Argos is in the spotlight again, this time for apparent race discrimination in the toy department… After recently finding itself embroiled in the furore of eagle-eyed shoppers noticing that its “3 for 2” offers were not as they seemed  the Argos pricing debacle continues. The latest error shows the company discriminating between two similar dolls, both named Luvabella.
Blogger Lottyearns noticed that whilst the white, Caucasian Luvabella doll was available as a “3 for 2” offer,the “African American’ Luvabella is not….
An Argos spokesperson added to the confusion by claiming that the doll in question was not part of the offer: “The other Luvabella doll is available online only, and our online only toys were not part of the ‘3 for 2’ promotion”, said their statement.
Is Argos guilty of race discrimination in toy pricing?
Argos has been plagued by criticism recently. Earlier last month it piloted removing its iconic catalogue from various stores. It claimed to be testing demand as more and more people shop online. However, it misjudged customers, who were astonished at the store’s decision and ignited a social media outcry. This was especially due to its lack of understanding about the widespread use of perusing the catalogue by adults and children alike for circling their Christmas wishes!
Only last week Argos again faced a mass of condemnation for its “3 for 2” special offers, where many toys worked out more expensive than the day before the offer started, and a lack of stock in many stores.
Dewdney says that she is seeing an increasing number of people lambasting the retailer over recent months and taking their custom elsewhere and looks forward to inspecting their trading figures for the run up to Christmas. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they are down on the previous year, reflecting what seems to be consumers’ growing disdain for Argos.”
Many if not all of us love a bargain and frequently purchase something that we think is saving us money. Now that Christmas is well and truly over and new year’s resolutions well and truly broken let’s look back at some of our false economies and how we think we are saving money, how we are not and what we can do about them!
1) The most common has got to be Gym membership! People set this up on a direct debit, especially in January! All good intentions and visits dwindle and it would be cheaper to stop the DD and pay on the times you go.
2) Similarly, people take advantage of many online opening offers such as subscriptions to magazines, email services etc. with a significant discount such as £1 for first month and then £25 for each month after and even if they cancel the DD after this month they have lost the £25 if they don’t want to keep the service.
3) Buying yearly membership cards which give you discounts on items throughout the year but you use it twice when you get it and then forget about it so the outlay was too much.
4) Impulse buying for anything that you then don’t use
5) Supermarket deals – discounts on bulk buying and having to throw away what you don’t use
6) Not complaining and gaining redress when you buy a faulty item and buying a new one
7) Only getting one estimate for services such as building works. An estimate is exactly that and the trader could then say that the job cost more. See this post for avoiding problems with builders.
8) Not switching energy, phone and insurance suppliers on a regular basis means, that without doubt you are losing money.
9) Not reading terms and conditions in contracts such as notice periods or fees for early termination or not be aware of your legal rights around unfair contracts
Terms & Conditions The One Show
10) ‘phoning customer service numbers and holding for a long time! If this is a number that costs (helplines must be free)
11) Ordering online and not checking the postage costs.
12) False economy bargains. Frequently the more expensive t shirt last twice as long as the cheap one or the more expensive batteries last three times as long as the cheaper ones
13) Sales. Buying something that is a bargain. It really is because the reduction is so huge but you never ever use it/wear it
Tips for not falling foul of the above
1) Think carefully about taking out memberships such as the gym. Work out how many times you have to go a week to make it worthwhile and keep that as a reminder on your calendar that if you haven’t gone that many times that week you are at a loss and should think about cancelling and remember to read the terms and conditions as to how much notice you have to give
2) Keep a note of when direct debits are due and cancel them when you realise you aren’t using the service
3) Work out the value of membership cards. So, for example, a Tastecard – look at what restaurants are covered, how often you have been to them in the last year and how much you are likely to save.
4) Keep an eye out for trials for things like membership cards, Restaurant offer cards for example often have three month trials for £1 but remember to cancel the direct debit if you find that you don’t use it. Remember if you have hardly used it in the three months you are even less likely to use it as time goes by.
7) Get 3 quotes, a quote is was what you should pay unless additions are agreed along the way.
8) Use a variety of switching websites to ensure that you have the cheapest deal and also any other offers that are different on different websites. The importance of doing that here.
9) Read terms and conditions of contracts and factor in any early termination fees or notice periods if you are likely to change supplier early
10) Unless you need something immediately rectifying, don’t ‘phone, write which also gives you a good record and should you need to follow up, you have an email trail and don’t need to repeat yourself on the ‘phone when you have to go through it all again!
Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively
11) Check the total and any extras before you click the “buy now” button but worth noting that it is now illegal for companies to add pre ticked boxes for additional payments
12) Bargains – stop to think before you buy them (and I should listen to my own advice!!) For example, look at the price of the batteries, if the more expensive are twice the price they should last twice as long. With things like batteries which you may go through a lot, you can do your own testing at home as to how long they last. Keep a check on items that you buy and replace and make a note of how long they last and whether bargains really are a bargain.
13) Stop to think if you really will use/wear the discounted item. (Again need to listen to my own advice, I love a bargain!) When going to shop in the sales try and make a list of the things that you would really like/need and try and stick to these. That should help keep you foccused on spending time looking for what you want so you are less distracted by other things. Also if the shop has more than one of the item you can risk walking out and spending time thinking about whether you want to go back and get it.
Got any more false economies and how not to fall foul?