An article I read in an American newspaper warned consumers about being taken for a ride during the holiday season. It urged consumers not to be duped (fooled) by pricing scams. The article reminded me of pricing scams in Hong Kong, especially by supermarkets. If you have been taken for a ride, it means you have been deceived or cheated. Different cultures have different holiday seasons. The holiday season in the US begins with Thanksgiving, which is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. It continues with Christmas and ends with the New Year.
A scam is a dishonest plan to cheat people out of their money. A pricing scam is deceptive pricing. The US has strict rules against fake sales. It is illegal, for example, to sell something at a very high price for a few days, then reduce it to its original price and say it’s a discount. US consumers and the government have taken many retailers to court for such pricing scams, but some still take the risk during the holiday season. I have written about deceptive pricing by Hong Kong supermarkets before, but it seems the Consumer Council is a toothless tiger.
Deceptive pricing by retailers was common before I left Hong Kong more than two years ago. I am now back for a visit and still notice deceptive sales. Some weeks ago, I bought a small bag of cereal for about $29. Last week, the price tag for the same bag said it had been discounted from over $40 to $30, which was still more than what I paid just a few weeks earlier.
我在一份美國報章讀到的一篇文章，告誡消費者在假日季節（holiday season）切勿受騙（taken for a ride）。它催促消費者切莫被價格的騙局（pricing scams）給愚弄（duped）了。這篇文章讓我想起了香港的價格騙局（pricing scams），尤其是超市的那種。若你被 taken for a ride，意即你給欺騙了。不同的文化也有不同的假日季節（holiday seasons），美國的假日季節（holiday season）就始於每年於十一月第四個星期四慶祝的感恩節，一直持續至聖誕，於新年完結。
A scam就是詐取人們金錢的騙局；a pricing scam則是誤導、騙人的價錢。美國有嚴厲的法規打擊虛假銷售。例如，將某貨物以一個非常高的價錢售賣幾天，再調回原價並說是特價，這是違法的。美國消費者及政府已經將許多做這樣價格騙局（pricing scams）的零售商告上法庭了，然而還有一些會在假日季節（holiday season）期間鋌而走險。我之前亦曾經寫過，香港超級市場所做的一些騙人的價格，但看來消委會是隻無牙老虎。