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Going online shopping: Don’t fall for these 6 tricks
Festive seasons are big for shopping — both online and offline. These are the times when many of us are in mood of shopping binge. While it’s fine to shop to your heart’s content, it’s also important not to get carried away. There are several tricks and traps that e-taliers use to tempt you and make you succumb to splurging.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you go online shopping next time …
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Newspaper ads claiming huge discount
Full-page ads claiming huge discounts on electronics and other items during annual online sale days are quite common. We may often get excited by ads promising up to 30% or more discounts. However, many a times these discounts come with a catch. Like the discount may be available only on select credit or debit cards. Two, the discount may be available only on select products and many of these may not-be-that new too. It’s often common to see discounts on old laptops and other such devices online.
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Many products don’t have discount but only exchange offers. These exchange discounts may appear attractive but many a times you may end up giving away your old device at throwaway prices.
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Flight tickets: That discounted fare may only be base fare
This one is not specific to festive shopping, but is important. Got an e-mailer on air tickets starting at Rs 2,000? They may look tempting, but most of the time these ads only tell half the story. On cross checking, you are likely to find that the fare shown was only the base fare. The addition of taxes may jack up the price. Also, many a times cheap tickets are non-refundable. This means in case you have to cancel the ticket, either you will end up losing all your money or a huge part of it.
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App notifications/alerts coming from online retailers are another huge shopping temptation that many of us fall to. Those ‘flash sale’ messages offering discounts for few hours often result in impulsive shopping. The 2-hour window offering 30% or more discounts may make many fall for them.
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Last day of Diwali sale or Independence Day sale. Many a times these may appear as ‘final days’ to make your purchase of a certain phone, electronic item or any other thing on your shopping list you may be planning to. But they are not always. As in the sale rush and in eagerness to get the best discount we may fail to do the due diligence for our purchase. This may even result in wrong buy. Also, if Diwali sale goes New Year, Republic Day or more will be coming.
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Offer different prices to different customers
Many online retailers use this trick. Here the prices of high-demand products are changed on the fly as per demand. You may even see the price of the same product changing multiple times during a day.
Most travel websites use this. You will see a sudden surge in prices on certain days. Many a times, ticket prices appearing on weekends are higher than other days. Also, if you have searched for a certain ticket multiple times, there’s chance that you may not find it cheap.
Also, almost all e-tailers undertake detailed, data-driven analysis of consumer behaviour based on which they are shown prices. One way to avoid this is to shop in incognito mode and regularly erase cookies. But then this too is not foolproof way. As there is nothing called ‘private’ on the place called world wide web.