Avoid losing your money to others looking to make a quick profit this Christmas
Well, it’s that time of year again. The run up to Christmas. It may not be as exciting as previous years, but thankfully we still have a holiday to look forward to. It’s around about this time that people will do their Christmas shopping, and now more than ever, a lot of it will be online.
Sadly, the good spirited nature of the season doesn’t spread as far and wide as we’d like to think. The online world can be very predatory to those who aren’t fully aware of the fact. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of surprising loved ones with splendid gifts or treating yourself to some seemingly lucrative business opportunities.
Well, this post is here to catch you up to speed. People want to cheat you out of your money this Christmas, and this year you will not let it happen!
If It’s Too Good To Be True, It’s A Pyramid Scheme
As the year 2020 painfully drags on, I’ve noticed a trend on social media that caught my eye.
Someone I followed on Instagram promoted a health drink that claimed to benefit the body in a list of ways. These unbranded coffees and juices somehow aid sleep and weight loss, boost your energy levels, increase your metabolism AND suppress hunger cravings. Sounds like a miracle in a glass for someone who wants to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
At the time I laughed it off because there is no way one drink can do all of this by adding the sachet of powder to some water. You can’t replace eating well and taking care of yourself by downing a glass of unbranded juice every morning. I thought after seeing that first post that I’d never really come across it again. How wrong I was.
Fast forward a month or two and the same unbranded “health products” start popping up on my Instagram again. Now a handful of individuals are promoting these products and praising the company behind it to no end.
So, I’m just cynical, right? These young people have taken the plunge on a business investment on a relatively new company. I’m just jealous that they’re riding the wave of success and I’m not.
I decided then to give these posts the benefit of the doubt. I paid attention to every single post I come across that mentions these miracle drinks.
Again, I noticed a trend:
· In all the promotional material I’ve seen, a company or brand name is never mentioned even once. It’s always, “My company,” or “Our company.”
· These people promote the business with the same generalised work benefits. You can work around your own schedule, there are seven ways to earn, and you can reap amazing bonuses like brand new high-end cars that the company will partly pay for.
· The posts will ask poll questions like, “Do you want to hear more?” or “Do you want to start a new job?” The problem being that the only two answers to the polls are different ways of agreeing to the question asked.
This nameless company however has a name. If you were to look closely enough at the products being advertised, you’ll see the name Valentus.
If you google Valentus, the first result is their own website. It shows all the ways you can either buy their products or purchase their starter kit to sell items yourself for profit.
All the results following that, however, don’t paint the company in the same positive light.
If you were to look up Valentus on the online forum site Reddit, for example, it only contains anecdotes about how they are a scam company and the people promoting it are only doing so to negate their own initial investment.
If you see anyone trying to promote any kind of product like this, or company like this, do not enquire about it. They will pander this investment to you. They are deceiving you to make a profit for themselves, so you’re left out of pocket, with junk product to sell.
Item Is Currently Out of Stock. Everywhere.
Then there is a different breed of opportunist for emptying your wallets this festive season. Scalpers.
Every year, there is always that must have product. In years gone by it was pieces of tech such as the Nintendo Wii or the original iPod Touch.
For 2020, the moniker for must have product falls on to the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
These products don’t even have an age demographic. I know ten-year-olds that have them on their Christmas list and people forty plus who want one. I want a PlayStation myself.
From my experience, this is probably one of the more reasonably priced launches of a new gaming console. For example, the PlayStation 5 can start at around £350 in the U.K. depending on what version you buy.
It may sound steep but go back thirteen years ago to the launch of the PlayStation 3, and that would set you back £425.
Although that price is meaningless if you can’t even get your hands on one. The PS5 launched on November 19th in the U.K. How long did it take to sell out entirely? Mere hours.
So, your child is begging you for the newest gaming console, but everywhere you look is out of stock. Naturally, you then check sites like eBay and Gumtree to see what you can find.
The penny drops.
These sites are over-saturated with hundreds of listings of either console, but not at retail value. The lowest you’re going to see is about £800.
Scalpers wait until launch day and have measures in place to scoop up as many units as they can. This then forces a monopoly onto the public who desperately need these products for Christmas. Making the scalpers almost triple their initial investment.
My advice for any parents out there who have children begging for these consoles. You will not get one by Christmas for a reasonable price. Please don’t indulge these selfish scalpers and help them make a profit. Come the new year, they will produce more units. These scalpers will fade away if given time, just wait it out. Waiting one more month and saving £500 is just plain sensible.
Just Be Careful Out There
No one needs any added misery this Christmas time. So wherever you may do your shopping this year, keep your head about you. Buy from reputable retailers and always research what someone is trying to sell you.
A more stress-free Christmas will make all the turkey sandwiches taste better.
Rory Skillen is a fourth year BSc student in Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. He can be found on LinkedIn.