There should be a rule about advertised prices

A lot of advertised prices these days (especially on the internet) shows not only the price they want but the price “original” price. It is frequently a price that noone has ever paid for that good or service.

Its bad enough when Amazon touts a 50% discount for something theya re selling at market price but I recently got Groupon and there is consistantly stuff on there for 95% discounts off the original price. It should be pretty clear that noone in their right mind would ever pay $1000 for this thing that you are now charging $50 for but it must sucker some people, otherwise they wouldn’t bother.

There should be a rule that you cannot advertise an “original” price if noone has paid that price in the last year.

Please feel free to move this to MPSIMS if it does not draw enough ire.

Wont’ work. Manufacturers would just pay somebody to buy a full price item once per year to skirt the law.

That same internet pricing strategy of deep discounting a “fake” original price is thwarted by the fact that anyone using the internet can compare pricing on said product against other seller’s prices.

So the real “street” price of the product is very transparent to the buyer.

My favorite are the commercials on TV for ‘call this number, get one for free plus all these gifts!’ and they say it’s a value of $300 (or whatever) but is yours for 19.99!

Where does that value come from is what I’ve always wondered. has been pretty bad about this lately. I’ve noticed the bigger the gap the more likely it’s BS. An item that say "$25, normally $40, can probably be had on Amazon for $30. Okay, good deal (break even with shipping).

If it says “$100, normally $175” It’s probably on Amazon for about the same price plus or minus $25, better check there first.

If it says (and I’ve seen this) $300, normally $4000, well, nobody bought it for $4000 ever and Amazon probably has it for $250.
I’m not bashing Woot, they still have good deals from time to time and I still check it every day, but you have to check it against Amazon and just ignore the ‘list’ price, it’s meaningless.

For example, right now they have a Panasonic Sound Bar on sale for $119, normally $199. Amazon lists it for $145. That’s a good deal if you need it. But even the Panasonic website lists it for $150 (down from $180).

Woot says “List Price is the original sticker price, the MSRP, or our own best attempt to find the full price online. It’s mostly worthless, so we rely on Wooters like you to post the best price comparisons in our forum. You’ll be a hero!”

Personally, I think they just make them up, sometimes they’re so completely off, like the $4000 watch on sale for $300.

I thought there was such a rule - at least in brick and mortar stores. Stores like Kohl’s always have every single item of clothing on sale for at least 30% off, usually more like 60% or 80%. I’ve been told they can only do this if they’ve had the item available for the “original” price for some amount of time fairly recently. I just went into such a store the other day and saw that, crammed in the back, there was a rack of summer clothing, all marked with ridiculously high prices. Getting ready for the big “sale”, I presumed.

I’m guessing that techinally, they mean one that would be better made is worth that, not the cheap piece of crap they’re selling?

Caveat emptor

I’m pretty sure that is the law, at least in Australia and (I’m pretty sure) New Zealand. There’s rules about when an item can be considered “on sale”; sometimes people get around the situation in the OP by quoting the RRP (Which can sometimes be something ludicrous which no-one would pay because everyone’s got the item way cheaper) and that’s usually fine.

So, saying the Widgetron 3000 is [del]$399[/del] $129 when a Widgetron hasn’t been $399 since the Howard Government was in office wouldn’t be acceptable, but saying the Widgetron was [del]RRP $399[/del] $129 would generally be regarded as OK from an advertising standpoint.

The law in Spain for store discounts is actually sort of the opposite: after it was proved that some stores “discounted” prices weren’t discounted or even in some cases raised from previous ones, now they have to leave all the succesive stickers on.

I recently bought a ton of stuff from an outlet area, my mother had a lot of fun peeling old stickers and tracking when each discount had taken place: original price, spring sales, second spring sales, end of season sales…

+39.99 shipping and handling.

Order now and get a second one free!

(Just pay separate processing.)

I would not disagree about regulations for pricing, but many already exist and it’s really a question of how much it’s worth to enforce them - if you’re at all “anti-government” or “small government” this is completely at odds with that stance.

I suggest that it’s up to the buyer to be more sensible and ignore everything but the out-the-door price. If you’re going to buy something because it’s marked down 80% from some irrelevant or phony original price, then you’re likely drinking the rest of the Kool-Aid, Marketing Shuck flavor, too.

Look closer. Buy for value. Ignore the razzle-dazzle.