Consumer Reports: This Isn't What I Expected!
When's the last time you bought something and it wasn't what you thought it was going to be? Judging from all the complaints Consumer Reports receives, it probably wasn't all that long ago.
Subway has long promoted its foot-long sandwiches. So when customers caught the company serving up shorter sandwiches, they took their complaints to Facebook, grabbing media attention. The company has issued a statement saying, "We have redoubled our efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich we serve."
Consumer Reports' Tod Marks says that's not the only product that's disappointing shoppers.
The Allergy Luxe Premium Bed Bug Mattress Protector says it provides "luxurious fabric protection against bed bugs, dust mites & allergens." But if you turn the package over and read the fine print at the bottom, it says "the manufacturer makes no claim that this product will prevent or inhibit human exposure to insects, allergens, mold, or other microbial matter."
The packaging for the Cuddly Sherpa Throw shows cute lambs. But look closer! The throw is made from "100% polyester." No lambs' wool whatsoever!
Looking for products that are "made in America" can be confusing as well. Just because you see a symbol such as an American flag, that doesn't mean it was American-made at all. The American Glove Company says "We Glove The USA." But look belowmade in Vietnam! And you'd think dish towels made by American Mills were also manufactured in the U.S. Wrong! They're made in China.
Unfortunately, confusing words and images aren't necessarily forbidden by the Federal Trade Commission, which is responsible for monitoring deceptive product claims. All they ask is, "What would a reasonable consumer think?" And even there it's not clear-cut.
Consumer Reports says that means reading labels closely is a good habit to get into. And if you believe you've been mislead about a product, complain to the manufacturer directly. And file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at consumer.ftc.gov.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.