Never heard of ‘drip pricing’? You’ve probably still fallen for it

Never heard of ‘drip pricing’? You’ve probably still fallen for it
Tuesday 1 August 2023

They pop up just before you hit pay – fees and other add-ons that eat away at your “bargain”. How does drip pricing work?

By Angus Holland

JULY 28, 2023

Annoying, is how Ralf Steinhauser describes what should be the painless experience of booking cinema tickets. Like the rest of us, he goes online, chooses the film, date, session and number of tickets. Then, just when he’s confirming his order, the total price creeps up ... thanks to an additional mystery surcharge. Not a dealbreaker but yes, annoying. “There’s this fee at the end and I wasn’t expecting it and I couldn’t do anything about it,” he says.

Sometimes entirely legal, sometimes murky and sometimes downright deceptive (depending on how and where it’s done), the practice of adding additional fees and charges into an online purchase is something we’ve all encountered, from booking airline tickets to ordering takeaway to signing up for a new mobile plan. Often described as “drip pricing”, it is particularly irritating for Steinhauser because, as senior research fellow at the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research Methods, he knows exactly what’s going on but is largely powerless to do anything about it.

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Updated:  1 August 2023/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications