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When offered with the purchase of another item, the free item should not be paid for by an increase in the regular price of the other item. Offering credit to consumers comes with numerous requirements which must be met. To avoid confusion, the existence of any extra charges such as delivery, assembly, postage and handling, etc. Advertisements for a product or service that include an offer to sell consumers additional goods or services under a negative option should disclose all material terms of the negative option.
Advertisers should avoid making vague or unnecessarily long disclosures that might include contradictory language. Advertisers should avoid such offers. The illustrations and overall layout of advertising should enhance the consumer's understanding of the offers and accurately represent the featured products and services.
Asterisks can be used to provide additional information about the product or service. However, they should not be used to contradict or change the meaning of the original claim. Only commonly known abbreviations should be used in advertising. Advertisers should use them only in those circumstances and with appropriate disclosures.
Comparisons should fairly reflect all aspects of the products or services equally. Claims that relate to tangible qualities and performance values of a product or service can be used when the advertiser has substantiation. Expressions of opinion or intangible qualities of a product or service do not need to be substantiated. Advertisers should ensure that testimonials and endorsement are not misleading and represent the current opinion of the endorser.
Advertisers should not include claims in testimonials that they themselves cannot make and support. Rebates are payments of money after the sale.
Advertisers should clearly and conspicuously state the before-rebate cost as well as the amount of the rebate and include key terms that consumers need to know. Business names or trade styles should not contain words that would mislead the public. Advertisers should publish clear, complete and concise contest rules and provide competent impartial judges to determine the winners.
Contests that include the three elements of prize, chance and consideration payment are considered lotteries in violation of state and federal laws. Canadian law contains similar prohibitions. Claims relating to performance and results should be backed up by reliable evidence. Advertisers should disclose when merchandise requires partial or complete assembly by the consumer, e. Environmental Certifications and seals of approval may be used if properly issued.
Additional disclosures are needed if not issued by an independent third-party. In general, all or virtually all of the product must be made in the USA.
Native Advertisements are created to resemble the design, style, and functionality of the media in which they are disseminated, which could make it difficult to distinguish between advertising and non-commercial content. BBB promotes honest advertising by working with businesses to help ensure ethical and truthful advertising. Contact your BBB at bbb. If BBB has developed specific industry advertising codes, it is recommended that industry members adhere to them.
For example, if specific questions arise which involve advertising directed to children, advertisers should review The Children's Advertising Review Unit Self-Regulatory Program for Children's Advertising at caru. In all instances, advertisers, agencies and media should also be sure that they are in compliance with local, state, federal and provincial laws and regulations governing advertising.
These standards apply to advertising placed in all forms of media, including print, broadcast, online and mobile formats. Adherence to the general principles and specific provisions of this Code will be a significant contribution toward effective self-regulation in the public interest. Advertisers should be prepared to substantiate any objective claims or offers made before publication or broadcast.
Upon request, they should present such substantiation promptly to the advertising medium or BBB. BBB recognizes that truthful price information helps consumers make informed purchasing decisions and that comparative price advertising 1 plays an important role in promoting vigorous competition among retailers.
At the same time, misleading or unsubstantiated pricing claims injure both consumers and competitors. The following examples offer guidance on ensuring that pricing claims are truthful and not misleading. If, on the other hand, the former price being advertised is not bona fide, the bargain being advertised is a false one. In the event few or no sales were made at the advertised comparative price, the advertiser must make sure that the higher price does not exceed the advertiser's usual and customary retail markup for similar products or services.
Advertisers should be reasonably certain that the comparative price does not appreciably exceed the price at which substantial sales of identical products or services have been made in the trade area for which the claim is made for a reasonably substantial period of time, in the recent, regular course of business.
Such comparisons must be substantiated by the advertiser prior to making any advertised comparisons. Descriptive terminology often used by advertisers includes: To the extent that a list price does not in fact correspond to the price at which substantial sales of the product in question have been made, the advertisement of a reduction may mislead the consumer. Such a comparison must be substantiated by the advertiser prior to making any advertised comparison.
