Monday, March 15, 2010

Buyer Be Thorough

Caveat emptor (buyer beware) is ancient advice and certainly qualifies as common sense. Since today's purchases can be complex contracts with multile decision points, there can be many places where you need to pay attention. For somplicity sake, let's consider four distinct groups.

The Purchase

This is where every transaction starts, and the advice for it is old, tested and trustworthy.
  • Know what you really want ahd ask for it.
  • Know what you are willing to pay before you negotiate.
  • Be ready to say no and walk away.
There is nothing new here. Just keep your coat on and your credit card in your pocket.

The Upsell

The hamburger principle: condiments (ketchp, mustard, pickles, onions) are free.

The pizza principle: each topping is extra, certain combiations offered as packages.

The more expensive a product is, the more likely upsells will be attempted, cars, boats, homes and electronics are filled with upsells. There is nothing wrong with an upsell -- it may be what you want. My pizza is topping-heavy because that's what I want. Look at each item and eah package as a seperate transaction. Know what you want, know what you are willing to pay. Hold the anchovies and ask if the onions are a condiment or a topping.

The Extended Warranty

In  Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition (Collins Business Essentials) Harvey Mackay says "if you can afford to buy your way out of a problem, you don't have a problem." An extended warranty is not an upsell because you get no new features. They ar a form of insurance -- pay now to manage a problem you may or may not have later.

Unless your lifestyle or intended use is hazardous to the product, my rule of thumb is nver buy an extended warranty for a product you can afford to replace. Keep the warranty money in a safe place and use it to replace the rare item that fails with something new. Insure yourself, save money, and get a new product if somethng does fail instead of the older model which has already shown it can fail. On the other hand, if the extended warranty is free, take it.

The Money Back Guarantee

We all take card for test drives. It only makes sense. If a product offers a money back guarantee, trat the guaruntee as a distinct item. Note the terms and conditions of the guaruntee and evaluate the product as the guaruntee period comes to a close. If you aren't satisfied, ask for your money back.


Shopping can be a fine hobby, but buying should always be a business. If you are buying a contract insead of a product, tehre is much more to think about than just the bottom line.


The Aladdin Factor  Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition (Collins Business Essentials)

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