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How to Get Ripped Off when You Shop!

By Will from Holland

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If you are interested in scams, then you'll love the little experiment that Target Stores recently pulled on customers. I say "experiment" since Target—when it was caught—denied that it meant to make this trick a recurring one with its customers.

What Happened?

Consumers used the Target app and found some enticing prices on products at their nearest location. But upon visiting the brick-and-mortar store, many of those same exact products were on the shelf, but listed at a higher price. Then, when customers pull up the app again for reference while in the store, they find that the price suddenly matches the higher, in-store price. Ultimately what happened is that the app was using the customer's mobile device and network information to determine their location and change the price accordingly.

One expert says that Target figures you're likely to be committed to the product once you've made the trip to the store, so why not lure you in with a lower starting price?

After being called out, Target responded with an immediate app update along with the statement: "We have made a number of changes in our app to make it easier to understand pricing."

Okay, maybe this took care of the immediate concerns. But could this be another retailer trying to make (more) money on consumers? Target—like most businesses—is constantly looking for ways to make money from you. They like it when you pay a higher price because they make more money. You would like it, too, if you are a shareholder.

Interestingly, if you are like many people, you too will probably accept a price switch like this and still buy the product, because you're already in the store and well, you're a busy person, right?

We hope you're not THAT busy. Don't let convenience outweigh your wisdom.

Understand that many retailer apps aren't designed only to help you and make your shopping experience convenient. They may also be designed to manipulate you in order to maximize retailer's profits. This is likely why many websites and apps feature sections titled "You may also be interested in..." and "Other customers also bought..."

We encourage you to do some homework and learn to use caution. Start with the following articles:

Get the Point?

You are—and will continue to be—surrounded by these nearly invisible, never-ending and sophisticated attacks on your wallet. It's up to you to be the gatekeeper of your money to stop this.

We are here to help: just follow our mantra. Always—always—slow down, use caution, and do proper research. Your wallet and future self will thank you.

So, now you know another retailer trick, and you're one step closer to being a perfectly smart consumer. Power to you!

Cheers, Will