence to support such a claim. The $23 million settlement money was refunded to consumers.</p> <h2>Gluten Free</h2> <p>Foods labeled &quot;gluten free&quot; are those that contain fewer than 20 parts per million of gluten. The FDA allows manufacturers use the label if the food does not contain any of type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains. Bottled water and cherries can also be labeled &quot;gluten-free&quot; if they <a href="http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363069.htm#gluten-free">inherently don't have any gluten</a>.</p> <h2>Sell By, Use By, Best By</h2> <p>&quot;Sell By&quot; marks the final date by which a store ought to have a food product on its shelves for purchase. This label caters more to store managers than customers, but it's a good to be aware of since the FDA does not prohibit the sale of expired foods as indicated by the label &mdash; though the agency will force the removal from shelves of foods that are dangerous. The &quot;Use By&quot; and &quot;Best By&quot; dates are interchangeable. Determined by the manufacturer, they are dates by which a product will retain its highest quality. But the food item won't necessarily go sour immediately after. In fact, it probably won't. Foods tend to remain nutritious beyond their shelf lives.</p> <h2>Serving Size</h2> <p>The FDA has guidelines for manufacturers to reference when determining a food's portion size based on the amount of that food that a person is likely to eat <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2010/01/this_pint_of_ben_jerrys_is_four_servings.html">in one sitting</a>. The metrics is based in grams. The guidelines, however, are outdated. If you think the serving size on the foods you eat seem small, you're right. The data the FDA bases its guidelines on is from the 1970s and 1980s, when Americans consumed less food than today.</p> <p>So, should you trust the label? Perhaps the best answer is sometimes. Certainly not always. The only way of knowing which claims are well-regulated and enforced from those that are little more than hot air is to educate yourself. We hope this post serves as a great jumping off point.</p> <p><em>Any other label terms we should be wary of? Please warn us in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-trust-that-food-label">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-outrageously-expensive-whole-foods-products">The 7 Most Outrageously Expensive Whole Foods Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-apple-dangerous-how-to-eat-fewer-pesticides-and-save-money">Is Your Apple Dangerous? How to Eat Fewer Pesticides (and Save Money)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-foods-that-are-only-labeled-organic-but-really-arent">5 Foods That Are Only Labeled Organic — But Really Aren&#039;t</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Shopping all natural fat free FDA food labels misleading organic Wed, 02 Mar 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1662694 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Most Outrageously Expensive Whole Foods Products http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-outrageously-expensive-whole-foods-products <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-most-outrageously-expensive-whole-foods-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/whole_foods_store_000025870844.jpg" alt="Discovering the most expensive items at Whole Foods" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it rains, it pours.</p> <p>Not only is Whole Foods losing ground to other major grocery chains with cheaper organic and socially conscious offerings, but Whole Foods has also been slammed twice (first by <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/07/whole-foods-fined-for-overcharging-customers/index.htm">California authorities</a> and then by <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/06/whole-foods-under-fire-for-overcharging-customers/index.htm">New York authorities</a>) for overcharging its customers.</p> <p>The CEOs of Whole Foods have openly admitted that some of their stores <a href="http://time.com/3944156/whole-foods-admits-overcharging/">overcharged their customers</a> in New York City and California for certain items. So to help you avoid spending your &quot;Whole Paycheck,&quot; here are seven of the most outrageously expensive Whole Foods products to be wary of next time you're strolling their aisles.</p> <h2>1. Chicken Tenders</h2> <p>You may be thinking, &quot;Come on, good ol' chicken tenders are neither exotic nor fancy! How can they be that expensive at Whole Foods?&quot; And at $9.99 per pound of chicken tenders, this Whole Food product may seem harmless.</p> <p>However, an investigation of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) in New York City found that customers were <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/media/pr062415.page">overcharged by $4.13</a>, on average. From its sample, one package of chicken tenders was overpriced by $4.85. Now that's some expensive &quot;air!&quot;</p> <h2>2. Air Plants</h2> <p>Air can be very expensive indeed at Whole Foods. Take for example, these air plants that cost <a href="http://instagram.com/p/1WQzuowlTX/">$69.99 each</a> at their store in Atlanta, Georgia. The main selling point of these southeast succulents is that they are grown locally. However, you could find similar local plants at a nearby Pike Nursery for just a few dollars.</p> <h2>3. Morel Mushrooms</h2> <p>Let's talk about the Cadillac of mushrooms. Morel mushrooms command a premium because they are hard to cultivate (only grow on decaying organic material, mostly in forests after a fire), to pick (some states require a permit to pick morel mushrooms in national forests), and to distribute (very perishable).</p> <p>There are premiums and there is the Whole Foods premium. Depending on type of morel mushroom, availability, location, and quality, you could expect to pay between <a href="http://twitter.com/benreaux/status/482554623195357184">$249.99 per pound</a> and <a href="http://twitter.com/gfallar/status/460229043653447680">$421.99 per pound</a> of morel mushrooms at Whole Foods! For example, this cook found morel mushrooms at <a href="http://twitter.com/thecookingguy/status/319822885818621953">$320 per pound</a> at Whole Foods Del Mar in San Diego.</p> <h2>4. Emu Eggs</h2> <p>If you think that the most expensive type of egg that you can you find at Whole Foods is the one laid by a free-range chicken that has access to a pasture environment, eats organic feed, receives a diet supplement with omega-3 essential fatty acids, and is raised with roosters&hellip; then you haven't heard of emu eggs.</p> <p>Local emu eggs to be more exact. Shoppers have spotted these green, prehistoric-looking eggs at Whole Foods starting at <a href="http://twitter.com/meganspecia/status/421723521698373632">$29.99 per unit</a> and reaching <a href="http://twitter.com/LilSolarSystem/status/584794154229698560">$34.99 per unit</a>.</p> <h2>5. Saffron</h2> <p>At $65 for the highest quality crop, saffron can demand a higher price than that for gold. Some Iranian saffron producers report prices of <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/08/news/iran-saffron-red-gold/">$2,000 per kilo</a> (roughly 2.2 pounds).</p> <p>At some Whole Foods stores, you can find this expensive spice at <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/life/shopping/2010/10/pomegranate_juice_999_truffle_oil_2599_.single.html">$3,196 per pound</a>. This means that $7.99 would get you only 0.0025 pounds of saffron!</p> <h2>6. Anything With Kale</h2> <p>People often taunt Whole Foods about its ridiculous products. The most cited example is anything that is born out of the kale craze. While fresh kale has an average retail price of $2.81 per pound, anything kale-ified at Whole Foods gets a hefty premium.</p> <p>Here are some examples of Kale-steins that are 100% real:</p> <ul> <li>Chicken lemon kale sausage at <a href="http://twitter.com/NoraZuckerman/status/310537507005685760">$6.59 per pound</a>;</li> <li>California ornamental kale at <a href="http://twitter.com/AlexaMKissinger/status/397047264859807744">$5.99 per bunch</a>; and</li> <li>Kaleamole at <a href="https://twitter.com/jbdunne/status/285827319426338816">$7.99 per pound</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>7. Asparagus Water</h2> <p>A cartoon about a <a href="http://www.familyhappiness.com/whole-paycheck-whole-foods">probiotic asparagus</a> at $17.99 per bunch may have been too prophetic. In a true case of life imitating art, a Whole Foods store in California recently came up with &quot;<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/08/05/whole-foods-oops-asparagus-water-mistake/31152405/">asparagus water</a>&quot; (three stalks of asparagus in a bottle of water) and decided to charge $5.99 per 16 fl. oz. bottle.</p> <p>People on social media were quick to call out Whole Foods about this outrageous idea, and a spokesperson explained that the product was made incorrectly and has since been pulled from shelves.</p> <p>Now to be fair: certain foods are actually <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">cheaper at Whole Foods</a>. Just make sure you're not washing them down with asparagus water.