Bitcoin is fairly often criticized due to the lack of discounts for customers paying in virtual currency. Merchants save money due to far lower transaction fees and are protected from Bitcoin price volatility by most payment processors. For some reason, these savings are not leading to discounts or coupons for customers. But even real-life “savings” are not always what they seem.
Trickery By Merchants To Make Consumers Spend More
Most everyday consumers are looking to score great deals, either through discount, coupons, savings, or buying items internationally. With the financial crisis still looming, saving money whenever possible has never been more important as it is in this day and age. But are we really saving money, or being tricked into paying more?
Merchants around the world are applying various tactics to create an illusion of “customer savings” while completing everyday purchases. Direct debit payments, for example, are one of the biggest mischievous schemes in payment history. In most cases, there are no interest charges during the first twelve months. However, all periods from that point forward invoke an obnoxious rate of interest, without warning the customer.
Unknowing customers will not spot the change in billings immediately, as funds are debited automatically on a monthly schedule. To make matters worse, cancelling a contract is not as easy as it used to be, as either a phone call or cancelling the direct debit agreement is required to do so. That latter option is another cause for concern, as customers are contractually obliged to pay for the service until their subscription officially ends.
Another prime example of this trickery comes in the form of tax-free shopping at airports. Various major retailers have been fined for not passing on tax discounts to customers at airports. In fact, several retailers go as far as demanding to see a boarding pass at an airport shop, to determine whether or not they can claim back VAT on that specific purchase.
Or how about the tip you give when dining at one of your favorite restaurants? Every tip made should be passed on to the staff, but that is not always the case. A famous French restaurant recently faced a PR nightmare when accusations were made regarding these tips not being passed to their employees. Other major chain takes a cut of every tip, depending on the payment method used by the customer.
But the biggest trickery is coming from banks and other financial institutions. Most bank accounts are being advertised as “the perfect fit for your needs”, all the while they include additional bells and whistles the customer will never use. However, all of those extras are subject to a small fee, through which banks are charging customers for services they – most likely – don’t even need.
More Transparency and Decentralized Payment Methods Are Needed
All of the examples above show that more transparency is badly needed. Retailers and merchants can charge customers any amount they want, without facing major repercussions. At the same time, customers are not receiving the discounts they deserve, but they also have no legal grounds to base a claim on.
This major lack of transparency is compounding the issues caused by the global financial crisis tenfold. Everyday consumers are struggling on a daily basis already, and dishonest merchants and retailers come up with new and sly ways to drain money from people’s pockets.
None of this would be possible by embracing transparent solutions, such as blockchain technology. Coupling Bitcoin payments through a publicly visible ledger of how discounts are handled and who receives what can only help the everyday consumer pay the proper price they deserve.
What are your thoughts on merchants overcharging customers by offering the illusion of discounts? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Telegraph UK
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