Double Discounts and Dirty Tricks.

After spending the best part of 31 years in the carpet and flooring industry, holding almost every position from buyer to fitter, it is time to lift the lid on the more "creative" sales tactics used by national retailers.

No longer had the end credits rolled on the Queen's Speech then most national flooring retailers started to bombard us with their annual Boxing Day sales adverts. You know the drill by now: "Double discounts", "A further 20% discount on the original 50% off" "Multi million pound clearance sale!", "Free fitting", "Buy now pay in 2020", "Free carpet with every bed" blah blah blah...But the question is: How can they do this? Well simply put they can't without employing some rather unsavoury sales gimmicks.

The first of these being to put the price of a product up during a "dead period" for a small period of time to avoid the raft of Trading Standards, then lower it at these selected times, all perfectly legal of course but there is more than enough evidence to suggest Carpetright at best are somewhat taking the preverbal. (Google it).

The second trend that has become very popular is taking the weight out of a best selling material by removing fibre,  hence making said material a lesser quality. Which is a win win for the retailer and manufacture with both margins and volume staying high, of course who cares about the end user when the wheel keeps turning right! 

And then there is that old chestnut of free fitting, now trust me on this one even the bad fitters want to get paid! Anyway that aside you've chosen the carpet/flooring of your dreams, you trail around several different shops with sample in hand, you look at paint, wallpaper, furniture. You make an appointment for an estimate to come out, you go back into the shop, do the deal and then right before you sign on the dotted that rather slimy salesman almost rubbing his hands in glee tells you that once the fitter is done you need to pay the fitter £50 in cash. Not quite the "Free Fitting" offer that was promised. When you question this the salesperson then makes up some story saying it is free fitting or included in the price! What do you do after faced with this? Head back to square one spend more hours trailing around shops again or go ahead? The big retailers know this and will play on the percentages that the vast majority will go ahead with a deal because they have already invested their time into the deal.

So what else should you as a consumer being looking for? Hidden extras for sure. Most national retailers will charge a delivery charge, this will usually be anywhere from £29-£50, this appears to be a common practice which in theory seems fair enough, fuel costs, time etc. Now take a few seconds to think about it. The fitters are as a rule of thumb self employed/contractors so they only get paid for what goes on the floor, and a delivery charge certainly isn't a nice little bonus,  the fitter won't see a penny of this charge but then consider that by the very natural of the job the fitter has to come to your home to be able to fit your flooring in the first place you begin to realise what a total rip off delivery charges are!

Another consideration has to be sales staff, although I'm not suggesting everyone who works for a national flooring retailer is a crook but I do have to question an environment of commission based sales. Can you really rely on the advice of sales staff based on their own financial agenda? Probably not!

Until next time, much love Mark.


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