Dallas, TX, April 23, 2013 -- Several businesses are cooperating with Better Business Bureau serving Dallas and Northeast Texas to ensure that advertised claims of “Satisfaction Guaranteed” are backed up by appropriate refund policies and disclosures. BBB reached out to 76 businesses in the Dallas area, asking for voluntary cooperation with the BBB Code of Advertising. To date, eight advertisers have substantiated the claim or modified the advertising.
“It’s encouraging to find so many businesses already cooperating with BBB’s efforts to promote truth in advertising,” said Jeannette Kopko, spokesperson for BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas.
BBB launched the awareness campaign after a recent review of local advertising found that “Satisfaction Guaranteed” claims often weren’t matched by company policies for full refunds, or that conditions or limitations on refunds weren’t clearly disclosed. BBB guidelines call for “Satisfaction Guaranteed” to be used in advertising only if a full refund is available, with any restrictions clearly disclosed.
“Businesses that are using terms such as ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’ or ‘Money Back’ are encouraged to review their advertising claims and refund policies,” said Phylissia Landix, BBB Director of Advertising Review. “If needed, make modifications to help your customers have a clear understanding of your policies and to be in line with established standards for truth in advertising.”
In one example from BBB’s campaign, a roofing contractor advertised “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” BBB notified the business of BBB standards and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guides. The contractor told BBB that the business did “everything to make the homeowner satisfied with all work and materials performed, but not a full refund for any reason.” The contractor added, “Since you have brought this to my attention, we will remove the badge with 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.”
The BBB Code of Advertising states:
“Satisfaction Guarantee,” “money back guarantee,” “free trial offer,” or similar representations should be used in advertising only if the seller or manufacturer refunds the full purchase price of the advertised product at the purchaser’s request.
When “satisfaction guarantee” or similar representations are used in advertising, any material limitations or conditions that apply to the guarantee should be clearly and prominently disclosed.
BBB standards track with guides from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for businesses which state, “‘Satisfaction’ and ‘Money Back’ guarantees constitute an offer of a full refund for any reason.”
Customer expectations about “Satisfaction Guaranteed” claims are high, as a 2005 incident in the District of Columbia shows. A man sued his dry cleaners over a pair of lost suit pants. The dry cleaners had a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign in the window. The man lost the case (and the $67 million he was seeking), but the district court found that a “Satisfaction Guaranteed” claim means that consumers can reasonably expect a full refund if they aren’t satisfied.
Customer complaints to BBB also show that dissatisfied consumers expect full refunds when businesses advertise “Satisfaction Guaranteed”. One customer complained about a garage door service: “I chose them from their ad stating same day service and satisfaction guaranteed … he did the work … The next day the spring broke, I contacted the business about it … the service tech showed and told me it would be an additional $85 for a new spring … the manager called me, I explained why I don't think I should have to pay because of the guarantee of 100% satisfaction … She hung up, she did not call back!”
Along with contacting businesses about “Satisfaction Guaranteed” claims, BBB’s awareness campaign also includes a post on the BBB Consumer Information Blog about what “Satisfaction Guaranteed” really means, and an article in the February 26, 2013, issue of the BBB eBulletin.
The project is part of an ongoing initiative to inform businesses of the implications of certain advertising. For the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” campaign, BBB Dallas will follow up with any businesses where concerns remain, and will continue to review local advertising to identify questionable “Satisfaction Guaranteed” claims.
To learn more about BBB Advertising Review or to see the BBB Code of Advertising, start at www.dallas.bbb.org/dallasadreview/.
BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas is an independent, non-profit business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair business practices and works for trust in the marketplace. BBB helps consumers find and recommend businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's Standards For Trust. BBB provides services for both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses. BBB services include BBB Business Reviews on businesses, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by category, customer complaint resolution services, advertising review for truth in advertising, and tips and alerts for consumers and for businesses. The BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas was founded in 1920 and is one of 113 BBBs serving the U.S. and Canada. Last year, people relied on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips, and scam alerts more than 103 million times. For more, start at www.bbb.org