</p> <p><em>What outrageously priced products from Whole Foods have you spotted?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-outrageously-expensive-whole-foods-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-everyday-products-with-the-biggest-markups">The 9 Everyday Products With the Biggest Markups</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-trust-that-food-label">How Much Can You Trust That Food Label?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shopping-at-whole-foods-12-smart-ways-to-save">Shopping at Whole Foods: 12 Smart Ways to Save</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping grocery shopping organic overcharging overpriced Whole Foods Wed, 09 Sep 2015 11:00:57 +0000 Damian Davila 1548092 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Times You Should Demand a Discount http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-should-demand-a-discount <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-times-you-should-demand-a-discount" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_salad_000051647464.jpg" alt="Woman learning when to demand a discount" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Growing up, I often remember seeing my parents noticeably upset with the service they received, or the products they had bought. After one particularly poor experience at a restaurant they said, &quot;We just won't eat here again.&quot; But when asked, &quot;How was the meal?&quot; they both smiled and said &quot;Fine, thanks.&quot;</p> <p>Now, maybe this is the classic reserve of the English, or maybe they're too polite for their own good, but that was not the correct way to go about it.</p> <p>When you have a poor experience with anything, you need to speak up, and also ask for compensation of some kind. It's the natural way to keep these places in check, so that bad service or poor quality products are not constantly being presented to the public. Always be polite and treat the people you're dealing with respectfully, but if any of the following eight instances occur... ask for a discount.</p> <h2>1. When You Get Poor Service at a Restaurant</h2> <p>Let's just clarify that the service should be uncharacteristically poor. If you wait a long time to get seated on a Friday evening, or your server is so busy he or she forgets to bring the extra fries you ordered, give the place &mdash; and your server &mdash; a break. This is more about poor service that could easily be avoided.</p> <p>If the food arrives cold, the fish is raw, the meat is very overcooked, or the server is just plain rude, you definitely have a reason to talk to the manager. Explain what has happened, how it impacted your dining experience, and ask for a discount. In most cases, you will get at least a few of the items removed from your bill. In extreme cases, when everything went wrong, you may very well be told not to pay anything. However, if the server was great in spite of all the problems, don't forget to leave him or her a tip.</p> <h2>2. When Your Event Seats Aren't Good</h2> <p>Unless you are warned specifically before you buy them (some will say things like &quot;obscured view&quot; or &quot;partial view of stage&quot; and should already be discounted), there is no reason to pay the same price as other people if your seats are terrible. This happened to me when I went to see Cirque du Soleil. There was no warning that the seats I bought were right behind one of the poles holding up the big top. My wife and I were leaning left and right through the entire performance. After, I spoke to the staff and received a discount, and a free CD of the music from that evening. If you have poor seats, ask to speak to the event manager. Demand a discount, if you can handle the poor seating, or ask to be moved if it is possible.</p> <h2>3. When Anything Is Not Quite as Described</h2> <p>From the food or service, to the product attributes, if you were sold something based on information that was slightly incorrect, you should demand a discount. If the tool set indicates &quot;25 great tools for around the home&quot; and there are actually only 23 inside, that's misleading. This can sometimes happen when manufacturers change the product, but not the packaging. In any case where you have been a little misled, intentionally or not, you are entitled to a discount. You'll get it, too.</p> <h2>4. When the Product Is a Floor Model</h2> <p>Do not let the store clerk fool you with a bunch of tricky talk about this item not being able to be discounted any further. The floor models are used. They may not have been used in someone's home, but they're used nonetheless. In some cases, for much longer than if it was in a home; especially those TVs and computers that are on the shop floor day in, day out.</p> <p>So, find a manager and ask for the price to be reduced beyond what is shown on the sticker. They want to get rid of these items. They'd obviously prefer to sell it to someone who will pay sticker, but they will go lower. And as the item is used, and most likely blemished, you should demand a discount. I do this every time, and it has worked every time.</p> <h2>5. When You Pay Cash</h2> <p>Cash is king. That's as true today as it was fifty years ago, and if you are lucky enough to have the money on hand to pay in cash, be it something small or a new home, you should definitely take advantage of it. &quot;How much of a reduction can I get if I pay cash for this house, right now?&quot; This is something buyers are not expecting, and it is incredibly tempting. Cash is a sure thing. Financing can fall through, interest rates fluctuate, but cash is cash. In stores, merchants pay fees for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-to-use-credit-cards-instead-of-cash">credit card transactions</a>, so you could easily get a cash discount.</p> <p>However, don't expect this discount when buying a car. Dealerships get big incentives for financing offers, and you take that away from them if you offer to pay cash. In fact, you may pay more if you pay cash, so don't do that. You can always pay off the loan a week or two later.</p> <h2>6. When the Item is Broken, Scratched, or Dented</h2> <p>Why would you pay for a broken item at all? Well, it all depends what you want to use it for. If it's a superficial break, say on the case of the product, but the product itself works just fine, ask for a discount. The store is more than happy to oblige. If you notice a huge dent on the fridge that was just delivered, but the dent won't be seen or you just don't care, ask for a discount. If the item is scratched or damaged but it doesn't impair the function, and you are okay with it, ask for your discount. And if the item is completely broken, but you want to repair it yourself, or need it for parts, ask for a big discount.</p> <p>In all cases, you are doing the store a favor, and they will be happy to negotiate a deal. This even goes for sellers on Craigslist or eBay. If the item is not as pristine as described, but you're happy to take it, ask for the discount.</p> <h2>7. When the Seller Is in a Hurry</h2> <p>If you ever encounter a &quot;motivated seller&quot; you know you're about to get a discount. Motivated sellers are those who need to sell, and sell fast, usually because they're about to leave the state. Sometimes, they need money quickly, for reasons you probably don't want to ask about. Whatever the reason, you should take advantage of this. Flea market sellers will offer discounts as they are packing up for the day, and so will people operating garage sales. Smile, ask for a discount, and you'll usually get it.</p> <h2>8. When the Store Is Closing or Going Out of Business</h2> <p>Blockbuster. Circuit City. Sharper Image. They all bit the dust and they all had &quot;closing down&quot; sales. When this happens, start haggling. A store that is going out of business presents problems for buyers, especially when it comes to buying things that may have warranty issues. For this reason, you should demand a discount. When one store is closing, perhaps because a particular location is not performing as well as it should, you don't have as much leverage. But you can still ask for a discount, because they are &quot;motivated&quot; to sell, and that, as just discussed, gives you bargaining power.</p> <p><em>When have you asked for a discount?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-should-demand-a-discount">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-order-fish-on-mondays-and-7-other-bad-days-to-buy-stuff">Never Order Fish on Mondays and 7 Other Bad Days to Buy Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-buy-and-avoid-buying-in-march">What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in March</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-to-scoring-the-best-price-when-buying-on-ebay">7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping discounts faulty paying cash poor service restaurants scratch and dent Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:00:22 +0000 Paul Michael 1540895 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000019788649.