Yesterday, we presented our 2018 holiday shopping tips. Why? To help you be better shoppers. And to do so, we must help you know if a sale is really a sale. Sadly, many firms seek to deceive us about the true price of items. In response, shoppers must be prepared.

Basic Deceptive Pricing Rules

To be informed is to be a smart shopper.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees several rules with regard to deceptive pricing. Read about them by clicking the chart below. And understand your rights.

Know If a Sale Is Really a Sale


Know If a Sale Is Really a Sale

Over the years, deceptive pricing has been the subject of a lot of research. Today, we look at a study by Checkbook Magazine.

As Nydia Han reports for ABC Action News in Philadelphia:

“Stores are always advertising sales. But are they really offering you a great deal? As it turns out, a nearly year-long test has found potentially disturbing pricing policies at more than a dozen national retailers. Checkbook Magazine found that, too often, sale prices aren’t offering you special savings at all. Instead, they’re creating a bogus sense of urgency to buy. Over the course of 10 months, Checkbook Magazine’s undercover shoppers tracked prices of select items available for at least five weeks at 19 major retailers. They found in most cases, the advertised sale price was actually the routine price: the one the store charges more than half the time.”

“The retailers named as the worst offenders they tell us they stand by their sale policies. With many saying their sales comply with applicable pricing and advertising laws. They believe the test failed to consider things like everyday low pricing, price-match guarantees, and member pricing.”

The video below recaps some of the findings. So, be smart. Very smart!!

7 Replies to “Know If a Sale Is Really a Sale”

  1. When people see a red tag, or something that may mean that there is a sale they are more easily jumping to buy it. People do not even know what the price was before, but since it seems to be on sale they are more interested in buying it. I know when I shop I am always looking for deals and always gravitated towards the section of the store that claims there is a “sale” or “clearance”. Many stores try to mentally manipulate consumers because they know how shoppers like to shop especially now during the holiday season, everyone is looking for a deal.

  2. Considering I am a big holiday shopper, I always look for sales. The holidays are my favorite time of the year because that is when the biggest sales occur. However, after reading this article I am very sad. Knowing that some of the biggest retailers mark their originally priced items as “sale” items is highly disappointing. I trust retailers to market their price correctly and accordingly, and not try to scam their loyal customers. It is very disheartening knowing that major retailers do this just so they can make money.

  3. I am always looking for deals when I shop. So there’s nothing better than shopping during the holidays because that’s when the biggest sales happen. I know most people just get excited when they see a “major” discount on a product, but they don’t even compare it to the actual original price. It is not a secret that everyone is always looking for the best deals, and it is really sad to find out that stores are lying and manipulating consumers to buy their products. But this is a red flag to most people that like shopping on holidays when everything is on sale to actually ask and compare to the original price to know if they are actually getting the best deal.

  4. Over the years I have noticed that sometimes sales are fake and the reason why stores do this is, so that they can trick their customers into thinking that they are getting a good deal and that they should act now. In the past several years, before the holiday season begins I start to track down items I am looking to buy for myself and others to see what the price is when there is no sale. Then when the stores begin to have their sales like Black Friday I check to see if the prices have actually dropped or if the store is advertising a false sale. I think the best way to determine if a sale is real or fake is to look at the item price before there is a sale and compare it with the sales price.

  5. i definitely think that I have fallen victim to this in the past when I had wasn’t shopping all that much and didn’t really care enough to look if the item’s sale price was in fact a true sale price, but now that I am older have to do more shopping I try to be sure that I am getting what I purchase for an accurate and honest sale price. It definitely is hard because some stores do try to deceive their customers, and especially those that have a lot of money and don’t care to do a little research, but I like to take my time by understanding the stores I am shopping at’s sales and what the regular price of the item would be. During black Friday especially, I try to only shop in stores that I have shopped in before to decrease my chances of being ripped off by a fake sale.

  6. When consumers see that something is on sale they are more likely to buy it. Regardless of the fact of the sale being a good one or not, the appearance of a sale is always appealing to shoppers. Personally, I like to shop online because I feel like you can get a better deal that way. Also, I like to research products before buying them (if possible) to see how I can get the best deal.

  7. It is very unpleasant when you find out that the product you bought is not actually the best deal. I like to buy products on sale, thus i have to find out if the deal the seller offers is actually a “deal”. Therefore, if we want to save on shopping, we really have to be careful with the sale tags; try to compare them with other competitors or the seller.

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