Thursday, January 21, 2016
The clever dishonesty of Credit Repair Ads
1. This video offers a binary proposition- either you are contacting CreditRepair.com, or you are "waiting around instead of working to fix your credit." There are no other options, apparently- calling your creditors and working out payment schedules, cutting back on unnecessary spending, cutting up unused credit cards and cancelling them- nope, unless you hire CreditRepair.com, you are just "waiting around."
Kind of like the Optima Tax Relief ads, which suggest that one has only two options when they get a tax bill- sit around and wait for the IRS to smash down their door and drag them off to jail, or-- you got it-- hire Alan Thicke's personal gravy train. "Don't take on the IRS on your own"- oh, heaven forbid. You might find that you can deal with your tax issues without hiring a middle man to take a nice big bite out of you for doing something you are perfectly capable of doing yourself.
(One more quick note concerning Optima Tax Relief- all their ads give you the same two arguments, usually delivered by Mr. Thicke in the same breath: First, the IRS is out to get you, with their Freeze and Seize manuever, their garnishing of wages, their relentless army of ruthless agents. Second, the IRS is a very reasonable agency staffed by people who would rather just leave you alone and "go home and play with the kids." I don't get how they can be both, but they are, according to Mr. Thicke.)
2. The narration in these sleazy ads always include the following "claim," which is so transparently deceptive that I can't believe anyone actually falls for it- "on average, our customers see SIGNIFICANT improvement in their Credit Scores." Um, how can you justify using the terms "on average" and "significant improvement" at the same time here? If you are saying that the average customer's credit score improves after they engage the services of CreditRepair.com, why don't you tell us how many points the score goes up- ON AVERAGE? You know, instead of using weasel words designed to present an impressive-sounding claim which is only impressive-sounding until it's examined carefully? Or did I just answer my own question?
This sentence could easily be translated into "the average customer sees their credit score go up after hiring us." By how many points? Doesn't that mean a good portion DON'T see their credit score go up? "It's a significant improvement." What does significant mean? You'll notice the improvement? Is a rise in credit score from 350 to 360 a "significant improvement?" Is that increase- about three percent- about "average?" If not, why not tell us what the average score of a customer is when they sign up, and what the average score of a customer is when they are no longer using the service? You know, instead of this "on average" and "significant improvement" crap?
Oh, right, because those Truth in Advertising Laws are almost toothless, but not quite. So I guess you'd better stick to the weasel words and manipulation of the language to convince desperate people that you actual peform a service worth paying for, and aren't just bloodsucking vampires trying to take advantage of the most economically vulnerable among us. Yay Capitalism.