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Hiding the price - Does it ever work?

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Grafter
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎28-06-2007

Hiding the price - Does it ever work?

Been referring business customers to PN for almost as long as PN have been about.  In the middle of writing a proposal for a potential new customer and I need to find out the cost of a PN business account.
£4.00 month!  That can't be right and of course it isn't. 
The marketing peeps appear to have gone to quite some trouble to not say what the price is.
from £13  is crossed out, so that can not be the price, can it?
A Special offer says, save £9.00 a month for 12 months.
9 + 4 = 13
So, £13 pcm must be the list price, despite being crossed out.
It's a 24 month contract so,
(12 x 4) + (12 * 13) = 204
204 / 24 = £8.50 pcm.
What about VAT.  Oh yeah there it is, excluding 20% VAT. in the smallest possible print.
So £8.50 + VAT pcm.
But I am no closer to knowing, is that from £8.50 or is it £8.50 ?
I guess I need to follow the order process to find out...Which I will have to cancel to not place the order now but complete again, if I get the business.  There is also the risk the order comes in after the "special offer" expires and I'll have to go through the whole flippin proposal stage again.
Whatever this 'special offer' is, it is very unlikely to save more than the time it takes to decipher it.
I understand domestic consumers may fall for this not so "special offer" price ambiguity.  Maybe your marketing department falls for it too but honestly, businesses, really?  Where do I find these business people, who sign a two year contract without knowing what it will cost?
Were I to hand in a proposal, which did not clearly show the PCM cost of a contract, I would get laughed out the building.  Finding a clear, exact, unambiguous price for every other item on the proposal I am working on, was a simple copy / paste.  Every other item on the proposal is much more expensive, yet the vendors thought it wise to not waste my time, by attempting to obfuscate the true cost.
/rant
5 REPLIES 5
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Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 3,259
Thanks: 964
Fixes: 8
Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: Hiding the price - Does it ever work?

The price depends on a number of things, such as contract length, what area your in and such like.  If you click the "Start your order" button it asks you for some simple details, and will then spell out the all the up front and monthly costs for you.  At that point there isn't any need to cancel the order, because by that point you haven't signed up to anything. 
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Community Veteran
Posts: 26,786
Thanks: 988
Fixes: 10
Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Hiding the price - Does it ever work?

I'm sure most businesses would prefer simple standard price that they know will continue for a lengthy period and are not interested in the introductory offers.
If I were putting a proposal together I'd put the full price in the main body of the proposal and have a note about the initial discount.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£14.40/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
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Grafter
Posts: 208
Registered: ‎08-08-2014

Re: Hiding the price - Does it ever work?

Quote from: msssltd
Finding a clear, exact, unambiguous price

Looking at your website for example  Desktop and Laptop support is from £5pm. So is it going to cost more than £5pm. Does that include VAT, it is not clear even in the small print?  Smiley
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Community Veteran
Posts: 5,658
Thanks: 652
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎21-03-2011

Re: Hiding the price - Does it ever work?

To give you an idea of costs for non-fibre ADSL. My unlimited business account is £28.20 including VAT per month (24 month contract), but that does include the enhanced business support.
I also pay around £15/month for a Hutchinson 3 mobile ADSL service as a backup. I've never yet been forced to use the backup service nor the PN enhanced support (after initial set up). I consider the extra "insurance" a reasonable investment.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
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Grafter
Posts: 77
Registered: ‎28-06-2007

Re: Hiding the price - Does it ever work?

Quote from: Razorback
Quote from: msssltd
Finding a clear, exact, unambiguous price

Looking at your website for example  Desktop and Laptop support is from £5pm. So is it going to cost more than £5pm. Does that include VAT, it is not clear even in the small print?  Smiley

Touche!
The last paragraph on the page is in the same font as the first paragraph.  The text states the company is a VAT registered B2B supplier, with non VAT registered organisations and individuals being directed elsewhere.  I have never yet spoken to a prospective VAT registered business customer who thought the quoted prices might include VAT.
A personalised, business IT support contract, is not an off the shelf utility contract!  IT support has more in common with insurance, the price varying enormously depending on the proposed scope and ultimately the risk the provider is taking on.  Professional buyers of such services are typically well aware of the need to negotiate a fit between their wants, needs and budget.  We do not provide a way to sign up off the page, making personal contact a necessity of any purchase. 
I have taken on board what you have said and will make sure "Ex VAT" and "subject to contract", appear in the text, as soon as is practicable.  Thank you.
Back to the subject of the post, "Does it ever work?"  The guide prices were added to our home page after prospective customers all but asked me to.  I don't actually want to advertise my business rationale here, suffice to say it is customer driven.  What I can promise you is when prospective customers enquire about cost, we speak honestly and plainly about it.  In my experience, to be less than upfront, only wastes time, is a particular irritant of small business proprietors and therefore counter productive.