Updated every Monday!   Subscribe to free weekly newsletter.

May 20, 2019

This Smartphone is Waterproof, Right?

Filed under: Electronics,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:13 am

To tease the introduction of its new smartphone, OnePlus is running this new commercial touting how waterproof they are:



Rather than go through an expensive internationally recognized test to determine the degree to which its phones resist water and dust penetration (an “IP rating”), the company just drops its phones in a bucket of water.

There’s just one problem with their cheap method to convey that their phones are waterproof or water-resistant. It’s in the fine print that you probably can’t read in the commercial.

*MOUSE PRINT:

OnePlus fine print

With a disclaimer that small, and only on the screen for three seconds, no wonder you can’t read it. It says:

Products not IP certified. Water resistant under optimal test conditions. OnePlus makes no guarantees regarding water/liquid resistance. Water/liquid damage not covered under product warranty.

Then why the heck, OnePlus, are you representing visually that your phones can be safely dunked in water? (The company never replied to our inquiry.)

Share this story:



 

 

  ADV


• • •

May 13, 2019

How Much Cereal is Really in This Box?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:21 am

Jack K. was very disappointed by a recent purchase of cereal he made for Passover. He felt shortchanged by this Cheerios-like product called Crispy-O’s from Gefen for which he paid a hefty price – $5.59.

Crispy O's

To his surprise, when he opened the 10-inch high box, he found only a tiny bag inside and lot of dead airspace.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Crispy O's inside of box

When manufacturers over-package a product creating empty space inside that has no function other than to make consumers think they are getting more for their money than they really are, that is called slack fill, and it’s illegal under federal law (and the law of some states). It is not illegal if the empty space is needed because of settling of the product, or because the machinery to fill the package requires it, or the space is needed to protect the product (such as the cushioning pillow created by large potato chips bags).

To add insult to injury, when Jack poured out the cereal for breakfast, he only got two-bowls-worth. Stunned by the revelation, Jack’s wife measured the contents of a fresh box, and only got about 4 cups out of it. But the nutrition facts label said the box was supposed to contain seven cups.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Gefen Nutrition Facts

We brought this matter to the company’s attention. Their response:

“Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. After further investigation it was determined that there was a misprint on the serving size. It should have said that the 25g is a half/ cup. All WEIGHTS stated on the package are correct. Please be assured that this printing error will be corrected before we produce product for next season.”

This suggests that this big box only contains about three and a half cups of cereal. We wrote back to Kayco, the maker of the product, pointing out that the fix for the problem was not changing the serving size to half a cup because that would violate federal law. Under FDA rules the serving size “is the amount of food customarily consumed (i.e., typically eaten) in one sitting for that food.” No adult eats just half a cup of a Cheerios-like cereal for breakfast. In fact, according to General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, the serving size for that cereal is one cup for adults and three-quarters of a cup for a child under the age of four.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Cheerios nutrition facts

The company did not write back to us after we pointed out that their planned fix was probably not kosher.

Share this story:



 

 

  ADV


• • •

May 6, 2019

Here We Downsize Again – May 2019

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:53 am

Prices on paper goods are going up again, but you’d never know it because the packages look about the same and you pay the same at the checkout. But you are getting less in each package.

 

Kleenex Tissues

The boxes are the same size but Kleenex is giving you 10% fewer tissues. Thanks to Leif S. for spotting this downsizing in progress right now.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Kleenex downsized

 

Brawny Paper Towels

Brawny has a long history of downsizing its paper towels. This time, packages are going from 87 sheets down to 80 sheets — almost a 10% reduction.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Brawny paper towels downsized

 

Downy Unstoppables

*MOUSE PRINT:

Downy Unstoppables NOT downsized

P&G recently came out with new bottles of Downy Unstoppables laundry fragrance enhancers. The bottle is slightly larger but the contents actually weigh 25% less. That’s a big downsizing… seemingly. Even more surprising, when tossing these pellets in water, they float, whereas the old ones sunk to the bottom. Checking with customer service revealed what had really changed. The product engineers at P&G removed some of the dead weight from each pellet making them lighter. That cut the net weight of each bottle by a quarter, but the number of laundry loads you get remained the same. So it only looked like Unstoppables had been downsized.

If you spot a new example of a product being downsized, please try to take a sharp picture of both the old and the new packages and send it to: edgar (at symbol) mouseprint.org . Thanks.

Share this story:



 

 

  ADV


• • •

April 29, 2019

Act Fluoride: Alcohol-Free?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:55 am

Bob F., a regular Mouse Print* reader, recently bought a bottle of Act fluoride mouthwash/rinse for kids. The front label of the bottle clearly stated that the product was “alcohol-free.”

Act front

When he looked at the ingredients statement, however, he was taken aback.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Act ingredients

The first inactive ingredient listed was “benzyl alcohol.” What?

Clearly, any parent would be concerned about a child swallowing this candy-flavored liquid if it contained alcohol.

