Are you a rich prick? Â Or at least, do you have the best phone, iPad or crappy computer? Â In that case, you might be paying more for things online than others.
It’s no secret that advertising is often targeted to online users, but it may surprise you to learn the extent to which pricing is also personalised.
According to a study by computer scientists at Northeastern University, many major e-commerce sites personalize prices per customer, depending on what software they use or their browser history.
The difference in costs can be as large as ten per cent, and most sites don’t even warn you when they are using price steering techniques.
One of the culprits guilty of ‘price discrimination’ – customizing the prices of products – is travel-booking website Orbitz.
Researchers found that users who are logged onto the Orbitz website are charged an average of $12 less than those who are not logged on.
The same goes for online travel services company CheapTickets. Neither CheapTickets nor Orbitz tells customers that prices alter depending on the user.
Websites also discriminate based on what devices customers are logged onto. For example, Travelocity offers an unspoken $15 discount for people using Apple’s iOS operating system.
Home Depot, on the other hand, suggests products that are about $100 more expensive to customers using a mobile device, as opposed to those on a desktop computer.
I’ve had it before when looking at a web site and talking with the Mrs who then also pulls it up, only to find the price is different. Â Read more »