According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), advertising is considered to be deceptive when it omits, misleads or falsely represents a product or service. This type of marketing can be presented in both written and oral forms. Since there are penalties that retailers face for engaging in false advertising, very few use this sales tactic each year. There are some deceptive techniques that they use more often than others.
One way that advertisers deceive customers is by taking ambiguous photographs or ones that capture the best parts of a product or place. They often take them from a single angle, with a certain camera lens or if only certain rooms or aspects are featured to make them look appealing. If they're taken from other vantage points, then it may look markedly different.
Advertisers often deceive consumers by placing a particular product in ads at a bargain price. When consumers get to the store to purchase it, they're often told that it's out of stock. A salesperson may then try to get them to buy an alternative product with inferior specifications at the same price or attempt to upsell them for something better.
Consumers should be wary of advertisers making misleading product claims. Buyers shouldn't fall for plays on words or ads in which marketers talk up products and their benefits when they're really inferior to other options on the market. Consumers should do their own due diligence to investigate product claims. This includes making sure that they're substantiated and that pricing is competitive.
Hidden fees are another type of deceptive advertising. Cars, computers and services are often advertised for unbelievable costs. Retailers hope that you will miss the fine print where it talks about a down payment being needed, shipping and handling costs or how a rate is a short-term, promotional offer. If a price sounds too good to be true, then look for an asterisk or the fine print to find out if there are added costs.
Although most retailers are honest when advertising their products, there are some with poor intentions that fall through the cracks. These bad ones are simply intent on making money any way possible. Vadnais Heights residents who believe that they've been preyed upon by deceptive advertisers should consult with a consumer fraud attorney. They'll be able to determine if you have a valid case that can be filed in the Minnesota or federal courts.