With many companies focusing on profit margins over anything else, unethical business practices can quickly become more common. With many people holding businesses more accountable, awareness is starting to grow. Things that were more accepted in the past are now seen as shadier by many members of society — looking at you, payday loans, and timeshares! Nonetheless, some unethical business models continue to pass as normal. An online forum discusses the topic.
Covering a wide range of products from cosmetics and supplements to household products and clothing, multi-level marketing (MLM) business models base commission on both personal product sales and the sales of recruitees. MLMs often only benefit those at the top of the scheme, with members often pressured to recruit specific numbers or purchase set amounts of stock to keep their status. One online user succinctly describes such companies as “absolute predators and con artists”.
2. Mobile Games
Many of today’s mobile games cash in on users through advertisements and recurring small purchases for coins, extra lives, advancement and to unlock special features. Typically, players get hooked and don’t realize how much their seemingly small transactions, or microtransactions, eventually add up. An online community member describes how their father-in-law needed intervention after spending thousands of dollars on such purchases, busting the myth that only younger players can fall foul of these tactics.
Though slightly morbid, online commentators describe how funeral companies use guilt and constant upsell practices to make people part with more cash to honor their loved ones. Users strongly believe that the industry should be held to greater ethical standards.
4. Health Care
Many Americans feel that the U.S. healthcare system is unethical, including everything from hospital stays and ambulance rides to pharmaceuticals and insurance. One user blasts the practice of advertising prescription drugs, likening it to “dangling a solution” in front of sick and desperate people, and another individual talks of the huge costs of forced medical transportation.
5. Fast Fashion
Buying a whole new wardrobe online or in physical stores has never been easier. However typical it’s become to grab a new outfit for the weekend or a vacation, fast fashion often comes at a painful price for those who actually make the garments. Plus, processing and waste contribute to environmental issues.
Subscriptions have gained popularity over recent years, covering everything from groceries and clothes to movies and an array of services. Online users discuss the difficulty of canceling many subscriptions, with some believing this model unethically relies on making money because of consumers not canceling their subs. One describes it as a practice designed to “leech small amounts from people”.
7. Planned Obsolescence
It may sound wordy, but planned obsolescence is where companies deliberately design products to go out of date or need replacement fairly quickly. This perpetuates a buy-replace cycle that sees consumers spending more money and waste heading to landfills. It’s definitely not like the olden days when things were made to last!
8. Online Coaching
Self-help, self-improvement, and coaching programs have boomed in the digital age, promising busy people an effective way of dealing with some of life’s pain points. With no industry regulation in the United States, this opens the door for charlatans to prey on the vulnerable and make money on the back of people’s dreams.
9. Peak Pricing
Although most people can be on board with the supply and demand causing prices to fluctuate, many are against disproportionately huge increases at peak times. The online community accuses many businesses of using peak times to price gouge, including airlines, hotels, and rideshare companies.
10. Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery has become fairly normalized with many people from celebrities to the girl next door choosing to enhance their appearance with cosmetic procedures. However, some providers play on peoples’ insecurities to increase their profits. Many netizens are against holding people against, often impossible, beauty standards, particularly when it involves going under the knife.
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