Business is business; it's not kind, forgiving, or even fair sometimes. That being said, there are some businesspeople out there who are so shrewd, so sharply focused on making that extra buck, they're willing to put their very integrity on the line to make it happen - even if it means bending a few laws. The good people of Reddit were recently asked what shady business tactics they've seen used, and the answers they gave may shock and disturb you. Whether you're in business yourself and have seen it all, or you're a regular customer who's curious about where your money is going, you need to be aware of these dirty tricks in order to avoid them. Scroll down to see them all, and let us know which ones you've seen go down under the table in the comments.
I worked in the collections department of Discover Card for a while. One thing they did (maybe still do), to lure customers to them is offer 0% APR for the first year. People would jump on this and transfer all their debt onto their new Discover Card, and then the company would "conveniently" not send the first month's bill. In the fine print of the agreement, it states that if you miss even one payment in that first year, your APR will jump to 29.95%. Half of my calls were to these new customers who would then proceed to throw a fit, because they didn't ever get the bill, and I had to explain to them that it was their job to know when the bill was due, and sending one was just a courtesy extended by the company. I hated hated hated that job. It ate away at my soul.
TL;DR: Planned obsolescence and all the different types, with examples.
Planned obsolescence. Basically, products are designed by manufacturers to "wear out" after a certain period of time or amount of use. This is done to force consumers to re-purchase products or purchase new versions of products.
There are a few types of planned obsolescence. First is contrived durability, which means a product is designed to deteriorate quickly. A great example is how disposable razor blades wear out so quickly.
The second type is prevention of repairs, which means a product is designed in such a way that it is either made to be a single-use item (like disposable cameras), or in a way that uses proprietary hardware to prevent repairs and even damage the products if repairs are attempted. Apple is guilty of this with the majority of their product line-up, even seeking legislation to make it illegal to provide the difficult repairs.
The third is perceived obsolescence, which means a manufacturer frequently releases new "versions" of a product to make consumers feel as if the old product is far inferior. This is incredibly common, and in the grand scheme of things, fairly harmless. This type of planned obsolescence doesn't force a consumer to purchase a new product, but rather coerces them to, as do many other marketing campaigns. Common examples include new cars, phones, televisions, apparel, etc. for which new versions are released frequently.
Fourth is systemic obsolescence, which is when a manufacturer deliberately attempts to make a product obsolete by altering the system to make regular use difficult. Many people, including myself, accuse Apple of this when they release a new iPhone. Many people find that their old iPhone begins to run slowly after the latest iOS update following the release of the new iPhone model.
Last is programmed obsolescence, which is when a product contains a mechanical or electrical system that limits the amount of uses the product has. One notable example is printer cartiriges which use software to limit the amount of pages they will print, regardless of the actual ink level. Hewlett Packard was sued on allegations that their ink cartridges would "expire" on a certain date.
Altogether, these practices create an abundance of waste and unethically force consumers to buy more "stuff". This is a great way to make money hand-over-fist, and it is far more common than most people may think. People often complain that "things just don't last as long as they used to," which, excluding survivorship bias, is true because they are built not to.
If you're buying a used car - or any car for that matter, the check engine light should temporarily come on when you start the vehicle. If it doesn't, the dash has been tampered with to mask a potential issue
"Every month" and "every 4 weeks" sound similar, but are different. Paying every month gets you 12 payments, every 4 weeks gets you 13
Not sure if this fits, but if you are offered a raise for taking on new responsibilities, get it in writing. Just learned that the hard way.
I waited tables in a restaurant and one time I decided to pour a cup of soup into an empty bowl (a bowl of soup costs a good bit more than a cup of soup at the restaurant). The cup filled up the bowl to the top.
I was a waitress at a family-owned restaurant that paid me $0.10 more than the minimum wage. They were able to require me to turn over all tips that I never saw again because they paid me over minimum wage. I think this is technically legal, but sleazy nonetheless. I made really great tips and it was hard turning the money over. It's also pretty deceptive to the customer, who thinks their money is going to the wait staff, not the restaurant.
Mattress stores that have the "find it anywhere else for cheaper, you get your money back!" deal contract with the manufacturer to make the exact same model of bed, but with a model name specific to that store, so nobody can ever cash in on that deal.
When I was in the process of moving into my current home I transferred the title of my old home and land to my sister because she was buying it and moving in when I left. Within the next few weeks she started getting all the "welcome to the neighborhood" coupons and flyers. She didn't even change her address, so I assume companies track title changes with the register of deeds. The sketchiest was a pest control company claiming to have an existing account on the property and recommending she continue to use their services. They detailed dates and changes; referenced termites. It was all lies. All the dates shown were while I owned the property and I never even heard of this company before she received that letter.
I know a guy who does pest control who specializes in raccoon removal. He takes the raccoons from one house in one neighborhood, then takes and releases it in another neighborhood then waits for the people there to reach out to him to remove the raccoon from their home.