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everybody loves to score a deal. Retailers are keenly aware of this phenomenon and have become very good at tricking your brain into thinking you're getting a deal, even when you may be spending more than you should. Here are some clever ways retailers use coupons to get you to open your wallet wide, along with some timely tips to fight back.</p> <h2>1. Online Coupons Aren't Always a Deal</h2> <p>Online shoppers love a good coupon code. But did you know that many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-coupons-for-every-online-store-even-the-ones-that-dont-have-coupons">online retailers</a> are notorious for releasing a coupon only after jacking all of their prices up to full-retail? Suddenly your 25% off coupon code doesn't look so good, especially when you consider the fact that you could have actually saved more money the week prior, for example, when the website had everything in their new fall collection for 30% off, no coupon needed.</p> <p>A few of the online retailers notorious for releasing a coupon when prices are high include Ann Taylor, American Eagle, Old Navy, and Macy's to name a few. It's always in your best interest to keep track of the pricing schemes of the online retailers you frequent on a regular basis. Pay attention to when they release coupons and when they offer sitewide sales and only make your purchases when the price is actually the lowest. Also, if you can time your purchase when you have a coupon code in hand <em>and </em>the retailer is having a sitewide sale, you'll definitely maximize your savings.</p> <h2>2. The BOGO Dilemma</h2> <p>Another commonly used trick retailers use to get you to open your wallets wide is &quot;Buy one, get one for 50% off,&quot; also known as BOGO. Be aware that unless it is &quot;Buy one, get one free,&quot; you're rarely getting a good deal. Buy one, get one for 50% off is the equivalent of a 25% off coupon &mdash; which is an okay deal, but only if you actually need two of the particular item. Keep in mind that many retailers, especially clothing and shoe stores, often have coupons that exceed 25% off, making the BOGO offer nothing more than a spending trap. Kohl's, Lands' End, JCPenney, and Gap are a few retailers that fit this bill and immediately jump to mind.</p> <h2>3. Free Shipping&hellip; With a Catch</h2> <p>When it comes to shopping online, there is nothing worse than finishing your shopping at a website only to discover you're $10 short of qualifying for free shipping. Many online retailers will set a minimum threshold requirement for free delivery at $25, $50, $75, or even $100 to encourage shoppers to add items to their purchase and thus pad their profits.</p> <p>The next time this happens to you, hit up Google and do a search for &quot;[store name] free shipping coupon&quot; and see if you can dig up a coupon code for free delivery. If that doesn't work, many websites employ live chat operators who have a select number of coupons to hand out if you politely ask. Just start a chat session, explain your situation, and tell the operator how you'd like to complete your purchase but can't justify the shipping charge since you're so close to the minimum order threshold. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with your result and stand a great chance of scoring a free shipping coupon without adding something to your cart that you don't need.</p> <h2>4. Percent Off Coupon With Minimum Order Size</h2> <p>Another retail trick is to release &quot;percent off&quot; or &quot;dollar off&quot; coupons with a minimum dollar amount required to score the discount. Whether you need to spend $49, $75, or $99 to get the discount, it's important to realize that retailers are attempting to get you to spend more in order to &quot;save&quot; some money. This is often a bad proposition for consumers and can easily lead to overspending. A smart workaround is to never walk into a store with one of these coupons unless you're sure you'll meet the minimum. If you do walk in and are determined to redeem the coupon, make sure you're buying items that you actually need or can use as a gift down the road.</p> <h2>5. Coupons You Buy Can Expire</h2> <p>Popular websites like Groupon and LivingSocial allow you to buy deals and coupons for experiences like golfing, sky diving, cooking classes, yoga classes, and the like. But what many consumers don't know is that many of these deals have expiration dates. They're banking on you buying the offer and forgetting to use it, or deciding later that it's not your cup of tea.</p> <p>Avoid this expiration trick by instituting a &quot;30-day&quot; policy. If you know you'll use the coupon within 30 days, then go ahead and purchase it. If you're on the fence in the slightest, pass on the offer as it'll probably go unused. Once you buy the experience or class, book it right away and get it on your calendar to make sure it gets used and doesn't end up in your desk drawer for all eternity.</p> <p>By being aware of why retailers release certain coupons and deals, and how they can make you overspend, you stand a great chance of actually saving money on the things you need.</p> <p><em>What other ways have retailers used coupons and &quot;deals&quot; to get you to spend more?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-genius-ways-to-save-on-cyber-monday">6 Genius Ways to Save on Cyber Monday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-to-wait-until-after-christmas-to-buy">8 Things to Wait Until After Christmas to Buy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-coupon-rules-that-stores-let-you-break">4 Coupon Rules That Stores Let You Break</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping bogo coupons discounts free shipping retail sales saving money Wed, 12 Aug 2015 15:00:20 +0000 Kyle James 1518247 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Times You Should Demand a Refund http://www.wisebread.com/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_missed_flight_000066384249.jpg" alt="Man realizing the times he should demand a refund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you spend your hard-earned money on a product or service, you expect a certain level of quality &mdash; and when that quality falls short of expectations, it's not unreasonable to think you're entitled to a refund. But not every situation qualifies. So when should you stand your ground for your money back, and when should cut your losses? Take a look at these nine times you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/38-ways-to-save-money-without-trying-much">demand a refund</a> &mdash; ever so politely, of course.</p> <h2>1. Departure Taxes on an Unused Flight</h2> <p>I once booked a European vacation around the holidays that was supposed to stop in London, Dublin, and Paris, but the last leg of the trip was cancelled due to &quot;weather conditions&quot; according to the evil discount airline that shall remain nameless. The airline offered to fly my friends and me to Rome as penance &mdash; which was a nice offer in theory, except we couldn't fly on the dates they suggested &mdash; so my flight was essentially a loss since the airline wasn't responsible for acts of God, which, in this case, was fog. I was young and dumb and just accepted the decision.</p> <p>Maybe that wouldn't have happened if I were friendly with Kyle Stewart, travel editor at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.upgrd.com">UPGRD</a>, at the time. He experienced a similar situation, but walked away a little less broke than I did.</p> <p>&quot;We had found a very cheap flight to and from London, but once we were abroad we had to make a change and book an alternative separate flight home,&quot; he says about his one-time travel plans. &quot;Our tickets were non-refundable, but it is unlawful for the carrier to keep revenue they collect for 'taxes' if you do not actually fly the route. The U.K. has a steep departure tax of nearly $250 each on flights leaving the United Kingdom. Because we did not fly those routes but had paid for the taxes, even on a non-refundable ticket we were able to get the departure tax refunded which nearly paid for our alternative transportation home.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Anything Unsanitary or Unsavory in Your Food</h2> <p>There are a lot of gross things I can deal with &mdash; my friends would love to tell you the story about the time I ate an ancient corn chip off the carpet in high school for a dollar &mdash; but as I've evolved out of being an idiot, hair or other yuck in my food isn't one of them. It's hard enough to eat out these days just thinking about the various &quot;things&quot; in my food that I can't see, so you better believe if there's visible, physical evidence of my gag reflex, I'd like my money back, please. And another, fresh meal. I'm willing to give it another go since I understand that accidents happen and I'm usually too hungry to have to start the restaurant search all over again.</p> <h2>3. Items That Break Too Soon</h2> <p>If you've recently purchased an item and it breaks unreasonably soon under normal use &mdash; I'd say less than 90 days, for most things &mdash; take it back to the store for a replacement or a refund. I tend not to buy the same junk twice in a row, so typically I'd just like my money back so I can avoid this problem a second time. This is a situation where store associates and managers like to give you a hard time &mdash; &quot;How do I know how it broke?