Depending on where you live, Staples (which is basically the North American version of OfficeWorks) might try to sell you a more expensive stapler. The Wall Street Journal has conducted an Important Investigation and found that a lot of online retailers based in the US vary their pricing based on the buyer’s location.
The cost of a product you buy from a website — a book, Scotch tape, whatever — might be higher because of the postal code you’re ordering from. The WSJ found that this dollar skewing scheme applied to not just Staples, but also Rosetta Stone, Home Depot and Discover Financial Services. We all understand that costs are going to vary considering where you live because of shipping and other factors — Staples acknowledged that itself. But in this case it also might be related to the income distribution of where your IP address is located, and that’s a bit discriminatory.
The schemes vary from site to site, and there are certain factors that matter like how far you live from a brick-and-mortar store. It’s not something you should necessarily get up and start picketing over. But it’s something to be aware of, because, as a consumer, when you’re paying more, you’re losing. [WSJ]