There is trouble brewing for online shoppers. Deals or discounts are often compared to list prices or manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). The problem: nobody sells online at list price, so the discounts promised to consumers aren't really discounts. In other words, you're not saving money as promised.
"... one recent example of how retailers use list prices to motivate online buyers: Le Creuset’s iron-handle skillet, 11 ¾ inches wide and cherry in color. Amazon said late last week that it would knock $60 off the $260 list price to sell the skillet for $200. Sounds like a bargain... Check around, though. The suggested price for the skillet at Williams-Sonoma.com is $285, but customers can buy it for $200. At AllModern.com, the list price is $250 but its sale price is $200. At CutleryandMore.com, the list price is $285 and the sale price is $200. An additional 15 or so online retailers — some hosted by Amazon, others on Google Shopping — charge $200. On Le Creuset’s own site, it sells the pan for $200."
So, that great "deal" you got shopping online may not be one. This is a huge problem:
"If you’re selling $15 pens for $7.50, but just about everybody else is also selling the pens for $7.50, then saying the list price is $15 is a lie,” said David C. Vladeck, the former director of the F.T.C.’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "And if you’re doing this frequently, it’s a serious problem."
I agree. It sounds like list-price-abuse is worthy of an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Shopping online is getting trickier. Many consumers avoid retailers that have had repeated data breaches. In 2014, researchers found that some e-commerce sites performed price discrimination and steering.
What are your opinions? What do you do before purchase to ensure that the online deals you get are truly deals?