Thursday, February 28, 2008

100% sounds better than 16%, doesn't it?

"Assured 100% money back!" screamed the e-mail I got, claiming that if I shop at for any amount, I would receive a voucher for the same amount. So I read the fine print.

The fine print is that the voucher is only redeemable against a purchase at least five times its value.

So suppose I spend Rs X. I get a voucher for Rs X, but can redeem it only on a purchase of Rs 5X. So I spend a total of 6X, and get X back: a discount of about 16%. (And that's in the best case that I find something worth buying that costs precisely 5X.)

Wonderful what these marketing minds can do with mundane things like a 16% discount.


km said...

Truth in advertising.

Is that site any good? You trust them with your credit cards?

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Well, I can't remember about that site, but most credit card transactions in India go through a third-party gateway (like citibank or ICICI). I think credit card fraud is much more likely to happen in shops, where they can read off your number.

I mean think about it -- the modern way to secure credit cards is via the three-digit CVV code at the back of your card, which only you are supposed to know. But shops don't use that code. How do they know it's you? By comparing your signature with the one on the back of that card. Where is the signature on the card? Right below the CVV code!

The whole industry is moronic. Basically they've figured that it's cheaper to pay up disputed charges than to implement proper security. (France moved to embedded chips and PINs over 10 years ago. Why haven't the rest of us caught up?)