Even under the best of circumstances, choosing to take out a reverse mortgage is a difficult and often costly decision for many senior citizens and their families. But when you throw in a number of half-truths and marketing materials designed to mislead consumers into thinking they are taking part in a government-run program, well, that’s just wrong. And the state of New York won’t stand for it as one company recent found out. [More]
While it’s known for its 100% V8 vegetable juice, Campbell Soup knows not everyone wants to straight up chug tomatoes. That’s why it’s been peddling its V8 Splash and V8 V-Fusion drinks, which combines fruit juices as well as those healthy veggies. But one food watchdog group says the company is misleading consumers about exactly how much juice is actually in those beverages. It’s threatening to sue Campbell. [More]
For years the friendly faces at Publishers Clearing House have been giving consumers hope that they’ve won or are about to win a fabulous prize. But does the company mislead consumers with deceptive sweepstakes promotions? In some instances, yes, a new report has found. [More]
Three years after we first started pointing it out, Banzai continues to make kiddie pools that are disproportionately smaller than they appear on the box. The latest to enrage the internet is their “Slip ‘N Splash Whale Pool.” On the box it shows four children frolicking. In real life, those would have to be tiny munchkin children. [More]
Here’s a retro Kool-Aid commercial from a simpler time. Back when the Kool-Aid man was just a jug with a condensation face that talked. No busting through walls. he just chilled there like a good friendly value sitting on a table. Children and adults just whistled at one another to signify that it was Kool-Aid time. And mothers spoke very precisely and articulately. Ahhh. [More]
The FDIC is looking into Discover over concerns that they deceptively marketed their “payment protection plan” for their credit card. Under the plan, if you were experiencing hardship you could put payments on hold for up to two years. Sounds great, but buried in the fine print was that you would end up paying a 10.5% monthly fee for the pleasure of doing so. [More]
FinallyFast, one of those companies with the late-night infomercials promising to make your computer faster, has settled with the Washington AG for misleading and deceiving consumers, and making it hard to cancel or get refunds. One of their tactics was to make the free scan on their site falsely identify harmless files on your computer as being errors. Consumers can now get some of their money back. [More]
Before you can finish your purchase at Buy.com, you have to go through an entire page trying to upsell you to the much-maligned Webloyalty program and click the tiny “no thanks” button at the bottom. You can find it located under the large YES! button. [More]
Ticketmaster will pay a $50,000 fine and shutter more than 100 deceptive brokerage sites as part of a wide-reaching agreement with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Madigan’s office accused Ticketmaster’s always shady subsidy, TicketsNow, of creating sites that masqueraded as local venues selling tickets at face value. The settlement also requires TicketsNow to wait until after Ticketmaster puts non-sporting events on sale before hawking tickets at outrageously inflated prices.
United and US Airways will soon charge an extra $5 to check bags at the airport, charging $20 for the first bag and $30 for the second. Since it will still cost $15 and $25 respectively to pay for checked bags online, United thinks they can herald the chance to “prepay & save!,” while US Airways boasts that they now have a “lower fee online!”
Subway spokesman and occasional thin guy Jared Fogle may soon be out of work thanks to a new FTC rule banning commercial testimonials that warn “results not typical” or “individual results may vary.” Under the new rule, marketers using, say, body builders to advertise weight loss pills are also going to have to show an average lardass whose results might be more typical. You can guess how advertisers are reacting to the change…
Companies are scrambling to make their products seem more affordable in this economic climate, and, in some cases, are resorting to simply making it up. Reader Ben sent in this picture of Personna razor blades. The old pack is on the left, containing 12 razors. The new one is on the right, also containing 12 razors, but it boasts a scratched out 10 and a big 12 and now it’s a “Value Pack.” You get the same number of razors, pay the same, but now you get the added bonus of feeling like you’re a savvy shopper.
I’ve read some bad Best Buy stories in my time here at The Consumerist, but this one really takes the asshole cake. To sell its special HDTV calibration service, this Best Buy in NC set up two identical model HDTVs, both showing ESPN. As seen in the picture tipster Robert took, the “calibrated” one is noticeably better. That’s because it’s showing ESPN HD and the one on the left is showing just regular ESPN. You can also see how a set of box have been placed in front of the non-calibrated tv on the left so you can’t see that’s it not ESPN HD. That, my friends, is quintessential deceptive marketing. Robert’s story of what he saw, and the rivers of bullshit and non-answer that came out of the Best Buy employees’ mouths when he confronted them about it, inside…
Hey kids, want to spend the summer with five of your friends in your very own backyard pool? Then stay the hell away from Banzai’s Wild Waves Water Park! David Ng juxtaposed Banzai’s box art with a picture of his disappointed kids standing next to the fully assembled “water park.” He wasn’t the only one deceived, according to the reviews on Amazon…
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is suing Dell and he wants your help.
The Mouseprint blog is dedicated to pointing out the hilarious juxtaposition between the the big bold print in ads and the sometimes completely contradictory caveats buried in the fine print.