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Is this false advertising?

Benshapiro
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9/20/2015 10:35:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Seeing as this is a debatable issue, I don't think it's off-topic to post here.

Two weeks ago I went into my local Best Buy and was looking to buy a TV. I was told by the associate that if I open up a credit card with them I'd get 10% back on my purchase. She said it would show up on my statement. So I bought the TV with a newly opened up credit card. Today I received my credit card and statement in the mail. The 10% back wasn't credit to my account. In the terms and conditions, so small that it's nearly illegible - it listed a plethora of exclusions and 'TVs' was one of them. Here is what's posted on their website: "apply today and get 10% back in rewards on your first purchase when you are approved for a my Best Buy credit card".

http://www.bestbuy.com...

There's no "exclusions apply" or "see offer for details" or even an asterisk. There's just a remarkably small "2" notation after the word "rewards".

Here's the definition of false advertising: "Any advertising or promotion that misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities" (Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. " 1125(a))."

So, if they didn't adequately disclose the exclusions it should qualify as a misrepresentation of the offer. Does a very, very tiny "2" qualify as a disclosure of the exclusions? Let's extend this logic: how about one that's microscopic?

Do you think this falls under the umbrella of "misleading?" I definitely think so.

Best Buy benefitits from this advertising by having comsumers sign up for credit cards with the incentive that they'll earn 10% back - who otherwise wouldn't have - only to find out they aren't eligible for it. This minimizes costs (by not paying the incentive) and maximizes profits (by earning future interest payments on those newly opened credit cards).

So, do you think this is false advertising?
airmax1227
Posts: 13,241
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9/20/2015 10:45:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/20/2015 10:35:15 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Seeing as this is a debatable issue, I don't think it's off-topic to post here.

Two weeks ago I went into my local Best Buy and was looking to buy a TV. I was told by the associate that if I open up a credit card with them I'd get 10% back on my purchase. She said it would show up on my statement. So I bought the TV with a newly opened up credit card. Today I received my credit card and statement in the mail. The 10% back wasn't credit to my account. In the terms and conditions, so small that it's nearly illegible - it listed a plethora of exclusions and 'TVs' was one of them. Here is what's posted on their website: "apply today and get 10% back in rewards on your first purchase when you are approved for a my Best Buy credit card".

http://www.bestbuy.com...

There's no "exclusions apply" or "see offer for details" or even an asterisk. There's just a remarkably small "2" notation after the word "rewards".

Here's the definition of false advertising: "Any advertising or promotion that misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities" (Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. " 1125(a))."

So, if they didn't adequately disclose the exclusions it should qualify as a misrepresentation of the offer. Does a very, very tiny "2" qualify as a disclosure of the exclusions? Let's extend this logic: how about one that's microscopic?


Do you think this falls under the umbrella of "misleading?" I definitely think so.

Best Buy benefitits from this advertising by having comsumers sign up for credit cards with the incentive that they'll earn 10% back - who otherwise wouldn't have - only to find out they aren't eligible for it. This minimizes costs (by not paying the incentive) and maximizes profits (by earning future interest payments on those newly opened credit cards).

So, do you think this is false advertising?

Yeah, I think this is one of those cases where the marketing dynamic is created to increase the sales, and hope for the best in the consumer not noticing the fine print (the exact details of this vary from promotion to promotion, but the hopes for the end result is the same). This is fairly normal practice for a number of major businesses. The other possibility here (and it is likely) is that the employee you spoke to was supposed to know that your TV was excluded and tell you that, but didn't realize. Still the fault is with the company.

California has some pretty strict laws regarding this stuff, and though I don't know the exact details (I believe Bluesteel is well versed on this specific type of law) it essentially prevents businesses from taking advantage of customers in this way.

You have limited options, though most corporations don't want to have angry customers. You should go through the "customer service phone bingo" routine, which will bounce you back and forth to various departments for awhile (so have an hour or so to do this) until you can get the right person to demand some type of equitable solution. You may get a 10% refund, though they'll do their best to at worst, end up giving you store credit.

