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*Some Restrictions Apply....

Diane Kois

Posted on July 18, 2017 00:02

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Ahhh... the much used and rarely heeded * symbol in advertising and marketing.

We as consumers ignore the * symbol 99.9% of the time. I know I do - or at least I used to.  The idea of reading the fine print makes most people cringe.  Yet I have learned the hard way that taking the time to study the details could save you from many future burdens, hardships and frustrations.

I guess what ticks me off the most about this prissy little symbol is its size 4 font. Its paragraphs of disclaimers and mountainous treasure troves of rules and regulations will make anyone want to dry heave while attempting to understand them, therefore rendering us brain-dead after the first few sentences while we reach for the pen (or the mouse) and sign on the dotted line anyway.

I believe that if the majority of people actually read disclosures and disclaimers in their entirety, with full understanding of said information (which is almost impossible unless you have a JD or know a lawyer), 80% would walk, nay, bolt from the consumer good or service they were hoping to obtain.  Let's face it, advertisers and marketers, whether on a consumer level or as part of a government-sponsored program, know exactly how our instant gratification society works.  How else can we explain the disappearing middle class, paycheck-to-paycheck living, and a willingness to sometimes put ourselves in certain consumer-driven situations that we may come to regret?

While we can complain and point fingers, the * is there for a reason.  It’s called practicing due diligence on the part of the consumer. If we choose to ignore the asterisk, then we have no choice but to blame ourselves when a contract goes awry. Take a look at the rash of consumer complaints against the cable industry, phone service providers, and even mortgage advertising of late. We are bombarded with this plan and that plan, either of which always seems to turn into a much, much different plan that we think we signed up for. If you hear a radio ad, you hear the great stuff about the product or service, but when the ad person begins speaking so quickly at the end to announce all of the restrictions, we tune it out. It's frustrating and can be detrimental. Our only way to fight back against potential baiting or false advertising is to stay on our toes, read the fine print and heed it - as painful as it is.

I recently read an article written by freelance journalist Reed Tucker on his quest to understand his cable bill.  

http://nypost.com/2015/10/06/heres-why-your-cable-bill-costs-so-much/

*I am guessing he is still in the dark.

Diane Kois

Posted on July 18, 2017 00:02

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Source: NYT

A political battle is brewing over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's attempt to regulate the auto finance industry.

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