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Family 411: Retail Discrimination

Updated: Tuesday, December 17 2013, 12:22 AM EST
We're in the height of holiday shopping season and retailers are fighting for your business. But did you also know they may be discriminating against you when it comes to prices?

As you'll see in this Family 411 report, Sheila Gray explains how you can beat them at this game.

The best way to find the lowest price is to shop around, right? But every time you do that online. There's a lot of information about you that's given up every time you visit any website. With every visit, retailers can determine all kinds of things about you.

Because of this whole idea of cookies, little files a company leaves on your computer when you visit a website, they know where you've shopped and even if you've visited price comparison websites. Something as simple as a zip code is going to tell a little bit about your household.

A Wall Street Journal investigation showed just shopping with a Mac computer could get you charged more than a Windows user. Office Depot admitted it uses browsing history and geo-location to vary offers to its website visitors.

A University of Pennsylvania study revealed about 70 percent of people have no idea a retailer can change prices based on their spending habits.

We asked tech expert Dave Hatter how to beat them at their own game....

"Go to Tools. Set your browser to delete your history and cookies when you log off.  Even sneakier, use two different internet browsers when you shop online," said Hatter. "If you can do all of your browsing with this one and all of your purchasing with that one, they won't talk to each other."

You can also use a virtual private network. Tor and Google Chrome Incognito are VPN's you can find on the web.

Deal bloggers say signing up for your favorite retailers' emails and newsletters can get you discounts and subscribe to comparison sites like DealNews for sale alerts.

Remember, don't download any software from sites you don't know!

We have posted links to virtual private networks and the other websites:

Clear cookies:
http://kb.iu.edu/data/ahic.html
Disable 3rd Party Cookies:
http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-20042703-285/disable-third-party-cookies-in-ie-firefox-and-google-chrome/
Change Browser User Agent:
http://lifehacker.com/5908903/why-wont-this-web-site-load-correctly-and-how-can-i-fix-it
Price comparison sites:
http://www.shopify.com/blog/7068398-10-best-comparison-shopping-engines-to-increase-ecommerce-sales#axzz2lLFK1TT9
http://dealnews.com/
Private Browser Mode:
http://internoobs.wonderhowto.com/inspiration/private-browsing-for-firefox-chrome-internet-explorer-0126965/
VPN:
http://download.cnet.com/Free-VPN/3000-7240_4-75445860.html
 Use Different Browsers or different devices:
Internet Explorer
Firefox
Chrome
Safari
Mobile Device
Family 411: Retail Discrimination


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