CROMWELL, CT — See a shady ad? Report it to Better Business Bureau (BBB)! The new online tool BBB AdTruth (BBB.org/AdTruth), suspicious ads. Keep in mind that misleading ads often lack evidence to legitimize their messaging.
Not sure how to know if an ad is misleading or not? BBB has a free Ad Truth Quiz to help you test your knowledge and steer clear of fraud—especially as the holiday season approaches. In addition to the quiz, BBB offers the following tips.
Here are a few ways that you can be on the lookout for fraudulent or misleading advertisements.
Question vague promises. Some advertisements may claim they have the "best price in town" or "we'll beat any competitor's price". Who are the competitors? Does this apply to all stores or only major companies?
Beware of exaggerated claims. If there is no way to substantiate a claim you see in an advertisement, that's a bad ad! Decide if the claim is too good to be true. Should a company really say that their product is the "best in the world" or that "you'll loose ten pounds in three days"?
Always read the fine print. The deal may seem unbeatable but what is the catch? Some advertisements may claim an extremely low price, but it may not be offered to everyone. Do you have to have a killer credit score to seal the deal?
Be skeptical of pricing. An ad may sometimes claim a "one day only price", but will they offer that price again? In addition, the ad may claim to have an item on sale for 50% off, but is that percentage off of the regular price or a marked-up price?
When reporting a bad ad through BBB AdTruth, consumers are asked a series of questions about where they saw or heard the advertisement, which claims were made in the ad (based on the BBB Code of Advertising), and why the consumer was concerned about the truthfulness of the ad. Consumers are also able to upload screen shots or photos as proof. This allows BBB investigators to gather information quickly. After an ad is reported, BBB advertising review specialists investigate and assess their truthfulness.
Google is also a 2019 Community Program Partner for BBB AdTruth. The educational program includes online content, videos, infographics, and a public awareness campaign that has garnered more than 237 million media impressions.