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ShopSmart Uncovers the Latest Shopping Scams and Bum Deals

Plus, tips on avoiding these new consumer traps

ShopSmart MagazineYonkers, NY – Misleading discounts, deals, and sales that can cost consumers big bucks and prices that aren’t always apples-to-apples comparisons are just some of the shopping scams and bum deals recently uncovered by ShopSmart.

In its September 2014 issue, ShopSmart, from Consumer Reports, shares tips and advice on how to recognize these shopping pitfalls, and avoid them.

New Shopping Traps How to Protect Against Them

There are always new ways that shoppers can get taken. ShopSmart identified common shopping trip-ups and ways to side-step them – below are some examples:

Misleading Mattress Sales. Some mattress manufacturers require retailers to charge no less than a certain set minimum price. For example, a queen-size Serta Vantage mattress has a minimum price of $1,074. Some retailers said their regular price was much higher, such as US-Mattress.com, which listed the regular price as $2,148, a “savings” of 50 percent.  Watch out: Never take the promise of huge savings at face value. Comparison shop for the same or a similar mattress (direct comparisons aren’t always possible and always try to negotiate.

Penny-Auction Deals. Sites such as DealDash and QuiBids advertise what seem like amazing deals. But those so-called-penny-auction sites can really cost users. Unlike traditional auctions, bidding isn’t free. Bidders buy up front – usually for 60 cents or so each bid. And any bid money spent is gone, regardless of whether or not a shopper wins the bid. The chances of getting big ticket items are extremely low prices are small and users can spend a lot of money trying. Watch out: Think of these sites strictly as entertainment – like gambling – not smart shopping. Or just skip them.

Discounts with a catch. Usually when a store advertises a product discount like two for $6.00 on sale shoppers can still save if they buy just one. But that’s not always the case. One ShopSmart shopper tried to buy a bottle of Ajax dishwashing liquid based on a three-for-$5.00 deal, but that one bottle rang up as $2.19 instead of $1.67 at the register. Watch out:  Look for any fine print on the sale sign, and watch the cash register.

About Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.

Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart Magazine

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time.

ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org


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