They end things in ‘.99’
Don’t fall for prices ending in 9, 99, or 95. These so-called charm prices make us think they reflect good deals, says William Poundstone, author of Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It). We also tend to round these prices down, reading a price like $5.99 as $5, a phenomenon known as the left-digit effect. Ninety-nine-cent stores are a notorious ripoff for this very reason; they have a profit margin twice that of Walmart, Poundstone reveals. Here are the signs that a shopping site is fake—and about to steal your money.
They break you in with cheap items
It’s no coincidence that the first thing you see in most stores is a bargain bag of candy or half-priced socks. In retail, these cheap little impulse buys are called “open-the-wallet” items, and are designed to break a psychological anti-spending barrier when you enter a store. “Americans are cautious,” says retail consultant Jeff Green; a cheap addition to the shopping cart right away gives consumers that extra little push they need to spend more money later on.