October Scam Wrap-up

Scam Computer Key

The following are scams that were reported to Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest in October. In most instances names and locations have been omitted to protect the victims’ privacy.

ALASKA

Healthcare Scam

An Anchorage woman reported she was contacted about healthcare services that may have been a scam. She states she got a phone call from someone asking for her Medicaid information to see if she qualified for healthcare services. The woman believed the call to be a scam to obtain her personal information and reported the call to Scam Tracker.   

Lottery Scam

A Haines man reported he received a card in the mail stating he had an unclaimed reward worth up to $100. He was told to call a toll-free number to claim the winnings or they would be forfeited. He called the number and was told he needed to pay $4.95 over the phone with his credit card. They offered to drop the price to $2.95 since he was a senior. The man did not report whether he paid the charge, but he did report the incident to Scam Tracker.

IDAHO

Government Grant scam

An Idaho Falls man lost $2,300 in a government grant scam. The man states he was told to purchase two iTunes gift cards for $299 and $1,999 and read the numbers over the phone. The caller claimed this would release $11,800, which would be placed in his account. After doing this he was told he needed to purchase another one for $1,200. He has since quit communicating with the caller.

Jury Duty Scam

A Nampa man reported he lost $189.30 after he received a call from someone claiming there was a warrant out for his arrest for not reporting to jury duty. The man believed it to be true as he did ignore a jury duty notice. The man was told to purchase a Green Dot card at Walgreens for $189.30 and go to the Canyon County Court House. He purchased the cards and relayed the Green Dot card number to the caller. The caller told him the card did not work and he needed to go back and get another one. That is when the man realized it was not a legitimate call.

MONTANA

Medical Equipment Scam

A Belgrade Montana woman reports her mother lost $350 after she was contacted by a company selling medical alert systems. The woman states her mother paid $350 over the phone and never received the system. All calls made to the number go directly to voicemail.

Advertising Scam

A Great Falls woman reports the company HS Backers tried to sell her advertising on athletic scoreboards at local high schools. The company claimed to be representing Great Falls High School and C.M. Russell High School. The woman did not purchase advertising and later learned the company does not do business with those schools.

OREGON

Malware Scam

A Salem woman reported she lost $200 to a malware scam. She states she was using her laptop when a notice appeared on her screen advising her to call tech support. Her computer froze so she called the number. The person who answered claimed to be with JRG Ventures LLC. They told her she needed to pay $149.00 for a “one-time fix” and an additional $50 to help with any further issues.  She soon realized she downloaded malware and was tricked into paying for assistance.

Puppy Scam

A Coos Bay woman reported she lost $600 in a puppy scam. She states she purchased a St. Bernard puppy from www.maxwellsaintbernards.com. After making her payment she was told she needed to send $670 for pet insurance and travel. The company refused to refund her money and she ceased doing business with them.

WASHINGTON

Online Business Scam

A Kirkland man reported he lost $30 when an online business failed to send him his product. The company website, http://www.slumber.la, ceased communication with the man after his purchase failed to arrive.

Fake Kitten Adoption Scam

A Seattle man reported he came across a fraudulent cat adoption site. The man states the site www.kittensforadoption.us is a phishing scam posting fake numbers and cat pictures to obtain customers personal information.

How to Make the Most of Google’s New Expanded Text Ads

Google Text Ads Blog 6.9.16

Google is in the process of making the biggest change to their AdWords text ads platform since the introduction of Google’s Quality Score in 2005. The new change comes in the form of their expanded text ads. Earlier this year, Google removed ads from the right side of the search results page, which removed valuable real state for advertisers. With expanded text ads, Google will be giving advertisers a valuable new way to increase click through rate (CTR).

Here’s what you need to know about this important development to their ads:

What exactly are the new expanded text ads?

The name says it all – text ads have been expanded to include almost double the amount of text. Headlines used to be limited to one line of 25 characters. The new format will allow for two lines composed of 30 characters each. Also, the description line will grow from 70 characters to 80 characters. Lastly, the display URL will be able to be appended with two directories instead of one (for example, http://www.example.com/first-append/second-append).  These format changes replace the format that has been used for over a decade.

Google Text Ads Blog 2 6.9.16

Why is this important to advertisers?

