Monday, May 7, 2012

The Book Review, Sunday, May 6, 2012: Amazon

Dear Readers,

Madame L is not reviewing a book about the Amazon, but rather the online book-and-everything-buying service she often recommends,

As you may be aware, Amazon uses what it likes to call a "dynamic" price system, in which the price you're being charged for an item may change over time---and sometimes over the amount of time it takes to look up an item and put it in your shopping cart.

You may think of this as a bait-and-switch tactic---Madame L certainly does!---but it's legal. According to this consumer advocate, "Not only do prices move up and down on a regular basis, but also they're often adjusted based on exactly which customer is mulling a purchase. The practice, called price customization or dynamic pricing, weighs factors as it sets prices such as a customer's income, buying habits, or the popularity of an item on a given day."

The Romans said it best: "Caveat emptor." If it happens to you, you should contact to complain, but be prepared to be persistent.

Although she has had problems with this in the past, Madame L has complained about it, with the result that it hasn't happened to her since then. She continues to use, but very carefully; and hopes all of you Dear Gentle Readers will use care, too.

Also, please share with Madame L any "dynamic price" experiences you've had with and any other retailers.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

Verrrry interesting. Thanks for the heads-up, as I hadn't realized that they can and do do this.

Near the end of the article, it talks about being scammed due to family relationships, similar to what you mentioned in a previous post. I just became aware of a Facebook app (at least, I think it's an app--I'm not sure) where you can enter all sorts of familial relationships and have this program come up with how many "degrees" of relationship you are away from any given person, such as one of your Facebook friends, or a celebrity. It's called "Kin2," as in "Who are you kin to?" While I think it's a pretty cool thing to figure out, I'm nervous about the fact that it uses the very public site of Facebook as its interface. I've made a point of not accepting Facebook "relationship" requests in the past, specifically because I don't want the whole world to know if or how I'm related to my Facebook "friends." But this Kin2 seems to take those relationships to a whole new level, tying them in to your family tree and everything. With all the identity theft going on in the world out there, and other kinds of scams as well, I'm really nervous about putting that information out there. What do you think about that, Madam L? Have you heard of Do you think it's legitimate and safe and all that?