&quot; &mdash; but don't let them beat you. Stay strong and stage a sit-in to get what you're owed if you have to.</p> <h2>4. Groceries That Are Spoiled, Rotten, or Stale</h2> <p>I think this is a situation where Americans as a collective lose tons of money, but one that is considered perfectly valid refund territory. I would be willing to bet than more times than not when the average supermarket shopper realizes they have a spoiled, rotten, or stale item when they're already home, they just throw it out. What's a few bucks, they think. Plus, they'd have to get back in the car, go back to the store, speak to the manager, blahblahblah. All worth it in my book. Food isn't cheap, and this is America; we shouldn't expect anything less than the highest quality food for which we're paying.</p> <h2>5. Goods That Aren't as Advertised</h2> <p>False advertising is against the law for a reason: You can't trick people into thinking they're getting one thing and then sell them something else. This goes for anything: from kids' toys to electronics to power tools. If the item said it was going to perform a certain way and it fell short of that promise, you deserve a refund.</p> <h2>6. Services That Aren't Performed as Promised</h2> <p>It's not just tangible goods that can fall short of expectations; services, like hair and nail salons, auto body shops, and dog grooming facilities can too. I take services that aren't performed as promised seriously because it's an active-engagement situation, and as an entrepreneur myself I recognize the importance of providing the very best service possible &mdash; and when that's not possible, apologizing and doing whatever I can to make amends. Good customer service is key, and I expect you to recognize that without putting up a fight if I'm being perfectly reasonable.</p> <h2>7. Erroneous Charges on Your Bill</h2> <p>Mark my words here: This happens ALL the time. From your cell phone bill to your Internet bill to your doctor's bill, there are sometimes strange charges that shouldn't be there. Most of the time they're mistakes, but I'm also not naïve enough to think that the provider isn't sometimes trying to get one over on you, thinking you won't read the bill closely enough or that the fee they're overcharging is so low you won't waste your time fighting it. Read your bills closely and make sure every charge is accounted for.</p> <h2>8. One-Time Late Fees if You're a Loyal Customer</h2> <p>Just hours before I started writing this post, I called J. Crew to dispute a late fee on my bill. I didn't receive the bill in time as it arrived at my other home, so I missed the payment due date. Because I'm a very loyal customer to J. Crew, and I always pay my bill in full each cycle, I called to kindly request that the late fees be waived for this circumstance. The customer service agent was perfectly willing to do it, and it saved me $50.</p> <h2>9. Hotel Rooms That Aren't Sufficiently Clean</h2> <p>I stayed in a Red Roof Inn once that had not one but two bugs in it (not the bed variety, thank God); a hair on the towel; and no cold water in the sink, only boiling hot. I sent a message through the customer service portal on the hotel's website asking for a refund but my claim was dismissed. I stayed at the same hotel a week later and coincidentally they gave me the exact same room with the exact same issues, just no bugs this time. Again I requested a refund. I got a credit for a free night's stay &ndash; which is sort of moot, because why would I go back there after they failed me twice? &ndash; but it's better than nothing from a company that obviously doesn't put much stock in customer service.</p> <p><em>Are there other times we should demand a refund? Tell me one of your personal experiences in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">How to Effectively Complain to the Manager</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-complain-and-get-a-good-result">How to complain and get a good result.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-idea-for-papa-murphy-s-make-the-pizzas-in-order">Great idea for Papa Murphy’s – make the pizzas in order.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs customer service poor quality refunds Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:00:17 +0000 Mikey Rox 1484619 at http://www.wisebread.com The 9 Everyday Products With the Biggest Markups http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-everyday-products-with-the-biggest-markups <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-everyday-products-with-the-biggest-markups" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_glasses_000040702534.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter wearing glasses with biggest markup" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Products with ridiculously high markups exist because somebody, somewhere, is willing to pay that price. Whether it's because of convenience, perceived value, or simple ignorance, is up for debate. The good news is that with a little forethought, most of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">markups can be avoided</a>, or at the very least lessened. Here are nine of the biggest, along with some common sense solutions and workarounds.</p> <h2>1. Bottled Water</h2> <p>If you're buying designer bottled water brands like AquaDeco or Fine, you're getting nailed by an unbelievable&nbsp;<a href="http://thebillfold.com/2013/07/the-280000-percent-markup-on-bottled-water/">280,000% markup</a>. Although, if you're reading Wise Bread, I'm guessing you probably don't buy designer brand water. But you probably do buy bottled water from the grocery store or warehouse club on occasion, in which case you're paying a 4,000% markup compared to tap water.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GNGID0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004GNGID0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=H46WVRH4FM7SFVP3">Brita Water Filter Pitcher</a> from Amazon and filter your tap water from home. You can then take the filtered water with you when you're on-the-go by using a reusable&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;fst=as%3Aoff&amp;keywords=bpa%20free%20water%20bottle&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1431699611&amp;rh=n%3A3375251%2Cn%3A10971181011%2Cn%3A3394801%2Cn%3A3395091%2Ck%3Abpa%20free%20water%20bottle%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_four_browse-bin%3A6147374011&amp;rnid=6147363011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SJ2G4SOTINGNR5CV">BPA-free water bottle</a>.</p> <h2>2. Pre-Cut Vegetables/Fruit</h2> <p>Veggies and fruit that are cut up and ready to go are definitely convenient, especially for busy families. But did you know that you're easily paying a hefty 40% markup on the pre-cut varieties?</p> <p>Solution: Shop your local farmer's market and grocery store for deals on fresh vegetables and fruit. Solve the convenience aspect by cutting them all up at once and store them in Ziploc bags. This is a great way to save money and have healthy snacks ready to go for school lunches and quickly-thrown-together family meals.</p> <h2>3. College Textbooks</h2> <p>According to CollegeData, the average student spent over&nbsp;<a href="http://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/content_payarticle_tmpl.jhtml?articleId=10064">$1,000 on textbooks</a> and supplies for the 2014&ndash;2015 school year with markups hovering around 200% for brand new textbooks.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: If you plan on reselling your textbooks at the end of the semester, you should consider renting, instead of buying, from websites like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chegg.com/textbooks/">Chegg</a> an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.textbookrentals.com/">TextbookRentals</a>. Also, if you plan on buying them, always ask for used textbooks at the college bookstore, or buy them in gently used condition from websites like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.abebooks.com/books/Textbooks/">AbeBooks.com</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.half.ebay.com/textbooks">Half.com</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-places-to-buy-or-rent-textbooks?ref=seealso">20 Places to Buy or Rent Textbooks</a>)</p> <h2>4. Designer Handbags</h2> <p>The average name brand handbag carries a markup of well over 100%. Brands like Coach, Dooney &amp; Bourke, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors have built a luxury brand reputation based solely on consumer perception.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Always buy handbags on sale. Because of the 100% markup, you'll often see 50% off sales on handbags at department stores. Also, shop at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls for name brand handbags at heavily discounted prices. You might not find Coach or Louis Vuitton, but you'll still find very high quality brands at good prices.