Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Life passages which provide excellent opportunities for you to be ripped off.

My daughter and I were marvelling over the huge amount of money some photographers, venues, etc. charge for weddings. I pointed out that at such a transition moment, she looks like a big fat mouse to the hawks, helpless and tasty.

  • Brides have their hands on a big pot of dough and know they're going to have to spend it.
  • Brides are anxious and inexperienced;
  • Brides are dealing with a bunch of service providers who will never have to face them again.
This adds up to a glaring consumer susceptibility. If a bride buys a very expensive, bad wedding cake - or if she pays thousands to a photographer who takes lousy pictures - well, what's she going to do about it? Not have them back to her second wedding?

People planning funerals have the same three attributes. And look what happens:
A non-profit group recently surveyed the prices at 49 different mortuaries and crematoriums in San Diego, and found that "prices vary widely, with some mortuaries charging nearly twice as much as others for similar combinations of services." San Diego Memorial Society

People planning a big move also have these attributes and in consequence you can find 100s of complaints online about moving companies taking advantage of harried, anxious customers.

I have a friend who's for years been paying a local company $30/month for server space for his website when there are any number of hosting companies willing to do the same for $4-7 dollars a month. These people suggested to him that he needed a $6,000 website makeover. I would estimate this would cost them a half-day of work. They are clearly taking advantage of somebody who's inexperienced, has money to spend, and won't be doing website renovations very often.

What are some other life moments when we are uniquely vulnerable to being scammed?


At 9:00 AM, Blogger Cap'n Sylvia Sharkbait said...

I agree that times of of deep emotion tend to make one ripe for the picking. It's difficult to maintain objectivity when emotions run high. My grandmother used to drive the family crazy by regularly giving money to obvious religious scams on TV. I submit that loneliness can also make people vulnerable to scamming.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Stephe said...

That Magic Pill that will...
a) melt the fat off of you
b) make men world-class lovers

...are pretty popular (even though you could end up dead by taking them), because few things feel worse than having people laugh and point at you. We'll put our lives on the line to avoid society's cruelness, sometimes. Says a lot.

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Anything involved with your children makes you vulnerable.


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