7 Lies You'll Hear From Salesmen At Electronics Stores

Future Shop is a Canadian consumer electronics retail chain. Charlie used to work there, and has now passed along the 7 most common lies he heard salesmen use on unsuspecting customers. Whether you have a Future Shop in your area or not, you’ll find these lies familiar. (We ran into a lot of them back when The Wiz was still in NYC, in fact.)

1) “The Service Plan covers everything”
In fact, it doesn’t cover most things. Don’t believe any salesman who says it covers physical damage, spills, cosmetic damage, etc. Also, after you have you machine replaced (after 3 repairs), the Service Plan stops working. The salesman will act like the replacement is a benefit, really it’s so FS can wash their hands of your buggy hardware.

2) “I’m going to give you a discount”
More often than not my co-workers would lie about high priced items, claiming to take off hundreds of dollars on cables or warranties to trick uninformed shoppers. Always shop around and find out how much things are worth, and watch what the items scan in at instead of taking his word.

3) “This model is a Future Shop exclusive”
Danger Will Robinson. “Exclusives” are always a repackaged retail product, usually with a slight cosmetic change, but bumped up several hundred dollars. As my manager put it: “They move the speakers from the bottom to the sides, repaint it and we mark it up”. Salesmen make about triple commission on these models, so there’s strong incentive to push them.

4) “Setup will avoid hours of work”
This only applies to computers, but it’s good to know. Most salesmen try to push this on technophobes, saying that it’s a complicated procedure involving special tools. Really, they click through the Vista install, run regedit to stop some software and burn a backup disk. Oh, and it’s automated. Unless your time is worth about 30 dollars an hour do it yourself.

5) “You’re saving on x”
With some products there are legitimate discounts available for bundling, and managers have the authority to offer real discounts on unbundled product. However, avoid bundles like “Pay 350 dollars for setup and get free Office and Antivirus”. You end up saving about 20 dollars on Office and Antivirus, but you’re paying 80 dollars for useless setup still. If you’re going for a discount refuse to tack on anything you don’t want, and try to push the salesman. It’ll hurt his numbers to help you, but he won’t want to lose a big sale.

6) “You need Monster Cables/Setup/x to make this work well”
Anyone who reads Consumerist knows Monster Cables are a scam, so avoid them like the plague. They make the salesman about 25 dollars per cable, and leave you with very expensive copper. Similarly, some salesmen say computers won’t work well without setup, which less technically-inclined customers tend to believe.

7) “You have to buy x”
Legally, the store is obligated to sell you any available (nondisplay) product at the advertised price. Many stores “pre-setup” their laptops to avoid making customers wait for setup. Salesmen see this as an excuse to force the setup on you. Legally (at least in my store), if the customer didn’t want setup we had to give them the laptop at the sticker price, with setup. If the salesman is too pushy ask for a manager, who will know the rules a lot better.

“Monster Cables, Monster Ripoff: 80% Markups”
(Photo: Getty)