Hello YouTube, Jim Here! It’s all about the money. For you, the consumer, it’s all about saving as much as you can on every purchase. For the company you’re handing your hard earned cash over to, it’s all about emptying your wallet, so why should you trust there aren’t underlying and hidden truths that make them more? You shouldn’t, and after this Archive of the Top 10 Secret Ways Companies Are Ripping You Off, you’ll never look at your favorite companies the same way again.
Are you in a mortgage with a high-interest rate? Did you find another company that will offer you a lower rate? Sure, you can refinance, but don’t expect the process to be as simple as that. You see, if you try to pay off your debt with your current mortgage company early, you may incur a “prepayment penalty,” or a penalty for paying off your loan early. They’re not present on every mortgage, but the typical penalty can be as much as 80% on six months of interest as homeowners are typically allowed to pay off up to 20% of the loan balance each year. The point of the penalty is for the lender to recoup a portion of the interest they’re losing with the loan being extinguished earlier than anticipated.
Pre-Sale Price Hike
When it comes to shopping, it’s all about the sale. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, President’s Day – you name it, there’s a sale for it, but what if we told you those price drops you’re anxiously awaiting aren’t really anything special? Back in 2013, department stores like JCPenney and Kohl’s were found engaging in a rather uncouth practice of raising the prices of products before putting them on sale. Independent investigations into the matter performed by multiple newsgroups found that many of the “sale” price tags were hiding a gross secret: underneath the sale sticker was the progression of pricing that showed the item started out at a lower price than what it was on sale for. While some increases may have been the result of a rising cost of materials, most are likely a ploy to place an item “on sale” without the same loss.
When you buy $8 worth of chicken breast, you want $8 worth of edible poultry. You can bet, unless you go directly to the source, you’re not getting that. It’s common practice for chicken producers to inject your packaged chicken with liquid and, if the wording on the package is any indication, most aren’t ashamed to show it. Your poultry could be injected with enough liquid to account for 15 to 30% of the weight you’re paying for and seeing as how that liquid will evaporate, you’re essentially throwing money to the wind. The practice has been labeled as “plumping” and is usually done with salt water, chicken broth, or seaweed extract. In the Chinese market, shrimp gets the plumping treatment with a gel-like substance.
We’re all about the convenient things in life. You walk through a grocery store, see a package of pre-chopped pineapple, and you buy it. Find that same pineapple in its solid form, all you can think about is having to cut it down and the urge for pineapple passes. While convenient, pre-chopped food also comes at a cost – more money from your pocket. The average difference between, say, a whole pineapple and a prepared package is around $3. Consider that it takes approximately 5 minutes to chop a head of lettuce, the grocer is essentially getting $36 an hour to chop your fruit and vegetables, even more considering what they deliver is likely not a full pineapple. Chances are, if there’s a more convenient form of something, you’re paying more for it. A lot more. Another example would be at Wal-Mart, where you can buy a warm 2-liter of soda for $1 in the back of the store, and a cold 20oz soda for nearly $2.
Sell-by / Use-by Dates
You wake up on March 3rd, craving a nice cold glass of milk. Low and behold, you grab the milk and are faced with a March 1st expiration date. Clearly, it’s time to get rid of the remaining half gallon and go buy another, right? Sure, if you hate money. Truth of the matter is those dates aren’t even for you as the consumer, not that they’d tell you. The “Sell-by” date is meant for grocer management while the “Use by” date is just the last day the food manufacturer will guarantee the freshness and quality of their product. More often than not, the food is still good days, sometimes weeks, after those dates. If you’re ever concerned about your foods freshness, don’t go by the date. Signs like rotten smells, slimy coatings, and change in consistency are better indicators of when it’s time to go shopping again.
Unless you’re extremely anal and untrusting, you likely haven’t required a bartender to measure out your 16 oz pint in front of you. You just take their word for it, but after hearing this, you may think otherwise. When you order a pint at a restaurant or bar, the likelihood that you’re getting a full 16 oz is pretty slim. One method to avoid giving you what you paid for, many locations turn to thicker 14-ounce glasses, or “cheater pints.” It may look like a pint but the thicker glass takes up about 2 oz of space where your beer should be. In 2007, beer blogger Jeff Alworth started the Honest Pint Project to praise establishments for giving an exact 16 oz.
Brand Name vs. Generic
They’re plastered all over our televisions and scattered throughout the magazines some of us still read. It’s impossible to avoid name brand marketing, which conditions us to look for that specific brand as we shop, but do we really need that specific brand? In most cases, absolutely not. Generic versions of many name brand products, from cereals to medication, offer a cheaper variety without a decrease in quality or effectiveness. In fact, if you compare the ingredients of many name brand and generic products, you’ll find very few – if any – differences. In regards to generic drugs, the biggest difference will be in the inactive ingredients, or the dyes and flavorings that alter color and taste. The point? You can easily save if you don’t let name brand marketing get the best of you.
Hidden and Unnecessary Charges
When you sign up for something, are you confident that you know exactly what you’re getting into? Hidden fees are a common business practice, one that’s pretty difficult to get away from. Cell phone companies are one of the worst proponents with what’s been called “Cramming.” Essentially, third-party companies approved by the company tack on additional costs to customer bills, which is why it’s imperative to check your bill each month and the terms of any contract you sign. Cable companies are just as guilty of unnecessary charges. How many channels in your 140-channel lineup do you actually watch? Even if it’s only half, you’re stuck paying for channels you don’t watch as cable companies are not often inclined to offer an “a la carte” menu. A third offender is banks who aren’t always upfront about overdraft charges and increase in ATM surcharges.
Paying for Air
It’s funny to hear people complaining about the air in their potato chip bags when there’s a far worse offender out there. You know that gallon of ice cream you’ve been nursing? Would you believe that a rather large portion of that creamy goodness is actually what’s called “overrun,” or air added to the product to achieve maximum creaminess? Ice cream requires some air to be creamy and light, but just how much of your dairy treat is air? Well, the Food and Drug Administration regulates the amount of overrun a manufacturer can use in their ice cream to 100%, which would allow them to package two gallons of ice cream from one gallon of mix. While name-brands allegedly stray from higher overrun, it’s the cheaper store brands that are said to hover close to 100%, allowing them the chance to offer much lower pricing.
Unless you unplug your cable box at night, there’s a good chance your cable company is draining you while you sleep. Though they’re not directly profiting from your loss, according to former United States Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, the “always on” set-top boxes needlessly consume approximately $12 billion of electricity every year, a figure contested by National Cable & Telecommunications Association vice president Brian Dietz. In 2014, for a California household, the estimation was about $8 a month, and while that may not sound like much, a penny saved is a penny that can buy you a few lattes.