“Mouse print” is the fine print in advertising, in a contract, or on a product label, often buried out of easy sight. In the worst cases, the mouse print changes the meaning of, or contradicts the primary claims or promises being made. Sometimes, the catch is not even disclosed. In other cases, the fine print is merely an unexpected surprise for the reader. Fine print is not inherently illegal. But, advertisers are not safe from false advertising claims merely because an ad discloses the truth in some minimal manner. A staff attorney for the Federal Trade Commission once said, “mouse print is for rats, so avoid it.”
The website, MousePrint.org, turns advertising on its head by focusing on an ad’s asterisked fine print footnote rather than the headline. It also examines the often overlooked small print on product labels and contracts. A new ad, product, or contract is featured every Monday. The goal is to help educate the public about the catches or “gotchas” in disclaimers, and to encourage advertisers to abandon the motto, “the big print giveth, and the little print taketh away.”
Contact: edgar(at symbol)mouseprint.org
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