Types of Misleading Advertising

Here are five common misleading advertising practices that can be really nasty if you’re not careful.

Note: The scenarios depicted here are derived from actual customer complaints received by CASE.


The only thing clear as day, is the intention to hide important details.

Erlina visited a beauty salon for mole removal services and was informed that it costs S$15 to remove each mole. She went on to remove two moles off her skin. After the removal, the beautician applied some liquid solution on her skin, which would supposedly aid her skin in healing without scarring. Erlina was not informed that she would need to pay for the solution and her final bill ended up costing her S$90.

Hidden Terms & Conditions

They are difficult to spot and hard to accept.

Fabian bought a pair of sneakers from an online website. Four months later, he realised that he had been billed S$50 every month by the company even though he did not make a purchase since. Apparently, Fabian was not aware that he would be automatically enrolled in a monthly VIP programme by purchasing an item from the site. When he called up the company, he was informed that this was stated in the terms and conditions before he checked out.


Truth is, they always take you for a ride.

Seth signs an 18-month fitness club membership at a roadshow. He paid a deposit of S$150 for the first month of membership. In the terms and conditions, the agreement stated that his membership will start “when the new club opens”. However, six months later there was still no news on the opening of the new club. Seth subsequently received a letter from the club demanding for membership fees due for the last six months.

Misleading Communication

They are nice at first, but always far from nice.

Roger purchased a frying pan after he saw a television commercial stating that it was scratch-resistant. However, after only a few uses, he realised that several scratches have appeared. He called up the company and was told that he should have used a wooden spatula instead of a metal one – which wasn’t clearly communicated in the commercial.

Unrealistic Imagery

It’s not picture perfect all the time.

Revathie wanted to purchase six identical dresses for her wedding. She visited a brand’s website and saw a dress that she liked. She paid S$500 for six dresses. However, when the dresses arrived, she found out that the colour and cut of the dresses were significantly different as those that were advertised on the website.


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