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The nature and consequences of price unfairness in services: a comparison to tangible goods

David Martín‐Ruiz (Departamento de Administración de Empresas y Marketing, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Sevilla, Spain)
Francisco Javier Rondán‐Cataluña (Departamento de Administración de Empresas y Marketing, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Sevilla, Spain)

International Journal of Service Industry Management

ISSN: 0956-4233

Article publication date: 20 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore consumers' perceptions of price unfairness in services, what are its antecedents and when it is important for the consumer. Thus, the central question of this research is whether consumers care about how much profit the service company is making and whether there are significant differences to physical goods.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on justice and equity theory, a causal model is developed – which analyses the main antecedents (seller profits vs customer value), moderators and consequences of perceptions of price unfairness. Structural equation modelling has been applied to test the proposed model.

Findings

The lack of specific tools to measure perceptions of price fairness required the development of a multi‐item scale to capture the complexity of the evaluation. This instrument has been tested for reliability and validity in a variety of settings, with excellent results, and can be appropriate when using the survey as a data collection method. Also, the authors have argued that there should be significant differences due to the nature of the product – service industries vs physical goods– as well as due to the number of available alternatives that the buyer has in the market.

Originality/value

The validity of a new model is tested by means of an empirical research conducted in four different settings, two different services (automobile repair services and music concerts) and their related physical goods (automobiles and music CDs). A multi‐item scale is also developed to capture the complexity of price fairness perceptions. Finally, significant differences between contexts, as well as due to the number of available alternatives present in the marketplace are examined.

Keywords

Citation

Martín‐Ruiz, D. and Rondán‐Cataluña, F.J. (2008), "The nature and consequences of price unfairness in services: a comparison to tangible goods", International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 325-352. https://doi.org/10.1108/09564230810875002

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited