False Advertising Practices

Couple receiving bad news over phone

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
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.

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