We have an issue with being Malaysian. The thing is, we all like to drive a bargain. At times we go from store to store, just to look for something cheaper. Or we go to group deals sites, like Groupon and MyDeals. But the fact is, we all like to have a bargain, or a deal, some might say.
Â Bargain Hunting as a lifestyle
And it happens in the work place as well. We tend drive a bargain with our employers, pushing for a higher salary and better perks now and then, especially during their hectic season or when we are indispensable for the moment. Or with our suppliers, pushing them for better terms and better prices, especially when we matter much to their bottom line.
It continues when it comes to food. Especially if you are a foodie like me. In Malaysia, we talk about cheap price, good-looking and tasty food. I do it too. Nothing wrong with looking for a bargain, especially with a slowing economy and rising inflation. Plus property prices are spiking up badly. So why does it matter with certain things?
The very fact is bargain hunting doesn’t stop us when we start working, or run a business. And sometimes we try to drive a bargain inappropriately. In fact, some dealers out there would probably look for a bargain by buying known imitation goods to sell as the real deal. Or to put against the real deal and mark off as OEM. Or to sell it really expensively in order to get more margins.
The problem with bargain hunting
But the problem happens when it comes to electronic items and accessories. Not all electronic items and accessories are built equally. While that bag from the night market / pasar malam looks like the real deal, a much cheaper camera bag from Lelong, Lowyat or even some retailers keen on driving a bargain in terms of margins might cause you much problems even as you buy it, thinking you have a deal. When it comes loose and breaks suddenly, you are left with shattered camera lenses, and bills of thousands to pay to get them back into working condition.
Same thing goes to iPhone / Samsung Galaxy chargers. True enough the original might cause a bit of money. And original iPhone (and Samsung Galaxy) chargers might cost a premium. And good third party brands go about a hundred ringgit each. And in our haste and desire for a bargain, we buy really cheap iPhone chargers from the market or the mall, thinking it would be the same. It definitely isn’t.
With recent reports of people being electrocuted with their smart phones, I can attest to that. After all, it was with my mom’s Sony Experia Android phone that was making some weird actions while plugin that started it all. It buzzed intermittently, while making it really hard to even key in the passcode to access the phone. But off the cord, it works well. And my mom came running after me complaining that her phone went crazy.
So yes, my initial thoughts were that her phone got hacked. I went in and formatted everything, but it was still the same plugged in. Then I realised she was on a cheap third-party smart phone charger that my brother bought from a group deal site. And while it looked legit, it could have caused electrocution as well. But most of us don’t really care, do we?
The Dangers of Bargain Hunting Cheap iPhone Accessories
Same thing goes with USB Battery Packs for smartphones, or better known in Malaysia as Power Banks. Not only are there many really cheap (and bad) imitations of popular brands like Morphie and to a lesser extent, Yoobao lying around, but most people are just buying them without really knowing if they are buying genuine stuff. And then they experience problems and go to the official distributor for warranty, only to find they don’t have any warranty, as they did not buy an original power bank themselves. And that was why we wrote our previous post, to warn people that they might end up buying a fake power bank without even noticing it.
After all, in our bargain mindset, we sometimes overlook the fact that some things that are too good to be true, isn’t worth your time. They might not be genuine products. Or even worse, what happens if your Power Bank malfunctions?
I had a conversation with a friend recently, whereupon she mentions that at times a customer would walk in and complain that though they like her products on display, they find her so much more expensive than that item they bought on lelong. Only to find out to their horror when she begins explaining on the iPhone accessory that they are using and showing them how they have bought an imitation. Or a fake. Or a misrepresented.
Having said that, please do educate your friends and family that not all things are equal. If it seems too good to be true, it perhaps could be too good to be true.