Even if You Wrong Me, I May Still Like You: Consumer Dishonesty in Case of Feeling Befooled

  • Didem Gamze IsiksalEmail author
  • Elif Karaosmanoglu
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science book series (DMSPAMS)


Do negative emotions always have negative outcomes for brands? May feeling of being fooled turn into a sympathy toward the brand? This study aims to investigate the relationship between consumers’ feelings of being fooled and their tendency to get revenge by cheating the brand (dishonest consumer behavior). It further argues that in order to compensate for the negative emotional consequence (feeling of guilt) of their own wrong act, consumers tend to form stronger relationships with the brands that were initially wrong to them. It also examines how situational ambiguity regulates the relationship between feeling befooled and behaving dishonestly.


Dishonest consumer behavior Guilt Cheating Consumer-brand relationship 


  1. Adams, J. S. (1965). Inequity in social exchange. In L. Berko- witz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 267–299). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  2. Akers, R. L., Krohn, M. D., Lanza-Kaduce, L., & Radosevich, M. (1979). Social learning and deviant behavior: A specific test of a general theory. American Sociological Review, 636–655.Google Scholar
  3. Alicke, M. D. (2000). Culpable control and the psychology of blame. Psychological Bulletin, 126(4), 556–574.Google Scholar
  4. Al-Khatib, J. A., Vitell, S. J., & Rawwas, M. Y. (1997). Consumer ethics: A cross-cultural investigation. European Journal of Marketing, 31(11/12), 750–767.Google Scholar
  5. Allard, T., & White, K. (2015). Cross-domain effects of guilt on desire for self-improvement products. Journal of Consumer Research, 42(3), 401–419.Google Scholar
  6. Argo, J. J., & Shiv, B. (2012). Are white lies as innocuous as we think? Journal of Consumer Research, 38(6), 1093–1102.Google Scholar
  7. Ariely, R. B. S. A. D. (2015). Ethical dissonance, justifications, and moral behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(1), 63–79.Google Scholar
  8. Ariely, D., & Jones, S. (2012). The (honest) truth about dishonesty: How we lie to everyone, especially ourselves (Vol. 336). New York, NY: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  9. Ashworth, L., Dacin, P., & Thomson, M. (2009). Why on earth do consumers have relationships with marketers. In: Handbook of brand relationships (pp. 82–106).Google Scholar
  10. Bechwati, N. N., & Morrin, M. (2003). Outraged consumers: Getting even at the expense of getting a good deal. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(4), 440–453.Google Scholar
  11. Camerer, C. (2003). Behavioral game theory: Experiments in strategic interaction. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dodge, H. R., Edwards, E. A., & Fullerton, S. (1996). Consumer transgressions in the marketplace: consumers’ perspectives. Psychology & Marketing, 13(8), 821–835.Google Scholar
  13. Doney, P. M., & Cannon, J. P. (1997). Trust in buyer-seller relationships. Journal of Marketing, 61, 35–51.Google Scholar
  14. Elangovan, A. R., & Shapiro, D. L. (1998). Betrayal of trust in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 23(3), 547–566.Google Scholar
  15. Fehr, E., & Schmidt, K. M. (1999). A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114(3), 817–868.Google Scholar
  16. Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Fisk, R., Grove, S., Harris, L. C., Keeffe, D. A., Daunt, K. L., Russell-Bennett, R., & Wirtz, J. (2010). Customers behaving badly: a state of the art review, research agenda and implications for practitioners. Journal of Services Marketing, 24(6), 417–429.Google Scholar
  18. Freedman, J. L., Wallington, S. A., & Bless, E. (1967). Compliance without pressure: The effect of guilt. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 7(2p1), 117.Google Scholar
  19. Fullerton, R. A., & Punj, G. (2004). Repercussions of promoting an ideology of consumption: consumer misbehavior. Journal of Business Research, 57(11), 1239–1249.Google Scholar
  20. Gino, F., & Pierce, L. (2009). Dishonesty in the name of equity. Psychological Science, 20(9), 1153–1160.Google Scholar
  21. Grégoire, Y., & Fisher, R. J. (2006). The effects of relationship quality on customer retaliation. Marketing Letters, 17(1), 31–46.Google Scholar
  22. Grégoire, Y., & Fisher, R. J. (2008). Customer betrayal and retaliation: when your best customers become your worst enemies. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 36(2), 247–261.Google Scholar
  23. Grove, S. J., Vitell, S. J., & Strutton, D. (1989). Non-normative consumer behavior and the techniques of neutralization. In Proceedings of the 1989 AMA Winter Educators Conference (Vol. 131, p. 135). Chicago, IL: American Marketing Association.Google Scholar
  24. Harris, L. C., & Reynolds, K. L. (2003). The consequences of dysfunctional customer behavior. Journal of Service Research, 6(2), 144–161.Google Scholar
  25. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  26. Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  27. von Hippel, W., Lakin, J. L., & Shakarchi, R. J. (2005). Individual differences in motivated social cognition: The case of self-serving information processing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(10), 1347–1357.Google Scholar
