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Consumer Reports: Ad Tricks and Traps

By Consumer Reports
|  Sunday, Apr 27, 2014  |  Updated 12:34 AM CDT
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When it comes to advertising, what you see isn't always what you get. Consumer Reports has some good advice about advertising terms you should not take at face value.

Deanna Dewberry, Consumer Reports

When it comes to advertising, what you see isn't always what you get. Consumer Reports has some good advice about advertising terms you should not take at face value.

Deceptive advertising generally violates the law, but regulators can't monitor everything.

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. And those limitations can really get you.

The website GlassesUSA 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. Consumer Reports finds that you can often find things cheaper at stores that are not going out of business.

And, Consumer Reports cautions, be very wary of 'FREE.' It can be a powerful come on. But often you have to buy something, to get something else free. 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.


Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.

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