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Top 10 Retail Ripoffs Exposed!
 
A "no holds barred" expose of the subtle, sometimes deceptive techniques employed by "sneaky snake" salespeople to separate you from your money. Forewarned is forearmed; after reading this, you'll at least have a fighting chance to avoid being "bit".

The following information has nothing to do with Trampolines or Trampoline Sales or any one company in peticular, only to enlightening you, the reader about retail sales tactics, but please feel free to check out the rest of our site! Or better yet, buy something from us or send someone to us that will buy something from us! Thanks!

The ten items listed here are some of the most common "Sneaky Snake" deceptions used by unscrupulous salespeople to get in your wallet and "make the sale" at any cost. The variations on these themes are limitless, but with this general outline you'll be able to spot a "snake" and protect yourself. 

Sneaky Snake Sales Tricks and How to Avoid Being BIT!

1. The "Bait and Switch" Fraud - Management is the real culprit behind this deception; they advertise items at very low prices (usually below their cost), to drive customers into the store. The problem is they generally don't have the items in stock, or they have far fewer than needed to meet the demand they created with their ad. Then management insists that the salespeople "step the customer up" or "step off" the advertised item, to a higher priced, more profitable model. In some cases the sales staff is penalized for failing to make the "step off". Selling the "bait" can even cost the salesperson their job. If you push them to sell you the advertised model they'll usually give you a "rain check" and promise to call you as soon as more stock comes in. Don't hold your breath waiting for the call. Remember, they lose money on every one they sell. When you run into this fraud, it tells you something about the people in charge. Just imagine how helpful they'll be if something breaks and you need service. Our advice: Head for the exit, and never return.. There are stores that have what they advertise, and will actually sell it to you, if you decide you want the item. Seek them out. 

2. The "Keep You Waiting /Wear You Down" Ploy - This is a famous one at car dealerships. The salesperson puts you in a little room, then abandons you for very long periods of time. They claim to be working on the "sales manager" to get you a better deal. (In actuality, they're in the back eating donuts or playing cards while you're fidgeting in the little office, soaking up the ambiance of the sales awards and family pictures.) The psychology behind this ploy is simple: the longer you're in the dealership, the greater the sense of "investment" you have in finally making a deal with them. They also know you don't have unlimited time to shop, and the more of your time they eat up, the less of it you'll have to shop around. Don't allow it! After two or three minutes, get up and WALK OUT. They'll probably tackle you before you get away. 

3. Extended Warranty Scare Tactics - Extended warranties may (or may not) be a good deal, depending on the item in question, the likelihood of it needing repairs during the warranty period, and the price you have to pay for it. Keep in mind that what you're buying is insurance; and like any other kind of insurance, an extended warranty can provide valuable protection, or it can be a waste of money. What you need is honest information about the average cost of repair, and frequency of repair record to make an intelligent determination. Unfortunately, some stores choose to skip the facts and go directly to scare tactics to try to pressure you into buying an overpriced extended warranty. Lines like:"You'll sleep better knowing you're protected from costly repair bills", or "a friend of mine paid over $200.00 to get his fixed. . . now he wishes he'd bought the extra warranty". Another tip off: When the salesman (or woman) pushes much harder to sell the warranty than the product. This is the case when the store makes more money on the warranty than on the sale of the product. A good way to gauge the relative price of an extended warranty is to compare the stores cost per year of coverage with the manufacturers own extended warranty plan. It would be foolish to pay MORE than the manufacturer charges. Comparison shopping in this way can turn up a good value, but, (and this is a BIG BUT), be sure the warranty is insured by an outside underwriter - too many stores have gone belly up and left their customers holding the bag. . .and the bag is empty. 

4. The "I Made a Mistake Adding This Up" Trick - This is an old trick, sometimes used when you're negotiating to purchase several items at once, like a furniture ensemble, or a car with a number of options. Prior to your making a buying decision, the salesman will offer to give you an estimate of the "total investment". (They never say price; it's always an investment - even though it does nothing but depreciate from day one. Very strange.) The trick is, they "make a mistake" and quote you a figure, perhaps a few hundred dollars too high. Then, they carefully gauge your reaction to the inflated price. The idea is to "soften you up" with the higher figure, then "discover" their error, and viola', you just "saved" another two hundred dollars. You're supposed to be so excited by this "discovery" and the "lower" price that you go ahead and agree to make the purchase right then. It's an old trick, but it still works on the uninformed. 

