The Death of the Price Tag?


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

What do you think? Have you noticed the death of the price tag? Are you confused and distrusting? What’s the answer? Read the original pieces, and let us know!

6 thoughts on “The Death of the Price Tag?”

  1. I literally hate all of those things. Especially the “free trial” where you’re forced to enter credit card information because they know you won’t cancel in time and they’ll just start charging you every single month.

    1. I so agree Johnny!!! What happened to the real “free?” In this new era of purchasing there is no real free and if someone even says it, your thinking if not saying, “Where’s the catch?”

  2. My husband and I decided years ago when we tried one of the “Satellite TV Deals” and the cell phone contract, that we would no longer do business with companies where we had to sign a contract. Where is the sense of taking care of your customers in that. After dealing with the lies, deceptions and more lies to get us into the contract in the first place. We were both furious. We would both rather do without than go through the hassles of telephone hours we spent with these companies.
    We have gone local with most of our business. We have a local cable company so that when we have problems with our cable, internet or phone we actually get people we know that deal with our problems. We have the home and cell numbers of the guys who do the actual work, and they have told us “you call us if you have any problems.”
    Now that’s customer service!!!

  3. seems like everything has some kind of clever rewards program or free trial period connected in some way or other these days . marketing strategies used today are for the most part senseless as far as i am concerned. i also think they contribute to the people not buying things as much. many of these sales gimmicks cost the consumer more in the long run than they are worth .
    wouldnt it be easier to just put a reasonable price on a product without having a “with rewards card” or “after rebate ” in small print on the shelf under the product. oh , another one is “unit price” . many do not understand what the actual price really is on some products .i my self have credit cards but i do not want the so called “rewards” that come with them . i believe in the end there really is no actual rewards but it is a way to reel you in like a fish . i mean really why would they go through all the expense and red tape if they were not profiting from it ? i say put the real price on each and every product and be honest

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