WSJ: Study shows that Travelocity gives iOS users a cheaper price

WSJ: Study shows that Travelocity gives iOS users a cheaper price
According to a report published on Thursday, many online companies are using a pricing scheme known as discriminatory pricing, or price steering. This allows a site like Travelocity to offer iOS users a price quote $15 cheaper than it gives to non-iOS users of its site. A study conducted by Northwestern University found that of 16 sites tracked, 6 of them employed this type of pricing scheme despite the lack of a warning to customers.

For example, if you use a mobile device to browse Home Depot's website, you are likely to be steered to a product that is $100 more costly than the product seen by those using a desktop PC. Sound bizarre? Absolutely. And while Home Depot didn't dispute the findings, it did say that it was not the result of something done intentionally.

While those using a mobile device might see a different price for a product or service depending on the operating system their device employs, this is not something new. Back in 2012 the Wall Street Journal discovered that travel site Orbitz charged Mac users as much as 30% more for a hotel room for one night, than the rate charged PC users. Orbitz characterized it as an experiment.

Perhaps it would be to your benefit to use both a mobile device and a desktop computer when shopping these sites for a hotel room. And if you are browsing Travelocity, make sure to use an iOS device. If you don't have a mobile device that runs on iOS, perhaps you can borrow one from a friend. If you do much of your shopping online, and you suspect that the device you are using is costing you extra money, it doesn't hurt to switch from a desktop to a mobile browser to see if you receive a lower price.


source: WSJ

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20 Comments

1. tedkord

Posts: 17132; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Well, that doesn't make any sense. IOS users are all super affluent. Right?

2. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Or how about I just boycott the companies that do this?

8. Mxyzptlk unregistered

12. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Was that a shot at iOS when I posted? No it wasn't. But the only way to stop this kind of activity is to speak with your wallet, ass. And if this were the other way round, you'd be howling to the heavens. There's no way this is unintentional, the price doesn't just magically change.

14. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Did I say anything about it being a shot at iOS?

15. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Your post was meant to convey I was whining, and since the article's main point was that iOS was getting special treatment, it's not a big leap. My point was I'm not in favor of anyone getting special treatment, no matter what OS they use. Apparently you're for discriminatory treatment as long as it benefits you.

19. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I think you're paranoid. It's not special treatment. They aren't forcing you to use their services. Hence why I posted the link to cheese.

20. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

How is that being paranoid? They've shown it is happening. And I realize they're not forcing me to use their service. So I am making a conscious decision to not use their service until they stop these practices. I assumed that my meaning was clear enough a child could understand it, but I didn't take into account the Myx factor. It doesn't have to be forced on people to be special treatment. Special treatment means a group of people are treated differently than another. It's not a hard concept to follow, or at least I didn't think it was.

3. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Shouldn't this be a crime of discrimination against a customer over their choice of OS? I wonder what sort of "experiment" this crap is? Orbitz is funny, experiment. Let's experiment with them, no one use their services and see if the company folds. Capitalism is good but then we have these folk who can't seem to make enough money and will do anything to acquire more.

5. Mxyzptlk unregistered

No it shouldn't

9. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Pretty sure it is unlawful to discriminate like this as using a smartphone to access the internet is no different than using a PC. So if they are intentionally charging different OS users more then they are guilty of attempting coercion by driving users to a certain OS or attempting to gouge customers who do not know that prices vary based on OS you access their wares from. Not really inclined to listen to anything that comes from you as you have proven yourself to be quite biased in favor of anything pro-Apple.

13. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

it's not, they offer a price, the choice is then yours as to whether or not you accept their offer. No one is forcing you and no one is saying you don't have any other options. Of course consumers can and probably should disagree with this way of business by spending their money elsewhere. However, If this was done on something that you had to pay, like a power bill, then that may be a different story.

16. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

So discrimination is OK as long as you can go elsewhere to find what you want? How about either they don't discriminate in the first place, or I take my business elsewhere permanently and urge others to do the same? If they want to come out and say there's a special for users of a certain OS, that's fine, but to do this without informing the customer is a bit shady. I'd also love for an explanation as to his this isn't deliberate. The site just displays a different price based on the OS of the visitor, by it's own accord, without any action by the site manager? Wouldn't that mean the website is thinking for itself?

17. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Do you discriminate the food you eat or you go to your high school cafeteria to this day? Then again, that different online quotes is called discrimination is an injustice to actual, personal discrimination.

18. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

What? First, a cafeteria is for people going to that school specifically. They spell that out pretty clearly. That's a pretty poor analogy. Second, I'm going to guess you're saying discriminatory pricing is not the same thing as discrimination of someone's race, religious beliefs, or orientation. So because it's not as serious a degree of discrimination, it doesn't count? And who decides which does and doesn't count? How about people don't discriminate....at all. Novel concept I know.

4. Armchair_Commentator

Posts: 222; Member since: May 08, 2014

I guess this is the amalgamation of all the data gathering these companies have been doing over time, if they can get away with certain people more or less or steer people in a certain direction to ensure a sale then they sure will.

6. tacarat

Posts: 852; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

The fine print specifically stipulates accepting the lower fair requires the passenger to help the site admin's grandparents help set up their iPads because he's sick of doing it himself.

7. Fallout09

Posts: 421; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Travelocity is officially off my travel site list. Utter bulls**t when companies do this.

10. StanleyG88

Posts: 240; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

iOS users need all the help they can get. They have paid inflated prices for every ifruit product they have ever bought. About time they got a break. I for one, check prices in different ways and if I find they are using discriminatory practices, I list them as unethical and move on to another source permanently.

11. bucky

Posts: 3774; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

You were trying to hard to troll. Also how does it make sense to you that someone that can afford a really expensive phone should get cheaper prices on travel? Fail.

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