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Unethical Consumer Behavior


Submitted By brbarn9156
Words 736
Pages 3
Bradley Barnes
MKT 625
Unethical Consumer Behavior
Dr. McFaul
January 20, 2013

Unethical Consumer Behavior
Today’s consumer is looking for the best value and some consumers find ways to take advantage of a business through unethical consumer behaviors. Consumer ethics is defined as “moral rules that apply to consumers, such as the choice to return a used item for a refund, shoplift, and engage in software piracy, as well as the steps, the company takes to counter these actions, such as charging restocking fees and limiting returns” (Shiffman, 2010, p. G-2). Consumers have caused businesses additional costs through unethical consumer behavior. Anytime a consumer is unethical it costs the business money in lost profits.
Unethical Behavior Many consumers find ways to cheat a company through unethical behavior. Piracy is an ongoing issue that many companies face through consumers illegally recording movies, music, software, and ringtones. Many consumers are stealing these products and do so because it saves the consumer from having to buy these products. Consumers also take the time to buy pirated material at a reduced cost than they can purchase these products at a retailer price. The downside to pirating is that this behavior costs every element of the supply chain money. Those affected are other consumers that have to pay inflated costs, Manufactures, retailers, and inventors or producers of the materials. Some consumers may be performing unethical behavior without knowing they are performing this illegally. Consumers that pirate materials are punishable by law. Another unethical consumer behavior is shop lifting. Shoplifting costs businesses millions annually. This action is not only illegal but it also costs other consumers inflated costs. The more that is taken from a business the higher prices the business must charge to other consumers. Tag switching is an action that is unethical consumer behavior. Tag switching is stealing and is illegal. The switching of tags will allow a consumer to pay a reduced price for an item. This also costs businesses money because of an immediate loss of sales profits. Consumers who switch tags are looking to create a more honest look to shoplifting. Another unethical consumer behavior is the switching of size tags. This may seem to the consumer to be ok but it is not ok. When consumers switch sizes it affects the inventory accuracy of the business. If the business does not have the correct sizes than it may mislead another consumer will cause the business to lose sales. The intentional damaging of items so the consumer can return the items to the store for a refund is also unethical consumer behavior. Consumers may purchase a product and take something from the box and then return the product as unopened to receive a full refund on the item while actually taking what the consumer needed from the box. This action costs businesses money as they are required to return the product to the manufacturer as damaged.
Anytime consumers utilize unethical consumer behavior it costs companies and other consumer’s time and money. If customers are loyal to a company or product it is less likely that a consumer will operate unethically. “High customer loyalty also reduces unethical consumer behavior because customers who consider themselves as having a consumer relationship with a business are less likely to shoplift or engage in other unethical acts. As a consumer is to feel that he is an “individual” in the eye of the business, so too will he individualize that business and not consider a crime against it victimless” (Consumer Affairs, 2012, Par 5). Businesses have taken strides to reduce the risk of unethical consumer behavior. Now businesses use multiple types of security features on products as well as surveillance cameras to protect the business from shoplifting, tag switching, and other unethical consumer behavior that may take place in a store. Unethical consumer behavior causes other consumers to pay higher prices and costs businesses money. It is simple that consumers are looking for a deal but some consumers can not afford the lifestyle that they want to live. This is why today’s consumer is looking for the best value and some consumers find ways to take advantage of a business through unethical consumer behaviors.

References Consumer Affairs (2012). Protecting Yourself From Unethical Behavior. Retrieved January 15, 2013 from Proquest. Shiffman, L. G., and Kanuk, L. L. (2010). Consumer behavior (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

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