</p> <h2>5. Designer Jeans</h2> <p>According to the Wall Street Journal, designer jeans often&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303365804576429730284498872">come with a markup</a> in the 260% range. For example, the fact that someone would spend&nbsp;<a href="http://www.7forallmankind.com/The_Straight_in_Air_Blue/pd/np/1218/p/9868.html">$208 on a pair of jeans</a> from 7ForAllMankind, tells me that for some people, being fashionable at any price is the number one priority when it comes to covering your legs with denim.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Shop&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discount-designer-clothing-17-places-to-get-name-brands-for-less?ref=internal">discount clothing stores</a> and thrift shops for denim. On several occasions I have found designer denim on the rack at thrift stores for pennies on the dollar. Sure, they were a little worn, but most of the designer jeans bought brand new are quite worn, or even have holes in them. Some even have paint all over them like <a href="http://www.neimanmarcus.com/PRPS-Demon-Allover-Paint-Splatter-Slim-Denim-Jeans-Blue/prod176960464/p.prod?srccode=cii_17588969&amp;cpncode=45-52470518-2&amp;ecid=NMCI">these $575 jeans</a> from Neiman Marcus.</p> <h2>6. Prescription Drugs</h2> <p>Prescription drugs can be incredibly expensive, especially if you have sub-par health insurance and get stuck footing most of the bill. According to AHIP Coverage, the <a href="http://www.ahipcoverage.com/2012/04/30/cost-spotlight-a-443-markup-on-prescription-drugs/">price markup on prescription drugs</a> is at a whopping 443%.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Ask for free samples while at the doctor's office. A few years ago I was prescribed Lamisil, an expensive prescription drug, which at the time cost $30 a pill and had no generic equivalents. On a whim, I asked the nurse on the way out of the office it they had any free samples. She went and looked and returned with a bag full of Lamisil samples. She told me to come back when I ran out as she didn't have enough for a full treatment plan. Simply by politely asking she saved me over $500 on prescription drug costs.</p> <p>Also, when approaching the pharmacy window, always ask about generic alternatives to your prescription. Often times the doctor will unknowingly prescribe the name brand drug, and by switching to the generic, you can save significant money.</p> <h2>7. Eyeglass Frames</h2> <p>Eyeglass frames have a ridiculously high markup in the 500% range. I recently discovered this when I needed a new pair of glasses and decided to buy them directly from the optometrist as my vision insurance was going to pay for them. But after looking through my choices, and the hefty price tags, I quickly realized that you'd be crazy to buy directly from the doctor if you have little or poor insurance. The frames I eventually chose were close to $350, and after doing some research, I could have gotten them online for $125.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: To avoid the markup as much as possible, always shop eyeglass frames and lenses online as well as warehouse clubs like Costco and BJ's Wholesale.</p> <h2>8. Coffee and Tea</h2> <p>When you hit the Starbucks or local coffee shop, know that you're getting hit by a markup in the 250% to 400% range. Sure it's a nice treat from time to time, but visiting everyday can really be a budget buster.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Start brewing at home and take your morning cup of joe with you.</p> <h2>9. Furniture</h2> <p>According to CBS Money Watch, most furniture stores <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/guid/dbc03806-309a-11e0-b7f5-072128040cf6?page=2">markup their prices</a> in the 80% range. This is especially true at boutique shops and high-end department stores like Macy's and Nordstrom.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Because of the high markups you should always try to negotiate a deal, even if the price is already discounted, as the majority of furniture stores have plenty of room to come down in price and still make a profit. This is especially true if you're paying with cash as the store won't have to pay credit card fees.</p> <p>By knowing what products have the highest markups, you can learn to avoid them whenever possible. Sure, you'll get stuck buying a $5 bottle of water on occasion, or splurge on a $4 cup of coffee, but by developing smart long-term spending habits you can really save significant money. Money that can serve you much better by paying down debt, building that emergency fund, or saving for retirement.</p> <p><em>What product markups drive you crazy and how do you avoid them?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-everyday-products-with-the-biggest-markups">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-outrageously-expensive-whole-foods-products">The 7 Most Outrageously Expensive Whole Foods Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-senior-discounts">Big List of Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping markups overpriced rip-offs Thu, 28 May 2015 11:30:09 +0000 Kyle James 1432585 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/for_rent_sign_000018543162.jpg" alt="Man learning how to apartment hunt on craigslist without getting scammed" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Using Craigslist to find an apartment is not a novel idea. As a matter of fact, it's by far the most popular way for prospective renters to find a new place. But it doesn't come without its drawbacks, the biggest being fraud and scams designed to separate you from your hard-earned money. Here are a few of the biggest scams currently going and some tips on how to protect yourself from them.</p> <h2>1. Always Verify the Owner</h2> <p>One of the most popular <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">Craigslist scams</a> these days involves a crook gaining access to the apartment or home, and showing it to you under the guise of being the real landlord or owner. To sweeten the pot, and get you to bite, they might even offer a deal on the deposit, or pick up some of the fees. As you can imagine, this has the potential of ending badly with you losing significant money. They'll end up taking your first month's rent and security deposit and you'll never see them &mdash; or your money &mdash; again.</p> <p>When looking at Craigslist listings, always make sure you verify the owner of the apartment or home. Most counties and cities have websites in place that allow you to look up public records to determine the real owner of the property. If this is not a possibility, drive by the property and look for signs showing that it's actually for rent. Be sure to call the phone number listed at the physical address and verify the owner, as well.</p> <h2>2. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is</h2> <p>When scanning through Craigslist listings, be cautious of apartments that seem too good to be true, as they probably are. Often these listings are fake and designed to pull you in with the lure of a &quot;fantastic deal.&quot; Also, if a listing sounds terrific, but is chock full of misspellings and bad grammar, proceed with extreme caution as it could be a sign of a fraudulent or fake ad.</p> <p>Do some research ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the local housing market and the going rents and fees. Do this by scanning local classified ads and utilizing websites like <a href="http://hotpads.com/">Hotpads</a> and <a href="https://livelovely.com/">Lovely</a>. Once you do this, you'll be able to easily spot red flags like unusually cheap rent, small security deposits, and lack of tenant screening.</p> <h2>3. Never Give Personal Information Upfront</h2> <p>Another way scammers use Craigslist to try and entice potential victims is by convincing you it's a really hot property, typically via e-mail, and insisting you &quot;act fast&quot; to reserve it. The most typical scam is asking you to submit a rental application before you view the property. This is done in an effort to get your personal information, such as Social Security and bank account numbers.</p> <p>Avoid this situation by always making sure you view the unit and verify the owner <em>before</em> you fill out a rental application. The only thing that a landlord can legally ask you for prior to showing the place is a valid photo ID.</p> <h2>4. Never Trust an E-mail</h2> <p>Unfortunately, scammers are&nbsp;<a href="http://abclocal.go.com/story?section=news/consumer&amp;id=9513869">hacking into the e-mail addresses</a> of landlords and property owners on Craigslist and defrauding prospective tenants by posing as the real owners. The scam typically starts by answering your e-mail inquiry with a hard sell on why they need your personal information (or a deposit) before showing you the place. Because of this, it's always smart to talk to a real person to verify the property. Most scammers don't want to talk to you on the phone and will try to get your money without doing so. If the listing has a phone number, call it, and verify the rental and all the ad details. If all of your phone calls go unanswered, and unreturned, you should move on to the next prospective listing.