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Sale. Discounts. Special Offers. Bargains. Money Off.

In the last couple of weeks there’s been lots of talk about downturns and recessions and businesses finding things tough. We’re being told that they’re offering us all sorts of discounts to entice us to spend our money with them. And of course, for any of us that might still have some disposable income, that’s great news.

I do have one word of caution though. I’ve noticed a lot of newspaper advertising, and some radio adverts too, that are offering consumers bargains and discounts and money off, but not specifying what actually is on offer. It may just be that I’m overly cynical, or that I just have a little understanding of how Irish businesses operate, but I would be very cautious in following up on such vague offers.

Why? Because such vague offers give the businesses involved the opportunity to potentially charge you more depending on when you ring and depending on their current bookings. It does obviously give them the opportunity to change less as well, but when did you ever see an Irish business less when they could get away with charging more.

Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t have a problem with businesses doing business. However, doing business in the way that’s being suggested here isn’t as clear as it could be from the perspective of the consumer.

What should you do? If you do see such unspecific advertising, and you’re drawn to the product or service being offered, by all means give them a call and get as much detail as you can. And then call again at some later point the next day, or a couple of days later. Ask the same questions, and see if you get the same answers and the same offer. You could also compare the alternatives available from other competitors. Once you’ve get full information on availability and pricing, make your decision.

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