My friend is looking to rent an apartment, and I went with him to check out a new place last Sunday. His new rent is 633 dollars, and they promised him 300 dollars off the first monthâ€™s rent, when he inquired over the phone. He is planning to move in the new place on October 1st, because his current lease ends on the 30th September.
When we went to check out the place on Sunday, the lady there said that they had another special going, and if he moved by September 12th; the first monthâ€™s rent will be free.
We tried to calculate which option would work out cheaper in our heads; but couldnâ€™t. The nice lady said that she will do the math for us, and then went to her computer, ran some numbers, and came out with two print outs.
What I saw next completely amazed me. The print outs had detailed calculation of what he’d need to pay for the next couple of months, which included a security deposit, processing fee and one or two other items.
Those calculations showed nothing about which option will be cheaper. She said she could give the 600 dollars off, but canâ€™t deduct it from the security deposit, so some of it will be deducted from the second monthâ€™s rent, but the 300 dollars can be deducted from the rent, and the whole thing was so complicated â€“ I canâ€™t even recall it now.
I know this much: it showed nothing about which option was cheaper, which is all we wanted to see.
We were a little baffled by all these detailed calculations, and embarrassed by the fact that we werenâ€™t able to figure out which option was cheaper. Finally, I summed up the courage to ask her for a calculator, and ran the numbers myself. My numbers showed that the 300 dollar discount was just slightly better, and I asked her I was doing it right. She didnâ€™t answer that, and then went ahead and rattled a few more numbers.
This was really crazy because it is such a simple question, and someone who ran such detailed numbers should be able to answer it.
I canâ€™t help but think that companies realize that regular people are afraid to ask questions that might show they donâ€™t understand something fully, and take advantage of that. They complicate stuff, and then hope that you arenâ€™t able to see beyond their smoke screen.
The only way to deal with this nuisance is to accept that they are trying to do that, and then keep asking questions, even if it makes you sound stupid. Not doing this, will play you into their hands anyway.
It is something easier said than done, and I wonder if I am being unduly skeptical. But, to me admitting I donâ€™t know something and then asking about it is much better than making a decision without knowing the full facts. Again, this is easier said than done.
What do you think, do you feel that sometimes companies complicate things unduly and hope that you donâ€™t understand them? How do you react to such situations?
Photo Credit: Uthor