non optional pricing is being dishonest to your customers

Non-Optional Extras: Hiding The True Cost From Your Customers

Gee Ranasinha Advertising, Business, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing, Sales

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Looking at the way many industries conduct their business, you could be forgiven for thinking many companies are simply dishonest, untruthful, and downright deceptive to their customers.

Let me give you some examples.

Why do car ads quote prices excluding the costs of registration, tax, delivery and so on? It’s not like we as consumers aren’t obliged to pay these extras. By omitting these incidental costs from the quoted price not only are car manufacturers being untruthful, but they’re leaving a bad taste in the mouths of their customers.

Here’s another: Why don’t online retailers show you all-inclusive prices (i.e. pricing that includes delivery) on the things you’re browsing, since they know who you are and where you live?

Sure, if you’re shopping on Amazon and are a Prime customer it doesn’t matter (another potential ‘obstacle-to-click’ removed by the world’s largest retailer – kudos…) But what about all the other eCommerce sites that aren’t Amazon? Why can’t they at least give you a delivery estimate as you’re browsing, taken from the geo-locational data you’re sending them? Isn’t offering that information up-front and labeling it as a non-optional extra, delivering a better customer experience?

Why, when you’re buying a flight ticket online, do they show you one price when you search and another by the time you purchase? The first price you see may look great, but your joy quickly fades away when you’re forced to pay for ‘additional extras” like taxes, surcharges, and so forth. Does it really matter that the flight is advertised as being cheap when – in reality – the extras make the total purchase a larger number than I had in my mind? A number that YOU had put there in the first place, don’t forget.

Non-optional extras? Fool Me Once, Shame On You.

These hidden, non-optional extras drive customers crazy.

Yes, you’ve got their attention (and maybe even their initial business). However, hiding these things until close to the end of the transaction leaves a bad taste in the mouth. When you have the gall to charge an extra $500 delivery on a $30,000 automobile purchase, the only thing the customer remembers is the insult of having to pay the hidden extra.

Not only that: from that moment on your customer is always going to question your pricing. The bond of trust has been broken, since they feel they’ve been tricked. Fool Me Once, Shame On You.

Making Your Pricing Honest

Instead of hiding the non-optional extras in the small print because ‘that’s just the way we do things here‘, why not try thinking about the customer, for a change? Why not be bold enough to quote the price the customer will actually pay, and explain to them why it looks like your price is higher than the next guy?

Are you afraid that customers won’t be able to work it out, thinking you’re more expensive? Don’t be.

Customers aren’t stupid. Customers get it. They will understand why, on the face of it, your pricing is more expensive than the sticker price of your competition. They will appreciate your honesty. What’s even better is they will thank you by coming back the next time they want what you have. Don’t believe me? Give it a try – and prove me wrong.

It’s not about dropping your margin, or thinking that you’ll lose share to the competition. It’s about the customer leaving with a smile on their face.

About the Author
Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha is CEO and founder of KEXINO. He's been a marketer since the days of 56K modems, lectures on marketing and behavioral economics at a European business school, and was noted as one of the top 100 global business influencers by (those wonderful people who make financial software).

Originally from London, today Gee lives in a world of his own in Strasbourg, France, tolerated by his wife and young son.

Find out more about Gee at Follow him on Twitter at KEXINO, on Facebook at, or on LinkedIn at


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