Beware of Cross-selling Tactics

Before you buy this with that, make sure you're getting what you need; not just what they sell you

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When you’re at the store getting ready to purchase an item, don’t automatically be lured by the sales associate’s suggestion to get an extended warranty. And when you’re preparing to purchase an online item, and the site gives you a list of other items customers bought that it thinks you should also buy, beware. These tactics are known as cross-selling. This means that retailers will attempt to make two sales instead of one by pushing additional products they think would complement your purchase.

Though you want to make sure you don’t rush to pick up unnecessary additional products, there are times, however, when they might be beneficial. Two additional services that you may give more consideration to when offered by a company are payment protection plans and identity theft protection. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation explains what these services provide.

  • Payment protection, also known as credit protection, is designed to pay, suspend, or cancel outstanding debt on an account in the event of a financial hardship such as unemployment, disability, hospitalization, or death. Credit card companies such as Discover feature this type of program. Although a program like this might ease your mind, you need to be aware of the costs of this service as well as any limitations. Make sure you read the fine print. Furthermore, consider alternatives such as traditional life or disability insurance.
  • Identity theft protection is a service that monitors credit reports for signs that an identity thief might be attempting to use your information to commit fraud. The fee for this service is usually about $15 a month. But don’t forget that you’re entitled to one free credit report each year (you can request one from annualcreditreport.com) from each of the three major credit bureaus.

While some products are valuable, educate yourself and make sure they meet your specific needs. Don’t give in to sales pressure. Do what’s best for you as a consumer.

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