Beware of bad ads during the holiday shopping season

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As advertisements flood the market prior to the holidays, the Better Business Bureau is encouraging local shoppers to read the fine print.

Some holiday deals are too good to be true.

An illustration was created by the Better Business Bureau to help consumers see through a bad advertisement.

“I think often times you see these sorts of things on a national level. Local advertisers want to keep you as a long-term client,” Better Business Bureau State Director Jessie Schmidt said.

South Dakota State Director Jessie Schmidt says don’t hesitate to question an ad, especially when it comes to vague promises.

“If they say they’ll be any competitor’s price, is that local competitor, is that an ad you can find on the internet, can you bring that in?” Schmidt said.

The promise of a discount falls into the same category.

“So, if a business tells you they’re going to run something at 50% off, is it 50% off of their regular price or does it say MSRP? Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. Most organizations don’t sell things at the suggested retail price,” Schmidt said.

An ad can also instill a sense of urgency.

“If you say this ad is only good this week, today only, it really needs to be available for that certain timeframe,” Schmidt said.

And the smallest print is often the most important.

“What does it say in that fine print? What does it say at the bottom of that advertising and is it something you can dig in and find an answer to,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt says it’s ultimately your responsibility to research an ad, product, or business, but the BBB is there to help.

“If you run into a problem and you think somebody broke the law then there are methods you can take. You can file a complaint with us. We can dig into that a little bit deeper, you can reach out to the department of consumer protection,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt says counterfeit luxury goods, like jewelry and women’s handbags, are also common this time of year. If you order and receive a counterfeit product, contact the Department of Consumer Protection.

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