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Why Has Making Product Information Harder To Find Become MORE Common?
Old 05-05-2017, 12:53 PM   #1
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Why Has Making Product Information Harder To Find Become MORE Common?

I've complained about it before, most recently with mobile phone and satellite television plans as examples. Unless I'm getting dumber by the minute (entirely possible), it seems more and more companies (sales/marketing) are making it more and more difficult for customers to find useful price and feature information. They give you a price and make signing up easier than ever BUT they make finding out exactly what you're getting very hard to find, sometimes I have to turn to another source for a summary of a product/service. Why?

I'm not buying anything until I know what I'm getting, no matter how hard I have to look. Do people just give up easily, picks a price and pay without knowing?

I'm posting today as I've just come back to golf after a 15+ year hiatus. Used to be if you were shopping for golf clubs, you could tell what suited you best (forged tour blades to work the ball, cast cavity backs for most players). Now they all say the same vague terms 'more distance, more forgiving.'

And if you needed to buy golf balls, the ball construction (spin rate) and compression (color coded long ago black-black was 100, black-red was 90, and red-red was 80) were printed on the box. Now you can't find compression to save your life and the descriptors all sound the same 'more distance, straighter, better (greenside) control.' Those last two were at odds, probably still are.

So I have to find other sources online to know what to buy since the manufacturers won't tell me...

I know, and get off my lawn...
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Old 05-05-2017, 01:00 PM   #2
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I thought you were talking about Comcast! If you want to change your plan (maybe cut the cord), try to figure out how much your plan will be without talking to a sales rep.

To your point on specs for products, though, I feel differently. I commonly find stuff I would have never known years ago by looking at spec sheets, user manuals, reviews, etc. on the web.
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Old 05-05-2017, 01:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by USGrant1962 View Post
I thought you were talking about Comcast! If you want to change your plan (maybe cut the cord), try to figure out how much your plan will be without talking to a sales rep.

To your point on specs for products, though, I feel differently. I commonly find stuff I would have never known years ago by looking at spec sheets, user manuals, reviews, etc. on the web.
I agree it's not all products and services, some are great. And fortunately there are some great third party sources for product/service information.

But some I am familiar with, post #1, seem like the manufacturers/providers have deliberately gotten more obtuse. IMO there is no way it's an accident so it must be effective, or they wouldn't do it. Bewildering to me at least...
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Old 05-05-2017, 01:10 PM   #4
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Well, if a product has a feature that is truly outstanding, it will say so in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If it doesn't, it will say so by hiding behind double talk and language that is convoluted and obfuscating.

My grandfather used to say "when you have something important to say, it doesn't take very many words to day it. When someone blabbers on, it's 'cause he's got nothin' to say".
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Old 05-05-2017, 03:01 PM   #5
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Maybe people brought nuisance suits against the golf equipment mfrs when they didn't actually hit farther or straighter (because they were crappy golfers, but expected the equipment to live up to the specs even for them), so the mfrs just went into marketing mode instead? Because DH and I are crappy golfers but still believed it was the equipment
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Old 05-05-2017, 07:10 PM   #6
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Not your imagination. The web is going backwards in many respects. There used to be a lot of good info, much of which is yanked or behind info-walls.

By "info-walls" I mean they require you to give a ton of information before you can get the info. All about collecting data and contacts. This drives me crazy.
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Old 05-05-2017, 10:27 PM   #7
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IMO it is that they want to get the avg Jane/Joe signed up as they do not care about pricing... why advertise a price so someone can compare...

It is also like when you shop online and they will not give a price... you only get the price when you put it in your cart!!! So, extra steps in order to find out..


I am having the same problem with signing up my DD for this upcoming soccer season.... the team (heck, club) she was playing on is disbanding... there are a few good clubs around us, but trying to find out anything about pricing is hard... only one has a link to show you...

If they want to make it difficult to find out what you want or need, I am not willing to bring my business to you...
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Old 05-06-2017, 06:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
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If they want to make it difficult to find out what you want or need, I am not willing to bring my business to you...
I would agree if there were alternatives, but there aren't with the examples I gave. No mobile providers, no cable/satellite TV providers and no golf equipment manufacturers provide info, they all hide it. So your forced to turn over lots of rocks to get info.