Text ads are some of the most effective ads in the AdWords platform because your ad is guaranteed to match with the searcher’s intent. For example, your advertisement for the white T-shirts you are selling will display specifically for people already searching for white tee’s. The new expanded text ads will give you double the text to convince searchers to click on your advertisement. Also, the new display URL format will allow for more organic-looking URLs which will help increase CTR.

When does this change happen?

Google does not have an exact date for the release of expanded text ads; however, they are expected to roll out the new feature later this year. The feature is currently being used in a closed beta test.

Google Text Ads Blog 3 6.9.16

How can you take advantage of the new format?

Early beta tests have shown a 20% increase in click through rate, so getting the new format right could be a boom to your web traffic. Regardless of the new format, the best way to ensure your text ad performs well is by increasing your Quality Score. The format of the expanded text ad will make positions one through three even more valuable since everything else will be pushed even lower. A high Quality Score is critical to get your ad in one of the top three spots. The increase in text also changes how you approach ad copy. You will now have the ability to add considerably more enticing text, so be sure to experiment with different messaging to see what performs best.

The changes to the text ad format can be considered as reconciliation to advertisers after Google removed advertising space on the search engine results page earlier this year. With the prospect of increased CTR that the expanded text ads offer, you should be eager to revamp your text ads as soon as the change becomes available to the public.

Why Every Small Business Should Use Google My Business

Small business owners know that marketing online is important. For many of them, this means setting up a few social media accounts and a website. But if you really want to reach your customers, you’ve got to go where they are: Google.

googlemybusinessAlmost 70% of online searches are conducted via Google, and one out of every five of those searches is regarding a business or place. That’s where Google My Business comes in. It’s a service that allows the physical location of your business to be found on Google Maps, letting customers track you down more easily. If you don’t have your business listed on Google My Business, you need to put this on the top of your “to do” list immediately. It’s one of the best things you can do to expand your customer base.

What Are the Benefits of Google My Business?

It’s the New Yellow Pages
Gone are the days when people reached for a phone book if they needed a specific service. Google My Business serves as the Yellow Pages today, especially for local businesses. Even if you don’t have a website, customers can search for your category (e.g. plumber, bakery, or photographer) and see a list of local businesses in that field.

You’re Easier to Find
When your business is listed with Google Maps, your exact address and location is given to customers. They don’t have to wade through the “contact us” section of a website or click through your Facebook profile to find out where you are. If customers are searching using their mobile device, Google Maps includes GPS navigation, providing turn-by-turn directions to your door.

It’s Free Advertising
What’s the only thing better than advertising for a small business? Free advertising! And that’s what you’re getting with Google My Business. Even if your small business does have a budget for advertising, it’s likely not large. Take advantage of everything you can, and advertise to customers in your area for no charge.

How to Sign Up and Have Your Business Listed on Google My Business

Making your business visible on Google My Business is simple. To start, you’ll need to have an account with Google or you’ll need to set one up. Once you’re signed in, go to google.com/mybusiness. Agree to some basic terms and conditions, and you’ll be taken to a form that lets you plug in basic information about your business such as name, phone number and category. You will need to actually verify that you have a place of business, but this is easily done by phone, text or through the mail. As a safeguard against scammers, no information you add here will be visible until you’ve actually verified your business.

Tips for How to Properly Use Google My Business

Now that you’ve signed up, here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your listing.

Use Keywords
Filling out the keywords and category section of your profile may be the most important step. Write a product description or a description of your business that’s appealing and describes what you do. However, don’t overdo it on the keywords, as that could actually cause your ranking to decrease dramatically.

Utilize Images and Videos
A business that is listed on Google My Business is allowed to add up to 10 images and five videos for no charge. Again, this is free advertising, so make the most of it! Include pictures of the outside of your establishment so visitors know exactly what they’re looking for when trying to find you.

Create a Google My Business Page for Every Location
If your business has multiple locations, creating one overall Google My Business listing isn’t going to do the job. Have a different listing for each location with its specific address and phone number. If your business serves multiple cities, create a single page and list those multiple cities in your description.

Encourage Customer Reviews
If you have satisfied customers, ask them to share their experiences and rate your services on Google My Business. It seems simple, but a better rating truly will attract more customers in a big way. Make sure you have genuine reviews, though. If you have reviews that Google thinks aren’t authentic, or it appears that you’re simply soliciting reviews for a higher rating, your listing could actually be pushed down.

Does Your Advertisement Meet BBB Standards?

