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During the current economic climate, we can expect to find more customers than usual trying it on and attempting to get more than their money's worth.

Dodgy or not?

During the current economic climate, we can expect to find more customers than usual trying it on and attempting to get more than their money’s worth. Retailers may be seen as fair game for various reasons, often because people just don’t understand how business works. And because of the few dodgy types who try to rip off retail, shops try to cover themselves with restrictive terms and conditions.

Unfortunately, on the other side of the fence, there are a number of shopkeepers who go even further and take advantage of the unwary punter. I recently acquired a sales receipt, that an ordinary customer was given by a computer shop, which had masses of conditions in tiny print. Some of these were almost certainly illegal, such as terms to restrict warranties to 30 days.

Once genuine customers have been stung with terms like these, they won’t come back and, worse still, they’ll tell their friends. So the decision must be made whether to make a quick buck by any means or to stick around long term and build up a good reputation. Those who are in the business for the quick buck are often the type who will pirate software, thus giving the perception of offering a little extra. They can be hard to compete with if they advertise incredible prices, which attract bargain hunters. The punters only find out once it’s too late that they didn’t really get a bargain.

To combat this dodgy dealer element, decent businesses must stand up and make it clear that they can be trusted to give a fair service. They should take a look at their own terms and conditions and see if they can be easier to deal with. Then they should join an ethical trade association and display their membership, code of ethics and code of practice with pride.

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