I just read an article about a crooked dentist who took advantage of his patients by giving them unnecessary crowns and root canals. He gave some people more than 10 root canals over a number of years.
Some never had any prior dental issues but were convinced that they needed the work. They were horrified when the corrupt dentist retired and they later learned they were taken advantage of.
This might be an extreme example but I think we can all agree that this type of thing happens all the time. By that I mean someone taking advantage of someone else for financial gain.
Sometimes it’s fraud like this, other times it’s more than you need but just what they need to hit their numbers for the month, and yet other times it’s questionable if you do or don’t need the work at all but they push for it anyway because it’s in their best interest.
Even if not for financial gain, a mistake (such as a medical misdiagnosis) could be made that could cost you not only money, but more importantly your time or health!
It’s risky for all us as consumers to have the person or organization who is going to benefit be the one who tells us what needs to be done. If that is not a conflict of interest I don’t know what is!
The auto shop tells us what repairs need to be done. The doctor tells us what surgery is necessary. The contractor tells us what repair work is required. The lawn service tells us how many applications of weed and feed we need every season. You get the point.
All of the above providers are trying to make a living. Many are trustworthy. Some are not. How do you know if you are getting ripped off?
Your weapon – getting another opinion
Getting another opinion is a great tool to help make sure you are getting the right product or service and a fair price.
For example, you might need the auto repair but one shop charges twice what the other one does. A phone call to some other shops would make it easy to check prices. Or, a second opinion shop that inspects your vehicle does not think the work needs to be done at all!
Ideally, the more data (like with any decision), the better. A second opinion would be the minimum. The more opinions the better! You could also do internet research to confirm the price or service is reasonable or make some calls and ask questions.
For example, you might do some research and realize that although the full service would be to have six lawn treatments, three would actually still keep your lawn looking nice. You can then negotiate with your service provider for a plan that meets your needs or find another provider that is more flexible with the number of treatments.
The reality is that we only have so much time, which is one of the biggest reasons many of us don’t get another opinion. It is easy at the time to just go along with the first provider and do what they recommend.
However, the long term cost of not getting another opinion can be significant!
Word of mouth can increase your odds
A referral from a friend or relative is worth its weight in gold! Someone that has stories of great service or pricing is a fantastic way to start rather than you randomly picking providers and finding out the hard way.
Finding a trustworthy or reputable provider is the key. When you find one hold on to it!
For example this site recommends Carmax and Carvana for used cars as they are reputable companies with very good return policies. The corner used car lot might not be as forgiving.
I’ll close this article with my own dentist story. Years ago my dentist all of a sudden was pushing me to get a crown which I did get.
He then pushed for another crown. I was getting an uneasy feeling so went to another dentist to get another opinion. The new dentist said my tooth had an old filling but everything was stable so no need to have the work done.
It’s been at least ten years since then and the tooth is still in good shape with no work needed. Was the previous dentist trying to take advantage of me on purpose or was he practicing aggressive dentistry?
I’m not sure but I’m glad I got a second opinion!
- It’s a conflict of interest when a business who wants money is the one to tell you what work needs to be done
- Some business are trying to rip you off while others might just be more expensive or make a misdiagnosis
- One of your most valuable tools is getting another opinion which gives you another data point to confirm the work and price
- By making a second opinion part of your purchasing routine you will save yourself lots of money and headaches over the years!