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The business world is all about selling a product or service and earning money. To sell the products, especially with all the other competition in the marketplace, marketing the product through advertising, packaging, and labeling is important. With all the pressure to sell “your” product, over someone else’s product, many use deceptive and/or manipulative marketing practices. Claims, pricing and advertising practices are all used many times to make one product seem better than another product, even though the claim… etc. may be false.

One of the best cases to exemplify this practice of being deceptive and manipulative are telephone companies. On television there are daily advertisements on the latest offer from ABC telephone company. They are offering a great deal for long distance service, such as a calling card. They give the price such 10 cents per minute and no cost to get the calling card, plus you get 60 minutes FREE if you order one now. Well, after the first month, the bill is received. First off, you didn’t get 60 minutes actually free. They gave your account a 6 dollar credit to cover the cost of 60 minutes. However, to make the long distance calls, there is another charge of $1.99 for simply dialing using the calling card. There is also a twenty minute minimum so even though you thought you only talked for a total of 60 minutes for that month, you were charged for 6 individual calls for 20 minutes each, for a total of 120 minutes. So, thinking that the first bill was going to be no cost, it ended up being almost $24.00, minus the $6 credit. All said and done, this ten cents per minute claim is totally false and misleading.

Another example of manipulative marketing practices are many credit card companies. They advertise a low 3.9% APR for the use of their card. This however only lasts for six months. After that, the APR goes up to 23.99%. They use this to get the card into the hands of people because they know that if a person has the card, they will use it.

These types of advertising and marketing practices is unethical to the consumer. It is not right, and not fair to us to be mislead just for the benefit of a particular product or company. When advertising, one should give all the information in a clear and concise manner, leaving nothing out. If this were the case, the consumer would be able to make an educated decision on which product would best fit his/her needs. This would allow the consumer to be happy knowing that they received what they thought they were getting, and they would know what to expect from that product as compared to another product on the market. The consumer would also not get any surprises on the billing as happens continuously such as in the example above. This would be to the benefit of us all.

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