WASHINGTON -- When it's time to pay the bills, women get clipped by hair stylists, taken to the cleaners by cleaners, hijacked by car dealers and gender-gouged on everything from health care to auto insurance, a consumer study showed Monday.
"I found that women truly do pay more == and get less," said Frances Cerra Whittelsey, author of Why Women Pay More, published by consumer advocate Ralph Nader's Center for Responsive Law.
Blaming both sexism and suckerism, her book documents how womn get bad deals everywhere from car repair shops to cosmetics counters:
* Although women buy nearly half of all cars sold in the United States, they are consistently charged more than men. A study by a Northwestern Univeristy law professor found white women paid $150 more than white men did for identical cars. Black women paid about $400 more than did black men and about $800 more than white men.
* In a New York City study where men and women asked the price of a used car, 42 percent of the car dealers quoted a higher price (average $496.67 more) to woemn; 36 percent quoted the same prices; 22 percent gave men the higher price (average $183.18 more).
* Women paid an average of $20 and men $16 for the same basic shampoo and haircut, another New YHork City study found.
* To launder and iron a white cotton shirt, cleaners charged over one-fourth more for women's shirts than for men's, another study found. Department stores often did alterations for free for men purchasing clothes but charged for altering women's clothes.
"Women pay more for haircuts and dry cleaning because of 'traditional' pricing," wrote Whittelsey. "Women pay more for auto repairs and used cars and new cars... because the people who sell these services believe we are suckers and decided we are the ones on who they can make their profit margins."