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.
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Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
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