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The Price is Wrong: Understanding What Makes a Price Seem Fair and the True Cost of Unfair Pricing

ISBN: 978-0-470-13909-7
256 pages
January 2008
The Price is Wrong: Understanding What Makes a Price Seem Fair and the True Cost of Unfair Pricing (0470139099) cover image


Fair pricing is an issue that affects us all, whether we?re consumers or merchants. Throughout her career, Sarah Maxwell has seen how pricing practices?across a variety of different areas, from mobile phones and airline tickets to prescription drugs and gasoline?impact our everyday lives. Now, with The Price Is Wrong, Maxwell shares her deepest insights on this issue and examines both the psychological and sociological basis of fair pricing.
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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Acknowledgments xiii

About the Author xv

Part I: Background

Chapter 1: Introduction: "Play fair or I quit!" 3

Chapter 2: History: "A ‘just' price is not God-given!" 13

Part II: Model

Chapter 3: Model: "Now I'm not just annoyed, I'm furious!" 23

Chapter 4: Norms: "That's wrong, and we all know it!" 31

Chapter 5: Emotions: "You're not being fair and I hate you!" 41

Chapter 6: Expectations: "That price is a rip-off!" 47

Chapter 7: Outcomes: "You should get what you pay for!" 55

Chapter 8: Attributions: "The seller is to blame!" 65

Chapter 9: Process: "Ya gotta play by the rules!" 73

Chapter 10: Punishment: "Revenge is sweet!" 85

Chapter 11: Power: "Beware a customer wronged!" 93

Chapter 12: Trust: "Fair price? I doubt it!" 101

Part III: Applications

Chapter 13: Modifications: "Sorry! The rules have changed!" 111

Chapter 14: Tipping: "Just don't stiff the waiter!" 119

Chapter 15: Discrimination: "It's unfair to charge me more than others!" 125

Chapter 16: Negotiations: "Split the difference. That's fair!" 133

Chapter 17: Taxes: "Paying taxes is as American as disliking taxes" 145

Chapter 18: Culture: "But I never ordered any bread!" 155

Chapter 19: Practices: "So how is a company supposed to price fairly?" 165

Notes 179

Glossary 205

References 213

Index 233

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Author Information

Sarah Maxwell, PhD, is an expert in fair pricing, with both academic and business experience in this field. She is an Associate Professor at Fordham University and is Co-Director of the Fordham Pricing Center. Dr. Maxwell is also Associate Editor of Pricing for the Journal of Product and Brand Management and has written for a variety of publications, including the Journal of Business Research, Journal of Economic Psychology, and the American Journal of Economics and Sociology. Previously, Dr. Maxwell was a vice president of marketing for Aramark and consulted with divisions in Europe and Japan. She has also consulted and taught in several countries including India, China, and Brazil.
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