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False advertisement + disclaimer = legal?

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by haza100, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. haza100

    haza100 Registered Member

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    I stumbled across a website today that advertised 'FREE PC inspections' (for people with damaged PC's). Now, in their disclaimer / terms of service it states 'If you choose us to repair your PC (for $$$$), then the inspection is free', however, 'if you decide to not have the PC repaired by us, then an inspection fee of $300 will be charged', they also 'reserve the right to hold the PC until they receive the payment'.
    So as you can see, the inspection will never be truly free, as you will always pay them money.

    I was thinking, how legal actually is it to basically fuck people over by falsely advertising something and simply writing a disclaimer on the site stating something like 'The advertisements on this page are entirely fictitious'.
    Surely that can't be a loop hole, providing that people pretty much just tick 'I agree to the ToS' without a second thought now-a-days.

    Best regards
     
  2. bartosimpsonio

    bartosimpsonio Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I don't think that's illegal, but it looks really bad with customers. It's like those sweepstakes "YOU'VE WON A MILLION*, CLICK HERE"

    smallprint: "* You've won a million opportunities to win $5 bucks"

    Customers know that shit is worthless....if a pc repair shop is using that, I'd never approach a mile from its front door.
     
  3. bryanon

    bryanon Executive VIP Premium Member

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    The "is this legal" question can never be accurately answered unless we know which jurisdiction we're talking about. There are 195 countries in the world and each have different laws.

    With that said, in many jurisdictions intentional deception is in fact illegal, and in some it can even fall under fraud. What makes it tricky, though, is that in cases like this there's never a simple answer of whether the merchant has provided enough information or not (i.e. whether the fine print in their T&Cs is sufficient or not) - a question that only a lengthy trial can answer.
     
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  4. BarryAllen

    BarryAllen Junior Member

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    That's the biggest snake move an ad can make. Thankfully, I've never ran into "deals" like those. But as byanon specified every single country has it's own laws some being more lenient and some stricter. So I guess it really comes down to that.
    BA,
     
  5. Enryu

    Enryu Junior Member

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    By US standards, yes, it's legal. However, they can still easily be sued by the FTC for the misleading nature of their advertisements.
     
  6. tonib

    tonib Power Member

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    [citation needed]

    I am pretty sure they are supposed to show you the total in the end (including hidden fees).
     
  7. RushingWind

    RushingWind Elite Member

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    Most people tend to ignore those ads and the one's that promise a reduce in weight in 2 days except absolute newbies.
     
  8. Paper-Boy

    Paper-Boy Elite Member

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    Either way, this type of marketing won't make you go too far in IM IMO.

    Sure you could make a killing, but as soon as you get all these chargebacks and compliants you will realize this isn't something worth to pursue.
     
  9. MadStacks

    MadStacks BANNED BANNED

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    In the United States that is called false advertisement so yes it would be illegal but you know yourself
    you can get away with a lot of shit depending on what country it is coming from or if it a total online business.
     
  10. Enryu

    Enryu Junior Member

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    That's not how citations work...there is no source for the content of my quote, as it's original and directly regarding OP's specific case...unless you want a citation for the fact that the FTC takes up consumer interest lawsuits?

    I suppose to the unfamiliar it can be surprising what you can get away with when your conditions are stated in the TOS and plainly visible. The FTC personally handles consumer protection issues like this because oftentimes the laws alone cannot.
     
  11. tony_d

    tony_d Elite Member

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    If they're making full disclosure, and the user doesn't read the full disclosure, it's on the user... that said, however, it's a crappy practice, and certainly no way to build a long term business. But in the example you give above, I can't really imagine that they're care about long term business...