Avoid Misleading Advertising in Business
I have been in the market for one of those new flat panel LCD screens recently. You know the one I am talking about. A picture so clear you feel like you are there. I started doing my homework on the products, reading the reviews and looking to catch a sale.
Low and behold, I am going through the Sunday ads, and I see the one I wanted at a great price. It has everything I could ask for, digital, high def, 1080px resolution, I can hang it on a wall, you name it, and it has it.
I get to the store, walk up to the counter and show them the ad, and the retailer says â¬Åsorry we sold out of them, but let me show you some others. I think to myself, â¬Ësold out? How is that possible, when the ad ran this morning'? So now, are they not only sold out, but the sales person wants to show me some others that were more expensive and had less featuresâ¬Â¦what a shocker.
This has happened to almost everyone I have ever talked to. It is a sales technique used by a lot of mom and pop stores called the bait and switch. They run a small ad in a circular for the most popular product at a price that is incredible. This gets the consumer into the store. Once in the store, they tell the shopper they are sold out, but they have other models there for sale.
Not only is this tactic, and it is a tactic, deceptive and unethical, in most states in America, it is highly illegal. I have seen businesses try this and literally get shut down by law enforcement officials.
If you are in business now, or thinking of going into business, do not engage in false, misleading or deceptive advertising. Make sure your claims are accurate. Nothing is more horrible then trying to deceive a customer. All it takes is for you to deceive one customer and that bad news will spread like wildfire. You will soon be begging people to buy from your business, should it withstand the negative press.
A family friend of mine was caught almost victim to this. He was buying a computer, responded to an ad, and then when he got there, they didn't have any left. They then tried to sell him some cheap rip off of the same product. Lucky for him he called them on it, because he is an attorney and knows the law. He asked to see a sales receipt of the last one sold of the product he was looking for. They refused saying they don't share that information. A couple days later he got the BBB in on it and the store was shut down.
It really is that big of a deal. Do not partake in those practices. You may get away with it for a little bit, but eventually it will catch up to you, and you could find yourself out of business, in court, owing lots of money or even worse in jail.
Eventually you will anger the wrong customer. The last thing you want as a business is angry customers who spread bad press.