On a perfect summer day in 1997, life as I knew it was changed forever. I lost all trust in human race, and felt my life was over -- but I vowed to seek vendetta in most violent way. Yes, taste of blood was in my mouth…
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t quite as melodramatic as all that - but I sure was seething mad.
I had been ripped off to tune of $2800 by a scam artist who "sold" me a Gateway laptop over Internet.
I’d tell you details, but they’re just too painful to relive. And frankly, I feel more than a little embarrassed for being conned.
After that distasteful experience, I embarked on a personal crusade not only to expose deceptive sales practices in computer industry, but also to scour globe for best computer deals in world.
I voraciously read computer manuals, specs, ads -- and scrutinized anything that even remotely resembled a PC. My brain became Geiger counter for computer-buying information.
As a result, I’ve become Head Purchasing Manager for a worldwide non-profit organization consisting of 7000+ members – in charge of purchasing computer equipment for overseas branches in South Korea, Russia, Philippines, China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Europe.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Flashback to 1997.
Back then, I learned quite a few things about computer-buying that very few people on this planet know about. I’m going to reveal some sneaky -- and in some instances, illegal -- things that computer vendors do to bilk you out of your hard earned cash.
1) Bait and Switch - Computer vendors generally resort to any means to get you to their website or store first. The most common way is to lure you there with promise of lowest prices. When you fall for bait, and visit their website or store, you’ll find that their prices are higher than they advertised. They feed you story that advertised price was last week’s price, or that price doesn’t include this component or that peripheral. Vendors do this because, in highly competitive business of computer sales, this is sometimes only way they get a shot at showing you their wares. Then, they do usual song-and-dance routine: “But while you’re here, have I got a deal for you…” hoping you won’t go looking elsewhere.
2) Bankruptcy Routine - This trick consists of opening a ‘new’ computer outlet, selling product for a few months, shipping only a portion of orders, and then declaring bankruptcy and taking most of customer’s money. The people who do this are real crooks, and typically engage in this practice many times.
3) Opportunistic Pricing - This is something very few people know about. Mail order companies change their prices and specifications regularly. They have a complex pricing policy where they employ experts whose only job is to determine exactly how much market will be willing to pay for a specific model.
4) Delayed Shipments - Some firms charge your credit card, and ship your order within a week -- but since it is a legal requirement that goods are shipped to you within 30 days, it could take all of 30 days before your goods leave their warehouse. And you may not be able to cancel your order. They are, of course, earning interest on your money.