  28. Jones, M., Love, B. C., & Maddox, W. T. (2006). Recency effects as a window to generalization: separating decisional and perceptual sequential effects in category learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32(2), 316.Google Scholar
  29. Kasnakoglu, B. T., Yilmaz, C., & Varnali, K. (2016). An asymmetric configural model approach for understanding complainer emotions and loyalty. Journal of Business Research, 69(9), 3659–3672.Google Scholar
  30. Kidder, D. L. (2007). Restorative justice: not “rights”, but the right way to heal relationships at work. International Journal of Conflict Management, 18(1), 4–22.Google Scholar
  31. Koehler, J. J., & Gershoff, A. D. (2003). Betrayal aversion: When agents of protection become agents of harm. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 90(2), 244–261.Google Scholar
  32. Krishnan, P. (2008). Consumer alienation by brands: Examining the roles of powerlessness and relationship types. (Order No. NR49106, University of Manitoba (Canada)). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 346. Retrieved from 11638Google Scholar
  33. Kunda, Z. (1990). The case for motivated reasoning. Psychological Bulletin, 108(3), 480–489.Google Scholar
  34. Leith, K. P., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Empathy, shame, guilt, and narratives of interpersonal conflicts: guilt-prone people are better at perspective taking. Journal of Personality, 66(1), 1–37.Google Scholar
  35. Lemon, K. N., Rust, R. T., & Zeithaml, V. A. (2001). What drives customer equity. Marketing Management, 10(1), 20.Google Scholar
  36. Los Angeles Times. (2012), Apple to argue Samsung was warned products copied iPhone, iPad. Retrieved May 30, 2016 from
  37. Malhotra, N. K., & Miller, G. L. (1998). An integrated model for ethical decisions in marketing research. Journal of Business Ethics, 17(3), 263–280.Google Scholar
  38. Mazar, N., Amir, O., & Ariely, D. (2008). The dishonesty of honest people: A theory of self-concept maintenance. Journal of Marketing Research, 45(6), 633–644.Google Scholar
  39. Mitchell, V. W., & Ka Lun Chan, J. (2002). Investigating UK consumers’ unethical attitudes and behaviours. Journal of Marketing Management, 18(1–2), 5–26.Google Scholar
  40. Muncy, J. A., & Vitell, S. J. (1992). Consumer ethics: An investigation of the ethical beliefs of the final consumer. Journal of Business Research, 24(4), 297–311.Google Scholar
  41. Nunnally, J. (1978). Psychometric methods.Google Scholar
  42. Pittarello, A., Leib, M., Gordon-Hecker, T., & Shalvi, S. (2015). Justifications shape ethical blind spots. Psychological Science, 26(6), 794–804.Google Scholar
  43. Reynolds, K. L., & Harris, L. C. (2009). Dysfunctional customer behavior severity: An empirical examination. Journal of Retailing, 85(3), 321–335.Google Scholar
  44. Shafir, E., Simonson, I., & Tversky, A. (1993). Reason-based choice. Cognition, 49(1), 11–36.Google Scholar
  45. Shalvi, S., Gino, F., Barkan, R., & Ayal, S. (2015). Self-serving justifications: Doing wrong and feeling moral. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(2), 125–130.Google Scholar
  46. Sharma, D., Borna, S., & Stearns, J. M. (2009). An investigation of the effects of corporate ethical values on employee commitment and performance: Examining the moderating role of perceived fairness. Journal of Business Ethics, 89(2), 251–260.Google Scholar
  47. Smith, A. K., Bolton, R. N., & Wagner, J. (1999). A model of customer satisfaction with service encounters involving failure and recovery. Journal of Marketing Research, 356–372.Google Scholar
  48. Strutton, D., Pelton, L. E., & Ferrell, O. C. (1997). Ethical behavior in retail settings: is there a generation gap? Journal of Business Ethics, 16(1), 87–105.Google Scholar
  49. Sykes, G. M., & Matza, D. (1957). Techniques of neutralization: A theory of delinquency. American Sociological Review, 22(6), 664–670.Google Scholar
  50. Tangney, J. P. (1991). Moral affect: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(4), 598.Google Scholar
  51. Tangney, J. P., Wagner, P., Fletcher, C., & Gramzow, R. (1992). Shamed into anger? The relation of shame and guilt to anger and self-reported aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62(4), 669.Google Scholar
  52. Tangney, J. P., Miller, R. S., Flicker, L., & Barlow, D. H. (1996). Are shame, guilt, and embarrassment distinct emotions? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(6), 1256.Google Scholar
  53. Vitell, S. J., Nwachukwu, S. L., & Barnes, J. H. (1993). The effects of culture on ethical decision-making: An application of Hofstede’s typology. Journal of Business Ethics, 12(10), 753–760.Google Scholar
  54. Walster, E., Berscheid, E., & Walster, G. W. (1973). New directions in equity research. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 25(2), 151.Google Scholar
  55. Wines, W. A., & Napier, N. K. (1992). Toward an understanding of cross-cultural ethics: A tentative model. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(11), 831–841.Google Scholar
  56. Xie, Y., & Peng, S. (2009). How to repair customer trust after negative publicity: The roles of competence, integrity, benevolence, and forgiveness. Psychology & Marketing, 26(7), 572–589.Google Scholar
  57. Zhao, X., Lynch Jr, J. G., & Chen, Q. (2010). Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: Myths and truths about mediation analysis. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(2), 197–206.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istanbul Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations