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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Game of small prints: Citibank joins in

More institutions and merchants seem to have jumped into the game of small prints. This is a game whereby they say one thing in bold prints in their advertisements but the qualifications or conditions are set out in tiny ones that challenge one's eyesight.

Three months ago, Anne Wong Holloway complained to Case about a misleading ad put out by IT retailer Challenger. It was published in the mainstream newspapers during the IT Show on March 10 with a bold headline, "We Match Show Pricing".

But Anne found that it was not true when she went to its Funan Centre outlet to buy a Canon all-in-one printer. (See blog, THE TRUTH IN CHALLENGER'S AD on March 13) . All the conditions were set out in the small prints at the bottom of the ad.

I posted her story on March 13 and told both Case and Challenger about the feedback. To date, nothing has been heard from the company even after Case wrote a second letter to it earlier this month.

Yesterday, while shopping at the Paragon, I found another case of the small prints. This time, the culprit was Citibank.

In promoting its credit cards during the Great Singapore Sale, the bank promises to give a further 5 per cent discount to its customers who use its cards.

I had bought two boxes of golf balls from one of the shops when I spotted the Citibank poster saying: "Additonal 5% off discounted price items".

As I was using my Citibank card to pay, I decided to ask the salesman whether I was entitled to the extra discount.

His answer was "No".

I countered: "Why not?"

His reply: "Read the small prints".

I decided that I should, just to satisfy my curiosity. Squinting my eyes, I managed to read one sentence that says: "Offer is not valid on discounted items above 40% off".

The salesman was right, but Citibank -- just like Challenger -- are wrong in trying to mislead. It certainly does not do their reputation any good.

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