Consumer Affairs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4809/all en-US 10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For http://www.wisebread.com/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cake_37433622.jpg" alt="Woman resisting impulse buys we need to stop falling for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An impulse buy is just how it sounds. It's a purchase that we haven't really thought through, and instead follow the direction of our &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances">lizard brains</a>.&quot; We don't ponder the pros and cons of the purchase, or even think about what it is we're actually buying. We simply grab it, pay for it, and enjoy it. But these little impulse buys can really add up to some serious money every month. And just by alerting yourself to the biggest offenders, you may actually think twice next time you're about to grab one, and save yourself a nice chunk of change every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-stop-impulse-buying?ref=seealso">9 Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying</a>)</p> <h2>1. Magazines</h2> <p>You're standing in line at the checkout, you've loaded up the conveyor belt, and now you're playing the waiting game. That's when you notice some of the outrageous or tempting headlines on the magazines in the rack, and pick one up. Before you know it, you're sucked in, you've plopped the magazine on the conveyor, and you've just spent $5 on something you were not planning to buy. That, in itself, is bad enough. But magazines fresh off the rack are way more expensive than a magazine subscription. These days, you can pick up a subscription to most of the big magazine titles for between $5-$10 per year! Not only that, but almost everything you read in the magazine is available online, through your phone, tablet, or computer. It's a complete waste of money.</p> <h2>2. Candy</h2> <p>Oh, those pesky supermarket designers are devious. They know just how to get you dipping into your purse or wallet, and candy is a classic example. Even if you're not tempted by chocolate or sugary snacks, kids are. And the &quot;nag factor&quot; is enough to make most parents, grandparents, aunties, and uncles, cave in. You will also see special offers on candy in the checkout line, such as BOGO free, or BOGO half off. You may also see &quot;Buy 2, Get 1 Free.&quot; These offers are designed to push you from a maybe to a &quot;well heck, I don't want to miss out on that kind of a deal!&quot; And before you know it, you've added a bunch of extra calories, and expenses, onto your grocery haul.</p> <h2>3. Cold Drinks</h2> <p>Have you noticed that mini-refrigerators have been popping up at checkouts with increasing regularity? From stores like Walmart and Target, to Goodwill, Ross, and Best Buy, as you wait in line, you will be staring into ice-cold beverage heaven. For some reason, many of us are preprogrammed to just naturally grab a drink after we've been shopping, but those drinks are more expensive as singles than as part of a pack &mdash; a pack you can find just a few aisles away. Plus, you need to ask yourself, &quot;Are you really that thirsty?&quot; Many stores have drinking fountains, so grab some free water before dropping $2-$4 on a drink you probably don't need.</p> <h2>4. Lip Balm</h2> <p>Raise your hand: How many of you have more than three or four lip balms at home (and yes, I'm putting my hand up, too). It may be more common in places with a drier climate, like Colorado or Arizona, but for some reason, the lure of the fresh, hermetically sealed lip balm is as tempting as candy and soda. And at the same time, we seem to forget how many we already have at home in the junk drawer or nightstand.</p> <h2>5. Batteries</h2> <p>&quot;Batteries Not Included&quot; is a phrase that has been burned into the memory of anyone that has ever given a present to an eager child. They open it up, press the buttons, and nothing happens. That's when you realize it takes eight size &quot;C&quot; batteries and all the stores are closed. Due to that conditioning, batteries are strategically placed near checkouts in grocery stores, warehouse stores, and electronics outlets. &quot;Don't forget your batteries&quot; ticks away in your head, and you grab a pack of each variety&hellip;. just in case. They join their unopened brothers and sisters on the shelf in the garage. One day, hopefully before they run out of juice, they'll get used.</p> <h2>6. Gum or Mints</h2> <p>Another classic impulse purchase is the tin of mints or packs of gum. They're placed at eye-level, right as you're plunking down your purchases for the cashier. No one likes a whiff of bad breath, so a tin of extra strong mints and a pack of spearmint gum will do the trick. They're only a few bucks, after all. You can put them in the glove compartment, and hope you'll have a reason to use the 60 sticks of gum that are already in there.</p> <h2>7. Coffee</h2> <p>What is the deal with coffee these days? It's like you can't walk 10 feet without bumping into a store selling the latest organic, dark roasted, pumpkin-spice-flavored cup of joe. Let's be honest though. Somewhere along the line, we were all convinced that paying $6-$7 for coffee was reasonable, even though we can all make perfectly good coffee at home for a tenth of the price. The smell of coffee, and the incredible flavors that go into it, is often hard to resist. There are Starbucks stores inside grocery stores, just near the exit, and one whiff is enough to get most people diving into their pockets for a quick pick-me-up.</p> <h2>8. Fast Food</h2> <p>Just like coffee stores, fast food brands have been setting up shop in grocery stores and retail outlets around the country. For instance, you can find both Subway and McDonald's inside Walmart, and they do an incredible amount of business. Some people say that you should never do your shopping on an empty stomach, and grabbing a quick burger before hitting the aisles seems like a good idea. Or, as you leave the store, the scent of grilled beef and fresh bread breaks down your willpower in seconds. Before you know it, you're munching on a burger in the car, despite having a week's supply of food in the trunk.</p> <h2>9. Energy Shots</h2> <p>These pesky critters have been popping up around the checkouts for the last few years. It used to be just one brand (Five Hour Energy), but now there are dozens of different brands on the scene. Gas stations and supermarkets are not exactly fun places to be, and if you're in one for long enough, or you're having one of those days, a little shot of energy seems like a great idea. &quot;I'm tired&hellip;oh, energy in a bottle. I'll take one!&quot; These shots can cost $2-$3 each, and the effects they have vary from person-to-person. You may get an insane energy buzz, or barely a twitch. Either way, it's an expensive little impulse.</p> <h2>10. Protein Bars</h2> <p>Protein. Protein. Gotta have your protein. These protein-packed bars are big business, and can be found in various places, including the vitamins and supplements aisles. That is a bit bizarre, because although they do contain a big chunk of protein, they also contain a list of ingredients that would give a healthy eater nightmares: <a href="http://www.prevention.com/food/bad-energy-bar-ingredients">high-fructose corn syrup, inulin</a>, agave syrup, sugar alcohols, and fractionated palm kernel oil are just a few horrors lurking in them. But due to our increasingly hectic lifestyles, these have become a quick &quot;grab-and-go&quot; meal replacement. No time for lunch? A protein bar will do. Actually, it won't. It's an expensive mistake, and it can lead to sugar crashes and diarrhea.</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-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">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/flashback-friday-44-sneaky-shopping-traps-to-avoid">Flashback Friday: 44 Sneaky Shopping Traps to Avoid</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/flashback-friday-30-brilliant-ways-to-survive-black-friday-madness">Flashback Friday: 30 Brilliant Ways to Survive Black Friday Madness</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/9-frugal-skills-you-must-have-to-survive-autumn">9 Frugal Skills You Must Have to Survive Autumn</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/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</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/10-reasons-you-should-start-your-holiday-shopping-now">10 Reasons You Should Start Your Holiday Shopping Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping candy gum impulse buys junk food saving money shopping shopping hacks shopping tips willpower Thu, 03 Nov 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1825862 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Sneaky Ways You're Being Upsold http://www.wisebread.com/8-sneaky-ways-youre-being-upsold <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-sneaky-ways-youre-being-upsold" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_84332599_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="sneaky ways you&#039;re being upsold" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Upselling is defined as &quot;a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.&quot; And it can be used in almost every industry where money changes hands for goods and services. Most of us can spot a big upsell &mdash; like the heavy-handed extras car dealerships will try and push on you in the financing room. But there are more subtle upsells being used on you; some you may not even realize are upsells at all. Here's how to spot them, and sidestep them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-creative-shopping-strategy-could-save-you-tons?ref=seealso">This Creative Shopping Strategy Could Save You Tons</a>)</p> <h2>1. &quot;Did You Save Room for Dessert?&quot;</h2> <p>It seems like an innocent enough question, although if you really think about it, it's kind of insulting. &quot;Hey&hellip; did you completely pig out, or are you planning to do that with a slice of cake?&quot; However, this question is the classic restaurant upsell, pushing you to add an additional series of charges onto the bill that you were not planning on. Some restaurants will go one step further, and actually bring around a dessert trolley, or a cheese board. Then it gets even harder to say no. But it's an easy enough one to turn down. Know that your server is not interested in seeing you enjoy a delicious piece of triple-chocolate fudge-mallow brownie. He or she simply wants a bigger tip, and the more you spend, the more they get. Even if you could eat another main course, simply say you're too full&hellip; unless, of course, that sweet treat is calling your name.