Birthday cards are the biggest rip-off, say consumers

Pricey: Birthday cards are the biggest rip-off, according to a survey

Brits think milk, bus travel and iPhone apps are good value for money – but birthday cards, takeaway pizza and printer cartridges are a rip-off, a study revealed yesterday.

Predictably, petrol was also deemed a rip-off, as is paying 60p for a stamp or being forced to shell out to go to the toilet at train stations. The price of a 3D cinema ticket and monthly cable TV subscription were also named and shamed as ‘not good value’ as were theme park tickets, train travel, jeans and razor blades.

The results emerged following a comprehensive study carried out among 2,000 Brits into whether they feel they get value for money when spending their hard-earned cash.

Yesterday Dave Broadway, managing director of print and post specialists Docmail, which commissioned the study, said: ”It’s hard times for many people at the moment and the results of the research show that the majority of Brits feel they aren’t getting value for money in many areas.

”People are having to be more and more aware of their spending day to day and squeeze the pennies further. That makes them reassess every purchasing decision and clearly the value of an item is not always in line with the cost.

”It’s interesting to see the range of areas where the worst value items can be found as it proves there is a general feeling that life is becoming increasingly expensive.”

It also emerged spending £3 on a birthday card was considered the biggest waste of money, while the £179.00 peak return it costs to take the train from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington was seen as outrageously lacking in value. To add insult, passengers are then charged 30p to go to the toilet in a train station and that was voted the 3rd worst value for money purchase.

Watching Premier League football was also deemed as bad value for money with the average £45 price too much for many. It also emerged the average Brit feels they only get value for money on about four in every ten purchases. Among the few items Brits saw as offering them a good deal were paracetamol, a £4 all-day bus ticket and paying £18 a month for broadband.

Travel insurance was seen as a good deal by most, while four pints of milk for £1.18 was also deemed reasonable. And no one enjoys a good cup of tea more than the Brits – forking out £22 for a good kettle also made the list of purchases to offer good value for money.

But 60 per cent feel they are forced out of necessity to spend on things that represent bad value for money. Fuel, council tax and motoring costs were among the things that Brits hate having to pay out for.

While one in four Brits can’t stand having to fork out for a colleague’s birthday whip round.

Dave Broadway added: ”The study shows it’s not about how much something costs but the level of value represented in the price – whether that’s buying a stamp or a TV subscription, people are always very aware of what they are getting in return for their money.

”Of course, there are a number of essentials which Brits clearly feel they get a poor deal with.

”There are usually cheaper options for everything, but it’s hard finding a balance between what you’re prepared to pay and the quality you expect.

‘Millions of Brits still value the ability to send a letter or card by post, and whilst they may feel that traditional means of doing so are becoming increasingly pricey, by embracing digital technology we are able to keep people in touch by mail at a fraction of the price.”



1. Birthday card – £3

2. Standard anytime return Bristol Temple Meads – London Paddington train ticket – £179

3. 30p toilet fee at a train station

4. Large takeaway pizza – £16.99

5. Printer cartridges x 2 – £44

6. Theme Park ticket – £43.50

7. Medium white wine purchased in pub – £5

8. Pair of men’s jeans – £40

9. Videogame for console – £45

10. Monthly cable television subscription – £48

11. Premiership football ticket – £45

12. Second class stamp –  50p

13. 3D Cinema ticket – £11.85 (inc. glasses)

14. Prescription charge – £7.65

15. First class stamp – 60p

16. 1 litre of petrol – £1.30

17. 4 x razor blades – £8

18. 4 x toilet rolls – £2.38

19. Ladies haircut – £35

20. Pint of beer purchased in pub – £3.50


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here