Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Misleading Advertising

Reading advertisements by major businesses in Singapore has become a depressing and cynical affair.

Instead of proudly proclaiming the merits of their products and services, the vendors resort to the worst sort of trickery and ethically dubious behaviour. Prices are not really prices, they are just numbers that have to be analysed through a barrage of fine print and impossibleconditions.

What is the price of a litre of gas? Who knows?

It is just advertised as x% discount. Discount from what?

What is the price of an airline ticket? Who knows?

The fares advertised bear no resemblance to the actual amount payable to fly. Instead of accurately reflecting the cost of the service to be provided, the consumer is faced with mealy mouthed terms such as "excluding taxes, securitysurcharges, airport fees, and fuel supplements".

What is the price of a cell phone? Who knows?

The prices shown are only available if you sign up for lengthy contracts and trade in some phone at an absurdly low value. And don't actually try and trade something in, becausea fault will be found, and the deal will not actually be available.

It is time that we as consumers take action against this abuse of our intelligence and pocket books. Don't meekly accept this commercial flimflammery. Demand clear and accurate pricing when spending your money.


Anonymous said...

The situation regarding misleading advertising in Singapore is much, much worse than this, to the extent that I have often wondered if there is any advertising standards control body here.

Some examples:

* seen just this morning: the phrase "freshly baked" on the side of a box of American breakfast cereal. This phrase would mean "baked the same day" for most people.

* on a bus stop advertising hoarding, an ad for NTU proclaiming "from classroom to boardroom" and describing that as part of the 'NTU experience'. Meteoric career, no?

* Most prize competitions: "win S$ x million" suggesting that you can, whereas usually the figure quoted represents total prize money rather than a single prize that any single entrant can in fact win.

And so on...

Anonymous said...

And... you might get threatened for legal action if you make noise or want money-back.

MOH has shown concern of misleading lasik ad, hopefully, the entire government will wake up that this is not doing our reputation any better.

The scale of companies making such promises and descriptions of unrealistic expectation is horrendous... Who'd protect us small consumers?