First Read the Fine Print

Mr. Y sees an advertisement for a great holiday package in an exotic destination at an unbelievable cost of only $1000 all-inclusive for the entire family. Not willing to let go of such a unique opportunity he calls the phone number given in the ad and soon his family was on their way to their dream destination. After landing in the destination, he is shocked to know that his $1000 package will actually cost him more than $2500. Finally, by the time they are back home he is poorer by nearly $3500, nowhere near the $1000 all-inclusive deal as advertised. When he picks up a fight with the travel agent the agency shoves a piece of paper on Mr. Y face, which he had signed at the time of booking. On close examination of the paper, he realizes that he has signed an acceptance document that contains a series of absurd conditions about the $1000 deal. So, what went wrong for Mr. Y? The answer is simple. He did not bother to read the fine print in the advertisement. So, what exactly is a fine print? To understand what a fine print is, first take a microscopic look at any newspaper, magazine, Web or TV advertisement. If you observe closely, there will be a small text or a symbol somewhere at the bottom that says ‘conditions apply’ or a *.

For example, an advertisement can look like this.






*** Conditions apply

Next, if you scan the advertisement fully and read the complete details of that tiny ‘conditions apply’ it can make your hair stand up straight. For example, for the fictitious advertisement above the true details of the conditions apply can be like below.

1. Delivery only in Tajikistan.

2. Engine and paint not included.

3. Assembly charges extra.

4. Service station only in Alaska. Taxes, Shipment, Customs, and other levies not included.

5. All plastic, rubber, electrical, electronic and glass parts to be purchased separately.

These terms are what are called the fine print, which are the terms of the sale printed in a small unreadable font. This is the key to duping customers in the 21st century, which is a legal and official way to cheat customers of their money and also get away with it. This is how and where customers get duped. Ninety-nine percent of the customers buy goods and services by reading only the big glossy advertisements, false claims, marketing promises, etc., but fail to read, or don’t bother to understand what is meant by a *, ‘Conditions apply’, etc.  Today, it’s not possible to buy any goods or services without a fine print attached to it. However, you can take some precautions not to fall prey to glamorous and misleading advertisements if you learn how to read and understand the fine print.

Here are a few things and tips you should be aware of the fine print.

1. Always read the fine print before making a decision on its purchase. Once you begin to evaluate services based on fine print, advertisements will neither be glamorous, comparable or cost-effective.

2. Every industry today has plenty of fine print in their goods and services which include disclaimers, terms, conditions, deems, etc., running to several pages or volumes and written by experts with full of legal jargon aimed to keep every pesky customer at bay. On close examination of current business practices, it’s still a ‘Take it or leave it policy’, but with some very clever disguise and worse than before.

3. Today, the customer often believes he has a choice of vendors and services and can demand his whims and fancies in the name of customer satisfaction. However, all this roaring, threatening and arm-twisting is only till the customer signs on the dotted line or accepts an agreement of one of his choice vendors. Once a customer signs on the dotted line or even opens a package without reading or understanding the fine print, there is no way the customer can get an upper hand over the seller, nor will any law or court help him or her.

4. Apart from the catchy differences in customer luring big print, the fine print of every company is almost identical and is designed to handle every possible customer conflict situation. There is no way one can start using a product or service today without accepting the vendor’s agreement in advance.

5. It’s due to fine print that more than 90% of insurance claims are not settled, repairs not done free, warranties not applicable, and so on.

6. On the other hand, the fine print is also a necessary evil. Without it, unscrupulous customers will take sellers for a nasty ride. Even if you start a business you will need to have a fine print for your goods and services. 

And we can conclude this chapter with a quote from W C Fields who said, ‘A thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for.’

Article Author - Thejendra B.S

Web Cave -

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