J and D's Corner

From the Letters Archive

Apparently the Editor liked this one because it ran with a sub-note pointing out that at least the airline industry was getting hit with some regulations about deceptive pricing practices.

As I recall, both Australia and New Zealand typically advertise the full price on everything in a store, so obviously it isn't rocket science.


To:  AV Press
Date: 1/20/2012
Re:  Truth in Pricing...PLEASE

Today’s AV Press carried an article on the ridiculous fine-print contracts & “disclosure” agreements that come with everything today, along with an editorial noting politicos take note of published letters.  Well, for all you movers & shakers out there, here’s my pet gripe of the week:

According to the article, 61% of those polled said they do not read contracts completely before signing, and I bet almost 100% of us don’t read in any detail those “disclosures” with pages of 6-point type.  I do try to at least skim to see if they plan to sell my email address, etc., but finding the important stuff buried in the junk is often a hopeless quest.  Granted, the bulk of all this comes to us courtesy of our wonderful tort system, so as long as extortion-by-lawsuit attorneys & brain-dead juries are around we are stuck with it. 

One fine-print scam that could easily be changed, however, is weasel-worded price advertising.  The set of CDs you see on TV for $11.98 will actually cost you more like $20 when you add in the mysterious and unspecified “handling & service” charge.  The advertised $19.95/month high-speed internet service turns out to actually cost $89.47/month because hidden from view is the requirement that you also have to buy their flaky phone service and on-demand TV.  And of course universally the shelf price displayed at the store doesn’t reflect what you will pay at the register when taxes, recycling fees and whatever are added.

So how about it, movers & shakers?  Excluding only variable tax in ads covering multiple points of sale with different taxes, make them all follow the same law as gas stations, who must post the true price.  They do it like this in other countries, why can’t we?


John Wilson