</p> <h2>5. Never Wire Money</h2> <p>If a landlord or property owner insists on you wiring money to secure a property, it's probably a scam. There is absolutely no solid reasoning to ever pay with a wire transfer. Sending money by wire transfer is essentially the same thing as sending cash and once it has been sent, it's nearly impossible to get it back.</p> <h2>6. Beware of the Middleman Scam</h2> <p>The &quot;<a href="http://info.stevebrownapts.com/blog/bid/292049/9-Ways-to-Avoid-Apartment-Rental-Scams">middleman scam</a>&quot; is when a scammer pretends a property is available for rent on Craigslist and claims to be handling, or managing, the place for the &quot;real&quot; owners. They'll often claim the owner is out of the country and has trusted the place to them. This middleman will attempt to collect rent, a security deposit, and various fees and then will quickly disappear with your money. Typically, they'll use photos and property information copied directly from a real estate website and create a completely fake listing on Craigslist. Avoid this scam by insisting on seeing the property first and verifying that the place is actually for rent by talking directly to the landlord or neighbors.</p> <p>The bottom line is to always trust your gut instinct, especially in terms of the professionalism of the Craigslist listing and the ease (or lack thereof) of reaching the property owner directly. If something about the deal just doesn't seem right, then move on to the next apartment or rental home and avoid the strong potential for a scam. There will always be plenty of legit listings to meet your needs.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been the victim of a Craigslist housing scam? If so, how did it go down?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters&#039; Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing apartments craigslist renting scams Wed, 27 May 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Kyle James 1431269 at http://www.wisebread.com These Secrets of Amazon's Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_thinking_000059983456.jpg" alt="Woman finding best buys on amazon through secret pricing strategy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can be easy for Amazon customers to assume they're always getting the best price. As a matter of fact, that's exactly what the marketing geniuses at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-shouldnt-order-on-amazon">Amazon</a> want you to do. They don't want you to compare prices with Walmart; instead they want you to perceive them as always having the lowest price.</p> <p>They do this by pricing a few, popular items lower than Walmart does in an effort to build your perception of them as a low-price leader. By knowing which items undercut Walmart's pricing &mdash; and which don't &mdash; you can become a more informed shopper and save money in the process.</p> <h2>Items That Are Cheaper at Amazon</h2> <p>Spotting the loss leaders at Amazon is not hard. After all, they <em>wan</em>t you to find the lower prices for their marketing to work.</p> <h3>Items With a High Customer (Star) Rating</h3> <p>A recent study from Boomerang Commerce showed that, in an effort to be perceived as a low price leader, Amazon <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/boomerang-commerce-introduces-price-perception-index-for-online-retailers-300019677.html">purposefully undercuts the Walmart price</a> on products with a high star rating. (A high rating is anything over four stars.)</p> <p>By analyzing millions of orders over the years, Amazon has realized that a great way to build loyal customers is to beat the competition on products that people are gobbling up due to the glowing opinions of fellow shoppers. Use this to your advantage by gravitating toward products with at least a four-star rating, especially when there are at least 50 reviews. It's a bit of a follower's mentality, but you'll find it really does hold true, especially when shopping for small electronics, toys, and video games.</p> <h3>Highly Visible Products</h3> <p>Another category of products that Amazon sells cheaper than Walmart is highly visible and popular items. In other words, items that have a lot of buzz around them and are often featured on the Amazon homepage or highlighted on specific product category pages. Again, the perception of having the lowest price means a lot to Amazon, so when a product has a lot of eyes on it, Amazon will tend to price it lower than Walmart. Examples of some popular and highly visible items that consistently beat Walmart include the popular <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;fst=as%3Aoff&amp;keywords=Fitbit%20Charge%20activity%20wristband&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1431703039&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AFitbit%20Charge%20activity%20wristband%2Cp_89%3AFitbit&amp;rnid=2528832011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=42WLZJFPNJZAUQMH">Fitbit Charge Activity Wristband</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=Dyson%20vacuum%20cleanerDyson%20vacuum%20cleaner&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3ADyson%20vacuum%20cleanerDyson%20vacuum%20cleaner&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=PBDXWU3XBHNYR2PJ">Dyson vacuum cleaners</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;fst=as%3Aoff&amp;keywords=Keurig%20brewer&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1431703152&amp;rh=n%3A1055398%2Cn%3A284507%2Cn%3A915194%2Cn%3A7740213011%2Cn%3A2474054011%2Ck%3AKeurig%20brewer%2Cp_89%3AKeurig&amp;rnid=2528832011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=S77OLKFBQ7V2NDDM">Keurig coffee makers</a>, and the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;fst=as%3Aoff&amp;keywords=Jawbone%20wireless%20speaker&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1431703218&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AJawbone%20wireless%20speaker%2Cp_89%3AJawbone&amp;rnid=2528832011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UAR2FRJOBTDAWQXX">Jawbone Wireless Speaker</a>.</p> <h2>Items That Are Bad Buys at Amazon</h2> <p>Amazon obviously can't undercut the Walmart price on every product. With Walmart's enormous buying power, and reputation for pressuring suppliers to lower prices, it simply can't be done. This means Amazon often raises the prices on other products to make up the difference. These &quot;other products&quot; are items that are not very glamorous in nature and tend to be more &quot;needs&quot; than &quot;wants.&quot;</p> <h3>Consumer Electronic Add-Ons</h3> <p>If you score a great deal on a HDTV from Amazon, beware of add-ons like cables, wall mounts, and screen cleaners, as they're typically marked-up. Other examples of add-ons that can be marked up include things like a wireless mouse when buying a laptop, and a protective case or charging station for your new Kindle. In many cases, Amazon will try to pad their profits on these add-ons making them not such a great deal for shoppers.</p> <h3>Household Items</h3> <p>Amazon has the reputation of being up to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-06-22/wal-mart-beats-amazon-prices-including-glee-dvd-set">20% more expensive than Walmart</a> when shopping for household items like laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, and the like. While this margin is definitely getting smaller in recent years, you'll still typically end up paying more compared to Walmart and Costco. If you are going to shop for household items at Amazon, I highly recommend signing up for their&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/subscribe-and-save/details/">Subscribe &amp; Save</a> program, which allows you to get items sent on a monthly schedule with free delivery. The best part is you'll get 15% off your total when you have at least five items in your monthly subscription plan. The extra 15% savings brings Amazon very close in price, or in many cases, under the Walmart price for identical products.</p> <h3>Clothing</h3> <p>The problem with buying brand name apparel from Amazon is they rarely mark down prices and seldom have coupons. You'll typically score a much better deal by shopping at discount clothing stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls.</p> <h3>Shoes</h3> <p>When shopping for brand name shoes, especially online, you'll find much better prices at websites like Shoebuy, 6PM.com, and ShoeMall. Not only do all three sites offer free shipping, but they also regularly have coupon codes in the 25% off range. For example, a new pair of top of the line women's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005UVNE9S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005UVNE9S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6OPCHDMFUUS3DULF">New Balance 990V3</a> running shoes is selling for $149.95 at both Amazon and Shoebuy, with free shipping. But with a little digging, I found a 20% off coupon code for Shoebuy, bringing my total down to $119.96 &mdash; a price Amazon can't touch.