Ad Tricks And Traps

When it comes to advertising, what you see isn’t always what you get –– seductive half-truths and outright deceptions are common. But

Consumer Reports has some good advice about advertising terms you should not take at face value.

Nissan got in trouble recently with this ad, showing a pickup truck pushing a dune buggy up a steep hill.

Problem is, it’s something the truck actually cannot do. The Federal Trade Commission called the ad ‘deceptive.’
Consumer Reports’ Anthony Giorgianni says it happens more often than you’d expect.

“Deceptive advertising generally violates the law, but regulators can’t monitor everything.”says Girogianni.

So it’s up to shoppers to read the fine print. Especially — Consumer Reports cautions — when they see certain advertising terms.

Like “satisfaction guaranteed.” The Federal Trade Commission says companies should only say that if they’re willing to provide full refunds to unhappy customers, or they state the limitations.

The website Glasses U-S-A advertises a satisfaction guarantee, but if you return some items and want your money back, it will cost you a 20 percent re-stocking fee.

And Michelin’s 30-day satisfaction guarantee means you can return the tires you bought, but for a new set of tires, not a refund.

What about a “going out of business” sale? Don’t assume everything’s a deal.

“You can often can find things cheaper at stores that are not going out of business.” says Giorgianni.

And be very wary of “FREE.” It can be a powerful come-on. But often you have to buy something to get something else free.

So be a skeptic or be ready to pay a high price for a bargain.

Consumer Reports says another catch is being asked to pay something to get a free item … such as additional shipping and handling. Sometimes that can end up exceeding the cost of the “free” item.

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