</p> <h2>2. &quot;This Shirt Comes With Your Choice of Tie...&quot;</h2> <p>At first, it almost sounds like a freebie. You look at the ties (or replace ties with anything else that could complement your fashion purchase) and select one. You're invested in it. Only then are you told that if you'd rather not have the tie, the shirt will be $20 less. In other words, you're paying for the tie. But, you've already invested in the tie emotionally, and may even feel embarrassed to give back the tie and pay less for the shirt. This is a common technique used by salespeople in many industries. They will offer you an item that naturally complements something you are going to buy, using language that suggests it's all part of the price. It's certainly a little deceptive, but not illegal as they will always state that you can pay less for the original item by not choosing the add-on. Sneaky.</p> <h2>3. &quot;Would You Like Fries With That?&quot;</h2> <p>Or batteries. Or a matching waistcoat. Or insurance. Whatever the industry, asking you straight up if you'd like an additional item, be it with your food, clothing, gadget, automobile, or even new home, is a classic upsell. It's become synonymous with the fast food industry, which more than any other has perfected the art of the subtle upsell. Simply asking if you want fries with a burger is a no-brainer, but not all places include them for free (looking at you, Five Guys). The most common reaction is &quot;sure,&quot; and bingo, you've just added an extra cost to the bill.</p> <h2>4. &quot;These Items Are Frequently Bought Together&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>If you want a prime example of this subtle upsell, look no further than Amazon. When you pop an item in your cart, let's say it's a set of kitchen knives, you will see a &quot;Frequently Bought Together&quot; box that could contain a knife sharpener and cutting board. You will also see a combined price for all three. Now, some people think that buying all three will apply a discount for the bundle, but that's not usually the case. Amazon is simply upselling you a package that contains three related items. You could buy all three separately and spend the same, or buy just one extra item without losing out on any kind of discount. It's quite clever when you think about it.</p> <h2>5. &quot;For Only $50 More, You Can Get&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>Faster processing speed. Bigger rims. An extra handset. The salesperson or, more commonly these days, website, will prompt you to get some upgrades to your purchase for a small fee. Apple and other computer manufacturers do this masterfully. You select your model, perhaps a 27-inch iMac, and then get asked a series of questions about upgrades. Would you like it to run even faster? Would you like to give it more storage space, or a more powerful graphics card? You click through the upgrades list, and by the time you've finished, your $1,500 computer now costs over $2,000. Of course, they could always offer you the best model available from the very beginning, and ask you to reduce the price by downgrading it, but that leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. No one likes de-pimping their shiny new gadget, and the starting price would be prohibitively high, resulting in fewer sales.</p> <h2>6. &quot;&hellip;And Did You Want the 16 ounce?&quot;</h2> <p>When you're in any kind of place that serves food and drink, this classic, but subtle technique is a way to upsell you without even getting you to think about it. Say, for instance, the menu lists three different sizes of steak &ndash; 8 ounce, 12 ounce, and 16 ounce. The server can easily get you to choose the most expensive of the three options simply by not acknowledging the other two. If he or she asks &quot;and which size of steak would you like?&quot; you will look at the menu and probably choose based on your hunger level, and the price. But by turning the question into one that's more presumptive, they are much more likely to get a &quot;yeah, sure&quot; response.</p> <h2>7. &quot;You Get a Lot More for Just a Little Extra Money.&quot;</h2> <p>This is a quality upsell, and it is used everywhere &mdash; from restaurants and electronics stores, to car dealerships and vacation sites. The basic premise is this; you've already committed to spending a big chunk of money, so why not spend a <em>tiny </em>bit more to get something <em>way</em> better. Maybe it's going from a $300 mountain bike, to a $400 mountain bike. But it has extra gears, a leather seat, and will last forever! When this happens, chances are the salesperson is on commission and wants a bigger check. Now, that's not to say you aren't getting value for your money. Quite often, when you pay a little more for a better quality brand, you are doing well. But, don't be fooled, as this is always about making money for the store.</p> <h2>8. &quot;Would You Like a Smaller Cocktail?&quot;</h2> <p>Most of you are probably thinking, <em>That doesn't sound much like an upsell to me</em>. But, it is, when used correctly. When this little tactic is invoked, the customer in question has already indicated that a regular drink, or dessert, is too much&hellip; either in volume, or price. They'd rather just settle the bill.</p> <p>But servers don't want you settling the bill if there is a chance you could spend more. So, they will entice you with a smaller item, which is still much better for them and the establishment than you ordering nothing at all. Every item has a profit margin. They may even make the smaller item sound like a much better deal. For example &quot;this smaller cocktail packs a real punch, and it's half the price.&quot; This doesn't just apply to restaurants though. Whenever any salesperson sees you opting for the &quot;I'll have nothing&quot; answer, they will immediately bring in smaller, cheaper options. This technique is actually known as &quot;downselling&quot; but it's still technically an upsell.</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-sneaky-ways-youre-being-upsold">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/flashback-friday-30-brilliant-ways-to-survive-black-friday-madness">Flashback Friday: 30 Brilliant Ways to Survive Black Friday Madness</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/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</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/7-things-not-to-buy-on-black-friday">7 Things Not to Buy on Black Friday</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-frugal-skills-you-need-to-survive-black-friday">8 Frugal Skills You Need to Survive Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping frugal living sales sales tactics smart shopper upselling upsold Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1822091 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medical_records_theft_4391261.jpg" alt="Finding ways to protect yourself from medical records theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hacker attacks on medical records are exploding, with more than 113 million health files stolen in 2015. Criminals are using health records to commit medical identity theft, a crime that causes even more suffering than financial identity theft.</p> <p>Think having credit cards or a mortgage opened in your name is a nightmare? Maybe, but it's nothing compared to what victims of medical identity theft have suffered. Victims of this crime often suffer from financial fraud, just like those who have their credit cards compromised, says Ann Patterson, program director of the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance.</p> <p>Resolving medical identity fraud is much more difficult than cleaning up a case of financial ID theft. The majority of medical ID theft victims reported spending an average of <a href="http://medidfraud.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2014_Medical_ID_Theft_Study1.pdf">$13,500 on lawyer fees</a> or medical bills in their names, compared to an average of just $55 to clean up financial ID theft, according to a 2015 Ponemon Institute survey. And with no centralized source to consult like a credit report, and no real-time alerts like banks and credit monitoring services, it may take a long time to even realize you're a victim of medical identity theft, Patterson warns.</p> <p>Whether you have just received a discomfiting letter from your health care provider that a data breach has occurred, or you simply want to head off this kind of life disruption before it happens, here are seven steps you can take to protect yourself from medical ID theft.</p> <h2>1. Read Your Mail</h2> <p>Those explanation of benefits statements from doctors' offices and hospitals may not be light reading, but you should look at them, at the least to verify that you saw the provider named on the date listed. Also, if you get mail from an unfamiliar doctor's office, don't toss it out without reading it &mdash; what you might think is junk mail could actually be a bill taken out in your name by an identity thief.</p> <h2>2. Review Your Medical Records</h2> <p>One positive thing about medical records going online is that it makes it easier for patients to periodically check that all the procedures listed there were actually performed on you, and that the details listed match your identity. If your records aren't online, you can ask to check your file when you're at the doctor's office.</p> <p>Reviewing medical records could be a matter of life and death, because &quot;information, such as an allergy to penicillin, is often <a href="http://icitech.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ICIT-Brief-Deep-Web-Exploitation-of-Health-Sector-Breach-Victims2.pdf">deleted from a patient's medical record</a> when it is stolen by a hacker or used by a buyer,&quot; warns the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology in a report that was presented to the US Senate in September.</p> <h2>3. Ask About Safeguards</h2> <p>Whether it's your doctor's office or your kids' school collecting data about your family, ask what happens to the paperwork you fill out. Is it shredded after being entered into a database, or tossed into the recycling? What kind of security protects those databases?</p> <h2>4. Don't Always Do as You're Told</h2> <p>Medical forms frequently ask for the patient's social security number. Patterson leaves that line blank, and if challenged, she explains that the omission is for privacy reasons. &quot;I have yet to be refused medical care because I refused to provide my Social Security number,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>5. Treat Health Information Like Financial Information</h2> <p>Just as you should shred your tax documents and bank statements before tossing them, you should shred your doctor's office visit receipts, prescription labels, and even destroy prescription bottles with information stickers on them, Patterson says.