More rip-offs, scams and swindles
As lovemoney.com readers seem to lap up our warnings about everyday rip-offs, we've come up with seven more swindles to shun.
There’s nothing all of us here at lovemoney.com hate more than getting ripped-off. And we know all of you feel the same way. In fact, helping our readers to fight back against rip-offs, scams and swindles is one of the our top priorities.
But we know you want even more – so, without any further ado, here are seven more rip-offs, scams and swindles that really get our goat:
1. 0870 numbers
We dislike 0870 numbers because they are so expensive to call -- around 8p per minute. Therefore, these calls aren't charged at ‘local rates', as is often claimed. They are, in effect, premium-rate calls. Rather than calling 0870 numbers, look for geographical alternatives on Say No To 0870 , which also provides alternatives for 0845 listings. By the way, if your business advertises an 0870 number for customer services, then you'll never get my business. It's as simple as that!
2. Commercial cash machines (convenience ATMs)
Several local shops near lovemoney.com HQ have installed ‘convenience' cash machines, which charge a fee for withdrawing cash. Typically, withdrawing £10 will incur an extra charge of, say, £1.85, adding almost a fifth to the cost of getting a tenner. Personally, we avoid these ATMs in all but the very gravest emergencies.
3. Consumer electronics and computer software
Why do consumer-electronics firms and software companies think that one pound equals one dollar? PCs, games consoles and software cost much more in the UK than they do in the US or Far East, even after accounting for tax differences. Thus, a $400 games console in the US costs £400 in the UK, not the £250 that the dollar-sterling exchange rate would indicate. What a con!
4. Cosmetics and beauty products
It seems to us that the whole advertising industry exists to make people -- especially girls and women -- feel unhappy about the way they look, dress and feel. In particular, making women anxious about their appearance allows multi-national corporations to sell them vastly overpriced beauty products which are mostly water, grease and a fragrance. Frankly, if we hear another advert talking up "pentapeptides" or similar hogwash, then we’re going to open a vein. For antidotes to all the pseudo-scientific drivel behind beauty products, visit Bad Science and Sense About Science .
5. Extended warranties
In 2005, the rules governing the sale of extended warranties for household appliances and electrical goods were tightened up. Alas, this new system has failed to reduce the cost or improve the quality of these awful protection products. Having seen how profitable these schemes are as an insider, we've never bought an extended warranty on the high street. What's more, we expect that we never will!
6. Per-minute call charges
We think it's unfair for companies to charge for telephone calls by the minute. If we make a call lasting 61 seconds, then we expect to be charged for 61-second call, not a two-minute call. After all, why should we pay for 59 extra seconds which we didn't use?
7. Vending machines
Everyone knows that ‘convenience costs', but should it really cost so much? As your local newsagent can't hope to compete with Tesco on price, he has no choice but to charge more for those racks of sweets and crisps. However, with vending machines, the mark-ups seem disgracefully high. A 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola costs 77p in Asda, but most vending machines charge at least £1.50 for the same bottle. That's a 95% mark-up on the supermarket price. Ouch!
Tell us about the rip-offs you hate
Have you missed out any rip-offs you hate? If so, please share your experiences using the comments box below!