Bob Sullivan popularized the term “Gotcha Capitalism” with publication of his New York Times best-selling book of the same name. Gotchas — such as hidden fees — are annoying on a daily basis to consumers. But Sullivan argues they have also changed the way our economy works. Gotchas are the opposite of price transparency, which is an essential element of a market economy. Without prices, consumers wander in the dark, and companies do, too. A market economy rewards the best companies with the best prices and products. A Gotcha economy rewards sneaky companies, and forces honest firms out of business. With what Sullivan calls “the death of the price tag,” companies can’t afford to be honest, and consumers can’t afford to make an honest living. Have you been hit by a Gotcha recently? Are you suffering from consumer rage! Talk about it below, or write privately to Bob. Together with Credit.com, we are creating a new Consumer Rage page where we will try to help frustrated consumers, and we will enlist the help of readers, too. This is the first installment.
Watch an animation explaining the death of the price tag
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