At YouFibre, we think you deserve access to fair pricing all year round, no matter who you are or what you’re buying. So, we were disappointed to find that almost a third of you have been duped by misleading ‘discounts’ or ‘offers’ in the last three years alone.
We want to see all brands offering fair, transparent pricing all-year-round, just like us. But, until that happens, we’ve made it our mission to help UK consumers, like you, recognise real value (and real scams) to make your lives a little easier. So, we’ve compiled a list of the most common misleading sales tactics and advice on how to spot them.
Common misleading sales tactics
Scarcity warnings – Ever been online shopping and seen a message like ‘only three left in stock’ or ‘offer ends in 20 minutes’? These messages are designed to pressure you into purchasing quickly, and there’s no way of identifying if these claims are true. So, stay calm, and take time to decide if you actually want to purchase before rushing to the checkout. The chances are the product or offer will still be available when you come back later.
Advertising products that aren’t available – Other brands advertise products or services at a low price to tempt you in, before claiming that it’s no longer available once you click on the link or visit the store. Once they’ve got your attention, they attempt to push you into buying a more expensive alternative. In reality, the lower priced product may never have been available, it’s a tactic designed to trick you into buying a more expensive option.
Mid-contract price rises – No one wants to be asked to pay more than they expected when they’re half way through a contract, whether that’s for broadband, mobile data, or a gym membership. Sadly, this is becoming commonplace amongst some of the biggest broadband providers in the UK. In fact, Martin Lewis has warned that some could be increasing their prices by up to 7.9% this year. Companies tend to disguise these mid-contract price rises by using complex language designed to confuse you, so always read the T&Cs carefully and ask if there’s anything you’re not sure of.
Hidden charges – It’s not just mid-contract price hikes you need to look out for. Lots of brands are guilty of hiding essential additional costs in their T&Cs. For example, we’ve seen other broadband providers charging customers for basic services like installation and routers. This means customers end up paying far more than the original price advertised.
Subscription traps – Some subscription services will offer a heavily discounted rate for the first few months to tempt you into signing up, only to increase the monthly cost for all future payments. These deals often don’t save you any money in the long run, so it’s always worth doing the maths before signing up for an introductory offer which traps you into a long contract.
False price reductions – Other brands will inflate the price of their product or service for a short while in the run-up to a ‘sale’ to trick customers into thinking they’re making a saving. In reality, the product might have been available at the same price just days ago. There are tools available to help you spot when this is happening. For example, if you’re shopping on Amazon, sites like Keepa track the prices of items so you know whether you’re getting a truly discounted product.
Cashback cons – Another common trick is misleading cashback or voucher offers that promise huge amounts of money but come with a catch or are difficult to redeem. For example, they might require you to use the product for a specific period of time, or spend more on additional extras before you can claim the cashback or voucher. So, never take cashback offers at face value – always do your research first.
About the research
Our research into misleading deals and discounts was conducted amongst 2,000 UK consumers in December 2023. These tips are based on some of the most common ‘tricks’ consumers have fallen for over the last three years.
Our promise to you
At YouFibre, we’re committed to transparent pricing that offers great value all year, with no in contract price rises, unexpected fees, or tricky catches.
Check out our postcode checker to find out if your property is ready for ultra-fair, ultrafast broadband.