This disclosure may be unnecessary in situations where consumers generally know that the list price may not necessarily be the price at which the product or service is sold. The comparative price advertised must be based on:. If the sale exceeds thirty 30 days, advertisers should be prepared to substantiate that the offering is indeed a valid price reduction and has not become their regular price.
However, if that extension is for more than a short period of time, the advertiser must be prepared to substantiate that the offering is still a valid price reduction and has not become its regular price.
In such an instance, the advertiser must avoid any undue or misleading display of the maximum. In such circumstances, the advertiser must comply with Section This may be the case where the advertiser's price for a product or service is not as low as or lower than a competitor's price. At least thirty 30 days must elapse before another such offer is promoted in the same trade area. Representative language frequently used in such offers includes:. That selling price must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed in the advertisement.
Such an offer may be misleading if it would disguise the true retail price or create the false impression that a reduced price or a special price is obtainable only by such trade in.
The federal Truth in Lending Act, as well as applicable state and provincial laws set requirements for clearly and conspicuously disclosing credit terms in the advertisement. They contain important provisions that affect any advertising to aid or promote the extension of consumer credit. Therefore, advertisers are advised to consult Section Examples of closed-end credit include installment loans and many automobile loans.
Advertisers should consult the Cost of Borrowing Regulations set out in the Trust and Loan Companies Act, Bank Act and Cooperative Credit Associations Act for specific requirements concerning disclosure, terminology and layout conditions. These regulations cover forms of closed-end credit, such as fixed credit loans for an automobile, as well as open-end credit, including credit cards and lines of credit.
Consumer credit is also extended to consumers whose ability to pay or credit rating is below typical standards of credit worthiness;. The finance charges and annual percentage rate do not appreciably exceed those charged to consumers who meet generally accepted standards of credit worthiness; and.
The consumer is dealt with fairly on all conditions of the transaction, including the amount of the down payment, the period of repayment and the consequences of a delayed or missed payment. They must only be used when all credit requests are approved.
Whenever an advertiser mentions a price in advertising, the existence of any unavoidable or extra charges must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed in immediate conjunction with the price. This would include, for example, charges for delivery, installation, assembly, excise tax and postage and handling.
Instead, they must ensure that the consumer affirmatively consents either online, over the phone, or in person to the negative option feature before enrolling the consumer in the plan. Its purpose is to switch consumers from buying the advertised product or service, in order to sell something else, usually at a higher price or terms more advantageous to the advertiser. Subsequent full disclosure by the advertiser of all other facts about the advertised product does not preclude the existence of a bait scheme.
An asterisk may be used to impart additional information about a word or term which is not in itself inherently deceptive. The asterisk or other reference symbol must not be used as a means of contradicting or substantially changing the meaning of any advertising statement. Information referenced by asterisks must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed.
However, abbreviations not generally known or understood by the average consumer must be avoided. Such advertising and bill of sale should also clearly and conspicuously disclose, as appropriate, that the product is offered with no warranty. An advertiser may also describe the condition of the product if so desired.
Truthful comparisons using factual information may help consumers make informed buying decisions, provided:. Superlative statements in advertisements about the tangible qualities and performance values of a product or service are objective claims for which the advertiser must possess substantiation as they can be based upon accepted standards or tests.
Such claims are not subject to the test of truth and accuracy and would not need substantiation. Puffery also includes general claims of superiority over comparable products that are so vague that it can be understood as nothing more than a mere expression of opinion. Rebate promotions also must clearly and conspicuously disclose any additional terms and conditions that consumers need to know, including the key terms of any purchase requirements, additional fees, and when consumers can expect to receive their rebate.
Claims relating to performance, energy savings, safety, efficacy or results for a product or service should be based on recent and competent testing or other objective data.
Qualifications for any claim must be clear, conspicuous and understandable. Advertisers must not highlight small or unimportant benefits. For items entering the solid waste stream, advertisers should substantiate that the items completely decompose within one year after customary disposal.
Thus advertisers must either possess competent and reliable scientific evidence that this is the case or clearly and conspicuously qualify the claim to avoid confusion. If that certification or seal was not, in fact, awarded by an independent third party, the advertisement must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact.