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Beware of Memorial Day sales ads

From The Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia:

One must be able to discern between legitimate ads and those that are confusing or misleading. During Memorial Day Weekend, many retailers claim to have limited time offers that are only available once a year, but how much ad jargon is really true?

BBB serving Central Virginia developed a few tips to help consumers sift through holiday sale flyers to see which retailers are truthful in their advertising:

Read the fine print: Is the retailer offering you a discounted price on the latest model, or are they trying to sell off the older version? This could be especially helpful for consumers looking to purchase tablets or other popular electronics.

Percentage off of what? A retailer may be advertising 50% off, but are they applying the discount to the regular price of the item or a marked-up price that matches what the regular price normally is once the discount is applied? 

Lowest prices! Is the price advertised available to everyone, or only those with good credit? Is dealer financing required for the offer, or can you pay cash or use a bank of your choice? This could be especially helpful for consumers looking to purchase new or used cars. Even though you saw a low price advertised, you may not qualify for that offer.

Limited Time Offer! Is this truly the only time of year this retailer will run this sale or will you be able to get the same price or lower in the near future?

Guarantee vs. Warranty. Do you know the difference? Guarantees and warranties cover different things for a different amount of time. A warranty is usually a written guarantee for a service or product, and it holds the seller and/or maker of the service or product responsible to repair or replace a defective product or its parts, or a service that might need corrected. A guarantee is a promise included within the formal warranty.

Does a “lifetime warranty” mean your lifetime or the lifetime of the product? Does “satisfaction guaranteed” mean you can return it used for a full refund? Make sure the retailer offers you full, written details on any guarantee or warranty they are offering you.

You can take the AdTruthSM Quiz here to learn how you can tell when you’re being duped by an advertisement.

BBB AdTruthSM is an educational program that teaches consumers about potential advertising abuses and empowers them to report advertisements that could cause financial or personal harm due to problematic tactics or faulty products. In 2018, BBB AdTruthSM launched a new online reporting tool that allows consumers to report questionable or confusing advertisements. Data provided through the BBB AdTruthSM Reporting Tool will provide insights for future research into questionable advertising techniques.

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