Consumer Tricks to Get Something for Nothing

Some too-savvy consumers take unintended advantage of stores' special offers. The cost is often passed on to honest customers.

Q. I have a twentysomething friend who seems to delight in gaming retailers and other consumer businesses—with returns of used merchandise, improper coupon use, multiple freebies and so on. She doesn’t see anything wrong with this. I disagree. What’s your take?

A. More and more shoppers—especially Web-savvy young adults—are using a variety of unethical tricks to get something for nothing. It’s costing stores and other businesses billions, and this cost is passed on to honest customers. Here are just a few of the shady practices:

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Knight Kiplinger
Editor Emeritus, Kiplinger

Knight came to Kiplinger in 1983, after 13 years in daily newspaper journalism, the last six as Washington bureau chief of the Ottaway Newspapers division of Dow Jones. A frequent speaker before business audiences, he has appeared on NPR, CNN, Fox and CNBC, among other networks. Knight contributes to the weekly Kiplinger Letter.