Consumer dishonesty makes no cents

Written on the 28 January 2011

A RECENT study shows one in three customers feel justified in accepting extra change from businesses or giving false information to receive discounts.

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) study involved more than 3700 young consumers across five continents over 10 years.

QUT’s Dr Larry Neale says businesses cannot rely on customers to always do the right thing, but understanding consumer ethics can help them adjust their technology and design policies to avoid vulnerability.

“Arm’s length and self-serve transactions provide the customer with greater opportunities for deviant behaviour,”
he says.

“From a business perspective, the unfortunate reality is that there is indeed a dark side to consumer behaviour – the results reveal consumers already know that illegal activities such as filing a false insurance claim are unethical.”

In the study, which was conducted with Professor Sam Fullerton from Eastern Michigan University, consumers were asked their ethical views on 14 different scenarios.

“43 per cent of people said they think returning used goods for a refund is acceptable behaviour,” says Neale.

“Twice the number of people think falsely claiming a child discount (40 per cent) is acceptable, than falsely claiming a seniors discount (21 per cent).”

Neale says many consumers viewed their own misbehaviour as’ levelling the playing field’, due to a belief that businesses were only focused on profit-maximisation.

“Either the business wins or the consumer wins in this zero-sum game.”

The study also found women were more critical of questionable behaviour than men.


Latest News

THE STAR'S STUNNING ANSWER TO CROWN'S BARANGAROO

THE Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR), not to be outdone by James Packer's Barangaroo development across the ...

BRISBANE COAL TERMINAL REOPENS AFTER SHIPLOADER REPAIR

COAL loading has recommenced at New Hope's (ASX: NHC) Brisbane terminal today after repairs to its ship loader, w...

SUPERYACHTS OFFER UNTAPPED POTENTIAL AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES

SUPERYACHT Australia has devised a strategy to attract more superyachts to Queensland and capitalise on revenue op...

GDP FIGURES A 'WAKEUP CALL' FOR PARLIAMENT

THE GDP figures are an end-of-year wakeup call for Parliament about what lies ahead for the country, according to ...

Related News

HOW MCDONALD'S AUSTRALIA REDISCOVERED ITS INNOVATIVE SPIRIT

MCDONALD'S is such a ubiquitous part of the Australian landscape today that it is easy to forget how it change...

JB HI-FI IS THE GOOD GUY IN $870 MILLION ACQUISITION

ELECTRONICS giant JB Hi-Fi has formally completed its $870 million acquisition of home appliance chain The Good Gu...

ACCC ACTS AGAINST MERITON'S RIGGED REVIEWS

MERITON Property Services is under fire from Australia's main consumer watchdog, after it allegedly engaged in mi...

ACCC FIRES WARNING SHOT TO IVF PROVIDERS

IVF clinics have been put on notice by consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC...

Contact us

Email News Update Sign Up Contact Details

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format

PO Box 2087
Brisbane QLD 4001

LoginTell a FriendSign Up to Newsletter