Combo Deals – Is it worth it?

January 12, 2021

Whether it is a white good combo deal at your local homeware shop, an internet-phone-cable bundle from your network service provider or an all-in-one computer package from an electronic store. Whatever the sector and whatever the product, combo deals are one of the most prevalent sales and marketing tactics employed by retailers.

This is even more common during festive seasons.  Recent market surveillance by the Consumer Council has revealed that a lot of traders are having combo deals on various products with advertisements stating massive discounts. While combo deals are commonly perceived as cost savers, consumers have the responsibility of carefully evaluating such deals to ensure they get the best value for their money.

What are combo deals?

You have probably seen this pricing strategy many times while shopping – or may have even taken advantage of such a deal. A combo deal is a combination of goods and/or services sold to consumers in a single package. Typically, the products in a combo deal go together such as a laptop and printer.  

Before making the purchase, consumers must carefully weigh the combo deals in order to determine if it is worth their money. Whilst some combo deals may save you money, others may make a dent in your savings.

Let’s look at some examples of combo deals:

  • A trader in Suva selling an Aluminum pot, Kerosene stove and plastic basin with a combo deal price of $71.59.
  • Another instance of a trader selling products in a combo deal includes 5piece dinning set, double burner gas stove, microwave oven, plastic kettle, sandwich maker and casserole loreto being sold at a total price of $1249.
  • A 7Kg twin tub washing machine, 4 burner gas stove and 191L refrigerator going for $1499 as a combo deal package.

Issues Discovered with Combo Deals by the Council

A survey was conducted by the Council on combo deals in November 2020 on9 traders located in the Suva Central Business District. The purpose was to determine if consumers end up saving from combo deals and other issues which may breach consumer rights.

While carrying out the survey the Council noted the following issues with the advertised Combo Deals:

  • Absence of original individual price.

The absence of the original individual price in combo deals implies that consumers will not be able to determine whether they are actually saving from the combo deal or not.

  • Validity period of combo deals not specified in advertisements.

The absence of validity period can be classified as bait advertising whereby consumers can be lured by traders offering combo deals however, when consumer visit these traders, they would be informed that the combo deal offer has ended.

  • Clear description of items in the combo deal not provided.

The lack of clear descriptions of items in combo deals restricts consumers from making informed decisions.

  1. Disclosures of warranty period.

Items advertised in combo deals do not specify whether the warranty, if any, provided applies to all the items in the combo deal or on a particular product. 

  • Product brands

Typically, a combo deal has a well known and reputable brand of product coupled with a brand which is either new to the market or is a generic brand which is not that renown among consumers. At times, this may be designed to push or offload unknown brands on consumers.

Shopping tips for combo deals:

  • Always compare individual product prices. 

Just because something is labelled as a “specially priced” combo deal does not mean that the combo deal price is lower than the total combined prices of the individual products in the deal. Always check the current prices of the individual products and services included in the deal, including any sale or promotional discounts that may apply.

  • Do you really need it? 

Oftentimes combo deals include things you are not really in the market for, but at such a nominal additional cost, who can resist? Ask yourself if you really have a need for the items in the deal?

  • Beware of introductory offers and short-term contracts

Particularly when buying services on combo deals like telecom plans, make sure that what you are buying is not just a specially priced, introductory offer or a short-term contract for service—one designed to increase dramatically in cost once the introductory period expires.

  • Read the fine print. 

Like any other purchase, read the fine prints such as product warranty and return policies before making the purchase. As times combo deals may be used to get rid of certain inferior products.

  • Get reviews

Before making the purchase, get reviews from your family and friends who may have bought products of the same brands as in the combo deal. You can also read reviews of similar products and brands online.

Combo deals can often save consumers money however, consumers must take hid of the issues stated above and carefully evaluate such deals before making purchases.

Consumers coming across any dubious traders this festive season are encouraged to call the Council on the toll-free number 155 or lodge a complaint through the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.