</p> <p>While having the perception of being a low price leader is something Amazon strives for, it's up to us, as smart consumers, to see through the charade and always do our due diligence when making significant purchases. This means always price comparing, looking for coupons that'll beat Amazon pricing, and understanding the types of products Amazon purposefully prices higher than the competition. Do that and you're guaranteed to always find the lowest price.</p> <p><em>Have you noticed Amazon offering certain items cheaper than the competition?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-sneaky-online-price-changes">6 Ways to Avoid Sneaky Online Price Changes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amazons-secret-30-day-price-guarantee">Amazon&#039;s secret 30-day price guarantee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/filler-strategies-for-amazon-s-free-super-saver-shipping">Filler Strategies for Amazon’s Free Super Saver Shipping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/more-sales-insanity-this-time-from-walmart">More Sales Insanity, This Time From Walmart</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping Amazon online shopping price comparison retail WalMart Mon, 25 May 2015 13:00:13 +0000 Kyle James 1429809 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Products That Cost More for Women Than for Men http://www.wisebread.com/6-products-that-cost-more-for-women-than-for-men <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-products-that-cost-more-for-women-than-for-men" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mens_womens_hygiene_products_000053383074.jpg" alt="Couple using products for women that have cheaper alternatives" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever noticed that men's versions of some products are really cheap compared to the women's versions? Sometimes the price difference reaches a whopping 50%! I'm talking things like soap, deodorant, shampoos, razors, and the like. If you're female (and not a picky shopper), it just may be worth your while to consider the following men's versions of these products.</p> <h2>1. Razors (Disposables and Refillables)</h2> <p>Razors from brands like Gillette, Schick, and Bic have models for both men and women. Aside from the pink and purple packaging, there is very little difference between them, except for price. In the example below, the women's version of the Schick ST Disposable Razor costs a few cents more compared to the men's alternative, even when buying in bulk. Save a few bucks and buy the men's version of razors &mdash; your legs won't know the difference, but your wallet will.</p> <ul> <li>Men's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=Schick%20ST%20Disposable%20Razor%2C%2012%20Count%20men&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3ASchick%20ST%20Disposable%20Razor%5Cc%2012%20Count%20men&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=5OFD2FFH2IGRNBKE">Schick ST Disposable Razor, 12 Count</a> &mdash; from $6.58 ($0.55 each)</li> <li>Women's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001URL3DA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001URL3DA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UQGGL7C2BDF44NYL">Schick ST Disposable Razor, 12 Count</a> &mdash; $6.88 ($0.57 each)</li> </ul> <h2>2. Shaving Cream</h2> <p>In terms of saving money with little noticeable effect, shaving cream is probably the best example of buying men's versions to save money. It's a product you only use for a couple minutes before washing off, with very little lingering odor. In other words, it's a highly disposable item, so if you're a female, why would you pay the huge markup associated with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-beauty-products-we-want-back">women's shaving cream</a>? After examining a bunch of different brands, my example below is a fair representation of a top tier shaving cream for both sexes. Notice the women's version is several times the price &mdash; not worth it in my humble opinion.</p> <ul> <li>Men's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BIL9HZE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BIL9HZE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=A4YNHS7TUUE2CGKW">NIVEA for Men Sensitive Shaving Gel, 7 oz.</a> &mdash; $1.69 ($0.24/ounce)</li> <li>Women's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000URD53C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000URD53C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3YZ4Y7MS6BLIIS4Q">Skintimate Skin Therapy Shave Gel, 7 oz.</a> &mdash; $6.51 ($0.93/ounce)</li> </ul> <h2>3. Deodorant</h2> <p>Deodorant, also known as &quot;pit putty&quot; in my house, is another item where the women's version is noticeably higher in price than the men's equivalent. In my example, a pack of six women's Degree deodorants will cost you almost $4 more than the men's. If odor is an issue for you, and you're a female worried about saving a few bucks (but also concerned about smelling like Tom Selleck), then shop for odorless men's deodorants and antiperspirants. Besides Degree, other men's versions worth shopping for include Sure, Arrid, and Dove.</p> <ul> <li>Men's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MANVWW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000MANVWW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HEMOIGMWQQQPMMKF">Degree Dry Protection Antiperspirant &amp; Deodorant, (Pack of 6)</a> &mdash; $16.01 ($0.99/ounce)</li> <li>Women's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001ET76WG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001ET76WG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NXJGH72JHG2SIRK7">Degree Dry Protection Antiperspirant &amp; Deodorant, (Pack of 6)</a> &mdash; $20.30 ($1.30/ounce)</li> </ul> <h2>4. Shampoo and Conditioner</h2> <p>Women's shampoos and conditioners also have a premium price point when compared to men's versions. While not as radical a price difference as some of the other products listed here, it's still smart to consider men's hair products, or at the very least unisex shampoos and conditioners like Pert Plus and Head &amp; Shoulders. The Dove shampoo example below showed a 20% higher price for a women's product.</p> <ul> <li>Men's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=Dove%20Men%2BCare%20Shampoo%20%2B%20Conditioner%2C%2012%20oz.&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3ADove%20Men%2BCare%20Shampoo%20%2B%20Conditioner%5Cc%2012%20oz.&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=LOCNV7AR2IZBW5XB">Dove Men+Care Shampoo + Conditioner, 12 oz.</a> &mdash; from $3.77 ($0.31/ounce)</li> <li>Women's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=Dove%20Pure%20Care%20Shampoo%2C%2012%20oz.%20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=GVHTXVDF5FZE7HYI">Dove Pure Care Shampoo, 12 oz.</a> &mdash; from $4.73 ($0.39/ounce)</li> </ul> <h2>5. Soap</h2> <p>Women's soap, with its higher perfume and moisturizer content, is usually significantly more expensive. As a matter of fact, it's twice as expensive in my example below. If you really don't care what your soap smells like, you should always buy a men's or unisex bar, as you'll save a big chunk of change over the course of an entire year. Let's say you use two bars per month &mdash; this would translate to just under $30 in <em>savings in one</em> year if you always opted for men's or unisex bars of soap. Pretty decent savings for doing very little.</p> <ul> <li>Men's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BKZQJHW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BKZQJHW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Z6OXB6332HLE73RK">Dial for Men Odor Armor Bar, 3 count, 4 oz. bar</a> &mdash; $3.49 ($1.16/each)</li> <li>Women's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0076XMEVW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0076XMEVW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=G5IGU4IWXR6GD2WU">Caress Beauty Bar, 4 count, 4 oz. bar</a> &mdash; $9.28 ($2.32/each)</li> </ul> <h2>6. Hair Spray</h2> <p>Hair spray marked for men is pretty darn cheap compared to the women's version. From Amazon, you can get a men's bottle that is about twice as big as the women's for darn near the same price. The women's variety is actually marked as &quot;unisex,&quot; but I'm calling it a female product as the bottle is bright pink. It's the same brand as well, so we really are comparing apples to apples making the men's version a much smarter buy.</p> <ul> <li>Men's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RS6JW6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002RS6JW6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=L7MQCKR5CDCPSQN7">TIGI Bed Head Hard Head Hair Spray, 10.6 oz.</a> &mdash; $15.12 ($1.43/ounce)</li> <li>Women's Version: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VZDWB8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000VZDWB8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NOHWBM2PPUJNRK5F">TIGI Bed Head Head Rush Shine Mist for &quot;Unisex,&quot; 5.07 oz.</a> &mdash; $11.90 ($2.34/ounce)</li> </ul> <p>By keeping a keen eye peeled for men's versions of products that are cheaper, and do the same thing, you can definitely save some money. In many cases, you can also find unscented or &quot;unisex&quot; scented items if odor is an issue for you, making this a really smart way to save.