Unnecessary upsell or needed upgrade?

Unnecessary upsell or needed upgrade?

Understanding the upsell

It's not uncommon for a company to recommend additional products and services. Understanding what you get for a potential upgrade can help you determine if it's urgent or unnecessary.

Do you want fries with that? How about premium brake pads?

Upselling is a part of everyday life. When you buy furniture, the salesperson suggests stain protector. Any electronics purchase comes with an extended warranty offer. When you shop for an Internet provider, the customer service rep suggests adding phone and cable TV service as part of a bundled package to “save money.”

The next time you take your car in for an oil change and inspection, you might be told that nagging squeak is a bigger problem than you thought. And now that you’ve agreed to get new brakes installed, how about ceramic brake pads — for all the stop-and-go driving you do — to replace the worn, less expensive semi-metallic pads in your car?

As a consumer, navigating upsells to find out what’s necessary proves a tall order. Do you really need that additional repair or upgrade? Should you get a second opinion? Though difficult, it's important to distinguish the conscientious service professional recommendation from the seemingly red-flag-waving, you-must-get-this-NOW, high pressure opportunist ploy.

“You’ve got to find somebody you trust,” says Brad Fred, manager of highly rated Coppell Tire & Auto in Coppell, Texas, reciting a standard rule of the road that drives at the heart of making this distinction.

In addition, though you won't find a guide that covers all situations, there are a few scenarios, questions and suggestions to consider. An upgrade could be your best choice, or you might learn you don’t need it after all. Just remember that, regardless of how much pressure you might feel to upgrade, the choice ultimately remains yours.

Click on the photos below to learn about possible upsells for those services:


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Put on the brakes? How to gauge when you need additional auto services


Auto experts say that many times additional suggested repairs have merit and require careful consideration. (Photo by Anya Semenoff)
Auto experts say that many times additional suggested repairs have merit and require careful consideration. (Photo by Anya Semenoff)

How do you know if a mechanic is trying to upsell you when you take your car in for routine maintenance or what you think will be a minor repair?

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