During Sam C. Dobbs’ time, the early 20th-century, advertising promised consumers various outcomes; however, the claims weren’t based on any facts. This inspired him as the head of Coca-Cola to create a group of businesses to monitor each other’s advertising. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) began.
Fast forward to 2023. If you have used gaming apps or social media recently, you have seen ads that promise you will lose weight fast or product offers that are too good to be true. The ads look authentic and the offer is so enticing that many consumers click the buy button. However, many customers are dissatisfied with their purchase after receiving the order because the product wasn’t as advertised or they never received it.
While ethical businesses follow advertising codes, the market is filled with fraudulent companies exploiting consumers. How do consumers know if the ad is false and if it is, who can they report it to?
BBB Tips for spotting false advertising and avoiding fraud are:
• Too good to be true offer. Resist the temptation to click the purchase button. Remind yourself of the laws of supply and demand. If supply is low, demand is high and the cost will be increased.
• Don’t believe everything you read. Can the product deliver the results promised? For example, it’s easy to be deceived by quick weight loss promises. Evaluate the product and the promise to see if it is feasible.
• Vet the company. There is a plethora of websites and many are fake. Before purchasing from a company you don’t know, check the business’s BBB profile at BBB.org. Also, search for the company’s name with the words “complaints, reviews and scams.”
Use your brain and not your heart. Before purchasing, ask yourself if you are thinking rationally or emotionally. When it comes to money, decisions should be made rationally.
• Look closely at the domain name to avoid impersonated websites. Is the domain name spelled correctly?
Check with a safe website checker. Google’s Safe Browsing Tool (transparencyreport.google.com/safe-browsing/search) can help verify the legitimacy of a website.
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU GREAT WEST & PACIFIC
808-260-0643 | Roseann.email@example.com
If you need clarification on an ad or company, contact your local BBB for guidance, where you can report a bad ad (bbb.org/all/bbbi/adtruth/report-a-bad-adcan) or verify a company (bbb.org). Report a scam: bbb.org/scamtracker | File a complaint: bbb.org/file-a-complaint