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Electronics retailers dangle false promises   2011-01-05 - VNS

Consumer electronics retailers are apt to offer big discounts on thousands of products to commemorate various occasions, be it a festival, a birthday, or an establishment anniversary.

However, a Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon) report cites market observers as saying customers have to be careful in taking advantage of these promotions lest they end up buying low-quality products or paying higher prices than normal for better quality products.

On the occasion of Christmas and New Year, the Thien Hoa Electronics Center in District 10 had advertised discounts on many products, not to mention a chance to win a seven–seat Nissan Grand Livina. The promotion programme was called "Vui Giang sinh, rinh qua tang" (Happy Christmas, take away your gift).

Holding some of the store's advertising notices, Tran Xuan Trung, a resident of District 10's To Hien Thanh Street said "At first glance, everybody feels that the supermarket is offering big preferential prices to customers. But, reality does not match the advertisement."

Nguyen Linh, a customer who lives in District 5, said: "I bought a Canon Powershot A495 at Thien Hoa Electronics Center two days ago for VND2.49 million (US$127) with a freebie of a 2G memory card. The sales price before the discount was listed as VND3.49 million ($178).

"But when I looked at other electronics shops, I discovered that the camera was priced at just VND1.9 million ($97.4) along with the free 2G memory card and even a camera case," she said.

Under the "Big Bang" promotion programme, the Nguyen Kim Electronics Supermarket is offering big discounts on more than 500,000 products.

However, many of them are priced higher than at other electronic shops.

For instance, a Sony DSC-W310 camera is sold for VND2.9 million at Nguyen Kim, VND1million higher than at other places.

Similarly, a Nokia X6-8G mobile phone is priced at VND6.38 million while other shops are selling it for VND6.155 million.

Price of laptop products is also different at electronic and computer shops, making customers confused, they don't know which stores offer real promotion.

For the same kind of Acer laptop (AS5745G-382G 59 Mnks), the Hoan Long and Phong Vu computer shops charge VND13.299 million with a mouse, VND400,000 and Bitdefender anti-virus software as gifts, while the Thien Hoa shop sells it for VND12.79 million.

Vu Quang Truoc, a resident of Go Vap District, said he bought a Transcend 8G USB worth nearly VND150,000 at an electronic supermarket in District 12. However, when using it, he figured out that its 8G of storage capacity is virtual.

"The USB was advertised to have 8G of storage capacity, but I can store only 1G," Truoc said.

He asked the supermarket to exchange it for another USB, but is still worried about the quality of the new one. "I don't know for how long it can work."

A week ago, Ngo Thi Giang in District 5 bought a Thermaltake Fan for VND688,000. After five days of use, the fan stopped working.

She took the fan to the shop, however the seller said that the producer does not have a warranty for the fan, so the shop could not change or fix the fan for her.

Also, many customers tend to buy products attracted by the big discounts on offer, not because they really need them.

Currently, there are no figures available on how many per cent of consumers who buy products from promotion programmes end up not using them or use them only to have the products spoilt after a short time.

"The average Vietnamese customers' mental make-up shirks from confrontation with other people. They rarely protest against sellers after buying poor-quality products. This should be changed," the newspaper quoted an expert on consumption trends as saying.

He also recommended that sellers clean up their act before their fraudulent practices prompt consumers to boycott them.

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