But that is not the case here. When most consumers think of alcohol, they think of the alcohol in liquor. That is actually ethyl alcohol or ethanol. Benzyl alcohol in ACT is chemically different. It is a flavor enhancer and preservative.

So, Act is properly labeled as “alcohol-free” because it does not contain the common type of alcohol that you find in other mouthwashes like Listerine.

Share this story:



 

 

  ADV


• • •

April 22, 2019

Wayfair Called Out on Exaggerated Savings Claims

Filed under: Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:45 am

Wayfair, the large online seller of home goods, had its big “Way Day” sale on April 10th and 11th, promising the “lowest prices of the year” and “up to 80% off.” In the process of checking it out, we discovered often exaggerated savings claims and misleading price comparisons, and not just on Way Day.

Wayfair Way Day

 

Perusing those six categories, some of the discounts seemed too good to be true. For example:

Wayfair memory foam mattress on Way Day

Here they’re claiming this store brand memory foam mattress is on sale for $349.99, marked down from what looks like their $2,100 regular price. That’s 83-percent off, seemingly saving shoppers $1,750!

Many other items were advertised at 40 – 80% off, with some discounts so large as to raise questions about the legitimacy of the savings claimed. To check this out, Consumer World conducted a spot-check of a dozen deeply discounted items from the six categories featured above on April 10, 2019 – the first day of Wayfair’s Way Day 36-hour sale.

Here is the cart with those 12 items:

Wayfair Way Day cart

Scroll down the list.

You’ll see the amazing discounts above that Wayfair was offering.

But the question was, when the Way Day sale was over, would all these items revert to the higher price shown? Or, would you save almost as much if you delayed your purchase or missed the sale and returned later? To find out, we went back the day after the sale ended, April 12, to check the prices of the same dozen items.

Wayfair day after cart

Scroll down the list.

One item we checked was that memory foam mattress pictured at the top of this story. It was on sale during Way Day for $349.99 and was still on sale right afterwards and only slightly higher — $376.99. So customers who purchased that item on Way Day when it was said to be 83% off, really only saved a mere $27.

Wayfair mattress after Way Day

 

All the items went up in price right after Way Day, some by only a little and some by much more. This certainly suggests that the company did lower its everyday prices for the sale and it was a good day to shop there.

But none of the items in our spot-check reverted to the stated crossed out price (the “strike-through price” like the $2,100 reference price for the mattress). In fact, while Wayfair’s claimed savings on Way Day for the items in the sample averaged 71% off, the actual savings on Way Day compared to Wayfair’s everyday prices right after the sale only averaged out to be a 16% discount.

*MOUSE PRINT:

What Wayfair does in their product listings for many sale items, and not just on Way Day, is make it appear that their own regular price is being cut by crossing it out and claiming it is now being offered at an often large percentage-off discount. The trouble is, this is not how Wayfair’s discounts actually work.

Take the mattress pictured above, for example. Is the $2,100 strike-through price really their regular price? Wayfair buries the answer in a 42,000-word page of fine print accessible through an inconspicuous “terms of use” link. Its strike-through price is really the list price or the highest price they ever offered the item, according to that disclosure.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Wayfair terms

The Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Against Deceptive Pricing says that comparison to a high list price or regular price that is rarely charged can mislead buyers as to the discount they actually receive.

Various states have similar false advertising laws. For example, in Massachusetts where Wayfair is headquartered, the company appears to run afoul of state consumer law by not “clearly and conspicuously” stating the basis for its price comparisons and discount claims. Simply put, under the attorney general’s regulations [940 CMR 6.05], when sellers advertise an item as “X% off”, it automatically means the discount is off the seller’s own regular prices – just the way a shopper would understand the claim. If sellers intend the savings claim to be a comparison to any other type of price, they have to finish the comparison — X% off what — such as by stating “83% off list price.” Similarly, putting a line through a higher price suggests it is the seller’s own regular price that is being reduced unless it is labeled otherwise. Wayfair’s product listings fail to make these critical distinctions and disclosures.

And Wayfair has an additional burden. List price comparisons are not even allowed under Massachusetts law unless the seller can demonstrate that a reasonable number of sellers in its trade area actually offer the goods at the stated list price.

We asked Wayfair to comment on our findings and their pricing policies. The company did not respond to two inquiries.

In our view, shoppers are misled when retailers make illusory savings claims based on inflated regular prices rarely if ever charged or by making comparisons to list prices that virtually no one ever pays. Why can’t sellers just play it straight?

Consumer World is turning over its findings to the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General and other relevant agencies.

The spot-check of prices done by Consumer World is limited in scope, and cannot be used to project the average actual savings on all items during Way Day nor the number of items that did or did not revert to the claimed reference price.

Share this story:



 

 

  ADV


• • •
Next Page »
Powered by: WordPressPrivacy Policy
Mouse Print exposes the strings and catches buried in the fine print of advertising.
Copyright © 2006-2019. All rights reserved. Advertisements are copyrighted by their respective owners.