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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