Ads claiming a benefit “up to” some number are not generally meant to be a guarantee that the number will be reached, yet, according to an Federal Trade Commission study, many consumers take that number as a promise. Therefore, such ads can be considered deceptive.
The announcement was a follow up to a proceeding against manufacturers of windows that were supposed to help purchasers achieve savings in energy costs.
The FTC ran a study in which a test group was told such windows could cut as much as 47% off of their energy bills – a large number of consumers made that number, which was allegedly intended to describe the top result for lucky buyers as the expected result.
“Energy efficiency and cost savings are major factors for many consumers buying replacement windows,” said FTC’s David Vladeck in February 2012. “The FTC is committed to making sure that the information consumers get is accurate and that marketers can back up the claims they make.”
The agency is trying to assure that all environmental marketing claims are truthful and “based on solid scientific evidence.”
In the February proceeding, five companies manufacturing this type of product agreed to rein in their marketing from that which is to be hoped for to instead focus on that which is likely.