'You get what you pay for' is an adage that suffers under scrutiny. Past research on the relationship between price and quality has largely found little or no correlation across products on the market. In this study, the questions of (a) whether consumers perceive a positive relationship
to exist between price and one important dimension of product quality (i.e. longevity) and (b) whether those beliefs accord with actual objective price-reliability correlations were examined by comparing consumer survey data to objective evaluations of price and reliability. Substantial variance
in perceptions of price and longevity was found, with higher expectations for stable technology product categories (e.g. laundry appliances), and lower expectations for more dynamic technology categories (e.g. electronic communication equipment). Consumers' perceptions, alas, did not accord
with reality. They were more likely to expect a positive association between price and longevity for products in which the relationship was negative, and vice versa. The conclusion is that consumers are poorly calibrated when it comes to recognising the true relationship between price and
longevity. Their faith in the notion that they get what they pay for is little supported by market data.