CHOICE membership

Women Consumers

Quotes from Choice:

“As a single mum of 7 children, Ruby was well aware of how vulnerable consumers, women especially, were being ripped off by pushy salesmen peddling shoddy goods.”

Her experience with one described as a ‘Drover’ got in the papers after he ‘Obtained money by means of fraudulent tricks’ from her.

“Her determination to see consumers informed about their rights and about products, in part led to the birth of Choice Magazine in April 1960.”

It seems a long time ago, but how vulnerable are consumers and women in particular, at present, to shoddy sales practices?

As females interested in Choice, do we have experiences we’d like to share in the Forum about some car mechanics that are convinced that women don’t understand cars and can be easily fooled?
Or some tradies that when attending to a faulty appliance in a female-headed household, see them as more trusting and therefore more easily ripped off?
Are there stories out there to show that, even if the attitude still exists, the ‘female consumer’ is no longer a ‘victim’ but a well informed customer?
Or are we still falling victim of tricksters in an age of more sophisticated sales pressure: insidious advertising, continual telemarketing, various payment options, etc?
Looking forward to your input.

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I don’t think that the scammers target women in particular these days.

At least not since they introduced their equal opportunity, non-discrimmination rip-off tatics.

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I can say, from my perspective, things have changed for female consumers.
Back in the 1970’s I had trouble getting salesmen to take me seriously and sell me something. I had the full price of a new car sitting in my bank account, yet the salesmen ignored me when I said I didn’t have a husband they could talk to. When I found the vehicle I wanted (not allowed to test drive…) I had to get angry with the salesman before he would take me to the office to sign up for a car. Back in those days you couldn’t just order on line, the salesman was the gate keeper. To be fair, same time, there was an old farmer worth a fortune but got around in bare feet and tattered clothes who was wanting to buy a luxury car and the salesmen only showed him the door. He eventually bought at another dealer, for cash, but not the marque he wanted.

I think this was blatant stereotyping - women wouldn’t know anything, wouldn’t have money, too stupid to make big decisions, wouldn’t understand mechanics, men in tatty shirts couldn’t afford luxury cars. Fortunately sales staff are a little more astute - if we don’t have money they can at least sign us up for finance!

My parents were subscribers to Choice from the second edition and I continued after I left home. Choice asked questions like “why is a lady’s haircut dearer than a man’s haircut?” Choice questioned the “pink” surcharge. Even today, consider something like gardening gloves in several sizes and colours - why are the gloves deemed “ladies” dearer than the unisex ones?
So, I say things have improved, thanks to Choice campaigns. The internet had a hand in it too, as your gender & appearance isn’t apparent at the browsing, ordering & paying.

I think men are no longer as mechanically minded as they used to be (?), so they too can be duped by unscrupulous people. Women are becoming more aware. So we are getting closer to equality.

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Except for those in the fashion and wellness industry who prey on the desire of many women to look good. Or those who aim advertisements at carers and homemakers along the lines that “you are not such a good parent (mother) unless you use our products to keep your family safe, healthy yada yada yada”

Scams in the sense of obtaining money by deception are not so often biased as they rely on the greed and gullibility of the subject which can apply to anybody. However in consumer marketing, often using doubtful methods, there are huge industries that do nothing but target women.

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I found this article in the Quora Digest regarding Car Servicing from a woman’s viewpoint. When I was in the industry I witnessed many cases where Jane Doe paid a premium price for servicing but John Doe paid considerably less . Capped price servicing has helped alleviate some of the gender discrimination but it still goes on . .

Read the article below on car servicing if you are a female owner . It contains some good tips.


Profile photo for A Nonymous

A Nonymous

, studied at University of California, Irvine (2018)

Answered July 23, 2020

"Repost: My original post was taken down for calling out gender stereotypes that were written in the comments section that stereotyped women relying on their bf/husband and frantic. Yes, as a woman or anyone in general you want to be informed, but one of the previous answers assumed that women (and some men) don’t do their own research and that is why they are taken advantage of.

I have had many times where it was assumed that I was “hearing noises” because I had an intermittent noise come from my car that didn’t happen the 1st time they test drove it. The mechanics only believed something was wrong after I brought in male who had heard it. As soon as ‘he’ confirmed the noise they believed it and then fixed my car. I’ve also had them try to significantly overcharge me for labor and or parts. Specifically they will recommend much higher priced parts than actually needed for your car’s age. I have also had them recommend tons of services/replacement parts that weren’t needed.

What I have found helps, is to tell them when going in to call you with the price ‘before’ they touch your car. When they call with the price, ask what exactly they are repairing/replacing. Then ask for the part prices (for each item) and labor cost. From there, you can google the cost of the parts and avg. cost of that particular repair. If the quote for parts is too high, tell the mechanic to hold off on fixing and you are going to bring them the parts. That way you can order the cheaper parts online and only have to deal with the cost of labor. When it comes to routine maintenance/services always check your car manual for exact frequency. A lot of dealer mechanics will push services to be completed much more frequently than actually needed.

With those tips, keep in mind that all cars are built differently under the hood, which can make certain repairs a lot more time consuming, which will result in a higher labor cost so you always want to get labor estimates based on your make and model of your car."

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Women consumers being targeted?

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The PINK TAX still exists in Australia in regards to everyday items and clothing .

4 ways the pink tax affects Australian women

Women already earn less than men in Australia. But did you know they also have to pay more?

In August 2016, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency highlighted a nationwide wage gap of 16.2 per cent. For every dollar a man earns, a woman earns around 83 cents. Of course, this changes from industry to industry. But when it comes to paying more for women’s products, the costs are similar across the board. This has been dubbed called the “pink tax” - here are four examples that you might experience every day.

  1. Razors

Prominent campaign group 7% states that the gender price gap is - you guessed it - seven per cent. This can impact a huge range of products, particularly when it comes to toiletries. See this example of the price gap in some basic razors below.

  1. Bic pens

GetUp has been campaigning against the pink tax for some time now, and has taken to collating examples from across Australia to illustrate just how ridiculous some of the adjustments in what we pay are. Bic has previously come under for for its “For Her” collection, and this line of products still costs more than a regular set of pens.

One example posted by GetUp shows that a “For Her” double pen set costs $4.50, while a regular pair costs $4.00. For no discernible difference in the product itself, women would pay an extra 12.5 per cent.

  1. Kids toys

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a report in 2015 on the items that women pay more for, and found that the pink tax even extends to our kids. Helmets and knee pads, for example, cost 13 per cent more when they were targeted at girls.

(It’s something to think about when you go Christmas shopping this year.)

  1. Clothing

There are many examples of the same item of clothing costing more for a woman than a man. For a recent example, GetUp has again provided a stark difference in the prices of near-identical shirts.

How do you get around the pink tax?

It seems that wherever products are branded for women, they are going to cost more. But how can you get around this? How do you deal with financial planning when you’ll pay more wherever you look?

Consumer group CHOICE told the ABC that in some cases, it is as simple as shopping in the men’s section and avoiding these pink-branded products altogether. But if you’re concerned about this on a larger scale, such as in your investments, it pays to get professional financial advice from the team at Yellow Brick Road.

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I know what you mean: a younger me trying to buy my first car got no attention at all until I got my father to come with me.

Years later I negotiated with a salesman for the price of a car of a certain colour, year of make, and on road costs. There was going to be a bit of a wait because the car was coming from overseas.
Then one of the managers came out and gave me a sales pitch about how the colour I had chosen would show dust, and why didn’t I get this other colour which was available straightaway? I asked the year of the car and found out it would have been a year older than the one I had negotiated for.
No, thanks, I said.

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I had the same problem years ago at a car dealership. I even had to ask if I could look at the model I wanted in the showroom. Was told there’d be a wait of several months anyway for what I wanted. I went to a different dealership and had the car within a fortnight at a better price as well.

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Yes definitely it still happens and my mother being on her own and not that old was seen by Tradesmen she called to obtain quotes as an easy target and not giving quotes in writing and not delivering on promises and telling her Customers usually buy me a a bottle of chivas regal and overquoting and wanting her to sign contracts and not giving her a chance to obtain legal advice and especially in Real Estate where the lies really flow. Unfortunately the practice is still alive and well for Women

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I still remember i git conned into buying a new fridge a while ago. He was a classic pushy sales person. More interest in selling the product i didn’t want. I certainly wo t go back to that shop again. I never understood why for example new car sales people get paid so much and they can lie to sell. Years ago tbey might have gotten away but consumers are more aware than before. I still think that it all depends on where you buy from.

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Car sales are the worst. Whei purchase a second hand car around 8 years ago and the guy saying this is the best car. It was tbe worst car i ever had u. I tell you the problems i have had i went to complain because a major component failed. No protection. Im never going back to the place again. I am a bloke and it’s still hard. I guess have to choose wisely

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When I went shopping for a new fridge, a few years ago, I had a copy of my Choice magazine with me to look up the make and model I had chosen from the “recommended” section of the fridges tested.
I had looked up the size,
the dimensions, and the various features I needed, and knew what I wanted before going in the white goods store.
A salesman commented on it and I said that I wouldn’t shop any other way. “That’s fine” he said. All he had to do was to write up the order.

I learned a lot from Choice about being a responsible consumer and also about what to do in the unfortunate case of ending up with a lemon :wink:

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I have recently gone by choice when purchasing several new products. But when i purchased the fridge i wasn’t a member. I frequently refer back including online goods.

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as per the “Guilty Mummy” segment of The Checkout

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I had a salesman approach me and try pushing a particular model. I said I was using the Choice review for the features etc that I wanted (ie “just leave me alone …”) and he started in on Choice being “chock full of advertising” and only recommending things they were paid to promote, whereas he was “unbiased” and this was the model for me. So I stuffed the Choice magazine into his hands and defied him to find “the advertising”. He didn’t even look. That got rid of him. Would that happen to a man? I don’t know.

I had a similar experience in another electrical retailer. The salesman just said “call me when you want help”. It took me half an hour, but he got a quick sale and took $100 off the shelf price without me asking. That appliance has been one of the better purchases - Thanks Choice.

What irks me more these days, are shop assistants who stereotype me as a “little old lady” - a frail person with dementia. A topic for another discussion.

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I suspect there are those who stereotype all of us, gender just being one factor. The sales techniques that look for your weaknesses will work against any of us. It’s just that blokes are less likely to fess up they did a bad deal?

Experience is also a factor. We often shop together. It seems to help either as the sales assistant needs to convince both of us. Take a best friend, and be sure one of you is reluctant about the deal when looking for the best price. Just don’t take me cloths shopping unless style is less important than the price. :joy:

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They don’t do it only for women. Males have the same issue when buying items seen as for ‘women’ and often sales assistants can be quite patronising or don’t listen to what the customer is saying. I have walked out of stores when shopping for (modest) undergarments (not for me but for a gift for the other half) either through:

  • no service (standing there or asking for help and none forthcoming): or
  • though sales assistants not listening or trying to sell expensive products instead of listening to why the items is being purchased.

Many men also know what they are after or what is preference by those they are buying for…and not buying for some expected ‘exotic’ reason.

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I’m seriously starting to question the usefulness of sales assistants in today’s shopping world.
I do all of my own research before buying and know what I want prior to going into the store.
All I need to do is select the item and go to pay for it (and I prefer self service check-outs).
Sometimes I ask for directions to the aisle the item is located, but it has happened that they have sent me to the wrong place.

I can do without hard-sell assistants, and those who have got up on the wrong side of the bed, and those who engage in endless talks with the customer before me, who by the way are doing their banking while paying for the shopping!

But I do hope that they would be offered another job in case sale assistants become obsolete :slightly_smiling_face:

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