Consumerist reader Dan recently went to his local CVS to score some toothpaste when he noticed that the store was offering two versions of the same 6-oz. tube of extra whitening, maximum strength, sensitive toothpaste. One was just the toothpaste while the other came with a free toothbrush… And then he looked at the price tags.
Let’s throw this over to Dan for more:
I was about to purchase a tube when I noticed a similar six oz tube package next to it, claiming that it also contained a “FREE! Orbit Sensitive Toothbrush”. I was about to buy it when I noticed that it wasn’t actually free, but 20 cents more. The price verification machine in the store confirmed the two prices.
The pictures of the products are below and you can see that they are the exact same thing with the exception of the toothbrush, which has something called a “tongue scrapper”… in case you want to scrap your tongue.
Considering that Dan double-checked the pricing at the store with the barcode scanner, it would appear that this CVS is violating FTC guidelines on what “free” means. In a nutshell, you can never charge extra for something you advertise as a “free” bonus.
If you see anything like this, it’s best to contact your state’s Weights & Measures office or the Attorney General. They are the best people to determine if a violation has occurred and what steps need to be taken.