Avoid Getting Ripped Off Due to Price GougingDec 13, 2021
This is one of the parts I hate about being in the tech space, watching people take advantage of others with price gouging.
What is Price Gouging?
The simple definition is that price gouging is where sellers of products take advantage of limited supplies, shortage situations like the 2020 pandemic, or global chip shortage, and hike up the price of goods to make an insane profit.
We're talking a 100% profit margin or better.
2020 all the rage was on tech tools and accessories and simple items like the Elgato Cam Link were purchased for $99 and resold for $400.
The Sony ZV-E10 is $699 for the camera body only, NOT nearly $1200. That's nearly a 47% price increase due to price gouging.
Price gouging is not only immoral, but it's also illegal.
When demand is great enough people will purchase items so fast online listings aren't removed fast enough to prevent people from being ripped off, unfortunately.
How Can You Avoid Getting Ripped Off?
Cross-check the current price at reputable stores
The first thing you want to ask yourself is "What should be the current consistent price?".
This may be hard to figure out if you're entering a space like cameras and you assume the price is as listed right? Wrong.
As one who studies trends and behaviors in my space seeing the difference in prices is easy for me to spot. But for the untrained eye, it may be difficult to know what range of price is normal.
Start by cross-checking the price across specialty shops versus only looking at big box stores like Best Buy, Amazon, and Wal-Mart.
While you may not know the precise pricing you'll get a range of what items should be you can check reputable specialty shops and see what the current listing of the items are and what the prices are listed there.
Check the Manufacturers Price on Their Website
This is surprisingly one of the least checked places people will tend to look with the popularity of websites like Amazon being the go-to online resource.
I completely understand the allure of Amazon being a frequent shopper myself the insanely fast shipping, good prices, and sometimes no taxes depending on the seller, add all the enticement to just ask Alexa to check out for you while you're on the go.
However, when it's the season of price gouging the best thing is to see what the actual manufacturer is selling their own equipment for on their website.
You can even sometimes find what a good range for used gear and equipment is based on the manufacturer's website if they sell used gear and equipment.
Use Price-Shopping Tools Like Honey
You've probably seen those ads like I have whether you're on Tik Tok, YouTube, or Instagram boasting they can help you find the best prices on all your shopping right?
Well, I've scrolled past them just like you do but I have been using one of them since 2017 and it's helped tremendously and that's Honey.
What is Honey?
Honey is a browser application that works across many different websites to will show you relevant discounts available, recent price changes, and near features like Honey's Droplist.
It's features like the price comparison that can tell you what's been the median price and when prices have gone up rapidly.
So, despite the changes in price (the price gouging on the ZV-E10 on Amazon currently), it makes it easy to spot weird astronomical prices that may suggest price gouging.
When you click on the "See what else we found" button it will share with you the various prices across stores, what discounts may be available and the link to the products listing.
A Word of Caution
One word of caution, deal hunting can end up being expensive. Here's what I mean by that.
When you're constantly hunting for deals outside of the obvious time consumption the expensive bit comes in when you're so busy looking for the best deal you're easily duped into buying from unreputable sellers.
While Amazon has become an awesome marketplace for consumers, not all its sellers are honest and reputable.
Let's take the highly praised Rodecaster Pro for example.
The Rodecaster Pro is a $600 investment that's honestly worth every penny. However, despite the ratings being great, it's on Amazon Prime so shipping will be awesome, it's from the brand Rode's store and there are no signs of price gouging.
Seems legit right? Wrong.
All the cards seem to checkout and if you're previously purchased Rode gear from Amazon I'm probably making you nervous lol but I'll be quick.
Rode is adamant about NOT being on Amazon because there are so many issues with consumers knowing if they're buying legitimate gear from Rode or not.
So much so they blast it all of their website that purchases from Amazon do not qualify for Rode's warranty, even if the product is brand new and still in the box.
You'll see this all over their website to only purchase their products from site they have listed as authorized sellers.
They even offer a dedicated page updated with more details on who is an authorized seller and who is not.
While they do support Amazon.com purchases, they do not support FBA or Fulfilled by Amazon sellers on Amazon.
How can you tell the difference?
To tell the difference you have to check who the seller is on Amazon and if it's Amazon or someone else.
Here's one example, the shipment is fulfilled by Amazon but the seller is some random brand or person that isn't an authorized seller by Rode.
To make sure you're buying from Amazon or a reputable seller check for various pricing areas to search for who is the item sold by. You'll see a variety of options most of the time.
When you select the "New & Used" area you'll see a variety of options, look for the option from Amazon.com specifically or a reputable store like Adorama who is still an authorized seller.
Is it just better to stop buying online?
I don't think so at all.
Much like we all had to be educated about internet safety for phishing or scams from the infamous foreign prince needing your help 🙄, if you're going to make purchases online you have to educate yourself.
Making purchases online can be a fast and efficient way to make your purchases and save time otherwise wasted driving, hunting if the stores stock from the website is accurate or not.
Granted I love same-day purchases as much as the next person but I love not wasting my own time more.
So, if you're going to shop, shop wisely.