PRICE

Please lie to us!

Do American consumers want to be deceived?

Do they like being lied to?

Those are the provocative questions raised by a recent debate about eliminating restaurant tips. It’s a discussion that rages on, particularly in the travel industry, where consumers are lied to without shame or legal repercussions every day.
Continue reading…


Oh, for Chrysler’s sake — honor the advertised price!

When Larry Chrysler saw a good deal posted on American Express Travel, he was ready to book it. His flight of interest was on Air France, going from New York’s JFK airport to Tel Aviv, Israel.

The advertised flight listed all the pertinent details, times, layovers, flight numbers, even the declaration: “3 tickets left at this price” and the price, of course. Continue reading…


The price is wrong – but are you right?

My patience was running thin.

I’d picked up a pack of Flair pens at a great price to use as prizes at a junior high volunteer event. Just $4.79 per packet, according to the tag. But the Walmart register begged to differ. It displayed the price as $6.29.

Who’s right?
Continue reading…


Don’t be fooled a sexy six-figure salary – you’ll pay the price

Young people are flocking to big, expensive cities, according to data crunched by housing market information service RealtyTrac, and that might not be the greatest of ideas.

If you look at the chart below, you will see that young folks are moving to the Washington D.C. area, which occupies three of the top 10 counties where high percentages of millennials are moving in. They are also moving to places like San Francisco, Denver, and New York.

That’s probably not much of a surprise: Young adults go where opportunity is.
Continue reading…


Attention shoppers: beware of the naughty nines

After spending three hours body-checking other shoppers in pursuit of the best prices on a blustery February afternoon, my head’s spinning with numbers — one in particular. When I close my eyes, all I can see are 9s with a leading dot.

Egad! Could a simple, innocent combination of characters be the true source of all my shopping frustration?
Continue reading…


Will new bill let airlines hide ticket prices?

Dabari/Shutterstock
Dabari/Shutterstock
At best, the proposed Transparent Airfares Act of 2014, a bipartisan bill introduced this month in Congress, would open a window into the many taxes and mandatory fees attached to your airline ticket — charges that the airline industry believes you should know about.

At worst, the proposed law would give airlines a license to quote an artificially low ticket price, undoing years of regulatory efforts to require the display of a full fare. And if the bill passes, critics fear that an airline could quote you an initial base ticket price, minus any taxes and government fees, leaving you with the mistaken impression that your total airfare is far cheaper than it is.
Continue reading…


5 Secrets for negotiating the best price every time

Olyy/Shutterstock
Olyy/Shutterstock
No one wants to overpay for a product or service. But how do you know you’re getting the best rate? And if you’re not being offered the lowest price, how do you negotiate it?

Answer: You can’t know — but you can haggle. And how!

A recent survey suggests a quarter of consumers go online to find the lowest price on an item, but it doesn’t say if they find it. Maybe that’s because the answer is unknowable. Businesses, it turns out, can’t be sure if their prices are the lowest, or even if an item that’s on sale will be profitable.
Continue reading…


They underestimated us – their mistake!

Golden Pixels/Shutterstock
Golden Pixels/Shutterstock

Richard Barnes wishes he hadn’t rented the car.

The vehicle, which he reserved for on a business trip in Atlanta, was absolutely fine. It’s what happened afterwards that makes his blood boil.

Barnes picked up the vehicle at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He drove it to the Hyatt in Atlanta. The next day, he returned it to the airport without a scratch.

“Four months later I received a bill for $12,000 for an accident and damage to the car I had rented,” he says.

Say what?

Yep, $12k for a rental car returned undamaged. I recently wondered how careful you have to be in order to not get scammed as a consumer.

But there’s another side to this issue: How careful do businesses think we are?
Continue reading…


“Unbundling” is a brazen lie and it’s time for the travel industry to come clean

McAuley/Shutterstock
McAuley/Shutterstock
It’s been five short years since the airline industry, led by an ailing American Airlines, quietly stripped the ability to check your first bag at no extra cost from the price of an airline ticket — an act given the antiseptic name “unbundling.”

At about this time in 2008, passengers were beginning to adjust to a new reality, as other airlines eagerly joined in separating their luggage fees from base fares. Now, they’ve finally accepted the fee revolution, according to most experts.

An airline ticket doesn’t have to include a “free” bag or a meal, no more than a hotel room should come with the ability to use the hotel’s exercise facilities, or your rental should cover the cost of a license plate. And that’s the way it should be, they say.

Well, the experts are full of it.
Continue reading…