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January 4, 2010

Pizza Hut: Any* Pizza, $10*

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:46 am

Pizza Hut is kicking off the new year with a $10 deal: “Any Pizza, Any Size, Any Crust, any Toppings — $10”.

What isn’t obvious is the catch in the disclaimer:

*MOUSE PRINT:

*MOUSE PRINT: And in some ads, this disclaimer is used:

When “all” does not mean “all”, wouldn’t it be nice if advertisers didn’t use that term?  At least in Massachusetts, starting today (January 4, 2010), the Attorney General’s Retail Advertising regulations are changing to make illegal disclaimers that contradict the meaning of the primary claim:

“It shall be an unfair or deceptive act or practice for a seller to use a disclosure set apart from the primary claim to which it refers, such as by use of an asterisked footnote, if such disclosure imparts a meaning that contradicts or materially alters the meaning of the term, statement or claim to which it refers.” 940 CMR 6.01

Whether this advertisement’s disclaimer rises to the level of being illegal is an open question.

Thanks to Thomas G. and Lauren B. for the story idea.

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17 Comments

  1. I’d love to open a store that advertises: “Everything For Free*”

    *-Except for any items from the following departments….

    Big M and IGA in NY liked to use the ‘Selected Varieties’ phrase in the fine print of their ads with lots of their sales. Which ones were included/excluded weren’t known until you got to the register.

    Comment by Ron — January 4, 2010 @ 9:55 am
  2. My pet peeve is stores that have the slogan if we can’t beat a competitors price it is free. What a pile of BS.

    Comment by bogofree — January 4, 2010 @ 2:43 pm
  3. @bogofree – I’ve actually used that quarantee and got my money from them. It was many years ago at an Evans catalog store for a cordless phone I bought, then found in an ad that weekend for less money. I took my receipt, the ad and they gave me my money without any hassle. I can’t speak for all stores, but I’d be more willing to believe them than not, at least until I’d tried and been denied.

    Comment by KinKStar — January 4, 2010 @ 7:05 pm
  4. Unlimited wireless internet access which seems to be capped at 5gB. Unlimited?

    Comment by blasher — January 4, 2010 @ 7:30 pm
  5. you really can’t expect double toppings to be free.

    Comment by Anna — January 4, 2010 @ 8:41 pm
  6. Macy’s — the mouse print in their ads and coupons exclude virtually everything in the store.

    Comment by Doug, Rochester, NY — January 4, 2010 @ 9:31 pm
  7. Anna, normally I would agree with you. But the add states “ANY TOPPINGS” in the plural sense. That might lead a completely rational person to beleive oh, I can get a $10 pizza with more than one topping. Otherwise the add would read “ANY TOPPING” in the singular sense.

    In general, Pizza Hut is horrible in it’s customer service efforts. I’ve tried contacting them multiple times via multiple methods for well over a month now regarding an unsatisfactory experience I had with them and they have not replied to me at all. I no longer buy anything from Pizza Hut.

    Comment by Shawn — January 5, 2010 @ 10:04 am
  8. Kim:

    Here it is with car dealers. Say a Kia dealer advertises we can’t be beat and if we can’t match it then the car is free. I come in with a 9K offer from another dealer for their 10K car. Are they going to give me the car or are they going to go to $8,999? That is how those offers work.

    National Floor Direct. Friend had Bruce Flooring and got a price. Asked National Floors about their price which came in higher. Showed them what the competitor quote was. Did he get it free? Nope. They matched that offer and gave him an additional 15% off.

    Comment by bogofree — January 5, 2010 @ 4:09 pm
  9. Anna, I am vague about not offering double toppings. Would the actual cost of having a five different toppings be more cost than a one topping twice ?. A better asterisk disclosure could say “Up to six different toppings, extra topping counts as two. Available in Thin, Pan or hand tossed crust” Instead this promotion says “any toppingS, ANY Crust”.

    Comment by Thomas G — January 5, 2010 @ 10:18 pm
  10. Massachusetts is on the right track.

    Then again, if all states were to follow suit, then this website would be useless and I’m enjoying it far too much to want this to happen 🙂

    Comment by Ludovic — January 8, 2010 @ 1:04 pm
  11. I think this law was aimed primarily at used car dealers who started pulling the following stunt. Say for instance they were selling a used 2006 Honda Accord with 30K miles. They might show an advertised price for $5000 which would be a pretty good deal. However, if you read the fine print it would say something to the affect that the price reflect a $3000 down payment.

    Comment by Jimbo — January 10, 2010 @ 1:46 pm
  12. Can’t really complain about the pizza hut deal. I mean you can get any size, any toppings for a deal. Who needs double toppings anyway. Meat lovers would satisfy me..

    Comment by Tom — January 23, 2010 @ 6:51 pm
  13. OMG – I’m so glad someone called them out on this ad. It’s been driving me nuts that they can get by with it…them along with every other company you have brought to the light of day in this blog. The only fair thing about the Pizza Hut ad is that at least the print is readable, unlike a number of other companies that nearly post in invisible font colors and sizes.

    Comment by Sj — February 17, 2010 @ 12:04 am
  14. Subway is doing a similar thing right now, where banners are declaring that all 12″ sub sandwiches are just $5. Read the fine print though, and you’ll see that this only applies to sandwiches not in the premium list, which include “The Feast” and their take on the cheesesteak.

    Comment by Sig — February 19, 2010 @ 2:59 pm
  15. I think the Pizza Hut offer is a little bit deceptive, but it is still a good deal. It should really say “Any Hand Tossed Or Original Pan Pizza, with all the single toppings you want, any size, for $10”. Yes, it doesn’t sound as catchy, but it is more honest, and much more clear, with no disclaimers required. As far as other retailers go on the “we match any price or it’s FREE” deals, usually, what the retailers will do (if they have the buying power) is get the manufacturer to change a digit in the model number, so they can say it isn’t the identical item, or sometimes even get the manager to add (or delete) one useless feature from the same model, making the guarantee meaningless (still sounds good on TV though).

    Comment by Nack — March 15, 2010 @ 7:03 pm
  16. Well I’ve certainly enjoyed the Pizza Hut deal even though it does bug me everytime I see the commercial that stuffed crust is $1 more & it does say “any.” But I did find out you can order a Meat Lover’s pizza & add chicken to it all for $10.

    Comment by Tosha — June 1, 2010 @ 1:24 pm
  17. The problem with “Any Crust” is that my local pizza hut only has 4 kinds of crust. Including 3 out 4 and calling it ANY is defintely deceptive.

    Comment by Dave — November 7, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

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