In today’s world, businesses everywhere have some products and services they would like to sell to prospective customers. However, it is very important that companies do everything they can to keep their messaging honest about the products that they are trying to sell. Practices like deceptive marketing (also known as false advertising) damage customers’ trust in companies – and it’s also illegal!

deceptive marketing

How can you tell when a business might not be 100% honest about a product or service? Here are some rather well-known schemes that continue to be used in various forms.

False Price Discounts

This is the seemingly age-old game of advertising a product at a discounted price when the product sells for that price anyways. A good example of this would be if a clothing store ran TV ads for a sale offering a 25% discount on men’s dress shirts that were never priced higher than the advertised discount to begin with.

Misleading Claims

What if the product or service doesn’t provide the benefit it said it would? It could be another example of deceptive marketing. For instance, if the manufacturer of a nutritional supplement says it will cure migraines but there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back up that claim, the company could be subject to a court order to stop advertising that way because of false or misleading claims.

The Classic: Bait and Switch

Here’s another ploy that is frequently used – a store advertises a desirable product that they don’t have in stock at a really really good price to draw customers in, but with the warning that supplies are limited. That way, when people show up to get the deal, the retailer says they’re sold out and then tries to sell a different product.

You now have a better idea of what deceptive marketing is, and how you can keep an eye out for not-so-honest businesses who might not be telling the whole truth about something they are advertising. The better you get at spotting these tactics, the more eagle-eyed of a shopper you can be.