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Is this false advertising or just bad sales technique?
March 21, 2012 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Is this false advertising or just bad sales technique? Salespeople using "Made in USA" to boost sales... of foreign-made items.

The salespeople at a local furniture store have a bad habit of saying that everything there is made in the United States. Except that almost nothing there is.

I was in there a while ago and the owner's wife was prattling on and on about how a certain line was all "Made right here in America!" I had already purchased some pieces from said line, and discovered in the process that they were made in Asia.

I didn't mind, it wasn't a deciding factor for me. But when the stuff was delivered, the boxes said "MADE IN VIETNAM" six inches high. So she was obviously lying. And friends that have gone in there say that all of the salespeople use this pitch.

Is it false advertising if it's not written anywhere? Would anyone have recourse to get their money back if they felt very strongly about supporting American companies?
posted by checkitnice to Shopping (10 answers total)
 
Was the furniture assembled here in the US, or some such technicality? Because then it's a slightly scummy, but understandable tactic. If not, it's straight false-advertising and you could probably seek a refund. Whether they'd honor it, or whether you could actually win a lawsuit over this is a higher bar, however.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 3:56 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


You might contact your state Attorney General's office. They'd probably have an answer for you.
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:01 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is illegal. Contact the FTC. Also, return the stuff.
posted by karathrace at 4:06 PM on March 21, 2012


My items were completely made overseas. I double checked.

The store owners have probably never refunded anything, ever, so any theoretical recouping of monies would have to go through the courts.
posted by checkitnice at 4:06 PM on March 21, 2012


My stuff is fine. I'm not returning it, I already tried for quality issues and gave up. It serves my purpose and doesn't make me angry just by looking at it anymore.

I was just wondering in a general sense.
posted by checkitnice at 4:08 PM on March 21, 2012


Is it false advertising if it's not written anywhere?

If they're lying about merchandise, in print or verbally, it's still a lie. But is it false advertising?

False advertising: "the crime or tort of publishing, broadcasting, or otherwise publicly distributing an advertisement that contains an untrue, misleading, or deceptive representation or statement which was made knowingly or recklessly and with the intent to promote the sale of property, goods, or services to the public"

I am not sure if they are broadcasting or publicly distributing an advertisement in this case. Misrepresenting it though? Sure:

"an intentionally or sometimes negligently false representation made verbally, by conduct, or sometimes by nondisclosure or concealment and often for the purpose of deceiving, defrauding, or causing another to rely on it detrimentally also"
posted by zippy at 4:13 PM on March 21, 2012


... also
posted by zippy at 4:13 PM on March 21, 2012


Can you PROVE where the furniture is made, documentary and/or photographic proof? If yes, it might be interesting to get up a picket line, with blowups of those documents and photos on your picket signs, and pre-notification of local news outlets.
posted by easily confused at 5:02 PM on March 21, 2012


This is only slightly revelent to the topic but -
There is a cake store near to us. On the front they have a HUGE sign - Fresh Hot Donuts! Drive Right In! In anticipation of some hot donuts, I drove right in. I asked for half a dozen hot donuts and was handed a bag of room temperature donuts in return. "These donuts aren't hot!" I said to the salesgirl. "I wanted some hot ones, like on the sign". "I can assure you sir, they were hot this morning when we made them!" was the reply.

No I am not kidding. Some sales types will find *anything* they can do to get around the truth. Sure you could report them to whatever business watchdog you have in your state, but will they change? Nope. Will anything be done? Probably not. Yes it is false advertising but at the end of the day, unless you have a receipt or invoice or something which says "Made in USA" then it is your word against theirs.
posted by humpy at 7:42 PM on March 21, 2012


Would anyone have recourse to get their money back if they felt very strongly about supporting American companies?

As you mentioned, it would probably have to go through the courts. But they could first threaten to go to the media, or covertly go to the media first (seems like a classic situation for a local "watchdog" type to bust), write to the Consumerist website or publish a letter to the editor. While the latter is unlikely to get them to admit guilt, they might issue a non-apology about "any confusion that was caused" and offer a refund as a show of "good faith".
posted by mikepop at 5:52 AM on March 22, 2012


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