</p> <p>And if you wouldn't post your bank account balance on social media, don't be so quick to divulge upcoming medical treatments either. While it might be hard to imagine the harm in asking for thoughts and prayers for an upcoming surgery, Patterson urges patients to look at their profile from a criminal's point of view.</p> <p>&quot;You're putting out free information to give a detailed profile of you,&quot; she says, such as what region you live in, what doctors you frequent, and what ailments you have. If a criminal knows you have cancer, for instance, they may be able to &quot;buy painkillers in your name and not raise a red flag immediately, because it fits your profile,&quot; she says.</p> <p>If you think it's okay to share such information because your posts are only seen by friends and family, consider that, according to the Ponemon Institute, about half of medical ID fraud is committed by people who know the legitimate account holder.</p> <h2>6. Use Monitoring Services When Offered</h2> <p>It's now common for health insurers and other providers who have been hacked to offer members free fraud monitoring services. Take advantage of the offer! Patterson says that less than half of consumers offered free subscriptions actually sign up. Although they monitor for financial fraud &mdash; they won't tell you that someone checked in as you at a hospital &mdash; the services can provide valuable red flags. For instance, if a fraudulent medical bill goes into collections, it will show up on your credit report, and therefore trigger a fraud monitoring alert.</p> <h2>7. Be Careful What You Tell Your App</h2> <p>There are lots of fitness and health monitoring apps and websites nowadays, and while it's fine to sign up for one, look into the company that made the product, and think carefully about how much personal health data you share with them.</p> <p>&quot;Most of these companies are not regulated in the same way as your health care provider or health plan to protect your personal health information,&quot; MIFA warns.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">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/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</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/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You 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/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain">EpiPens and Other Ways Companies Have Profited From Your Pain</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/don-t-waste-your-money-on-homeopathic-remedies">Don’t Waste Your Money on Homeopathic “Remedies”</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/scams-what-the-ftc-wants-you-to-know">Scams: What the FTC Wants You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs Health and Beauty credit monitoring doctors fraud health care medical identity theft medical records privacy safeguards social media thieves Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1821821 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/data_breach_58553266.jpg" alt="Learning what to do if your identity gets stolen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported that in 2014, 17.6 million Americans aged 16 or older were <a href="http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/vit14_sum.pdf">victims of identity theft</a>. That, alone, is a scary fact. And to be honest, when anyone says the phrase &quot;identity theft,&quot; most of us picture lives being upended, years of court cases, and bank accounts being wiped out.</p> <p>But let's look a little deeper into this issue, because while it is definitely something to keep on your radar, identity theft is a broad term. Plus, these days, with so many people being affected, there are more resources available than ever before to help you out. So before you go into full-blown panic mode&hellip;read on.</p> <h2>It's Highly Unlikely Someone Will Actually &quot;Steal&quot; Your Identity</h2> <p>Of the 17.6 million Americans that were victims of identity theft in 2014, only 4% of them actually had their personal information used to open a new account. Think about that for a second, and you should already be feeling much more calm. The chances of someone actually pretending to be you, opening up account everywhere in your name, and sinking you into a world of pain, are very slim indeed. Sadly, media outlets and the news don't like to cover that, because it's not sexy, and it doesn't get ratings. That's why the identity theft stories you hear about are horrific. But in reality, it is highly unlikely that you will have your literal identity stolen.</p> <h2>Identity Theft Is a Very Broad Term</h2> <p>The phrase itself puts most people in a cold sweat, but it covers a lot of different aspects of the crime. The vast majority of identity theft crimes, around 86%, are tied to the misuse of a credit card or bank account. That's it. Someone grabs your digits, takes out some cash, and calls it a day before the card gets canceled. Or, they withdraw a bunch of money and move on to someone else's account. Either way, it's quick and dirty, but rarely goes beyond that level of theft. And as the next point proves, it's not worth worrying about&hellip;</p> <h2>Credit Card and Bank Account Misuse Is Covered</h2> <p>If someone manages to get hold of your credit card, either by stealing or cloning it, they will undoubtedly go on a shopping spree. But you don't have to worry. While the initial shock of seeing thousands in charges you didn't accrue is horrifying, you are not on the hook for it. Card issuers and bank accounts cover you <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-credit-atm-and-debit-cards">for most (and generally all) of the theft</a>. You will get all of those funds put back onto your account, usually very quickly, and the card issuer or bank will take the hit and investigate the crime. Sadly, very little of this money is recovered from the thieves who did the spending. Unless there is CCTV footage of them committing the crime, and significant evidence to track them down, they'll get away with it. But rest assured, you won't have to foot the bill.</p> <h2>Over 52% of Identity Theft Victims Resolve the Problem in a Day or Less</h2> <p>Not years. Not months. Not weeks. Just one day. That should come as great comfort if you're worried about the time and expense it could take to sort out the mess some nasty crook has created for you. And here's further cause to relax&hellip;only 9% of victims spent more than a month trying to get their lives back on track, and even then, it was not a month taken off work, fighting eight hours a day, seven days a week. It is simply a process that can take time to get right.</p> <h2>This Is a Common Problem, So You'll Get Help</h2> <p>When identity theft first popped up, it was hard to get card issuers and banks to listen to the facts. But these days, that has all changed. There were more victims of identity theft in 2014 than <a href="https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/property-crime/property-crime">there were property crimes</a>, so it's definitely on law enforcement's radar. Most credit card companies monitor accounts very closely, and track your spending habits. They will often shut down a card immediately if they believe there is suspicious activity going on &mdash; for instance, an unusually large purchase, many purchases in one day, or purchases made out of state.</p> <p>If your card is stolen, report it the moment you notice it is gone, or has been cloned. If you see a new account has been opened in your name, report that immediately. These companies want your business, and they are setup to handle this kind of crime.</p> <h2>It's Easy to Stop Identity Theft in Its Tracks</h2> <p>These days you have resources and tools to monitor your accounts and your credit reports. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) puts this kind of protection into two basic categories.</p> <h3>Credit Monitoring</h3> <p>This tracks activity on your credit reports, and notifies you if a company checks your credit history, a new account is opened in your name, a debt collector reports a late payment, your credit limits change, or your personal information changes. It's worth noting that this isn't actually protection, but a warning. However, once you're alerted, you can act on that information.</p> <h3>Identity Monitoring</h3> <p>This alerts you when personal information, including your driver's license, passport, Social Security number, medical ID number, or bank account information, is used in ways that don't show up on your credit report.</p> <p>You will already know of major identity theft protection sites and services out there, including LifeLock, CompleteID, IdentityGuard, and IDShield. Your bank account and credit card issuers may also have their own version of identity theft protection for you to take advantage of. All of these services require a nominal monthly fee, but for the peace of mind offered, it's worth it.</p> <h2>Criminals Need More Than Just Your Personal Information</h2> <p>If you see a news story talking about a data breach, take the time to find out what has actually been stolen. As Time reported in 2015, criminals can do very little with your name, birth date, and email address. Even with your address and phone number on top of that, they aren't going to be able to do much without a SSN and/or account numbers and passwords. The most they can do is some kind of &quot;phishing&quot; scam, where they will use your personal information to try and get money out of you in some way, via phone or email. But use your common sense, and never respond to a cold call or email. Always contact a business yourself to verify this.</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/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">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/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</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-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</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/10-more-scams-everyone-should-know-about">10 More Scams Everyone Should Know About</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/5-things-to-never-keep-in-your-wallet">5 Things to Never Keep in Your Wallet</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/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Consumer Affairs credit monitoring data breach fraud hacked identity theft illegal phishing scams social security stolen money Tue, 25 Oct 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1819826 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs Your College Is a Scam http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-your-college-is-a-scam <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-your-college-is-a-scam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_93713933_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="signs your college is a scam" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A college degree opens doors. While there are certainly ways to find professional and financial success without a college degree, it can be a harder and longer path. The relationships built, the skills learned, the knowledge granted, and the credentials earned open pathways that might have beyond an individual's reach.