By Mugs

Avoid Deceptive Marketing Tactics

I believe most everyone enjoys playing one type a game or another, whether it be a board game, a computer or video game or a sporting game most people enjoy playing.  However, nobody enjoys having a game played “ON” them, especially when it comes to their hard earned money.  The reason for the title “Games” is because we are finding that certain shops around town are playing “games” with customers and the “prices” they are quoting.

Believe me I know what a royal pain-in-the-ass calling around trying to get a real quote or a general idea of how much putting in a new deck, amp, and or speakers cost.  What I’m seeing happening here is customers are calling around to different shops looking for price quotes and are being given unrealistic, low-ball prices and not the “true” out-the-door prices, so now when they are comparing prices the low-ball price is substantially lower than then any of the other quotes, than customer actually goes to the shop where they got the quote only to find out to get that quoted price you have to buy their kits & harness and pay their inflated labor rates which when compared to the other quotes are HIGHER than the other shops.  These are deceptive marketing practices.

An example of what I’m talking about, a customer will call me on the phone and ask if we sell a particular deck and if so how much?  I then ask a few questions such as installed price or cash and carry, if it is for installation than vehicle year, make, model, than is the factory radio still there or is there an aftermarket radio there now?  These answers are critical to determining the final “out-the-door” price for any particular product we sell.  Because the “gamer” shops think that because you’re already there, than you won’t resist to paying a higher price than what they quoted you on the phone.  To us that’s running a game on customers pure and simple.

So what can you the smart, savvy, ever-vigilant shopper do?  First make sure your comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges.  When you call any shop and ask for a quote, ask for the “out-the-door” final price if possible with or without installation. Be sure to ask if the quote includes any additional parts or labor. I understand with some vehicles we have to physically see the vehicle to determine what if any vehicle specific harness/interface is required. If your vehicle has a Bose or upgraded factory systems tell me please.   These systems require different harnesses and possible extra labor to by-pass the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) amplifier.  In some vehicles the difference in interfaces between a standard and an “upgraded” OEM system can be as much as $100.00~$150.00.

So what I’m saying here is ask questions, lots of them, to make sure you are getting a “real” estimate or a “gamer” price so you shop with an unrealistic price in mind.  I can’t count the times where a customer calls and when I tell them our price and they say “WOW” Shop X or Shop B has that same deck for $50 ~ $60 less, what’s up with that?  I ask is the price that you are getting the final out-the-door price including all parts and labor along with taxes?  If they say yes it is than I will gladly match or beat that price but I will call and confirm it with that shop.  So they say “I will call them again and make sure”.  I usually get another call a few minutes later asking to set up an installation appointment because the “final” price they thought they were going to pay is now $30 higher than mine.  How did that happen??   Games people play I suppose.

In conclusion I encourage anyone to be smart and shop around, investigate because there are legitimate deals to be had if you can uncover them.  But leave yourself and the shop some wiggle room for unexpected situations that arise.  I believe most shops try as hard as we do to not lead the customer on by quoting a lower price only to find out when having the vehicle in the bay a more expensive interface is required.  The ever growing complexity of vehicles and the electrical systems leaves the door wide open for all kinds of misunderstandings, confusion, and disconnects which are very unfortunate.  I would say if you have a vehicle less than 4 years old I would not recommend anyone but an experienced professional installer install any component in the vehicle.  There is just too much that can go wrong, and I mean really, really, expensive wrong.

Please feel free to call or email me with any questions or comments about our web site or my blogs.   We love talking about car audio, security, entertainment systems in vehicles, boats, trucks.  We are easy to talk to, and speak in easy to understand language too.

Sounds Good To Me car audio & video electronics and security alarm system installation specialists are located in Tempe, AZ, servicing the entire metro Phoenix area including Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Glendale and Gilbert, Arizona. Call us at (480) 968-8543 or visit us at Contact Muggs by email at

Yours in Sound


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