5. The "Get `Em Saying Yes" Routine - This is easy to spot. You're asked a series of questions that you will likely answer in the affirmative. "Do you want a car that handles well?" (Who doesn't?) Is low maintenance cost important to you? (No, I like $150 oil changes.) Is the safety of your family a concern? (No, I just took out a big insurance policy on the whole bunch.) See the pattern? This is supposed to "set you up" to say yes to the all important "closing" question: "Can I get you into this car today?" If you see the pattern developing, throw them a few curves, just for fun - then "just say no!" 

6. The "This is the Last One" Ruse - Along with a hundred variations: "Another couple is looking at this same home - but if you can make a decision now. . ." This is an attempt to play on our fear of "missing out" on something. Simple logic will tell you that even if it is the "last one", whoever made it will be glad to make another. But they don't want logic to come into this equation, they prefer emotion - and fear is a powerful motivator. Question the assertion. Is this the last one because they're not making it any more? Why? Was it a bad design? Didn't sell well? Sounds like a reason to negotiate a lower price! Don't be pressured into making a premature decision. 

7. The "Low-Ball" Lie - This is often used when you're pre-shopping by phone. The salesman will give you a very low price (called a low ball) to get you to come into the store or dealership. Sadly, when you get there, the one you were quoted has been sold, but another even nicer model is available for just a little bit more. (It's a variation of bait and switch.) Or apologies are forthcoming because a "mistake" has been made, and they can't sell the item for the price you were quoted. In either case, the aimed for result was to get your warm body into striking distance of one of their snakes. Then they have a chance to try one or more of the other deceptions on you. Sure, it makes some people so angry that they never go back to a store that "low balled" them - but unfortunately, others fall for it. You don't have to be one of them. Grab your wallet and run. 

8. The "Today Only" Tactic - It's a popular variation of the "this is the last one" ruse, but even more common, now as so many so called "power retailers" run sales promotions for very limited time periods. This sets up an atmosphere of supposed "urgency", wherein you must decide to make the purchase right then. (The urgency is suspect since these guys will very likely be running another "Today Only" sale, with the "Lowest Prices EVER!" the day after tomorrow.) Again, they just want to make it difficult for you to shop the competition and comparison shop. Of course some sales and promotional offers ARE for a limited time, (nothing lasts forever), but a store that respects your intelligence and dignity will probably give you several days or even a week or two to shop, compare and make a decision that's right for you.

9. The "Paperwork" Euphemism - This illustrates the power of words. Salespeople have been taught to be very careful about the words they use in front of a customer; especially at the point of finally closing the sale. You'll hear an innocent sounding request like: "I just need you to "OK" the paperwork, sign right here", or "just initial this for me". Please note that the so called "paperwork" is actually a legally binding contract; salespeople know most of us have a natural aversion to signing a contract, so the "C" word is transformed into the more innocuous "paperwork". Whatever they call it, remember: If you sign it, you may be legally obligating yourself to BUY, and you may forfeit any money put on deposit should you change your mind. READ the thing CAREFULLY before you sign. (The "three day cooling off period" that allows you to cancel a contract within three days usually applies only to "in home" sales presentations, in most states. Check locally to be sure of the laws that apply in your area.) It's a good sign when you find a salesperson that calls a contract a contract.

10. The "Turn Over" Maneuver - Known on the inside as a "T.O." or "hand-off", it's the last ditch attempt to turn a shopper into a buyer by turning you over to someone in higher authority. This person is usually identified as the "store manager", or "sales manager", but that may just be a euphemism for a very strong "closer". Many stores REQUIRE their salespeople to do a "T.O." if they fail to close the sale. So after trying every close they know, before you leave they may say something like: "Hold on, let me get the store manager to see if we can get you a better deal." You may be able to negotiate a better price with the "T.O." man, but it's more likely that you'll be subjected to additional pressure to buy right then. When you see the "T.O." coming, it's pretty strong evidence that the store's focus is on selling you, rather than helping you. Caveat Emptor. Latin for "Let the buyer beware." 

Postscript: The information presented here is not meant to be a blanket indictment of all retailers or salespeople, (just the sneaky snakes who will say or do anything to make the sale). It's encouraging to see a growing number of customer focused businesses who do not encourage (or allow) their sales staff to use these tactics. In marked contrast to the snakes, true sales professionals operate from a different premise: To help the customer find the best possible solutions to their problems relative to the products and services they offer. How can you identify these enlightened businesses and true sales professionals? One way, is by the absence of the techniques listed above. Stores that advertise an item just to bait you in, then try to sell you something else are clearly "snake pits". Buying from the snakes only serves to keep that nasty species around. Let `em go extinct!
 

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