I even found it with buying a new home. Del Webb expects the buyer to sign a contract knowing the base price with major options only, e.g. home plus fireplace, screen porch, bonus room. Then after you've signed the contract, only then do you talk minor options and find out the upcharges for e.g. granite, hardwood floors, better appliances, better cabinets, etc. I can't believe people accept that, but evidently they do! We didn't buy but a $357K home was up to $475K and we hadn't seen all the options yet. Full house carpet and padding was an upcharge that you would not have known when you signed the contract - what the heck is standard, vinyl flooring throughout the house? And it took 3 weeks of back and forth haranguing to even get that much price info...
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:49 AM   #9
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I would agree if there were alternatives, but there aren't with the examples I gave. No mobile providers, no cable/satellite TV providers and no golf equipment manufacturers provide info, they all hide it. So your forced to turn over lots of rocks to get info.

I even found it with buying a new home. Del Webb expects the buyer to sign a contract knowing the base price with major options only, e.g. home plus fireplace, screen porch, bonus room. Then after you've signed the contract, only then do you talk minor options and find out the upcharges for e.g. granite, hardwood floors, better appliances, better cabinets, etc. I can't believe people accept that, but evidently they do! We didn't buy but a $357K home was up to $475K and we hadn't seen all the options yet. Full house carpet and padding was an upcharge that you would not have known when you signed the contract - what the heck is standard, vinyl flooring throughout the house? And it took 3 weeks of back and forth haranguing to even get that much price info...

WOW... I would not sign the contract to buy a house like that either... like when I buy a car I always ask 'what is the drive out price'... some will try and not give that to me, but I am not willing to sign something without knowing...



Yes, some industries are much worse than others.... I do not know why.... but as long as they can get enough customers that do not care they will ignore people like us...
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
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No mobile providers, no cable/satellite TV providers and no golf equipment manufacturers provide info, they all hide it. So your forced to turn over lots of rocks to get info.
Yes, I've noticed this especially with cable/satellite and HSI providers. It is virtually impossible to find out what the non-promotional base monthly rate is for any of these without calling the provider. They all seem to be entirely focused on luring people in with an artificially low teaser rate, then hoping you won't cancel once the monthly bill soars after the introductory period ends.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:46 AM   #11
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Just like talking to a human being for customer (non) service.
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Old 05-06-2017, 11:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I even found it with buying a new home. Del Webb expects the buyer to sign a contract knowing the base price with major options only, e.g. home plus fireplace, screen porch, bonus room. Then after you've signed the contract, only then do you talk minor options and find out the upcharges for e.g. granite, hardwood floors, better appliances, better cabinets, etc. I can't believe people accept that, but evidently they do! We didn't buy but a $357K home was up to $475K and we hadn't seen all the options yet. Full house carpet and padding was an upcharge that you would not have known when you signed the contract - what the heck is standard, vinyl flooring throughout the house? And it took 3 weeks of back and forth haranguing to even get that much price info...
Why do they do this?

Short answer: Because they can! You and a few others might balk and walk, but plenty others will (eventually) find their way in and sign on the dotted line, playing their game of blindly accepting a base standard (which they don't even truly know or ask about). Part of it is because they assume "that's the way it is" and don't bother to stand up for themselves. Part of it is that everyone just "looks at the monthly payments" and just says "Oh, it's only $250/month more in the mortgage payment for all these upgrades - no big deal!". (even though that $250/month more is $100k over the life of the mortgage)

And since most builders make their money off of raking you over the coals on options/upgrades, they will do their damndest to get you to buy as many upgrades as possible. They are more than willing to wait another few days/weeks to find the buyer that will do that, rather than possibly have a buyer like you that may simply buy no options and even do it yourself after you move in, or try to negotiate option prices (and lose the bulk of their profits).
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Old 05-07-2017, 07:11 AM   #13
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I think there's a lot of truth to what the OP is saying.

But it's spotty. Take just one platform: Amazon. Sometimes the product descriptions are great, with all the detailed specs, the important ones highlighted, and lots of good pictures.

