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False Ad Friday: Fleabag Marketing Disclaimer On Product Label

Medication label uses asterisk to mislead shoppers on how soon fleas will start dying

Look at me.*

*No, look at me.

Above, there are two sentences vying for your attention.

One is a headline, and the other is "normal-size" font. Which stands out more? Obviously, the headline does.

But what about the asterisk appended to the headline--does it cause you to grant equal attention to both the larger-font sentence and the smaller-font sentence? There is a good chance the answer is either no or not right away.

Now consider a real example: the subject of this article, the product label on a flea medication.

false advertising flea

The first problem is that the headline font is larger than the disclaimer font.

We demonstrated this in the opening part of this article, and you can see it again in the part of the label pictured above.

If you're shopping in a store, cruising down the aisles and trying to get to the checkout as soon as possible, how likely is it that you would to examine this label to look for caveats? Not very likely. For this reason, in fact, you may not even notice the asterisk and attendant disclaimer. That's a legal problem and could arguably fall under the broad category of "false advertising," or any one of a number of other laws and regulations specifically governing labels and medications.

Whether You Think Something Is Fair Or Unfair, You Are Probably Right

Human intuition is remarkably spot on when it comes to fairness

Veeto is not in the business of convincing you what is or is not fair, convincing you that you either got what you paid for or did not. The feeling that something is unfair is very personal and subjective and far more complex than you might think.

No one can decide what is fair for you except you

For that reason, we think it makes more sense to just wait for you to tell us when you think something is unfair. It cuts our marketing job in half, which permits us to just focus on putting our legal muscles to work on getting your money back. Also, as Veeto power-users ourselves, we know that winning is far more fun when getting your money back was your idea.

We do not care who gets the credit. We just want to win. So unlike Willy Wonka, we think it best if you just continue to be both the dreamer of dreams and official arbiter on fairness.

broken image


You are probably like most people in that you really try to give sellers the benefit of the doubt. Indeed, because you are a savvy shopper, you are fully aware of the rules and understand that you are often entitled to far more than you ask for. Trust me, owning and operating a business is not easy; so I am certain that the companies you choose to do business with appreciate when you choose to not hold them accountable for every mistake they make. Really, companies--the the good ones--appreciate this.

And that is precisely why, in those rare moments that you do decide to ask for your money back, it is clear that you are not only reasonable but right.

You need not feel ashamed

I have talked to many people about this topic. It is fascinating to deconstruct people's beliefs and decisions about when it is appropriate to ask for your money back. No two people are in perfect agreement.

In a market research exercise--of which I have done many--anytime people tell what makes them ashamed, I can almost guarantee you that you will be fascinated and surprised.

For example, one person I talked to told me she assumes that most customer dissatisfaction is due to user error. She illustrated her point with an example if a service that she bought for which she later decided she was not a good fit. In her analysis, actually, she admits that the service provider had made several mistakes in trying to deliver the service and she was not aware of any she had made. But still, she told me about this generalized assumption that she felt like dictated much of how she conducted herself when she was dissatisfied with a purchase. This is a perfect example of how people often give sellers the extreme benefit of the doubt.

The interesting thing, though, is that as we talked further, she eventually realized in her own words that the reason she seldom asked for her money back had less to do with this assumption of user error and more to do with her extreme aversion to confrontation. Her aversion to complain was so strong that she actually said that she felt ashamed when she did.

Whoa, that is interesting!

Even more interesting though was the relationship, for her, between the amount of money at stake and that feeling of shame for complaining. For some complex reason that neither she nor I could explain, she said that she was willing to complain if the amount of money at stake was larger. So, in the first example that she gave about the service she was dissatisfied with, there was about $50 at stake. By contrast, when she talked about a $250 purchase that she ended up being dissatisfied with, she said that she was willing to complain and even endure the company's famously arduous return process.

The point is that most people are like this, I think. There is some element of pride and shame that deter people from speaking up for themselves when they do actually feel that something is unfair.

But you know what?

That is OK. We did not create Veeto to go around analyzing people and their thoughts on fairness or try to convince them that something is unfair. We created Veeto because we were tired of spending our hard-earned money on stuff that did not meet our expectations and then having no efficient way to get our money back. Money, no one needs to tell you, is worth fighting for, especially if it is yours. When you are gracious enough to hand your money over to some seller--as opposed to any other seller you could have handed that money to--they should either give you what you expected or give your money back. That, in a sentence, is how we think about fairness.

If you think something is fair, great. We have no interest in arguing with you about that.

But when you think something is unfair--when you decide that it is time to get your money back--Veeto makes it save you lots of time and money by automating it easier.

You work hard for your money. We all do. So Veeto works hard to get it back.