The Consumer Complaints Blog

Fighting the trained monkey in modern society.

September 27, 2005

When Is Advertising Considered False?

Filed under: Musings — Editor @ 4:04 pm


Today I thought we’d tackle the issue of false advertising. Too often
we hear and see things in print or television that are just not true.
Take this advertisement from Rogers for example.

The advertisement in question is proudly hanging in their store windows, most
probably part of their other integrated efforts, like print and direct
mail. In fact, they’re currently using it on the Rogers Video website
as I write this.

The sign states in big bold letters: “RETURN IT FAST FOR CASH”. It’s
almost screaming it at you and has a tacky set of arrows to go with
it for dramatic emphasis.

Rogers Advertisment - Return It Fast For Cash

So now it’s time to find out what they mean. Will they actually give
me back some money? That would be cool…

Direct quote: “Return FAST-BACK BAYBACK MOVIES by 12 NOON the next
day and GET $1 OFF your next movie rental.”

Hold on! Wait a minute. Did they just say I’ll get $1 off my next
movie rental? That doesn’t sound like cash to me. It sounds more like
credit. In-store credit and a scam to have me come back for more
movies. Is it? I have to look this up to get the dictionary
definition. I have to make sure I am not misunderstanding the word “cash”.

Let’s see now, here is the official definition of the word.

cash
noun
. money in coins or notes, as distinct from checks, money orders, or
credit.
. money in any form, esp. that which is immediately available.

Note the part that says “as distinct from credit”.

So let’s apply a test. I go to the drug store next door.

“Excuse me.”

“Yes?”

“I took back some movies to Rogers the other day. They gave me $3 off
my next rental. Can I use that to buy anything here?”

Deadpan face. “No.”

Aha! So it is not money. I can’t spend it and it is not immediately
available is it?

How is it possible for this to happen? Could it be that the people in the
Roger’s marketing department are illiterate? That can’t be right or
they wouldn’t have been able to write the resume they used to get the
job. Or is it possible that they thought the word CASH in huge
letters would grab people’s attention more than IN-STORE CREDIT? Hmm…

The point of all of this being this. Is this false advertising? It is
clearly saying things that are not true. You will not even come close
to seeing cash for returning a video fast. So why are companies
allowed to mislead people this way? All I can do is ask and hope that
people pay attention and think.

As always, thank you for reading.

4 Responses to “When Is Advertising Considered False?”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Do you have an “advertising standards authority” to make formal complaints to? Have you complained directly to the Franchise management. There’s probably not much point making a complaint to the guys in the store, they won’t be making the decisions.

  2. Editor Says:

    Hi,

    There is an advertising council in Canada but I haven’t complained yet. Firstly because I work in the industry and I know what kind of a BS process that is. Secondly, because they won’t let me into the store (check out my other article about Rogers). But mostly because I want people to think about this more than I want to change it. But your point is well taken and you have given me a good idea for another article. I think that whole process would be a good thing to write about so I’ll complain tonight and post the results. Thanks.

  3. Editor Says:

    Just a quick update. I’ve now complained to the authority in charge of advertising in Canada. They promised a written response. I’ll post again once I have their answer.

  4. dody Says:

    Hi Ive been with rogers wireless for several years. They have an advertisement for the I phone. It clearly state that the promotion is for any contract doesnt say new. Can someone read their promo and give us some feedback. I was transfered to three different people in rogers explainning different reasons.

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