Other times there's one or two unhelpful photos, and the most important specs are either well hidden or not even included.

With some descriptions, it's clear the person who wrote it up had no clue about how the product works or what it's used for.

One huge benefit on many sites is the customer Q&A section, and sometimes the customer review section. If you're as clueless about the product as the person who wrote the description, you can read the Q&A's and learn what's important.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:37 AM   #14
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As a matter of general interest, here are some facts as I have been able to determine, using WORDCOUNT, with regard to the Basic:

COMCAST Residential User Agreement.
https://www.xfinity.com/Corporate/Cu...Agreement.html
.................................................. ...................................

For that agreement alone:

15268 words
5090 difficult words
Estimated reading time 77 minutes
Estimated Speaking time 123 minutes
readability level Graduate Degree

This does not include dozens of separate included agreements and statements that are referred to in the body of the basic agreement, but which are legally part of the main agreement. There are references to individual state laws, and subsidiary legal clauses . The final sentence in the agreement refers to this site,which opens another series of applicable (need to know) laws covering the basic agreement.

https://www.xfinity.com/Corporate/Ab...ofservice.html
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:48 AM   #15
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One huge benefit on many sites is the customer Q&A section, and sometimes the customer review section. If you're as clueless about the product as the person who wrote the description, you can read the Q&A's and learn what's important.
+1

The Q&A section on Amazon is one of the greatest tools for finding out exactly what you need to know about a given product. Absolutely invaluable in many cases. Between Amazon reviews, Q&A, and YouTube, I can't think of single instance where I couldn't find out even fairly obscure info about a product I was considering purchasing in recent years.
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Old 05-08-2017, 02:18 PM   #16
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Not your imagination. The web is going backwards in many respects. There used to be a lot of good info, much of which is yanked or behind info-walls.
+1. The web is dying. Not sure who killed it. Maybe buzzfeed.

I really think there is a large unfulfilled need in thoughtful written items about almost anything, be it golf balls, medieval polka dances or even washing powder.

Or maybe there isn't, and the rare pearls we had in the late 90s are now forever hidden in sea of sludge.
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Old 05-09-2017, 06:13 PM   #17
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Nobody develops web sites any more. The "in" programmers are all writing apps for smart phones. The whole idea of a generic platform like a web browser isn't as attractive (or profitable) as building a custom app that uses the same data, but requires you to buy it, or sign up (using personal information the developer can sell) before seeing it.
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Old 05-10-2017, 04:31 AM   #18
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Nobody develops web sites any more. The "in" programmers are all writing apps for smart phones. The whole idea of a generic platform like a web browser isn't as attractive (or profitable) as building a custom app that uses the same data, but requires you to buy it, or sign up (using personal information the developer can sell) before seeing it.
Some of the rest of this isn't quite as obvious to me, but the part in red certainly seems to be part of the reason. And I shouldn't be surprised. Early in the internet years I distinctly remember thinking 'I can't believe how much free information is available.' The other shoe has dropped more than ever. Not unlike the transition from "free" (ad supported) TV to subscription TV.
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:40 AM   #19
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Wikipedia is still great though, and free.
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:22 AM   #20
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Some of the rest of this isn't quite as obvious to me, but the part in red certainly seems to be part of the reason. And I shouldn't be surprised. Early in the internet years I distinctly remember thinking 'I can't believe how much free information is available.' The other shoe has dropped more than ever. Not unlike the transition from "free" (ad supported) TV to subscription TV.
I agree- EVERYBODY wants you to download their free app. I just deleted a bunch last night because I'm low on storage and they had limited functionality (e.g. my local library app didn't save my card number so I had to pull the card out every time I logged in). Most of the time my location is not being "shared" and I'm using only Wi-Fi but I know that your location is valuable because they can push "special" offers at you. Every time I use the Key Ring app to check into Planet Fitness I get a coupon for Aleve at the local Walgreen's!

Another thought- "dynamic pricing". The price they offer you varies according to many factors, including whether you've come back to check out the product/service a second time, where you live (pretty easy to guess if you have Location Services enabled), etc. So, they don't want to actually post a price.
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