</p> <p>However, not all colleges in the United States deliver the type of education that will lead to financial success. ITT Technical Institutes' <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2016/09/itt-tech-closes/498752/">recent and sudden closure</a> after it was barred from admitting students utilizing federal funds, was a reminder of that fact. The closure of the school put the educational and financial prospects of thousands of students in jeopardy.</p> <p>Prospective students need to remember that technical schools and colleges &mdash; even nonprofits &mdash; are run like businesses. They won't necessarily broadcast that they aren't capable of delivering the type of education you expect. It's up to you to investigate the school and discover any red flags that indicate the college is a total scam. Here are a few warning signs to look out for.</p> <h2>1. It's in Poor Financial Health</h2> <p>ITT Tech's closure due to financial issues isn't an isolated, once-in-a-blue-moon incident. Inside Higher Ed reports that on average, <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/09/28/moodys-predicts-college-closures-triple-2017">five colleges close down annually</a>. The number of college closures per year is expected to triple in the coming years as admission rates at smaller colleges drop. Smaller private and public colleges are dependent on tuition to remain financially viable. This means that years of low admission rates can result in a slow, prolonged death for the college which can blindside students.</p> <p>When a school closes, students might need to:</p> <ul> <li>Restart the school vetting process;</li> <li>Pay admission and application fees for new colleges;</li> <li>Find an institution that will transfer the most credits;</li> <li>Potentially apply to have&nbsp;<a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/closed-school">federal loans discharged</a>;</li> <li>Contend with issues keeping&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/09/19/64802/itt-tech-closure-could-turn-into-housing-crisis-fo/">housing benefits</a>.</li> </ul> <p>In order to avoid enrolling in a college that might go under before you graduate, potential college students can check the financial health of their college by doing a Google search about the school's financial health or admission rates.</p> <h2>2. It Lacks Proper Accreditation</h2> <p>Proper accreditation is vital to a degree or certificates' worth. According to RuthAnn Althaus, a program coordinator at Ohio University, <a href="http://onlinemasters.ohio.edu/mhadegree-org-an-interview-with-dr-ruthann-althaus/">accreditation is vital because</a> it &quot;provides assurance to students, their employers, and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) that institutions are meeting rigorous educational standards and are professionally sound.&quot;</p> <p>If you accidentally attend a college without proper accreditation, you will not be qualified to work in a field that requires a degree, and employers might not recognize your degree as a valid educational credential. You can ensure that the institution is accredited by searching for the school's website for the accreditation information. Be sure to double check the accreditation claim on the accrediting institution's website.</p> <h2>3. Does It Have National or Regional Accreditation?</h2> <p>There's another layer to the accreditation conundrum. In the U.S., colleges and programs can either be regionally accredited or nationally accredited. Accreditation from nationally accredited institutions (a lot of for-profit schools fall into this category) are often not recognized by public colleges.</p> <p>ITT Tech students are currently dealing with this issue. Due to the fact that ITT Tech was nationally accredited, students have very few options as they attempt to find a replacement school. Right now, ITT students<a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/01/options-itt-tech-students-if-profit-chain-collapses"> who want to transfer to another school</a> are limited to other nationally accredited schools and the few community colleges that are willing to consider transferring their credits.</p> <p>Before you apply to a nationally accredited institution, you should seriously consider if you would like the option to eventually transfer to a regionally accredited institution.</p> <h2>4. The School Is Facing Accreditation Probation or Withdrawal</h2> <p>Accreditation isn't a lifetime endorsement for a college. Accredited institutions must continually prove that they meet the required educational and financial standards to keep their certification. Schools that fail to meet standards can be placed on probation.</p> <p>Enrolling into a college that is in a probationary period is risky. Failure to improve can lead to the institution losing their accreditation either voluntarily or by having it revoked. The loss of accreditation will mean that if you want a degree that is actually worth anything, you will need to transfer to another school. If this happens in the middle of the semester, you can lose time and money.</p> <h2>5. It's Linked to State or Federal Investigations</h2> <p>State or federal investigations of the school or its accrediting agency might be a sign that the school will not be a good investment. While not all investigations indicate wrongdoing, in recent years, the federal and state investigations of ITT Technical Institutes resulted in the Department of Education barring the school from utilizing federal aid to enroll students. That restriction led to the collapse of the school.</p> <p>When accrediting agencies are investigated, the fallout can be even more extreme. ACICS, the agency that accredited ITT Technical Institution, has been <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/06/24/federal-panel-votes-terminate-acics-and-tightens-screws-other-accreditors">recommended for termination</a> after a federal investigation. If the recommendation goes through, <em>every college</em> ACICS accredits will have 18 months to get recertified with a different agency. Those school's ability to find another certification agency to endorse them really depends on the quality of the institution and their financial health.</p> <p>To be safe, before you enroll in a college, you should search for any news of investigations of the colleges you are vetting or the agency that accredits the college. If the investigations have to do with the school's finances or recruitment practices, you might want to dig a little deeper into the investigation before enrolling.</p> <h2>6. It Has Low Freshman Retention and Graduation Rates</h2> <p>Enrolling in a college with low student retention and graduation rates is an extremely risky endeavor. While you shouldn't discount a school entirely due to low rates, it should at least be a warning sign that should lead to further investigation.</p> <p>Low rates can be the result of:</p> <ul> <li>Students transferring to another school before graduation;</li> <li>Students taking more than four years to graduate;</li> <li>Low emotional and academic student support and guidance by teachers and advisers;</li> <li>Lower academic standards for admission.</li> </ul> <p>You can check the rates of colleges utilizing the website&nbsp;<a href="https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/">College Scorecard</a>.</p> <p>Colleges whose rates are around the national average &mdash; you probably don't need to investigate further. If the college has lower than average rates (10%-20%), that might be a major red flag to take into account before enrolling. You should at least prepare yourself for an uphill battle in your quest to earn your degree.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-your-college-is-a-scam">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/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</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-your-child-can-earn-college-credits-in-high-school-for-cheap">How Your Child Can Earn College Credits in High School (For Cheap)</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/20-freebies-for-college-students">20+ Freebies for College Students</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-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</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-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Education & Training back to school college college degree fraud higher education ITT Tech scam school Fri, 07 Oct 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1807406 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World http://www.wisebread.com/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_online_36991010.jpg" alt="Woman learning strange ways online shopping changed the world" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you prefer online shopping to in-store purchases, you're not alone. According to Business Insider, about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-surprising-demographics-of-who-shops-online-and-on-mobile-2014-6">78% of the U.S. population age 15 and older</a> fancies themselves a few clicks and a quick checkout when buying something new. While that's all well and good &mdash; and incredibly convenient &mdash; this new American pastime does have its downsides. Check out a few of these strange ways online shopping has changed the world &mdash; not necessarily for the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you">8 Ways Retailers Use Big Data to Track You</a>)</p> <h2>1. Consumer Reviews Can Make or Break a Product</h2> <p>Before online shopping became commonplace, consumers had few ways to learn about the pros and cons of a product. They could rely on word-of-mouth if someone they knew had purchased the same item, or they could listen to what the media said about it, perhaps on consumer-related nightly news piece or in magazines, like <em>Good Housekeeping</em>. Because information on how well &mdash; or not well &mdash; a product worked was sparse, consumer unhappiness was limited. Retailers were relatively safe from gaining a poor reputation unless its products were outright duds that caught attention en masse. But that all changed with online shopping, which gave consumers the voice they had been looking for. Today, reviews of a product are trusted more than personal recommendations, according to research. In fact, a whopping&nbsp;<a href="https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/">92% of consumers trust online reviews</a> as much as they would a friend or family member, or perhaps even more.