Home » , , » Deceptive Advertising: Exposing 8 Shameless Cons & Lies

Deceptive Advertising: Exposing 8 Shameless Cons & Lies

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Saturday, September 23, 2017

Those who don’t know how to think just focus on the carrot and fall into the abyss....

Price Anchoring Scam

“This is when a retailer compares the current price of an item to an ‘original’ price — sometimes also referred to as ‘list’ price. But those original prices may never really have existed or may be inflated to mislead consumers into thinking they are getting a bigger bargain than they actually are, a deceptive tactic known as fictitious pricing. Federal guidelines on price comparisons require that an original or former price must have been offered ‘on a regular basis for a reasonably substantial period of time’ for an advertised discount not to be deceptive.”

Macy’s, Kohl’s, Saks, GNC, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Best Buy and Gap are just a few major retailers currently facing class-action lawsuits related to this type of misleading pricing. The following example is from J.C. Penny:

“J.C. Penney said Wednesday that it will make $50 million available to settle a false advertising class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2012, took issue with the price comparison advertising of private and exclusive branded products that J.C. Penney used in California between November 2010 and January 2012. The lawsuit claimed the retailer's practices didn't comply with California law.”

CBS News' financial contributor Mellody Hobson on the lawsuit:

"The idea is called 'price anchoring,' where they advertise an item on sale, they list the original price and the plaintiffs are saying the original price was overstated to make the discount appear bigger.”

Bait & Switch Advertising

“One example is the luxury car. It might normally be priced at $40,000 but is listed in a newspaper ad as ‘priced to move’ at $25,000. Yet, when you arrive in the showroom, that deal is no longer available because the dealer’s inventory has been ‘sold-out’ of the model. Frequently, these schemes involve the initial availability of only a limited number of units of the given product (maybe as few as one or two), allowing the company to ‘honestly’ claim only a few days after running the ad that they no longer have any units of the advertised product in stock. The company’s salesperson will then inevitably steer you toward another, similar product at a less-attractive price…..

“There are a limited number of tools that consumers can arm themselves with to guard against such schemes. One step you can take is to call ahead to any store or showroom to check that the product in question remains in stock and available for sale. Be sure to ask for the name of the salesperson with whom you are speaking so that you are able to report not only the company but the specific salesperson to the FTC in the event a complaint is filed.”

Sweepstakes & Prize Scams

“Another scenario involves ads that entice you to ‘claim your X-Box 360’ by simply clicking on a link or making a toll-free phone call. You are then dragged through a host of questions seeking extensive levels of personal credit information, only to finally learn that you will need to apply for a … series of credit cards before you’re eligible to actually claim your prize……

“Federal law prohibits companies from requiring consumers to purchase any product, service, or subscription to become eligible to enter into a sweepstakes or drawing. This means that you do not – under any circumstances – have to buy a product or spend money to enter into a sweepstakes of any kind. The Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes and their enormous checks? By law, you are not required to spend a dime on magazine subscriptions to enter.”

In 2014 the Federal Trade Commission received 103,579 consumer complaints relating to prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries.  

The Notorious “Risk-Free” Trial 

“The risk-free trial is a sales gimmick, pure and simple.  Why?  Because sneaky businesses figure out how to get your credit card number before you sign-up (either by charging a small shipping + handling fee, or making it a condition of the offer), and will charge you an arm and leg after the trial is over unless you cancel before the trial is up.   And to make matters worse, they make it near impossible to cancel by hiding important terms and conditions in miniscule print or by using pre-checked boxes as the default setting.”

“The easiest way to spot a free trial scam is by reading the terms and conditions of the product. Most of the sites that execute the free trial scam don’t actually provide consumers with the information that they are entering into an ongoing agreement at any point during the registration and financial data fields, and instead are designed to simply take financial data and move on.

“Common sense would dictate that before entering into an ongoing agreement, consumers would be presented with at least a check box stating that they agree to the terms and conditions, but in the case of the free trial scam, this doesn’t happen. The relevant information for these scams is provided, generally at the bottom of the website, in very small text, under a ‘terms and conditions’ link.

“Gaining consent to regularly debit a credit card in this manner is called a “negative option”. If you actually view the terms and conditions of these sites, you’ll notice a large amount of difficult-to-decipher legalese that essentially means that by entering your details into the form on the page, you’re agreeing to the ongoing payment system.”

Service Contracts and Extended Warranties

“Now, we don’t want you to think that all service contracts and warranties are traps for the unwary.  Some contracts and warranties can actually save you considerable amounts of money.  Again, the lesson here is to read the agreement before signing on the dotted line. And while you’re reading, ask yourself the following questions:

----What is the length of the contract?
----What is covered by the service contract or warranty?  Is coverage relatively comprehensive or limited?
----What will the service contract give you that the warranty will not?
----Is the product likely to need repairs within the time frame of the warranty or contract?
----Are new or used parts authorized for use in repairs?
----What other costs (exclusions to coverage, related insurance policies, etc.) will you have?
----Where will you be able to get service?
----Who is responsible for the contract and are they reputable?
----Can you buy the service contract later, after having evaluated the product’s reliability?
----What are your responsibilities as the consumer?  For example, are you required to adhere to and document a scheduled maintenance routine?

If you can answer these questions to your satisfaction, you’ll have a much better chance of making the right call when deciding whether to accept or reject that extended warranty or service contract.”

“Natural” and “Miracle” Cancer Cures

“If you or someone you love has cancer, you may be curious about supposed ‘miracle’ cancer-fighting products — like pills, powders, and herbs — that you’ve seen advertised or heard about from family and friends. Scammers take advantage of the feelings that can accompany a diagnosis of cancer. They promote unproven — and potentially dangerous — substances like black salve, essiac tea, or laetrile with claims that the products are both ‘natural’ and effective. But ‘natural’ doesn’t mean either safe or effective, especially when it comes to using these products for cancer. In fact, a product that is labeled ‘natural’ can be more than ineffective: it can be downright harmful. What’s more, stopping or delaying proven treatment can have serious consequences.

“The truth is that no single device, remedy, or treatment can treat all types of cancer. All cancers are different, and no one treatment works for every cancer or everybody. Even two people with the same diagnosis may need different treatments. That’s one more reason to be skeptical of websites, magazines, and brochures with ads for products that claim to treat cancer, and to decide on treatments with your health professional.

“People with cancer who want to try an experimental treatment should enroll in a legitimate clinical study. The FDA reviews clinical study designs to help ensure that patients are not subjected to unreasonable risks.”

Basic Tips to Avoid Online Shopping Scams

The FTC Requires Compliance With The Funeral Rule

Funeral Homes “can’t require someone to buy certain funeral goods or services they don’t want just so they get the items they do want ….. You can’t refuse to handle a casket or urn the customer bought somewhere else. And you can’t charge a fee to handle it either.”

Related Posts

8 Little Known Funeral Rip-offs and Consumer Counteractions  http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2013/04/8-little-known-funeral-rip-offs-and.html

Helpful Funeral Advice From Industry Insiders (& Outsiders)  http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2016/11/helpful-funeral-advice-from-industry.html

30 Prying and Probing Questions To Bolster Critical Thinking http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2016/10/30-prying-and-probing-questions-to.html

Diabetes Rip-offs: Devious Scams From Snake-Oil Swindlers http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2015/05/DiabetesRip-offs.html

Photo: http://supplementsinreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/supplement-autoship-scams.jpg

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


Post a Comment

Feel free to leave any comments...