A New York publication outlines advertising and sales practices that can constitute consumer fraud or a deceptive practice,
Watch out for FOOTNOTES AND ASTERISKS (“*”). The “fine print” in an
advertisement sometimes changes an offer made in the large print. That’s deceptive.
PHOTOS AND ILLUSTRATIONS should match the products being advertised.
Any PRICE QUOTED in an ad must match the actual purchase price.
Beware of ads using phrases like “as low as,” “starting at,” or “… and up” next
to the listed price. Any phrase that refers to a RANGE OF PRICES, without
being specific about which item costs how much, makes the ad deceptive.
COMPETITIVE DISCOUNT claims like “lowest prices,” “guaranteed lowest
price,” or “prices lower than everyone else” are nearly impossible to prove.
When a vendor offers to bring his price down to undersell a competitive price
(“We will not be undersold”), the vendor should produce evidence that the offered price is lower. There should be a clear and conspicuously posted disclosure of the business’s PRICE-MATCHING policy.
All of an ad’s PRINT SIZE should be readable—no smaller than 10-point type.
(This is a sample of 10-point type.)
If an ad uses CONTRASTING COLORS, they must not make the ad harder to
read. For example, words in one color should not be printed against a background of the same color but a different shade.
If an ad mentions a STORE WARRANTY OR GUARANTEE other than the
manufacturer’s, it should clearly say that the consumer would see the warranty
before the purchase is made.
In cases of competitive discount and price-matching claims, stores sometimes
limit their discount to prices set by “AUTHORIZED DEALERS” of a product. Be prepared to compare that price to other stores’ standard price.
Check to see if the specific amount of SHIPPING AND HANDLING
CHARGES are disclosed.
When a discount is offered in A RANGE OF PERCENTAGE TERMS (“Save
from 10% to 40%”), the ad should be clear about the standard price that the
vendor is discounting.
When an ad claims that an item is available at A PRICE LOWER THAN THE
MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE, ask the retailer to
prove that other vendors in the area offer the same suggested price. If not,
this may be no bargain.
An ad may say “sale,” “discount,” “price cut,” “clearance,” and so on, without
actually offering a substantial savings from the earlier price. If you can’t tell
the real savings from the ad, find out from the business’s management.
Ads that refer to RETAILER’S COST – “at cost,” “below cost,” “inventory
price,” “wholesale,” “factory billing,” and so on – sometimes cover up the
fact that the prices still include real profits to the retailer.” New York Deceptive Practices
If you have been a victim of deception, call for a free consultation.