This blog post will make you up to 50% smarter. GUARANTEED!
Don’t believe me?
Do you believe “real” claims like “Lose up to 50 pounds with a weight loss shake” or “New windows will reduce your heating costs up to 50 percent?”
According to the FTC, companies making these claims should have proof to back up the savings or improvements people can expect when using their products. Otherwise, their customers could be misled.
Regardless of whether they intend to trick you, most companies use “up to” claims to grab your attention and sell things. Some advertisers highlight their best results even when it applies to only a small number of customers. That means that even if you buy the product, you may not get the same dramatic benefit or major savings the advertiser featured in the ad. Even worse, some products that promise quick and easy weight loss can be downright dangerous to your health.
So how can you avoid being misled by “up to” claims?
- Read the ads, and the fine print. Advertisers tend to bury information about the type of savings people can really expect in tiny footnotes or large blocks of text. Statements like “your results may vary” could be a tip-off to deception.
- Put the claim under the microscope. Look carefully for phrases like “save up to” a certain amount or “our product helps you” get a fantastic benefit, that modify the attention-grabbing promise in the headline. It’s a mistake to assume everyone will get the best case scenario.
- Beware of customer testimonials or case studies. Ask the salesperson a lot of questions. Insist they provide you with supporting information, like scientific evidence to back up weight loss claims or proof that new windows really do cut heating and cooling costs. Give them some specifics — for example, how old your house is or how much insulation you have — and ask for the results that someone in your situation is likely to get.
- Do your research. Search online for complaints about a company or a product promising big results. Search for comment threads about specific products to find out if they really are worth your money.
If you bought a product on the basis of an “up to” claim that turned out to be misleading, file a complaint with the FTC.