Posts Tagged ‘misleaing advertising’

Misleading Advertising

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve written here, so I thought I would write about all the different ways companies deliberately mislead customers in order to ‘close’ a sale. Unfortunately, it works to some degree which is why I personally am a bit annoyed, so am going to list specific companies when applicable, and when not applicable (i.e., they are too ‘small’ to be recognized nationally), I’ll just list the tactics used. The idea is that if they can “get”  you in the door — then they can close a sale. Sadly, it does work, so that is why they do it.

If you see these tactics being employed, please take action and either inform the company that you do not appreciate being misled, and/or choose to shop or take your business somewhere else. The only reason these tactics are employed is because they work. If you take your business elsewhere, they lose business, and there is no reason for them to continue because it would just be ‘stupid’.

Grocery Stores: (i.e., Loblaws, A&P, etc)

One of the most common and annoying things that grocery stores do is deliberately mislabeling the price for products. I was just shopping for some juice, and below the price said “$1.49”. I thought that was a great deal — so did go to buy it — then remembered where I was shopping so decided to find out what the ‘catch’ was. Sure enough, the incorrect stock had been “accidentally” placed at the wrong label, and the actual price of the juice was $4.99. I ended up making a decision based on that.

“Sales! Sales! and MORE SALES!”

1. InStorage, a nationwide storage company, is using sleezy sales tactics to try and make more sales. They list “UPTO 75% OFF!” to get people to walk in the door. As of this writing (they may change it later), the “catch” is that (a) It is not really 75% off your entire term of storing with them, which they seem to imply — but rather only for the first month. providing you purchase twelve months of service with them. So, if you pay $100 month for twelve months, your first month would be $25, and the remaining months $100. So in reality, it is a “6.25%” discount which is no big deal, seeing as most companies offer you between a 2-5% minimum for paying that far in advance.

2. Clothing Companies — This is a really popular one.
(a) Many times they will say “UPTO” *x* % off, but the “upto” will be in super tiny letters. All you see is something like “…90% EVERYTHING IN STORE!”. You walk in the store, ask where the 90% off stuff is — and it is no where to be found. But there is plenty of regular priced stuff. Walk out or avoid companies like this.
(b) The second thing that is really annoying — and this simply requires paying attention — is that when clothing stores say have “50%” off days — they’ve simply marked up their merchandise for the sales period. So let’s say an item is $10. When it is a sales day, the item is marked up to “$20”. So now “50% off” is $20*0.5 = $10 — in other words, regular price. If you see this tactic being employed, tell the company so they know you aren’t stupid, and shop somewhere else.

3. Housing Market – Ok, for this one, I forget the name of the development firm that employed this, but it goes like this. They advertised in BIG buildboards — “UNITS STARTING AS LOW AS $219,000!!!”. I walked in, took a look at their price sheet, not a single unit was $219,000!!! The ‘lowest’ price unit was $224,000. What do they think, that people are stupid and won’t notice? If you see this happening, go and tell the developer. In fact, with something like this — it might even give you leverage in getting a better deal on a house because they are so blatantly lying in their advertising. But then again — would you really want to live somewhere where they lied about such a simple thing such as a price?

4. “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE!!!” I couldn’t believe this one, and it gets really annoying.  There is this one “company” that is so used to lying — they have bought signs that say “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS! EVERYTHING MUST BE SOLD!” and plaster them all across there store. I’ll see about getting a picture of that company and posting it here. But how much of a blatant lie is that? Other companies — such as furniture stores — advertising “going out of business” sales — when all they are doing is simply moving to a bigger, better warehouse down the street. But they get tons of walk-in traffic looking for “deals”, when in fact everything is really only marked down about 10% (about the cost of the company to actually move it to their new store). Very misleading.


If you see something like this happening, let the company know. Maybe they are a really good company, but just have some sales guy that is trying to take a shortcut. Help out the company, and help out people who choose to approach business ethically. Say something and do something. Shop elsewhere, shop at stores with good ethical practices.