</p> <h2>2. There Are No True Holidays Anymore</h2> <p>Remember when we were kids and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas meant that virtually no retail stores would be open? We'd drive through town on the way to our relatives' house for supper and there was nary a car in any of the stores' parking lots. That's all changed thanks to online shopping, much to many people's dismay. Each year, it seems, Black Friday hours are pushed earlier and earlier, creeping into Thanksgiving, with some stores opening on Thanksgiving Day even. Last year, Kmart said to hell with the entire holiday and opened at 6 a.m. the fourth Thursday of November, the earliest among major retailers. It was beat out by one other chain, however, though not a competitor: Victoria's Secret opened its doors from 12 a.m. to 12 a.m. Thanksgiving Day (a full 24 hours!), because, ya know, who isn't in the mood for sexy lingerie after stuffing themselves silly with turkey and mashed potatoes?</p> <h2>3. Shopping Malls Are Becoming Ruins</h2> <p>Shopping malls were huge in the 1980s and '90s, so much so that they defined an entire generation. But by the 2000s, attendance at malls around the country started to dwindle. Many factors have contributed to the decline (not the least of which was that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/10/26/why_so_much_violence_happens_at_the_mall_partner/">they had become locales of violence</a>), including the rise of online shopping. Bustling hubs of commerce and social activity that once stood proud are now in ruin, relics of the past that serve as a stark reminder that American life isn't what it used to be.</p> <p>&quot;Dozens of malls have shuttered since 2010, with hundreds more on the brink,&quot; says Benjamin Glaser, features editor with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dealnews.com">DealNews</a>. The few shopping centers that have been built in the last decade usually aren't traditional, enclosed malls, but larger complexes with a wider dining and entertainment options, and often open-air areas. To compete with online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers are trying to create experiences.</p> <p>This fate doesn't paint a pretty picture of what was left in the wake of the downturn or for current mall owners. Those that have already heard its final cash register cha-ching now&nbsp;<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/completely-surreal-pictures-of-americas-abandoned-malls?utm_term=.vmGR1doAG#.dq8X0xRoy">look like sets for <em>The Walking Dead</em></a>, and those that still exist are being&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-16/day-of-reckoning-comes-for-u-s-shopping-malls-laden-with-debt">murdered by debt</a>.</p> <h2>4. Dog Bites Have Increased</h2> <p>Family dogs and mail carriers have had a rocky relationship for decades, but recently our friendly canines have been acting out in droves &mdash; all because that pesky USPS employee is stopping by more often with your online packages.</p> <p>According to <em>AdAge</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://adage.com/article/digital/online-shopping-causing-a-rise-dog-attacks/305366/">dog bites were up 14% last year</a>, reaching a total of 6,549 incidents. The most attacks were in Houston, which had 77, while San Diego and Cleveland clocked in at 58 each.</p> <h2>5. Identity Theft Is Out of Control</h2> <p>Before online shopping became everybody's go-to method of buying everything from clothing to groceries, it was difficult for an identity thief to target a large amount of data. Sure, your credit card could be stolen by a single thief and charged up until the bank caught wind of suspicious activity, but the consequences pale in comparison to a million-accounts data breach that could throw your entire life out of whack.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/04/14/identity-theft-growing/2082179/"><em>USA Today</em> reports that credit-card data theft has increased 50%</a> from 2005 to 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Likewise, because your credit card numbers can be worth hundreds of dollar a piece to resellers &mdash; the number of malicious programs written to steal your information has grown from about 1 million in 2007 to an estimated 130 million today. So basically, no one is safe, and you should take even more precautions &mdash; like not storing your credit cards with retailers online &mdash; to avoid becoming a victim.</p> <h2>6. Some Online Orders Are Now Being Delivered by Drones</h2> <p>Future moving too fast for you? Then you won't be elated to hear the news that drones may start arriving at your home or office to deliver your online shopping orders. Yep, flying robots are entering the friendly skies all over the world, and they could be landing in your front yard soon if Amazon has its way. Its PrimeAir program is gearing up for its first consumer flights that promise to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/video/china-mail-drone-makes-first-delivery/A3EA877F-AF8E-4E43-AF27-BFE5EF8F15C5.html">China</a> and Australia have already implemented similar services, which has its benefits, especially to those in hard-to-reach rural areas, or for medical purposes, but we can all probably agree that&nbsp;<a href="https://www.pddnet.com/news/2016/09/chipotle-drone-delivery-pilot-program-runs-virginia-tech">nobody needs their piping-hot burrito dropped from the sky</a>.</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/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">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-little-known-amazon-shopping-hacks">5 Little Known Amazon Shopping Hacks</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-you-can-have-delivered">12 Surprising Things You Can Have Delivered</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/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping Amazon delivery online shopping shipping shoppers shopping shopping habits Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1800743 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Retailers Use Big Data to Track You http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_93804837_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="retailers use big data to learn your shopping secrets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever wondered how some retailers seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to the things you need, or want? How did they know you were looking for a pair of heels, or a crib? Was it incredible guesswork that they sent coupons for luggage just as you started planning a vacation? The answer is no. It's not luck, or guesswork, or a coincidence. Retailers have many methods available to them to learn, track, and take advantage of your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-thinking-skills-frugal-people-should-master">personal shopping habits</a>. Here are eight that you may never have considered.</p> <h2>1. Store Loyalty Cards</h2> <p>Have you ever wondered why certain discounts and promotions are available only to loyalty card holders, when the cards are completely free to get? Well, this is one of the prime ways retailers &mdash; grocery stores in particular &mdash; can track your spending habits. You'll notice the effect instantly when the receipt machine spews out a whole bunch of coupons for you after you pay for your groceries. These are coupons based on what you have just bought, and what you have purchased in the past. And as the coupons are printed on demand, they are different for every customer.</p> <p>But it's not just about food and household supplies. When you buy a more expensive item, say a big screen TV, a carpet shampooer, or a piece of furniture, the store stores that data, too. Soon, you'll get email offers and mailed coupons for discounts on TV mounts, cleaning supplies, and furniture polish. If you've tied your loyalty card to an email and phone number, you could get coupons in your inbox, or as a text. And the more you shop, the more they know about you, and the more they can target you with specific offers designed to get you spending.</p> <h2>2. Your Phone Number</h2> <p>When you reach the checkout in many stores, you will be asked for your phone number. Most people just give it out without even thinking. If you ask why, you will probably be told something like, &quot;we just like to know where in the state our customers are coming from.&quot; While that's not untrue, there is way more to it than that. It's also another reason loyalty programs like to tie your phone number and email address to the card.</p> <p>Once you give up that phone number, you are handing over all of your purchasing information to the retailer. And if that retailer is very savvy, such as Target, they can analyze it with some sophisticated software to discover just what your future may hold, and how they can be there for you. Take the example of a young woman who was buying things that Target associates with an upcoming pregnancy (for example, cocoa-butter lotion, magnesium supplements, a large purse, and a powder blue rug). Target sent this girl a circular featuring a lot of maternity clothing and baby furniture. Her parents were furious, until they found out later that she was actually pregnant. As reported by Forbes, Target knew about the baby before the girl's own parents did. And Target also assigns every single customer with a &quot;pregnancy prediction score.&quot; Scary? Many people think so.</p> <h2>3. Your Smartphone</h2> <p>This is not about the phone number, but the technology used in your smartphone. Through a technique known as <a href="https://www.plotprojects.com/geofencing/">geofencing</a>, which uses Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth, retailers are automatically alerted to your presence as you approach, enter, and browse the store. And once again, Target is one of those retailers that is on the cutting edge of this technology.