Consumers are being flooded with sales promotions for merchandise being offered at 60% to 75% off. The practice has become so common that many well-known retail and department stores have adopted these gimmicks. The discounting has become so exaggerated that consumers should question how truthful these “deals” are. Before deciding to make a purchase through one of these promotions, ask yourself a few basic questions:
- Is the "regular" price genuine? Or inflated for the purpose of offering a large discount?
- Was the merchandise ever actually offered at the regular price?
- Is the quality of the merchandise offered for sale the same as that advertised?
- What kinds of warranties come with the merchandise?
- If the item is karat gold or platinum, is it properly stamped? with the karat or content and trademarks? On chains, necklaces, and bracelets, does the karat or content marking appear somewhere other than just the clasps? Just because the piece has a gold clasp doesn't mean the rest of it is gold.
- On branded merchandise, especially watches, why is a very expensive brand being offered at an unbelievably low price? Is the brand name spelled correctly? Do brand-name watches come with new warranties?
- Does a mail-order company you are considering have a good record with the Better Business Bureau?
Be sure to shop around and compare service as well as value. Don't be afraid to ask hard questions. Remember, deceptive pricing doesn't offer anyone a real bargain.