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Consumer Perceptions of Price (Un)Fairness

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  • Bolton, Lisa E
  • Warlop, Luk
  • Alba, Joseph W

Abstract

A series of studies demonstrates that consumers are inclined to believe that the selling price of a good or service is substantially higher than its fair price. Consumers appear sensitive to several reference points--including past prices, competitor prices, and cost of goods sold--but underestimate the effects of inflation, overattribute price differences to profit, and fail to take into account the full range of vendor costs. Potential corrective interventions--such as providing historical price information, explaining price differences, and cueing costs--were only modestly effective. These results are considered in the context of a four-dimensional transaction space that illustrates sources of perceived unfairness for both individual and multiple transactions. Copyright 2003 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Bolton, Lisa E & Warlop, Luk & Alba, Joseph W, 2003. " Consumer Perceptions of Price (Un)Fairness," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(4), pages 474-491, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:29:y:2003:i:4:p:474-91
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/346244
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