</p> <p>If you have an app like Cartwheel installed on your phone, you may notice that offers pop up as you enter the Target store (or, after a few minutes of browsing). This is not a weird coincidence. This is all part of Target's strategy to get you spending more in their stores. And of course, as they already know a lot about your shopping habits, they can serve up the coupons and offers that are most likely to get you opening your wallet. Make a purchase using the app, and bingo, you have just given even more information to their database. Now they know not only what you're buying, but how effective their instant offers are; and they can tailor them to be even more successful in the future.</p> <h2>4. Free Wi-Fi</h2> <p>They say nothing is really free, and in this case, it applies to Wi-Fi. We all love free Wi-Fi because it prevents us from eating into our own data plans, and it's usually a lot faster than 4G. But there is a price to pay for it, and that price is information. It may seem very Orwellian, but these days, stores can use their Wi-Fi service and your phone to track your shopping habits in real-time while in the store. They know which aisles you're visiting first, which offers keep you occupied the longest, and can even trace the path you take from the entrance to the checkout.</p> <p>While it's harder (but not impossible) to capture this data on a person-by-person case, it is usually used as a research tool to help stores improve the shopping experience. If certain aisles are more successful than others, they will know why. If there are areas of overcrowding, they can be fixed. The aim is to get people spending more, and that is most likely to happen when the customer is happier in the store, and ready to peruse for a longer period of time. So the next time you use Wi-Fi anywhere from a bookstore to a warehouse store, remember&hellip; your every move could be tracked.</p> <h2>5. Website Cookies</h2> <p>If you don't know already, a cookie is a small piece of data stored on your computer, tablet, or phone by a website's server. It is used to help keep track of your movements within the site, and is usually very helpful. For instance, it can store the last page you visited, autofill forms, or provide suggestions based on your last visit. But, it can also assist the retailer behind the website, supplying them with information about your previous visits and purchases, your searches, and your overall shopping habits. This is often a benefit to you, as you may receive offers to entice you to buy something that you left in your shopping cart.</p> <p>It can also be used against you. A prime example is vacation searches. The more you search, be it for a hotel or flight, the likelier it is that the prices will actually go up. The sites know you're looking for a vacation, and when something is in demand, the price rises. By browsing anonymously, or using a VPN (virtual private network), you can stop that. Websites can also sell this cookie information to a third party, and it is common these days for sites to refuse entry if you turn off cookies. They want to know everything about you. You can also routinely clear you cookies, which may cause a few pages to load more slowly.</p> <h2>6. Purchasing Data</h2> <p>Quite often, you will see language like, &quot;We do not sell or share your information with third parties&quot; on websites, forms, and other methods of collecting your personal information. That's because it has become common practice for many retailers to store, collate, and sell the information of millions of customers for a profit. In the age of online retailing and phone shopping, big data is huge. The more retailers can know about you, the more targeted their campaigns can be. If a company wants to specifically focus on white males, ages 31&ndash;40, who smoke, drink, and subscribe to a sports package, they can buy that list. It can be expensive, initially, for retailers to buy this data, but it can really pay off because their message is laser-focused on the audience they want to reach.</p> <p>All of these methods mentioned above &mdash; including phone numbers, loyalty information, and website patterns &mdash; can be collected and sold. When they are in control of it, they can build on the data, creating a picture of you as a consumer that is so detailed, you may be shocked by its accuracy, and invasion of privacy.</p> <h2>7. CCTV Equipment</h2> <p>Smile, you're on camera. We are in the age of eyes in the sky, and big brother on every street corner. Cameras are also a major part of every store's infrastructure, and if you think they are only there to monitor shoplifters, think again.</p> <p>As The Guardian reported earlier this year, facial recognition software can determine who is entering the store, and how they are reacting to certain displays and promotions. If you're a guy with a beard, and there is an endcap devoted to grooming products, the retailer wants to know if you're reacting to it. As this technology develops, it will not be unusual to see specific ads targeted to certain consumers as they walk through the store. Expect to see ads for maternity products being displayed on LCD screens as a pregnant lady walks past, which change to ads for toys as a family with small children pass by the same area. This is not decades away; this technology is already being perfected. If it sounds like something from <em>Minority Report</em>, it's not far off.</p> <h2>8. Social Media</h2> <p>You probably have at least a Facebook account, and possibly Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, and FourSquare. While these are all great ways to share information and keep in touch with friends, they are also a boon for retailers, who also have a massive presence on these platforms. Brands and retailers can push offers and information at you 24/7, and sophisticated software can help them interact with you. They know if you &quot;like&quot; certain products or advertisements. They provide links to let you instantly purchase products and services that have been sent to you. They give out rewards for sharing offers and coupons. And the more you do it, the more they learn about you and your habits.</p> <p>Some people have started multiple social media accounts &mdash; one for personal use, and one that does not share as much private information &mdash; for this very reason. You are being watched constantly on social media, and you are being targeted with specific offers based on data that has been collected.</p> <p>Be careful out there.</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-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you">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/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">6 Brands With the Best Warranties</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-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</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/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</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-sneaky-ways-youre-being-upsold">8 Sneaky Ways You&#039;re Being Upsold</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/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping big data personal data retailers shopping habits shopping trends tracking Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Paul Michael 1798176 at http://www.wisebread.com EpiPens and Other Ways Companies Have Profited From Your Pain http://www.wisebread.com/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medication_pills_money_88647685.jpg" alt="Learning how epipens and other companies profit from pain" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The EpiPen literally saves lives. So naturally, the makers of the lifesaving product decided to cash in on that, <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mylans-epipen-price-increases-are-valeant-like-in-size-shkreli-like-in-approach-2016-07-20">raising the cost</a> from $100 for a package of two, to over $600! (And that's with a coupon, by the way).</p> <p>The reason behind the dramatic increase is awful. According to Tech Times, five top Mylan NV executives had to hit some <a href="http://www.techtimes.com/articles/175921/20160901/whats-the-reason-behind-the-outrageous-epipen-price-increase-executive-pay-of-course.htm">pretty incredible sales figures</a> to achieve their combined $82 million in bonuses. Knowing the EpiPen is essential to many people, they simply jacked the price up and hit their goals. But, as you'll soon discover, this isn't the first time companies like Mylan NV have stuck it to people in need of medications.</p> <h2>Daraprim, One Pill &mdash; $13.50 to $750</h2> <p>If the drug doesn't sound familiar, the awful person behind its price hike will. His name is Martin Shkreli, often described in news stories and social media outlets as a man with a face you'd love to slap. His company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired Daraprim in 2015 for $55 million. The drug is used to fight AIDS, malaria, and is also an antiparasitic. On September 17th, 2015, it was reported that the price of the drug had spiked from <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/business/a-huge-overnight-increase-in-a-drugs-price-raises-protests.html?_r=0">$13.50 per pill to $750 per pill</a>, an increase of 5,456%!</p> <p>Shkreli defended the massive increase, saying &quot;If there was a company that was selling an Aston Martin at the price of a bicycle, and we buy that company and we ask to charge Toyota prices, I don't think that that should be a crime.&quot; It was poetic justice to see <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/06/accused-fraudster-martin-shkreli-pleads-not-guilty-to-indictment-filed-last-week.html">Shkreli in court this year</a>.</p> <h2>Cycloserine, 30 Capsules &mdash; $500 to $10,800</h2> <p>Used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis, Cycloserine was already costly at $500 for 30 capsules. So when Rodelis acquired the drug and <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/tuberculosis-drug-cycloserines-massive-price-hike-rodelis-therapeutics-rolled-back-2107884">raised the price</a> in September 2015, overnight, to $10,800 for the same number of pills, there was outrage. In fact, so much was said about it that biotechnology stocks suffered losses, with investors worried about the backlash. Rodelis caved to pressure and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/business/big-price-increase-for-tb-drug-is-rescinded.html?hpw&amp;rref=health&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=well-region&amp;region=bottom-well&amp;WT.nav=bottom-well&amp;_r=1">gave the drug back</a> to its previous owners, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Purdue University. However, the drug did not go back to its regular price. The cost was doubled from $500 to $1,050 for 30 capsules.