If it comes down to it, do some research on your state laws, and then demand to speak to the companies legal department. At that point they are likely to instead send you to a manager who can authorize some type of a partial refund.
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Benshapiro
Posts: 3,966
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9/20/2015 11:01:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/20/2015 10:45:44 PM, airmax1227 wrote:
At 9/20/2015 10:35:15 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Seeing as this is a debatable issue, I don't think it's off-topic to post here.

Two weeks ago I went into my local Best Buy and was looking to buy a TV. I was told by the associate that if I open up a credit card with them I'd get 10% back on my purchase. She said it would show up on my statement. So I bought the TV with a newly opened up credit card. Today I received my credit card and statement in the mail. The 10% back wasn't credit to my account. In the terms and conditions, so small that it's nearly illegible - it listed a plethora of exclusions and 'TVs' was one of them. Here is what's posted on their website: "apply today and get 10% back in rewards on your first purchase when you are approved for a my Best Buy credit card".

http://www.bestbuy.com...

There's no "exclusions apply" or "see offer for details" or even an asterisk. There's just a remarkably small "2" notation after the word "rewards".

Here's the definition of false advertising: "Any advertising or promotion that misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities" (Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. " 1125(a))."

So, if they didn't adequately disclose the exclusions it should qualify as a misrepresentation of the offer. Does a very, very tiny "2" qualify as a disclosure of the exclusions? Let's extend this logic: how about one that's microscopic?


Do you think this falls under the umbrella of "misleading?" I definitely think so.

Best Buy benefitits from this advertising by having comsumers sign up for credit cards with the incentive that they'll earn 10% back - who otherwise wouldn't have - only to find out they aren't eligible for it. This minimizes costs (by not paying the incentive) and maximizes profits (by earning future interest payments on those newly opened credit cards).

So, do you think this is false advertising?

Yeah, I think this is one of those cases where the marketing dynamic is created to increase the sales, and hope for the best in the consumer not noticing the fine print (the exact details of this vary from promotion to promotion, but the hopes for the end result is the same). This is fairly normal practice for a number of major businesses. The other possibility here (and it is likely) is that the employee you spoke to was supposed to know that your TV was excluded and tell you that, but didn't realize. Still the fault is with the company.

California has some pretty strict laws regarding this stuff, and though I don't know the exact details (I believe Bluesteel is well versed on this specific type of law) it essentially prevents businesses from taking advantage of customers in this way.

You have limited options, though most corporations don't want to have angry customers. You should go through the "customer service phone bingo" routine, which will bounce you back and forth to various departments for awhile (so have an hour or so to do this) until you can get the right person to demand some type of equitable solution. You may get a 10% refund, though they'll do their best to at worst, end up giving you store credit.

If it comes down to it, do some research on your state laws, and then demand to speak to the companies legal department. At that point they are likely to instead send you to a manager who can authorize some type of a partial refund.

Thanks airmax, that's some great advice. I had already filed a complaint with the BBB so I'll see how that pans out. If I don't hear anything back or they don't reach out to me with a proper resolution I'll see what California law has to say about it. It's only $85 so it's not the end of the world, but I guarantee that other people have been taken advantage of by this offer as well. I'm the type of guy that always looks out for the fine print details (even during commercials) and didn't see that "2" until my third time reading through. I'll post an update here if anyone is still interested.
airmax1227
Posts: 13,241
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9/20/2015 11:12:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/20/2015 11:01:30 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 9/20/2015 10:45:44 PM, airmax1227 wrote:
At 9/20/2015 10:35:15 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Seeing as this is a debatable issue, I don't think it's off-topic to post here.

