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Latest in Deceptive Marketing

For direct marketing, it must be a significant hurdle to clear to just get your mailing opened rather than instantly recycled. Twice in two months I have received the same mailing.

With all of the recalls GM has issued lately and the horrible news about the ignition switch defect that was apparently only a few bucks to fix yet it was not disclosed and people died due to the defect. You might have to own a General Motors vehicle for it to have the greatest impact.

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As you see, the mailing looks pretty important with the tear-off strips to open the sides, the text only design (without color), the important looking serif font in ALL CAPS and the heavy use of bolded text. It almost looks governmental! Notice the warning under the REQUEST FOR ACTION line about the criminal penalties for interfering with the mail! Even a partial and incomplete cite to a federal statute is included. But don’t miss the subtle, fine print stating it is to be opened by the addressee “OR CURRENT VEHICLE OWNER ONLY.” The key to creditability is always in the discrete details.

The deception worked on me (or maybe it was curiosity) and I opened it up. Upon my first look inside it still appeared very official. But low and behold, I once I looked closer I could see it wasn’t anything special.

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I was quite disappointed to see it was just for an extended car warranty. It even says right on it that it requires repairs to be pre-authorized (although it is in tiny print).

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it isn’t a scam. After all, have you ever had an extended auto warranty and tried to make a claim. A claim that wasn’t pre-approved?