</p> <h2>Isuprel, One Vial &mdash; $180 to $1,472</h2> <p>A drug used to treat abnormal heart rhythms is, as you can imagine, vital to many people in the U.S. and around the world. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International didn't see that as a good enough reason to keep the drug at its already steep price, and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/business/valeant-promised-price-breaks-on-drugs-heart-hospitals-are-still-waiting.html">jacked the cost up by 718%</a> in February last year. Valeant were called before Congress to explain their actions, and agreed to set up discounts of as much as 40% on the drug. As of May 11th, many heart hospitals were still <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/business/valeant-promised-price-breaks-on-drugs-heart-hospitals-are-still-waiting.html">waiting for those discounts</a> to appear.</p> <h2>Nitropress, One Vial &mdash; $215 to $881</h2> <p>The same company responsible for the Isuprel price hike were also behind the massive cost increase of Nitropress last year, a drug used to keep blood pressure low during heart surgeries. However, it wasn't quite as steep as the Isuprel rise, costing hospitals, and therefore patients, 312% more. The then CEO of Valeant, J. Michael Pearson (who has a net worth of $175 million) issued a statement saying the price increases were mistakes, saying &quot;The company was too aggressive &mdash; and I, as its leader, was too aggressive &mdash; in pursuing price increases on certain drugs.&quot; That probably comes as little comfort to the people who receive their hospital bills.</p> <h2>Vimovo, One Tablet &mdash; $1.88 to $23.86</h2> <p>There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are diagnosed with it, you will be suffering from joint pain that can be crippling and debilitating. So, a drug that helps ease this pain should not be just as painful to buy.</p> <p>Horizon Pharma acquired the rights to the drug Vimovo, which helps to fight arthritis, in 2013. It then <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/20/investing/drug-price-hikes-martin-shkreli-valeant/">hiked the price by 597%</a>, taking one tablet from $1.88 to $23.86. Considering a vast number of people suffering from this condition are in retirement and on a fixed income, this is a disgrace. But the company hiked the price again recently, with a pack of 60 tablets <a href="http://www.goodrx.com/vimovo">now costing over $2,000</a> (with a coupon). Ironically, the drug is simply a mixture of two very cheap drugs, esomeprazole and naproxen. Many doctors are encouraged (that means kickbacks) by big pharma companies to write &quot;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/business/drug-makers-sidestep-barriers-on-pricing.html">prescriptions made easy</a>&quot; for these combination drugs. Always ask your doctor if there is a cheaper alternative that works just as well.</p> <h2>Dutoprol, One Pill &mdash; $0.52 to $5.26</h2> <p>This drug is used to treat high blood pressure, and up until 2013, the price was fairly reasonable &mdash; around $15 for a bottle of 30 pills. Clearly, the company the manufactures Dutoprol, Covis Pharma, was not happy with a reasonable price. So, they <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/stunning-increases-drug-prices-that-have-shot-400-1200-percent/">hiked the price by 1,013%</a> to $5.26 per pill, or $157.80 for a bottle of 30 pills.</p> <h2>Sprix Nasal Spray, One Bottle &mdash; $32.07 to $183.97</h2> <p>If you have severe nasal pain, you will require a good pain reliever. Sprix is the only nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) on the market, and is preferred by people who do not want to use opioids or controlled substances. That preference will now cost a lot more. In February of 2015, Egalet Corp <a href="http://hedgeclippers.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/NDC-Description.png">raised the price of one bottle</a> from $32.07 to $183.97, an increase of 574%. And as the spray is often sold in packs of five, you will be paying over $900 for that much-needed pain relief.</p> <h2>Tasmar, One Tablet &mdash; $15.70 to $105.98</h2> <p>Perhaps the most famous person you'll know of that may need Tasmar is Michael J. Fox. It's a drug used to treat the effects of Parkinson's disease. And once again, Valeant Pharmaceuticals is behind the massive price hike. In April last year, the company decided to raise the price of one tablet from $15.70 to $105.98, an increase of 675%. While a movie star may not have issues paying that bill, most people will get serious sticker shock when they have to pay over $6,300 for their bottle of 60 tablets.</p> <h2>Edecrin, One Vial &mdash; $470 to $4,600</h2> <p>Used in the treatment of edema and heart failure, Edecrin is a diuretic that helps your body get rid of excess salt and water. When Valeant acquired the rights to this drug, it started raising prices. Not once. Not twice. Not three times. The price has been increased <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/05/business/valeants-drug-price-strategy-enriches-it-but-infuriates-patients-and-lawmakers.html">an astonishing nine times </a>since 2014, and is now $4,600 per vial.</p> <h2>Targretin Gel, One Tube &mdash; $1,687 to $30,320</h2> <p>Those are not typos. You did read that correctly. There is clearly something going wrong somewhere when a company can charge more than the price of a Dodge Charger for a tube of topical gel. And, of course, it's used to address the symptoms of a form of cancer, which is one of the most expensive diseases to treat. Once again, those wonderful people at Valeant are behind the rise, and at over $1,600 a tube to begin with, it was hardly in desperate need of a price hike. But, they did it, making the small tube of gel <a href="http://www.fiercepharma.com/financials/jama-valeant-s-18-fold-price-hikes-top-widespread-increases-dermatology-prices">18 times more expensive</a> after they bought the rights to the drug in 2013.</p> <p>Valeant has defended the rise, saying full retail prices &quot;rarely represent the prices that patients and insurers are paying or what the pharmaceutical company receives.&quot; If you don't have good insurance, or any insurance, you likely won't have the money needed for this drug. Incidentally, at the same time, <a href="https://healthfinder.gov/News/Article.aspx?id=705625">Valeant raised the price of Carac cream</a>, another topical treatment dealing with skin cancer, from $159 to $2,705. The message this company is sending is clear&hellip;you get sick, we get rich.</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/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain">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/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</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/don-t-waste-your-money-on-homeopathic-remedies">Don’t Waste Your Money on Homeopathic “Remedies”</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/healthcare-20-websites-to-help-you-save-on-doctors-dentists-and-more">Healthcare 2.0: Websites to Help You Save on Doctors, Dentists, and More</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-5-gadget-that-can-save-you-thousands-of-dollars">The $5 Gadget That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars</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/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Financial News Health and Beauty big pharma companies drugs health care illness medication pharmaceuticals price hikes Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1796989 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Women Can Avoid Paying the "Pink Tax" http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-women-can-avoid-paying-the-pink-tax <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-women-can-avoid-paying-the-pink-tax" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_82779733_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="women can avoid paying extra for the &quot;pink tax&quot;" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Regardless of age, pink has remained the color most identified with the female gender. And it turns out, <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-02-17/the-pink-tax-why-womens-products-often-cost-more">women pay a &quot;pink tax&quot;</a> on items that are marketed for them. Also, products made and marketed to women are higher priced and sometimes not as well made. All of this <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-obstacles-that-are-especially-tough-for-women">makes women begin to see red</a>.</p> <p>In football, they say the best defense is a good offense, and the same can be said when shopping for the best prices. With a calculator as your playbook, here's how you avoid paying the pink tax and save money in the process.</p> <h2>On Toiletries</h2> <p>What is the difference between a three-blade pink razor and a three-blade blue razor? It's not a trick question, but when you see the difference in price, you will feel like you've been pranked. Price is the only difference in gender-based razors. Some razors may offer moisture strips and an extra blade, but you might save more by spending your money on the blue razors and a moisturizing lotion. If you use a women's shaving cream, compare that price with the price of an unscented men's shaving cream.</p> <p>Don't put your calculator away just yet. Wander over to the shampoo and conditioner aisle and compare prices and sizes of shampoos marketed for women and shampoo for men. Often the biggest difference between the two, apart from the cost and size of bottle, is the fragrance. You're going to wash shampoo out and possibly use a conditioner, so is a fragrance really worth the higher cost?</p> <p>Apart from items specifically marketed to menstruating women, <a href="http://www.12news.com/mb/money/business/consumer/call-12-for-action/the-pink-tax-and-how-to-avoid-it/45021187">many toiletries made for men</a> are less expensive, come in larger quantities, and are available in unscented versions that could be used by women &mdash; including deodorant. Simply compare prices and quantity. Your time spent investigating will be well worth it.</p> <h2>On Hair Care</h2> <p>Women are quickly discovering the benefits and savings in visiting the neighborhood barbershop for a haircut instead of a higher priced, fancier hair salon. Most barbershops can easily cut short hair. Check with your selected shop if you have long hair. The barbershop may or may not do styling and colors, but for a quick trim or new bob, you might be surprised.</p> <h2>On Clothing</h2> <p>Women's clothing may require less fabric than men's clothing &mdash; jeans, for example &mdash; but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-ways-to-save-money-on-clothes">they cost a great deal more</a>. If you're handy with a sewing machine or know a good seamstress, you can have most men's clothing tailored to fit and still save money.