May 13, 2010

Offer Good For Limited TIme - Often A Sign of Bad Deal

Browsing the net looking for info on home remodeling I ran across someone saying they were quoted a price of $13,500 to get kitchen cabinets resurfaced but the company in question "will only hold the price for 12 hours".    Someone responded to the person to say that a limited time offer like that smells fishy and they have learned they should decline such offers.  I agree that offers made like this with such a time limit are likely just a high pressure sales tactic meant to push you into a hasty decision.    Was $13,500 too high for that cabinet work?  Quite likely.   The highest cost cited on CostHelper for refacing kitchen cabinet is $9000 and that is for solid wood veneers.

If you are getting a quote on a item or services and the person quoting the price is saying its only good for a certain short period then I'd question why the price won't be good longer.   This kind of time limit is often a good sign that the price is too high or you're otherwise being pressured into a bad deal.

Some less legitimate sales venues frequently use rushed time limits as a high pressure sales tactic.  TV infomercials selling stuff sometimes have these fictitious time limits.  They are offering some special deal that is only good for the next 5 minutes.   Door to door salespeople are often offering a supposed deal that is only good immediately.   Timeshares are usually sold under some sort of imminent deadline that they say won't be offered tomorrow.   Yet we know the same exact infomercial will run an hour later on another network, the door to door salesperson will offer the same deal tomorrow on the next block and the timeshare person will make the same claim to everyone they talk to until all the shares are sold.   These limited time deals are based on a clock that resets every time it hits zero.

I once fell for this tactic myself in a car dealership.   I bought my first car at a dealer and was offered an extended warranty.   They told me that the offer for the warranty was only good that day.   I don't know why I believed that for a second but for some reason I didn't question it and made the mistake of buying the warranty.

Sometimes a time limit on a price makes sense.   If a retail store has a sale for a limited time then it is perfectly normal for them to quote a price only good for a few days.   If you are getting a quote on a home mortgage then the quote may expire after a time or be "locked in" for a set period.   This is because interest rates fluctuate outside the control of the mortgage company.

If you're faced with a purchase decision that has a time limit then I'd question why they have a time limit.   If theres no real good reason for there to be any time limit then it could be a sign of a bad deal and just a high pressure sales tactic.

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