Written by guest blogger Alex Moore, BBB Advertising Review Consultant.

Better Business Bureau strives to be an industry leader for marketplace trust and ethics. BBB promotes truth and integrity in advertising and trade practices to protect the marketplace.

In 1912, BBB was founded by ethical business owners to review solicitations, advertisements and questionable marketing claims. BBB later created the Code of Advertising to help ensure a level playing field for businesses and an ethical marketplace for all. The Code is based on federal advertising regulations and best practices. It has been updated over the years—with its most recent revision in February 2015—to reflect current marketplace standards.

“BBB’s mission is to advance trust in the marketplace, and nothing is more fundamental to that mission than truth-in-advertising,” said Mary Power, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, in a February 2015 press release.

Alex Moore

I joined BBB’s Advertising Review team about a year ago. Since then, I have assisted numerous businesses with their advertising questions and concerns, and I have challenged many to substantiate their claims.

An interaction that sticks out in my mind is one where I had contacted a company regarding a statement on its website that said, “Call your #1 dealer in Washington who has the best warranty in town!”

A claim made in an advertisement should be true and clear. A consumer should be able to take it at face value—he shouldn’t have to research and dig to find out whether it’s correct. And that’s where BBB enters the picture.

I asked the business owner to provide evidence of whom rated his company #1 and to add a disclaimer regarding his warranty. He responded angrily that in his 25+ years of being in business and using this exact phrase, he had never been questioned about it. Why is it a problem?

I explained in order for that particular statement to be completely transparent, the business needed to explain who rated it #1 and when, as well as give the details of the warranty. The problem was that information was nowhere to be found on the website. And without that information, the statement was unclear and potentially misleading to consumers. After much discussion, the business owner reluctantly agreed to modify his #1 claim and add a disclaimer about his warranty.

A couple months later, he contacted me unexpectedly and was overjoyed. He said a friend who owns his own business was recently fined a large amount of money and was experiencing many frustrations because of his advertising. The business owner thanked BBB for our services and for advising him about the changes he needed to make to his advertising. He felt we had spared him from going through the same situation as his friend.

BBB offers advertising review services free of charge to both BBB Accredited and non-accredited businesses, allowing them to excel in honest and ethical advertising. BBB also offers an avenue for consumers to present information to BBB that is potentially misleading or unethical.

Some of the services BBB proudly offers include:

  • Review advertising copy before publication.
  • Answer advertising questions, or refer you to sources that can help.
  • Provide guidelines regarding online advertising.
  • Send periodic advertising alerts about new trends in advertising, as well as educational materials promoting ethical standards.
  • Mail the Code of Advertising brochure to any interested company.

BBB is ready to assist businesses with their advertising questions! For more information about the Advertising Review program, please contact AdReview@thebbb.org.

Using the BBB Accreditation Review Extension in Google AdWords

Word of mouth has always been one of the most potent forms of advertising. Ever since businesses have been around, what customers thought of the service or product affected other people’s decisions. That’s never been more true than in today’s digital world. It’s been estimated that 88% of people now seek out online reviews when making a purchasing decision, and that they trust those reviews with the same confidence as they would the recommendation of a close friend.

adwords-logoIt’s an undeniable trend, and it’s important for you as a business to capitalize on it. That’s why Google jumped on board a few years ago and started allowing for the inclusion of third-party reviews in ads placed with their Google AdWords system. These reviews, which can only come from what Google calls “reputable sources,” can either be a direct quote or an overall summary of a review. Of course, you will need direct permission from the source to include their review in your ad. The only caveat here is that reviews from sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor aren’t considered a “reliable” because anyone can post them at any time. To use a review in an extension like this, it must be from an established magazine, newspaper or website.

One of the most trusted business review organizations around is Better Business Bureau, so it makes sense that they are one of the leading partners in this program with Google. With the BBB rating extension, you can incorporate your verified rating directly into your Google ad. The extension adds text such as “A+ Accredited Business with Better Business Bureau,” letting potential customers know that you’re a reputable organization.

googleadwords

These review extensions give an advertisement a much higher click-through rate for several reasons. For one, they let the customer know they’ve found a business they can trust. In addition, a review-enabled ad gets better placement in online search because it simply contains more information. In fact, it’s guaranteed to be one of the top three spots.

Here’s how to set up your Google AdWords account to highlight your BBB Accreditation.

  1. Find the review you want to use. Google does consider a BBB rating a “reputable” site, so it’s a great place to start.
  2. Enable the option on your Google AdWords account. To do this, click on the “ad extension tab” that can be found at the top of the specific campaign you’re working on, and then click on “review extension option.” A box will pop up that contains reviews you already have, or a blank box with the option to add text.
  3. When you click on the blank box, you’ll have the choice of whether this is an exact quote or a summary of a review. You have a little less than 70 characters to use to describe your accreditation and the source.
  4. Fill out the “source URL” portion so Google can check the validity of the review. At this point, you can also choose what specific times (if any) you’d like your ad to be shown.

If you do decide to add this extension, here a few tips:

  • Don’t waste valuable space repeating your business name. That information is already just a line or two above.
  • Make sure you include an appropriate follow-through link to your rating so people can find even more positive reviews.
  • Don’t include specific years in your ad, as these can quickly look outdated.
  • Stay on top of your rating frequently. There are actually things you can do to improve your rating, such as providing BBB with your business’ background information and responding promptly to any complaints.

As a business owner, you know that online perception is important to the success of your business. You can try to tell people how great your business is, but it just sounds more believable when that information is coming from a third party. Adding your BBB Accreditation status and rating provides one more layer of trust and confidence—and gives the customer one more reason to click on your ad.

Don’t Fall for Diet Scams

Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver
Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Are you making progress?

One of the most popular and common resolutions is to lose weight. Experts say the best way to lose weight is simply to eat fewer calories and increase your physical activity. But everywhere you look, ads promise quick and easy weight loss without diet or exercise! That sounds tempting, but unfortunately, these claims are almost always false.

Here are 7 empty promises to watch out for. And remember, check with your doctor before starting any diet or weight loss program.

“Lose weight without diet or exercise!”
Achieving a healthy weight takes work. You simply cannot get results without effort.

“Lose weight no matter what you eat!”
Losing weight requires sensible food choices. Filling up on healthy vegetables and fruits can make it easier to say no to fattening sweets and snacks.

“Lose weight permanently! Never diet again!”
Permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes.

“Block the absorption of fat, carbs or calories!”
There’s no magic pill that will do this. The key to curbing your craving for those “downfall foods” is portion control.

“Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!”
Losing weight at the rate of a pound or two a week is the most effective way to take it off and keep it off. Products promising rapid weight loss are false and can harm your health.

“Everybody will lose weight!”
Your habits and health concerns are unique. Your health care provider can help you design a personalized nutrition and exercise program suited to your lifestyle and metabolism.

“Lose weight with our miracle diet patch or cream!”
There’s nothing you can wear or apply to your skin that will cause you to lose weight.

Stand Out on Small Business Saturday

shopsmallReposted from my column in the Portland Business Tribune.

With Thanksgiving approaching, our minds are focused on two things: How am I going to cook the turkey this year, and where am I going to go shopping over the weekend?

For decades, Black Friday has signaled the start of the Christmas shopping season. Some consumers even get more excited about shopping the day after Thanksgiving than about the holiday itself!

The thought of scrambling through crowds at a giant department store at 5 a.m. to wrestle over the last Tickle-Me-Elmo gives me anxiety. At this time of year, I’d much rather focus on family, friends and community — and I’m not the only one.

In 2010, American Express created Small Business Saturday to encourage consumers to not just flock to the big box stores for their Christmas shopping needs, but to also visit local small businesses and support their hometown.

Buying local isn’t just a passing fad. The small business community is the backbone of America. It employs half of the workforce in our country and makes up 99% of all U.S. businesses, according to the Small Business Administration.

Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday has already become a holiday tradition. Consumers spent $5.7 billion on Small Business Saturday last year, according to American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Make sure your business is on shoppers’ lists this year. The following suggestions can help you stand out on Small Business Saturday, taking place on Nov. 29, 2014.

smallbiz

1. Have an online presence
Consumers are searching the Internet for local businesses, so now is the time to spruce up your website and social media pages. Make sure your site is search-friendly and clearly displays your location and hours.

Capture potential customers and have fun by engaging in conversations and posting about your best merchandise, especially what will be on sale. Create a photo album with images of your products so people can have a preview before coming to your shop. Be sure to use the hashtag #SmallBizSat on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2. Promote yourself
American Express is offering free, personalized marketing materials that can help get more shoppers to stop by your business. Create online ads, utilize in-store promotional materials and even get listed on the Shop Small Map. Go to ShopSmall.com to get started.

