December 9th, 2016

Lowe’s had a great deal on appliances — 20 percent off — with the only condition being that the appliance cost $396 or more. Well, that and the fact that the offer could only be applied to a select number of brands and excluded many major brands like Samsung, whose appliances were nevertheless featured in TV ads like the one above.

And while a disclaimer in TV ads listed 10 brands including Samsung, Whirlpool, and Maytag that were “limited to a maximum 10% discount,” NAD, in a recent decision, found that the disclosure was neither “clear or conspicuous.”


Photo courtesy of mouseprint.org, a consumer website that alerted NAD to the advertising.

More important, NAD noted that the disclaimer excluded “almost every major brand” that Lowe’s carries, making it unclear whether the savings claim (which was later changed to “up to” 20 percent off) applied to “a significant percentage” of products.

NAD recommended that Lowe’s discontinue the savings claim and ensure that future “up to” claims apply to more than just a few select brands. It also recommended that Lowe’s work on making its disclaimers easier for consumers to “notice, read and understand.”

Lowe’s said it would comply with the recommendations.

Find more of our coverage on the fine print here.

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The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.

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