Two weeks ago I went into my local Best Buy and was looking to buy a TV. I was told by the associate that if I open up a credit card with them I'd get 10% back on my purchase. She said it would show up on my statement. So I bought the TV with a newly opened up credit card. Today I received my credit card and statement in the mail. The 10% back wasn't credit to my account. In the terms and conditions, so small that it's nearly illegible - it listed a plethora of exclusions and 'TVs' was one of them. Here is what's posted on their website: "apply today and get 10% back in rewards on your first purchase when you are approved for a my Best Buy credit card".

http://www.bestbuy.com...

There's no "exclusions apply" or "see offer for details" or even an asterisk. There's just a remarkably small "2" notation after the word "rewards".

Here's the definition of false advertising: "Any advertising or promotion that misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities or geographic origin of goods, services or commercial activities" (Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. " 1125(a))."

So, if they didn't adequately disclose the exclusions it should qualify as a misrepresentation of the offer. Does a very, very tiny "2" qualify as a disclosure of the exclusions? Let's extend this logic: how about one that's microscopic?


Do you think this falls under the umbrella of "misleading?" I definitely think so.

Best Buy benefitits from this advertising by having comsumers sign up for credit cards with the incentive that they'll earn 10% back - who otherwise wouldn't have - only to find out they aren't eligible for it. This minimizes costs (by not paying the incentive) and maximizes profits (by earning future interest payments on those newly opened credit cards).

So, do you think this is false advertising?

Yeah, I think this is one of those cases where the marketing dynamic is created to increase the sales, and hope for the best in the consumer not noticing the fine print (the exact details of this vary from promotion to promotion, but the hopes for the end result is the same). This is fairly normal practice for a number of major businesses. The other possibility here (and it is likely) is that the employee you spoke to was supposed to know that your TV was excluded and tell you that, but didn't realize. Still the fault is with the company.

California has some pretty strict laws regarding this stuff, and though I don't know the exact details (I believe Bluesteel is well versed on this specific type of law) it essentially prevents businesses from taking advantage of customers in this way.

You have limited options, though most corporations don't want to have angry customers. You should go through the "customer service phone bingo" routine, which will bounce you back and forth to various departments for awhile (so have an hour or so to do this) until you can get the right person to demand some type of equitable solution. You may get a 10% refund, though they'll do their best to at worst, end up giving you store credit.

If it comes down to it, do some research on your state laws, and then demand to speak to the companies legal department. At that point they are likely to instead send you to a manager who can authorize some type of a partial refund.

Thanks airmax, that's some great advice. I had already filed a complaint with the BBB so I'll see how that pans out. If I don't hear anything back or they don't reach out to me with a proper resolution I'll see what California law has to say about it. It's only $85 so it's not the end of the world, but I guarantee that other people have been taken advantage of by this offer as well. I'm the type of guy that always looks out for the fine print details (even during commercials) and didn't see that "2" until my third time reading through. I'll post an update here if anyone is still interested.

No problem.

The fine print is specifically written to be ignored. It's pretty outrageous, but that's just how some businesses operate. (To be fair, I don't want to make any assumptions about Best Buy - this could have been a misunderstanding that they will be happy to resolve).

The worst examples of this is probably in the health industry. Shop around to find an insurance policy and the only way to know what you are actually purchasing is to read tons of mumbo jumbo written in a way that no average person could possibly understand it.

In the end, you have purchased insurance that costs you $400 dollars a month and pretty much does absolutely nothing for you - and you would have known that if you noticed those 2 sentences among the 500 others in the fine print. Although to be fair, there are laws against this too, but the issue still exists.

So this issue might not be about a lot of money in your case (and as you said, it's definitely happened to others), but it's still a matter of principal and it's more than fair for you to be pissed about it. On the plus side, since it's not a lot of money, if you make a big deal out of it you can pretty much get a full refund and a store credit just so they can get you to leave them alone.
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Benshapiro
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9/22/2015 8:19:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Update: upon receiving the BBB complaint they've mailed me a $85.00 check/gift card. They made no mention of my allegations of false advertising but empathized with my frustration over the ordeal. Lol