</p> <p><em>Any other &quot;women's&quot; products you've discovered to be expensive when compared to the male alternative?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-products-that-cost-more-for-women-than-for-men">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advertising-jargon-that-aims-to-mislead">Advertising Jargon That Aims to Mislead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping gender marketing mens products womens products Thu, 21 May 2015 21:00:11 +0000 Kyle James 1424470 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 "As Seen on TV" Products Actually Worth the Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-as-seen-on-tv-products-actually-worth-the-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-as-seen-on-tv-products-actually-worth-the-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_thumbs_up_000018083430.jpg" alt="Woman buying as seen on TV products that are worth the money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My first experience with an &quot;As Seen on TV&quot; products was the mid-'90s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DU5ARH8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DU5ARH8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ICHNPPOB7BEQERXJ">Miracle Thaw Defrosting Tray</a>. The infomercial claimed you could defrost completely frozen steak and chicken in minutes. When we finally received our Miracle Thaw, we discovered that it was in fact, miraculous &mdash; when we were melting ice cubes. Defrosting meat, not so much.</p> <p>Even today, it can be difficult to separate the works-in-real-life wheat from the infomercial chaff. Here are four &quot;As Seen on TV&quot; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on">products that actually work</a> &mdash; and that you can feel comfortable purchasing:</p> <h2>1. The Forearm Forklift</h2> <p>No less an authority than Consumer Reports touts the <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2010/november/home-garden/forearm-forklift/overview/index.htm">utility of the Forearm Forklift</a> &mdash; a product consisting of two adjustable straps that you place underneath heavy furniture and appliances, and then hook over your forearms in order to more easily move heavy objects of up to 700 pounds, according to the claims.</p> <p>The biggest benefit of this &quot;As Seen on TV&quot; wonder is that it allows you to lift and carry large and bulky items without having to hunch over, stretch, or hurt your hands on rough edges. Anyone who has ever had a tough time moving a couch up a flight of stairs can appreciate how much easier it could be to have a product that more evenly distributes the weight of what you are carrying.</p> <p>But while the Forearm Forklift's infomercial claims that the product &quot;employs leverage to make the pieces you carry feel lighter,&quot; the fact of the matter is that it's just a set of straps, and not a superhero cape. If the furniture you are trying to move is too heavy for you, then the Forearm Forklift will not fix that problem.</p> <p>However, for any individual who will be handling his or her own move, owning a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008ASBLJI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008ASBLJI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NYKNTMXDXGH24DUA">Forearm Forklift</a> can potentially make your moving day both less painful &mdash; and less damaging to your stuff. At a cost of only about $20 (or the amount U-Haul charges for the rental of a furniture dolly), the Forearm Forklift is a good buy. (Just stick to purchasing it from a traditional retailer. Infomercial websites are notoriously difficult to navigate without buying extra crap you don't want.)</p> <h2>2. The Pasta Boat</h2> <p>Oh, Pasta Boat, where were you when I was in college? This product was made for the dorm-dweller, whose only cooking option is the microwave. The Pasta Boat is a microwaveable plastic bowl that measures, cooks, strains, serves, and stores pasta all in one place.</p> <p>The Pasta Boat chef merely throws her Italian carbohydrate of choice into the boat, fills it with water, and microwaves the whole shebang for approximately 18 minutes. When the timer dings, simply strain the water out using the strainer built right into the lid.</p> <p>But wait! There's more! You can also steam vegetables and potatoes in the Pasta Boat, using the included steamer tray. Also, the handles do double-duty as measuring tools for spaghetti.</p> <p>All that said, this is not a perfect product. Though My Daily Finance reviewer Lisa Kaplan Gordon <a href="http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/01/06/pasta-boat-review-forget-the-pot-use-the-boat/">gives the Pasta Boat high marks</a>, she does note that it can be easy to scald yourself while removing the cooked pasta from the microwave.</p> <p>Sadly, the Pasta Boat is a little difficult to hunt down these days (its heyday was 2011), but it can be found through <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003XS32OW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003XS32OW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YGQTALVPBU6QL5N5">third-party sellers on Amazon</a> for about $13.</p> <h2>3. The Ped Egg</h2> <p>At first glance, the Ped Egg seems like nothing more than a cheese grater for the scaly parts of your feet. It claims to gently remove dead skin and callouses from your feet without pain or mess, since the &quot;egg&quot; part of the product is designed to catch the flaky skin detritus you are removing.</p> <p>By all accounts, the pain-free claim is totally borne out. According to the website <a href="http://doesitreallywork.org/ped-egg-review/">Does It Really Work?</a>, &quot;...if you try to use [the Ped Egg] on areas that aren't dry, flaky, and callousy, it doesn't do anything.&quot;</p> <p>However, the product is not as good at containing the mess as it claims to be. Not only does it not catch all of your powdery skin flakes, but it's possible for the Egg to split apart mid-callous removal and rain dead skin all over your floor. So it's a good idea to use your Ped Egg over a towel.</p> <p>Like the Pasta Boat, the Ped Egg is not as widely available as it once was, but you can <a href="http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=184309&amp;catid=196087&amp;aid=338666&amp;aparam=184309&amp;kpid=184309&amp;CAWELAID=120142990000005159&amp;CAGPSPN=pla&amp;kpid=184309">find it on drugstore.com</a> for $6.99.</p> <h2>4. The Ninja Master Prep Professional</h2> <p>Late-night infomercials have been promising easier slicing and dicing in the kitchen since almost before the invention of television. The Ninja Master Prep Professional is only the latest in the long line of blender/processor/chopper technology, and you can be forgiven for assuming it's just as much a waste of money as the Veg-o-Matic once was.</p> <p>However, Consumer Reports finds that the Ninja Master Prep Professional <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/video-hub/appliances/kitchen/claim-check-ninja-master-prep-professional/16497315001/1009333799001/">lives up to its claims</a> (although not the ridiculously vague one about ancient Japanese blade-making). It placed second in the Consumer Reports blender test, and first among food choppers.</p> <p>Brian Krepshaw of CNET notes that it also <a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/taking-the-ninja-master-prep-pro-out-for-a-spin/">works well with small ingredients</a> like garlic cloves, as they don't get &quot;lost&quot; under the blade. (As a dedicated home cook, I have to say that I have torn my hair out about that flaw of my food processor on numerous occasions.)</p> <p>In addition, everything but the motor is dishwasher safe.</p> <p>While purchasing a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004XK4N9C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004XK4N9C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6SYJF2EPJJ7QFNZE">Ninja Master Prep Professional</a> would probably be superfluous for any cook who already owns a decent blender and food processor (lost garlic notwithstanding), it's a great buy for someone just starting out with no kitchen appliances, particularly considering the fact that it can be found for about $50.</p> <h2>Solving Real Problems</h2> <p>The cliché about infomercials is that they manufacture the problems that their products solve. (For example, we all know that <a href="https://youtu.be/wwROPN3Fir8">milk is not as hard to open</a> as this product claims.)</p> <p>The &quot;As Seen on TV&quot; products that actually stand the test of time really do offer an efficient and elegant solution to a real problem. These four, unlike the Miracle Thaw Defrosting Tray, the Snuggie, or the Milkmaster 2000, actually deliver.</p> <p><em>Do you own any &quot;As Seen on TV&quot; products you'd recommend to others?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-as-seen-on-tv-products-actually-worth-the-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-senior-discounts">Big List of Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping as seen on tv infomercials made for tv Fri, 15 May 2015 13:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1421633 at http://www.wisebread.com