Buyer beware: How to avoid appliance scams


Posted at Mar 24 2014 05:18 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2014 10:50 PM

MANILA, Philippines – There are a number of scams involving appliances, and if shoppers aren’t careful, retailers can easily get their hard-earned money or deprive them of freebies, financial advisor Salve Duplito warned.

On ANC's On The Money, Duplito said she almost became a victim of a scam when she purchased air coolers at an appliance store.

She said she wanted to purchase two units, but the store only had one stock left, prompting her to head to the store’s other branch.

At the other branch, she found that the air cooler was being sold at the same price, but it came with a free electric fan, which the first store didn’t offer.

Duplito said she talked to store officials and asked that she is also given a free electric fan for the first air cooler. After two hours of waiting, the store gave in to her demands.

“I thought, ‘How many bought the air coolers but were deprived of the freebie’? I talked to a merchandiser who said that this is particularly common in smaller appliance stores but can also happen in big stores as well,” she said on ANC’s “On The Money.”

Appliance scams usually work with the store negotiating with the brand for freebies, but instead of giving away the freebie to the customer, the store sells the freebies and keeps the cash.

It can also involve giving a lower discount to the buyer instead of giving the right discount.

“Multiply these with the number of shoppers and you’re looking at quite a very profitable scam operation worth millions of pesos,” said Duplito.

To avoid being victimized by scams, Duplito suggests window shopping first before buying to compare prices and promos.

“If you are always in a hurry, you end up paying more. Do your research and take your time especially if you’re buying an expensive item,” she said.

Taking your time also means negotiating and bargaining with stores, which can result to good deals.

“Always try to negotiate, sometimes, just by staying and talking a little bit more, you get more freebies and discounts,” she said.

She added that using technology by finding online deals from trusted discount sites can not only help in preventing scams, it also helps buyers save time and money.

“Oftentimes, clicking with your fingers can give you more savings that walking with your feet, and it saves you time too,” said Duplito.