How Rentals Manipulate Prices By Location

JetPort Car Rental Facility

The website TNW released shocking news this morning, July 18, 2018. This reveals that some dishonest companies use customer location data to manipulate car rental and airfare prices. Researchers at TheBestVPN discovered alarming evidence you could pay almost double what others might, simply because of the location from where you access a supplier website.


Dynamic Pricing, But Dynamic for Who?


Dynamic pricing is a business model where some businesses set their prices according to how much they think their customers can afford to pay. Some critics call this price discrimination. This takes us down a road littered with moral implications.

If you are in Europe, and accessing this site then what those companies are doing is contrary to spirit and law of Brexit. Bonzah would never do anything like that. You will see the same rate ($7.99 a day, up to $35,000 cover) from anywhere in the world because that’s the way we are.


How the Discrimination Pans Out


If the vendor bots were to access social media, they might also uncover factors such as race, religion, and other preferences. The U.S. Office of Economic Advisers investigated this under the Obama Administration. TheBestVPN uncovered the following location pricing for an Apple Music subscription:

# People in the United States: $9.99 per month

# People in the United Kingdom: $13.33 per month

# People in India: $1.75 per month

The study furthermore found “a round-trip United flight from Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport to California’s Los Angeles International Airport … could cost as little as $1,307 when booking from Poland, and as much as $2,426 when booking from the United States.


Fortunately, There are Ways to Mitigate This


Although the website TNW does not provide similar rental car comparisons, they do say that “location data is used to manipulate airfare and car rental prices”. Therefore we provide the following advice in good faith to assist our many loyal clients.

# Disable location tracking on your browser. This may or not be enabled but check it and do the right thing. Why donate your precious airtime to a vendor.

# Use a virtual private network service to cloak your actual location. You could then pretend to be in different places and trawl for the best price.

# Disable third-party cookie tracking on your browser. You will be part of the 10% to 15% of web users who actually do. This will prevent a retailer spying on the sites you visit.

# Try different browsers and devices. Third-party studies have shown that Home Depot apparently charges mobile users more than desktop users, with Android incurring a premium.

# Clear your cookies to destroy evidence of your purchasing preferences. At the heart of GDPR thinking, a company has to ask permission to view it, but of course they don’t.


Keep on Educating Yourself About the Web


Consumers will never stop marketers from trying to get into their minds and manipulating them. But we can educate and protect ourselves from uncompetitive deals. Consider using Bonzah as your favorite rental car primary insurance provider. We welcome comparisons with any other similar business.

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