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The management at the World Camera and Electronics comes up with a plan to sell quickly some of its overstocked cameras. The plan is to offer money as an incentive to its sales personnel. The sales personnel are entitled to 20 percent commission instead of the usual 10 percent if they sell the selected cameras over other brands. Each week the management identifies the camera that is to be sold.
Mathew Anderson wants visits the company wishing to purchase a camera. He identifies a camera that perfectly suits his needs since he is in college. He decides to buy the digital camera. However, instead of the sales personnel selling the identified camera, he shows Mathew another camera. The latter costs more and has numerous advanced features, which are not practical for the client. The sophisticated features associated with the camera will be useful to Mathew neither in the present time nor the future.
Bearing in mind the financial incentive at stake, the sales person manages to convince him that the camera is a better purchase. Mathew ends up purchasing the expensive camera believing the salesperson helped him find the perfect item for his needs. It is a fact that Mathew was coerced into making this purchase. He knew the camera he wanted but was convinced to buy another camera by the sales personnel. It is known that the camera being proposed was on offer that week, the salesperson knowingly convinced him to buy it so that he would obtain the 20 percent commission.
Several legal questions arise from the described case. Is this a case of deceptive sales? Is the fact that the sales person was to receive a financial bonus relevant to the moral assessment of her action? Another question arising from the case is whether customers expect sales personnel to be objective, with the customers interests at heart or they accept the principle “buyer be aware”.
This is a case of deceptive selling without any doubts whatsoever. The conduct of the sales person was intended to mislead the customer. She delivered a smooth and canned talk to entice the purchase. She created a misleading impression of the value and quality of the camera in the customers mind (Tom Beauchamp, 2008). This is also known as “high pressure” selling.
The sales person persuades customers to buy goods they neither want nor need. What the customer wants is an ordinary digital camera. Contrary to his needs, he is coerced into making a different purchase. He has innocently fallen into the salesperson trap while believing that the expertise she has is valuable in finding a perfect gadget.
Such sales are driven by compensation structures that is high bonus potential (Tom Beauchamp, 2008). The Australian consumer law dictates that businesses must not make false claims about, among other things the quality of an item. Deceptive selling is a serious ethical issue, which can evolve into misconduct with severe repercussions.
The fact that the sales lady was to receive a financial bonus is relevant to the moral assessment of her conduct. Morality is based on the premise that the greatest obligation in any given circumstance must be found based on the balance of right over wrong in that particular context. Morally responsible sales personnel must pay particular attention to scrupulous marketing. They are disciplined and rarely employ unethical tactics to sale, a missing concept in this particular case.
She convinces the customer to buy an expensive camera for her personal gain. She seizes the opportunity to obtain a bonus for making a valuable sale that she obtained through unethical tactics. She is money-minded and does not have an interest in the customer needs. She does this despite the fact that such behavior might be going against her personal value system.
Customers expect the sales people to be objective. They must work together to serve the customers’ interests, wants and needs. All these must deliver the desired satisfactions effectively and efficiently in a way that promotes their welfare (Pae, 2011). The objective of the sales personnel is to ensure that the buyer is satisfied after a purchase. This is in relation to the buyer’s expectations.
The “buyer beware” idea revolves around buyers taking responsibility for the condition of the items they purchase. It encourages them to examine items before they purchase them. However, this rule does not shield sellers who engage in fraud by misleading representations about a particular item. It merely summarizes the concept that a buyer must examine and judge a product considered for purchase himself or herself.
In this case, the customer had already done sufficient research and decided that a digital camera is what he required. However, the sales person introduced another camera and convinced him that it was a better buy than what he had chosen. She does not do this in good faith, and she does not truly have the customer’s best interests at heart. What she is eyeing is the bonus she will receive if she manages to convince the customer to purchase the other camera. This is fraudulent behavior since she is interested in her personal benefits.
In conclusion, selling ethics is the moral principles and values that guide behavior within the field of selling. They concern personal, moral principles and values. Organizations face significant threats from ethical misconduct and illegal behavior from employees on a daily basis. Deceptive selling is a marketing ethics risks, and it ultimately destroys customer relationships and goodwill. Such conduct is crude, insensitive, and selfish.
From the case study, the sales personnel conduct is not acceptable in the market place. Her conduct involved clear-cut attempt to deceive or take advantage of the situation. The sale was to benefit the sales personnel bottom line since she is to receive the 20 percent as commission. Such unethical conduct usually stems from the demands to meet and exceed performance objective. The negative publicity associated with deceptive selling hurts the reputation of the company more than other penalties. It also draws intense scrutiny to a company.
Courts order damages and injunctions against businesses found to have engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct. The long-term costs of such behavior are devastating. The case shows that companies cannot motivate employees without effective communication about values. While most sales personnel do not have “ethics” in their job title, they are ultimately accountable.
From the above case and discussion, several things have been identified. Companies with ethical difficulties may find this an important reading. It is crucial for companies to develop an ethical, corporate culture. They should educate, train, and motivate their employees to act in ways consistent with the legal requirements and ethical expectations. This can be achieved explicitly through codes of conduct and statement of ethics that are documented. They should address risks associated with fraudulent marketing activities. These processes should be continuous, and the participation of all employees is encouraged.
Finally, companies must pay close attention to profit motives and moral interests of its employees. It is not enough to offer a financial incentive; they must monitor their sales person to ensure that they conduct morally responsible business. Recent studies show that at least 11 percent of employees will partake in unethical practices if the opportunity arises, and the risk of being caught is minimal (Pae, 2011).