3. Promote your neighbors
On your social media pages, highlight other great businesses in your neighborhood. They may return the favor, sending even more visitors your way, and making this a true community event.

Collaborate with other small business owners in your area to hold a mass “sidewalk sale.” Also put flyers or coupons for nearby businesses’ products or services into your customers’ shopping bags, and have them do the same for you.

4. Start a relationship
You may not be able to compete with giant retailers when it comes to price, but you can offer more value to customers with your knowledge, service and small touches.

Make an extra effort to deliver outstanding customer service this holiday season. One of the main reasons a customer will shop at an independent retailer rather than a big box store is because they’re seeking friendly, personalized service. A good impression will have a lasting effect, practically guaranteeing a return customer.

Offer free extras such as cookies or snacks, stocking stuffers, gift-wrapping service or home delivery.

Make your store kid-friendly by holding a holiday coloring contest or ornament-decorating station. This will help keep tired or fussy children occupied while their parents shop.

At the point of purchase, invite customers to sign up for your newsletter, visit your website or find your social media pages. Track their purchase history and keep in touch throughout the year, providing customized shopping recommendations and alerting them to sales they may be interested in. A personal relationship goes a long way toward gaining someone’s loyal business.

5. Get involved with a charity
Choose a charity that you and your customers care about, and donate a percentage of your profit to it. The value of a purchase then becomes even bigger than the product or service itself. You will not only inspire others to give to a greater good, but your generosity will ensure your shoppers do not forget about you once the holiday season is over.

Red Bull Loses $13 Million in False Advertising Settlement

According to a lawsuit, RedBull’s “advertising and marketing is not just ‘puffery,’ but is instead deceptive and fraudulent and is therefore actionable.”

BBB gives high priority to truth in advertising—we believe consumers should be able to accept ads at face value to use as part of their buying decisions. We challenge misleading or deceptive ads based on national guidelines (see go.bbb.org/akorww-advertising). Our goal is to foster honest advertising and self-regulation in the marketplace.

Watch Your Buck | Blog for Central Texas Better Business Bureau

ID-100249810“Red Bull Gives you wings….” Not so much, according to the courts. Energy drink company Red Bull GmbH has agreed to pay out more than $13 million to settle a class action lawsuit that alleges false advertising. The settlement includes millions of individuals who have purchased Red Bull energy drinks over the last 10 years.

Consumers who purchased one or more Red Bull energy drinks between Jan. 1, 2002 and Oct. 3, 2014 are entitled to a $10 cash refund or $15 worth of Red Bull products (shipping costs will be covered by the company). If you, or someone you know, have purchased a Red Bull energy drink over the last 10 years, please visit the attached link to file your claim: http://energydrinksettlement.com/claim. Proof of purchase is not required. The claim form deadline is March 2, 2015.

NOTE: The site to file a claim seems to have gone down, likely…

View original post 507 more words

It’s on the Internet, So It Must Be True!

Photo by Jon Sullivan [Public domain]
Photo by Jon Sullivan [Public domain]
Everyone knows that it’s easy to get caught up in the sheer volume of information on the Internet; just about anything you want to research is online somewhere. Just the other day, out of curiosity, I went on Google to see how many noses a snail has. Will I ever need this information? No, probably not. But the answer is out there so I just had to find it. Fun fact: they have four.

But researching businesses on the Internet can be slightly harder than finding snail nose facts. Despite what everyone dares to hope, not everything on the Internet is true and dishonest advertising is everywhere. That’s where Better Business Bureau can help.

The Code of Advertising is designed to guide businesses in making factual claims on websites and other advertisements. In doing so, the Code also protects consumers by minimizing the risks that they are deceived or misled by dishonest marketing.

Honest businesses will follow all of the standards in the Code and will be able to substantiate their advertisements. Keep the following points in mind when reviewing websites:

1. The company advertises a guarantee or warranty on its products or services.

In high school I worked at a sporting goods store and had to try and upsell customers into buying additional warranties on everything from exercise equipment to battery-operated water bottle fans. The point is that there are warranties on nearly everything. Make sure that businesses advertise, in writing, the limitations/durations of these promises and who is required to fulfill the warranty obligations if issues arise.

