The cost of living is rising with increasing speed. This week, the Labor Department reported that consumer prices in December were 7% higher than the year before, led by energy, food, and automobiles.
But an analysis of ConsumerAffairs reviews shows that consumers are feeling the pinch just about everywhere. Even when they are satisfied with a company’s service, they can’t resist noting that costs aren’t what they used to be.
“Customer service is great,” Scott, from California, wrote in a review of Orkin. “Scheduling is an A also and it's done on the computer. But Orkin should be aware of fixed income customers and not go raising prices above the inflation rate. Other than that, they're excellent and they do the job.”
Kathryn, of Riverside, Calif., tells us she has noticed that even the cost of insurance for her pet has gone up in recent months.
“We chose Prudent Pet because it was affordable and covers possible hereditary conditions that a lot of other companies don’t cover,” Kathryn wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “The only complaint I have is that our premium jumped up and is about $20 MORE a month than it was last year, and our dog is not even two years old yet nor has he had any major health issues to cause such a big premium jump. It’s still more affordable than other companies I’ve looked into.”
A big increase since 2008
Michalina, of Clinton, Conn., has noticed a big change since she remodeled her bathroom in 2008. Granted, that was a long time ago, but inflation was practically non-existent during much of that time.
“The crew was professional, considerate, and truly experts in this craft,” Michalina wrote in a review of Bath Fitter. “The price, however, was surprisingly steep given the amount of work and compared to 2008.”
Despite the price, Michalina gave Bath Fitter a 5-star review. Joe, of Rochester, N.Y., was also favorably impressed with Endurance Auto Warranty – except for the cost.
“The plans were a little pricey, especially for people that are on fixed incomes,” Joe told ConsumerAffairs. “I realized that it’s inflation time, but even so, for some people that need their vehicles, the prices are a little high.”
Difficult for consumers on fixed-incomes
So far, inflation doesn’t seem to have stopped consumers from spending. However, economists are concerned that conditions could change if prices continue to climb. And the latest evidence suggests that they will.
On the heels of the increase in consumer prices, the Labor Department reported this week that producer prices – a measure of costs at the wholesale level – were also higher in December, rising 0.2%.
The cost of services – things like pet insurance, pest control, and auto warranties – rose even faster, gaining 0.5%.