Buy from Littlewoods today, because you can never pay too much
Thanks to avid Bitterwallet reader mizzle for this bargain from Littlewoods. See how long it takes you to spot the issue with it:
Well, it's obviously a case of Littlewoods entering the wrong RRP, isn't it? Except the RRP appears to be correct - order the trainers through Very (also part of the Shop Direct group) and you'll pay the RRP. The catalogue number is one digit different between the two products, even though the trainers are identical - that suggests the trainers were deliberately given different numbers so they could be sold at a different price.
It's not just this pair of trainers - there are at least another two pairs where there's a discrepancy in pricing between Littlewoods and Very. Perhaps it's just Diesel products? Nope. Compare the prices of these jeans - there's the Littlewoods price and there's the Very price:
And it's not just clothing - Littlewoods will charge you £100 more for this sofa, compared to the price through Very. And if you want to buy a TV through Littlewoods or Very:
We'll ignore the fact that the same model costs £300 less than the Very price when bought at a Sony dealer.
Now the fact is that Littlewoods allow the buyer to pay in installments - however, you'll still pay the ramped-up prices if you choose to pay immediately. In the case of the Sony Bravia TV, it cost 20 percent more if you buy from Littlewoods, even if you pay in full when you order. Remember; Littlewoods and Very aren't competitors - they're the same company.
So are you paying more to account for Littlewoods offering credit to other customers? No. Customers taking long term credit have to pay interest on top of these over-inflated prices. In the case of the TV:
So why do Shop Direct charge up to 20 per cent more (or higher, perhaps - we haven't checked everything) for exactly the same product, depending on which brand you buy from? Perhaps it's easier to get an account at Littlewoods with a lower credit score. Or perhaps they want to appear to offer 'interest-free' payments for up to a year, by rolling the interest into the price of the product. That would mean a credit agreement over long term would see a customer effectively paying interest on top of interest.
Whichever way you look at this, it's a poverty tax; Littlewoods is attractive to tens of thousands of consumers because there's flexibility in the payment options - how many realise that even if they don't take the credit option every time, they're still losing out?