They say the price tag is dead.
Price tags have become an endangered species in the 21st century American economy. Can you say how much you spent on your cellphone bill last month? Or pay television? I’m sure you can’t say how much you paid in fees on your investments. NBC Redtape Blog
The thing is, you see price tags everywhere. What they really mean, I believe, is that the stated price has no MEANING anymore. Car loans, mortgages, cable TV offers, data plans, etc. Sometimes, spotting the offenders is easy. You see “Just $99 a month!” followed by an asterisk, and 500 words in tiny print. You know something’s up, even if you have no idea what it is.
What sorts of things are lying in wait behind that (*) ? According to Yahoo Finance:
- Free-to-Paid: Free trials that become paid after a length of time
- Unknown Subscriptions: Watch for boxes that are already checked, forcing you to UNCHECK to avoid extra charges!
- Unwanted Auto Renewals: Unless you state otherwise, you will be automatically billed at renewal time.
- Zombie Subscriptions: You cancel and the charges stop. You stop paying attention, and the charges start again.
- Cost Creep: “Prices subject to change without notice.” Grr!
So, what’s the real damage?
This (confusion) hurts consumers, but it hurts industry too — with clear pricing, the best companies with the best products and the best value are rewarded over time. Without clear prices, companies that create the most confusion win, and honest companies slowly fade away. NBC Redtape Blog