Many of us have probably made the mistake of buying something we saw on television or online only to find out that the product was not worth the postage we paid for it. Advertising companies use many different tactics to trick you into buying a product; some are obvious, some are not. Here are just a few:
1. “If operators are busy, please call back later.”
This marketing ploy is a variation of a common ruse: everyone else is buying it, shouldn’t you? By saying “if the operators are busy,” they are implying that the product is in such high demand that you might not be able to get through to a sales person right away. Would a company really ever tell a potential customer to call back later? No! If their product was really selling that quickly they would hire more operators to handle all of the calls with all of the money they are making.
2. “Call now and get a second one free/Call now and get a second one half off”
If a company is offering two for the price of one, either (a) they cannot even dream of getting rid of all of their excess stock, or (b) it is so crappy that you would never dream of buying a second one, so they trick you into getting two by offering the second at a discount. Be aware that the discount does not cover the shipping and handling fee for the second one. Also, in recent years there are many advertisements that sneak in a “processing fee” in fine print in addition to shipping and handling.
3. “This offer is not available in stores”
Go down to CVS; they carry quite a few of these “not-available-in-stores” products. For that matter, there are now stores in some malls called “As Seen on TV” that carry all of these products. You will have a better idea if the product is worth buying if you can hold it in your hands and get a good look at it. Save yourself the shipping and handling costs, and buy it there if you must have it.
4. “This revolutionary product will change your life forever”
Those Smooth Away pads advertised to be better than using a razor? The idea has been around for a long time. The only reason you did not know that they were invented decades ago was that sales never took off the first time it was available on the market because the product did not really work. Similarly, many so-called “new” products are already available at the store under another name or brand. The only thing “new” is the name, not the product.
5. “An independent study proved its effectiveness”
BEWARE! That independent test that “proves” the product is effective was paid for by the manufacturer. The manufacturer probably paid multiple laboratories to test their product and only quoted the one that showed positive results. They do not tell you about the ones that proved it did not work. Similarly, pharmaceutical companies will only mention the best test results, and conveniently fail to tell you that the other tests proved otherwise.
Still feel tempted by that advertisement? Go online and read some customer reviews on an independent site before picking up the phone. Be sure to see what the majority of customers have said, not just one or two; the guy who raves how much he loves his purchase is being paid by the manufacturer to write good reviews on independent websites.