When most people see scams, they just laugh at them. For example the Nigerian prince story or “you have inherited $100m from an unknown relative in Kenia”. However, there are scams that even I did not know about. There are scams that may not even seem like scams but we have all been victims of them. Here are some of the top five scams I was shocked to find out about.
1. The High Mark-up on Glasses
I was shocked to find out that the mark-up on glasses is over 1000%. Glasses cost very little to produce; a single pair costs about seven pounds to manufacture. However, the glass wear companies are aware of this and have essentially created a monopoly to ensure that they can mark up the prices. They know you need your glasses and that you will eventually have to get them.
One company usually controls more than 70% of the glass wear sector. Besides that, they are actively lobbying to end the sale of prescription glasses online, where they are relatively cheaper. You can expect that the price will only continue rise, giving you a mini heart attack every time you drop your glasses.
2. University Textbooks
This is one of the oldest scams that has been affecting college students for years all over the world. College books are quite expensive, without even counting the cost of tuition. However, book publishers somehow manage to produce a new edition of a book each year. As a result, you cannot use the old edition, which you could get at a fraction of the cost online. Most of these new edition books even contain the same information. However, it has been jumbled up so you cannot reference the same pages as the lecturer. If you are lucky, you will find a lecturer who will allow you to buy a cheap, older edition online to save costs. However, this is rarely the case.
3. Printer Ink
Printers come with a small ink cartridge, which will obviously not last as long as the actual printer you buy. In fact, it can sometimes make more sense to throw out the whole printer and get a new cartridge due to the high cost. The manufacturers of these cartridges ensure that you pay excessively for every refill. Buying a new printer can cost half as much as buying new ink cartridges.
4. Ticket Scalping
I have always wondered why buying concert tickets for very popular events nearly always seems impossible. As such, I usually have to turn to scalpers to get myself to the event. It turns out they create an artificial shortage by bulk buying tickets at the usual platforms like Ticketmaster and sell them on last minute, marking up the prices by a ridiculous margin.
5. Bottled Water
One of the biggest scandals in the bottled water industry was Dasani. In fact, the company was forced to withdraw from the UK market after it turned out they got regular tap water and just filtered it a bit more. Combined with excessive branding, you, the customer become convinced that you are buying better, healthier water. However, there is nothing special about it and you end up paying much more for essentially normal tap water.