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'Dynamic pricing' can leave consumers paying more

Woman with laptop and credit card doing online shopping
Posted at 11:27 AM, Sep 05, 2022

At a time when many Americans are strapped for cash, companies are becoming more strategic with their pricing to customers to pay more.

Tickets for Bruce Springsteen's tour recently went for as high as $5,000.

It's estimated that 11% of those tickets were sold through "dynamic pricing."

It's a strategy that companies use to charge higher prices when there is increased demand.

Chuck Bell, with Consumer Reports, says companies will raise prices as high as they want, based on market trends or how much they think people will pay.

Some companies even use your shopping habits or web browsing history to set a personalized price, meaning some people may see an increased price for the same item.

The airline industry uses this strategy frequently, according to Bell.

"If you’re sitting on a plane, you might find out that you paid $200 more for your ticket than your neighbor did," Bell said.

Shopping around and using price comparison websites can help customers avoid paying high prices.

However, until there are more consumer protections, Bell says retailers have the upper hand.

"We need agencies like the FTC to and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to enact protections for consumers, 'cause a lot of these things we can't see very easily," he said.