2. The company makes definitive statements without substantiation.

One word can make the difference between a factual statement and a deceptive statement. One word? Really? The answer is yes. For example, a company implies that it is the largest and most successful when it advertises itself as “the” leader rather than “a” leader. But, can that statement be proved? Make sure that companies can back up any statements they have on their websites and ask for proof if necessary.

3. The company advertises BBB Accreditation on its website.

When it comes to advertising BBB Accreditation and letter grades on the Internet, it’s always a good idea to double check. A business that uses BBB’s online seal on its website is required to display it in a very specific manner and it should link directly to the correct BBB Business Review. BBB ratings change all the time; never assume that an advertised rating is correct without visiting bbb.org.

Remember, BBB’s name and seal are trademarked; misrepresenting BBB Accreditation is not only illegal, but fundamentally deceptive and wrong. BBB team members work hard to scrub the Internet of non-accredited businesses that try to gain a competitive advantage by using the well-recognized seal and you can help! Submit BBB fakers to adreview@thebbb.org.

Advertisers bear primary responsibility for truthful and non-deceptive advertising. So whether it’s researching snails or hiring a business, make sure to verify any and all claims.

Super Bowl XLVIII: Truth in Advertising

Super Bowl Commercials

Welcome to BBB’s first Super Bowl commercial analysis!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wasn’t really a big football fan until I moved to the Pacific Northwest; to be honest, the highlight of the Big Game for me was usually the commercials—yeah, I was that guy. But working in consumer protection has taught me to be more skeptical of commercials, and I believe that Better Business Bureau‘s original goal of combatting deceptive advertising is just as important today as it was 102 years ago.

Advertisers will go to great lengths to convey their message and promote their products or services, sometimes sacrificing honesty or transparency in the process. The good news is that most advertisers don’t deliberately try to deceive customers or fool people into making purchasing decisions; many simply do not realize that ads are deceptive or inaccurate until they are challenged by investigative agencies like the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ National Advertising Division. To make it easier for businesses to create honest ads and to educate shoppers about misleading claims, BBB offers the Code of Advertising—which I will be using as the baseline for this analysis as well.

So without further ado:

1)

This commercial from Volkswagen is pretty funny and I definitely enjoyed it, but my friends over at Consumer Reports make an interesting point: The car featured in this ad is a 2012 model, meaning that the driver would have to have logged 100,000 miles in approximately 18 months—while not impossible, pretty unlikely—and given the company’s poor product ratings and the fine print at the end of the ad, I’m not entirely sure that this commercial would pass Code #9: Layouts and Illustrations. Plus, is 100k miles really that impressive anymore? I would call that a pretty standard break-in period for just about any other auto…

2)

This commercial from Kia is another funny ad that I really liked. While humorous and visually-appealing, “luxury” is a highly-subjective term that is open to lots of interpretation. The implied superiority claim would probably pass BBB’s Code #13: Superiority Claims – Comparative Disparagement, but I think it’s a toss-up.

3)

This commercial from M&Ms could be challenged on the grounds of Code #14: Superlative Claims—I’m positive that Americans eat many different types of nuts—but a quick reference to the National Peanut Board indicates that peanuts certainly are “America’s Favorite Nut.” Touché, M&Ms. Touché.

4)

This commercial from Sonos shows colored waves of sound filling up rooms in a house and is extremely slick and fun to watch. But do you think it’s worth noting that every piece of hardware displayed in this ad must be purchased separately? How about the fact that many of the music streaming services that are pictured—Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, Sirius XM—also cost extra? I would argue that Code #6: Extra Charges is probably violated in this commercial.

5)

“TV anywhere, any place, any time,” claims this commercial from Time Warner Cable, yet the long-winded disclaimer found at the bottom of the company’s website states that many services are not available in all areas. Should the commercial have mentioned that? According to Code #14: Superlative Claims: Subjective superlatives—or puffery—which tend to mislead should be avoided.

Deceptive advertising is any advertising that would be likely to mislead the “average” consumer, and while it would be tough to misunderstand most of these commercials, the point is to get you thinking. If I can pick apart a few ads that just aired on national television, what are the odds that deceptive ads are airing on local television stations in your town at this very moment?

Full Disclosure: Volkswagen of America, Inc and Kia Motors America, Inc are BBB AUTO LINE National Participants. Time Warner Cable is a BBB Accredited Business headquartered in Austin, Texas. Mars, Inc is a National Partner of BBB’s Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.