Consumers like to think of themselves as conscious, smart buyers. But even enlightened individuals often make very foolish mistakes when making a purchase. We take a look at the most common (and avoidable) mistakes that consumers should be aware of.
1. Spending Too Much Time for A Small Saving
Often times, people will spend a lot of time researching products or services, particularly big-ticket items such as TV’s, airfare and hotel rooms. After spending all of this time, they find that the price difference is something almost insignificant when compared to the time spent. In the future, having one or two reference points for an item is better than spending hours on end scouring the web and different stores for an AED 100 saving.
2. Making a Purchase for Airmiles or Points
Most big businesses have some sort of program to reward loyal customers by offering them points for each dirham spent at their establishment. This can lead to consumers making poor decisions to seemingly take advantage of these programs. For instance, a loyal customer might buy a certain product from one place even if it is more expensive, just so that they can earn reward points.
Here in the UAE, many banks offer credit cards with Reward Points or Cashback for making purchases at specific stores; this has a surprisingly strong effect on consumer behavior. At the end of the day, it is the customer who will pay for these subsidies, either through inflated prices from the merchant, or annual fees on the credit card. Another common behavior is consumers using their credit card to accrue Airmiles; while this does make sense, most cardholders are not aware of the start and end dates of their credit card billing cycle, and end up paying interest on these purchases.
3. On Sale Items Don’t Necessarily Mean Bargain Items
One big misconception is that anything that has the word “sale” next to it automatically means that it is a good deal. Marketing departments understand consumer behavior very well and know that using phrases such as “50-75% off” or “going out of business” will get consumers in the door to spend wildly.
4. Not Complaining After Buying a Defective or Faulty Product
Most consumers dislike confrontation or the “trouble maker” title and settle when they have purchased a defective or faulty product. It is important to let the company know that you are unhappy with the product and would like a refund or some form of compensation. This will deter the company from hopefully taking advantage of the next customer.
These are just some of the few senseless things consumers are guilty of. Big businesses are cunning, and will continue to take advantage of consumers until they “wise up”.