Ad Watchdog TINA.org Calls on State Officials to Take Action
MADISON, CONN., December 2, 2014 — Consumers are being set up to fail with Bob’s Discount Furniture’s interest-free financing offers, according to a complaint filed with state officials by ad watchdog, truthingadvertising.org (TINA.org). The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection confirmed it has opened an investigation.
TINA.org launched an investigation into the furniture retailer’s marketing and promotion of “interest free” financing after receiving numerous complaints from consumers. TINA.org found – through store visits, speaking with consumers, and reviewing internal training and financial documents provided by Bob’s – that the store deceptively advertises its financing by failing to make critical disclosures clear to consumers.
Chief among the findings:
- Bob’s fails to adequately disclose to consumers the need to make more than the minimum payment appearing on their monthly statements to pay off the balance in full within the required time period in order to avoid interest charges.
- Bob’s does not make clear to consumers that the interest will be back-charged from the date of purchase if they don’t pay off their entire balance in time.
- Consumers, focused on the interest-free marketing pitch, don’t appreciate the high interest rate (27.99 percent) that will be charged.
Bonnie Patten, executive director of TINA.org, called on state officials to take action. “It is completely deceptive for Bob’s to market its financing as gimmick- and interest-free without simultaneously explaining to customers all the ways in which consumers can be saddled with 28 percent interest from the time of purchase,” Patten said.
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