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Is that sale really a sale?

(KOMO file photo)

Everyone loves a sale, but some sales are fake, created to give the illusion of savings.

Checkbook.org, an independent, nonprofit consumer organization, tracked the prices of big-ticket items sold at 19 major retailers for 10 months and found “disturbing pricing policies” at 17 of the 19. The editors write:

“At these stores, many sale prices—even those that advertise big savings—are bogus discounts, with the same price called a sale price more than half the time. And at some stores the fake sales never end: For several chains Checkbook found most items we tracked were offered at a false discount every week or almost every week we checked. In other words, the "regular price" listed on all those price tags is seldom, if ever, actually the price customers pay.”

Be suspicious of signs that boast of big savings, such as “NOW 60% OFF!!” Be skeptical of tags that show a “regular” price and a “sale” price. In many cases, Checkbook found, the item never or rarely sold at the “regular” price.

The bottom line: Be a smart shopper. Know what the regular price really is, so you know if that sale is really a sale.

"Do not pay attention to the discount. Do pay attention to the price,” said Checkbook’s Executive Editor Kevin Brasler. “Even if there's a price that's struck through and they're saying it's 70 percent off that price - don't assume that new price is a good price unless you've made sure it is.”

More Info: Sale Prices: At Many Stores, the Sale Price Isn't Special

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