Stop Companies from Charging You More Online Because of Your Online Habits

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Stop Companies from Charging You More Online Because of Your Online Habits


Source: Memegenerator

Ever noticed how the prices of airline tickets seem to go up after you just checked its website? You may have noticed that quite often the flight prices tend to fluctuate while you are searching a flight, or even moments after you close the tab and log back on.

Do not worry, you are not being paranoid. This is a trick often used by companies, especially airline providers, to send customers into a flurry of panic to quickly purchase before any extra price hikes. This is because when you surf on a digital storefront, much of your personal data has already been collected by the company with the intention of tweaking the prices on your receiving end.

Sure, all this collection of personal information may leave most of us with that niggling nervous feeling, yet many of us still do nothing about our online surfing habits. In fact, everything from your search habits to your location and operating system could essentially be used against you to cost you paying more online.

What if we told you, there were simple methods such as using a VPN or changing your online habits so that you could actually save your money?

skeptical 3rd world kid


How are they doing this?

In our defence, Google is some sort of superforce and holds an unmistakable dominance of the web. It can be almost impossible to escape the company’s reach in some form or another. Google is able to collect information on us users’ exact locations by way of Google Chrome and our mobile devices. Additionally, by utilising social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, many of us do not actually realize how much information we are trading in. Neither are users aware of just how much personal data is being sold off to marketing agencies to be used by third parties to subtly tailor content at us. (eg. Those targeted ads of hotels in Thailand you thought were stalking you when you were searching for flights to Phuket).

The more information companies have on you, such as your age, address, occupation or record of previous purchases, the easier it is for them to manipulate the prices they target at you. The sites will use cookies to track how many times you have visited their website, and hence your level of interest or desperateness. Cookies are a delectable treat for companies who wish to track who is visiting their website, the frequency of website visits, the number of hours spent on the website, and the flights you have searched.

Your location information and data are located within your IP address, thus online booking portals will exploit your unique IP address to determine your region’s location and set the price of your purchases accordingly. Due to the region specific contents displayed based on your IP address, different merchandises can appear cheaper when purchased from a different location because of foreign currency leverages and advantage of points of sale.


Ways companies trick you into forking out more cash

According to a posting by Blackberry, these are some interesting/scary ways companies and retailers are using your data to charge you extra:

  • As mentioned, travel sites can alter search results based on the device you use, purchase history and search history in order to lead you to higher-priced search results or charge you more on bookings and purchases.
  • Online retailers adjust their prices based on your location, with prices that are higher in areas with less competition like rural or poor areas, and discounted prices if the customer was determined to be within range of many rival stores.
  • Tinder’s premium subscription service can cost up to four times the standard monthly price of their younger counterparts if the user is over 28 years old.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has approved a new passenger data collection system. This proposal indicate how airlines want to use customers’ information to market different products and services at different prices, and could see in the future the adjustment of ticket prices based on income, marital status, residence and reason for travel.


Yes, I want to save my money

The usage of country-based price changes or other related tactics which have been taken advantage of by companies and retailers has been ploys used for years. While it is considered legal for companies to charge different prices to customers in varying locations, to counter these tricks and get the lowest price available to us, it is useful to appear that you are booking from a location where the prices are cheaper.

This is where the usage of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) would come in handy. By accessing a website through a VPN, it can help to appear that you are making the purchases from a location which may have cheaper prices as your requests through a VPN are handled by a server located in some other country.

The tip here for attaining cheap tickets lies in altering the point-of-sale. Although companies will try to target higher prices to you based on your data, once you are able to make the website believe that you are situated in a place where the items cost less, then you should be able to gain access to better deals.

Other useful tips:

  • As much as possible try not to check out the same travel schedule even in multiple IP addresses as it will increase the count of demand of the route at the website’s end.
  • Make it a habit to clear your cookies and browsing cache as these are the main ways companies use to track your information online.
  • Here’s a simple one, don’t overshare! This includes even your GPS, and especially refusing to share location information to every single Angry Birds/Candy Crush/dodgy China app you downloaded.
  • Practise private browsing in incognito mode (it’s as simple as “CTRL+Shift+N”), or use a plug-in to keep those pesky company trackers at bay. (Read our post for recommended privacy add-ons)

Besides that, happy shopping for the best deals!


Source: Weknowmemes



[1] Blackberry

[2] The Age

[3] Wall Street Journal

[4] Wall Street Journal

[5] BBC

[6] Verdict

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