Read fine print before getting pulled in from holiday advertising

First Coast News reporter Nick Perreault looks into whether or not businesses will honor errors in advertisements, such as a 99-cent television.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sometimes holiday door-busters can seem too good to be true. What can you do if you spot a mistake in an advertisement? Does the store have to honor the advertisement?

First Coast News spoke to an attorney to break it all down. 

Whether it’s your physical mailbox or virtual one, you’ve probably seen so many ads for holiday deals by now you’re sick of it, but then some maybe caught your eye.
Maybe you need a new suit, living room set-up or always popular televisions.

 

But before you rush off and leave your family at the dinner table to grab those deals there is some valuable information you must know. 


Assoociate Attorney at Max Story P.A deals especially with consumer justice and say legally speaking, just because it’s on paper, doesn’t mean the store has to honor it, that’s because advertisements are not contracts.


“The case law says that an advertisement is an invitation to come to an agreement, it’s never in and of itself a contract or an offer for you it’s just saying hey there are these tv’s here, come to us,” Griffin said.
 

Griffin says then you have to look at is the advertisement reasonable.
 

“If all the other tv’s there are two hundred dollars, four hundred dollars, a reasonable person might not say, hey I should go get this 99 cent television, they might instead say this is a typo. That’s not so much unfair and deceptive as it is mistake proving.”
 

Plus, in most cases stores will have that "prices subject to change" in fine print to protect themselves in this instance.
 

Griffin says the tricky part is that in order for you to collect you have proof that you’ve suffered damages and since you haven’t bought it yet, you haven’t suffered actual damage.
 

“If you’re buying something for instance that you pay fifty dollars and its worth fifty cents, that’s more an unfair claim than they offer you it for 50 cents and say sorry the price went up,"  Griffin said.


Now, when it comes to price matching, you may have a chance at getting some money.


“Well they have held out a guarantee and so that’s a bit different than just a price, that match make come up in law as a contract, it’s really a case by case basis with these.”
 

As usual, you should use your best judgment, but if it seems to good to be true, you might want to avoid the rush.


“It’s annoying, it might be deceptive in some respects, but since they’re not keeping your money they’re not getting a benefit either," Griffin said.
 

If enough people complain, Austin Griffin says you might have a chance, but still have to prove damages. Griffin feels the real penalty stores face if they post false ads or choose not to honor them is a loss in business as people will take their business elsewhere.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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