</p> <h2>On Car Maintenance</h2> <p>It's financially wise for women to learn how to <a href="https://blog.cjponyparts.com/repair-or-replace-infographic/">perform basic car maintenance</a> and emergency repairs like changing a flat tire, but it also gives women the knowledge to know when they are being overcharged at a repair shop. Many technical schools offer classes in basic car maintenance and repair.</p> <p>Knowledge is power, not only when it comes to car repairs, but also in real estate, mortgages, and buying or leasing vehicles. The more you know, the smarter your choices and decisions will be, especially when it comes to avoiding a pink tax.</p> <p><em>Where else can women avoid the unfair &quot;pink tax?&quot; Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-women-can-avoid-paying-the-pink-tax">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/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</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-price-match-policies-you-should-be-wary-of">8 Price Match Policies You Should Be Wary Of</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/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</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-times-cash-is-not-king">8 Times Cash Is Not King</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/are-you-spending-too-much-on-halloween-this-year">Are You Spending Too Much on Halloween This Year?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping beauty products budgeting feminine products pink tax saving money tampons taxes Thu, 08 Sep 2016 10:30:08 +0000 Anum Yoon 1788320 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Brands With the Best Warranties http://www.wisebread.com/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/38524086.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a huge letdown that we've all faced: You've invested in a reputedly quality-made product and it breaks, malfunctions, or otherwise falls eons short of your humble expectations. (Cue the sad trombone.)</p> <p>Fortunately, if you're shopping the right brands, there's a way out of this situation. There are a handful of companies that not only make durable gear, but also back those claims of durability with warranty programs to facilitate repairs, returns, exchanges, or money-back guarantees and are fair and easy. Okay, some of these warranties aren't exactly fair. But rest assured that with these brands any unfairness is rigged in favor of the consumer, bar none. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service?ref=seealso">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sears Craftsman</h2> <p>In 2016, the Sears Craftsman brand of hand tools for lawn and garden maintenance was named <a href="http://www.theharrispoll.com/business/2016-Brands-of-the-Year.html">America's brand of the year</a> for power tools by The Harris Poll, a respected and academically vetted index of superior brand quality. And with a warranty program like the one offered by Craftsman, it's not hard to see why the company ranks so high.</p> <p>When Craftsman hand tools hit the market in 1927, the company instituted an unlimited lifetime warranty under which any Craftsman item can be returned, replaced, or repaired, free of charge, for any reason &mdash; no proof of purchase necessary. &quot;We stand behind the warranty &mdash; <a href="https://consumerist.com/2009/03/25/sears-clarifies-craftsman-tools-warranty/">complete satisfaction &mdash; period</a>,&quot; says David Figler, vice president of Craftsman tools. Of course, complete satisfaction is hard to define. In fact, it's really quite subjective. But Craftsman vows to leave it up to the consumer to gauge his or her own satisfaction. This generous guarantee is all about keeping the customer content.</p> <h2>2. LL Bean</h2> <p>Catalog retailer LL Bean will take anything back, for any reason, in any condition, and replace it. It's unbelievable what people will send back: a 40-year-old T-shirt that has worn a small hole, muddy and rain-soaked camping gear, or perfectly good bedding that's no longer needed because the consumer upgraded to a king-size bed. The list goes on and on and on. The folks who staff the LL Bean returns department are under strict orders to <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/591/get-your-moneys-worth">refrain from passing any judgement</a> on the people who bring back things with which they were clearly satisfied &mdash; so satisfied, in fact, that they wore the items out over a lifetime of heavy use. Alas, LL Bean vows not to play the moral police. If you say you're unsatisfied with an LL Bean product, no employee will question you. Rather, they will bestow upon you a new version of the thing you wore out, or full store credit.</p> <h2>3. Aldi</h2> <p>Discount grocer Aldi doesn't just guarantee its products &mdash; it double guarantees them. If you're not fully satisfied with an item, the store will both <a href="https://www.aldi.us/en/new-to-aldi/double-guarantee/">replace the item and refund your money</a>. This uber-generous warranty simply requires that consumers return the product packaging and any unused product to a local store manager. It's as easy as that!</p> <h2>4. Cutco</h2> <p>Probably the least exciting household item you'll ever have to replace is your cutlery. Here's how to avoid it: Invest in Cutco knives, which are backed by <a href="https://www.cutco.com/products/the-forever-guarantee.jsp">a forever guarantee</a>. Like heirloom jewelry, Cutco knives are intended to be passed down within families for generations. To that end, the company will sharpen or repair its products, a service that costs $9 in shipping and handling, and vows to return them to you in like-new condition &mdash; no receipt or registration required. If you're not satisfied with a product's performance, the company will correct the problem or replace the product. All you have to do is mail the product back to the company with an explanatory note. And should you damage your Cutco knives through misuse, the company will replace the item for half of its current retail price plus any applicable sales tax.</p> <h2>5. Dr. Martens</h2> <p>Ranging from the <a href="http://footwearnews.com/2016/focus/womens/dr-martens-x-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-collection-launches-boots-226787/">whimsical</a> to the <a href="http://www.drmartens.com/us/p/industrial-boots-industrial-grizzly-ironbridgeim">industrial</a>, there's a Dr. Martens boot style for just about everyone. In fact, that's one reason why the brand's combat boot, available in a huge range of colors and patterns, has been named one of celebrity stylist June Ambrose's top <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-moms/news/stylist-june-ambrose-shares-back-to-school-picks-w433724">must-haves for back-to-school</a>. And while Dr. Martens aren't exactly inexpensive, parents can rest assured that a Dr. Martens purchase is money well spent. That's because the brand's footwear is backed by a lifetime guarantee. The company promises to continually repair or replace any pair of shoes <a href="http://drmartensforlife.com/for-life-products/">for the rest of its wearer's life</a>.</p> <h2>6. Jansport</h2> <p>The popular backpack and luggage company asserts that its products are durable. Of course, tears and zipper malfunctions sometimes happen. If the company can't fix a flaw in one of its products, it vows to replace or refund it. It doesn't matter what adventurous trek you've tested it on or how long ago you bought it. This lifetime guarantee comes with <a href="http://www.jansport.com/customer-service/lifetime-warranty.html">no strings attached</a>.</p> <p><em>What other brands have great warranties? Share with us!</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/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">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/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</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-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you">8 Ways Retailers Use Big Data to Track You</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/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</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-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping brands customer service retailers return policy shop smart shopping habits warranties Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1775147 at http://www.wisebread.com 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/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">6 Brands With the Best Warranties</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-sneaky-ways-youre-being-upsold">8 Sneaky Ways You&#039;re Being Upsold</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-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-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/you-cant-save-if-you-dont-try">You Can’t Save if You Don’t Try</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-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/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/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">6 Brands With the Best Warranties</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/how-to-be-the-best-customer">How to be the best customer</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-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/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/10-stores-with-the-best-price-matching">10 Stores With the Best Price Matching</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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-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/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/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</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-price-match-policies-you-should-be-wary-of">8 Price Match Policies You Should Be Wary Of</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-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/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/10-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling 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/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</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/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> <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-be-the-best-customer">How to be the best customer</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