When a product is advertised at one price and the ad says “some additional charges may apply,” it’s to be expected that most sales are at the advertised price and sometimes there are additional charges. But when an “additional charge” is almost always applied, then the higher price is the usual price.
The BBB in Dallas has challenged Window World of Dallas on its advertised claim of one price for windows because it appears that most sales include an “additional charge” for energy efficient windows as required in Texas.
“The BBB’s role is to ask businesses to voluntarily adhere to standards for truth in advertising,” said Jeannette Kopko, spokesperson for the BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas.
Window World of Dallas advertises, “Energy Efficient Premium Windows, $189*, Any size white vinyl, double hung window up to 4’x7′ installed, Solar Zone Low E (Add $45) to meet Texas Energy Regulations.” The asterisk refers to the statement, “*Some additional charges may apply.”
The Better Business Bureau noted that if Low E windows are required in Texas, then most windows sold by Window World of Dallas would cost $234, the total of $189 plus $45. The BBB was concerned that, even though the advertising discloses that “additional charges” may apply and that the cost for Low E windows is $45, the overall impression of the ad is that most windows cost $189.
The BBB Code of Advertising provides,
“An advertisement as a whole may be misleading although every sentence separately considered is literally true. Misrepresentation may result not only from direct statements but by omitting or obscuring a material fact.”
The BBB asked Window World of Dallas to substantiate or modify the advertising claim offering any size window installed for $189.
In response, the business stated that in Texas, Low E glass is not required in all windows. The business also maintained that the $45 additional charge is prominently disclosed. “The $45 upcharge for Low E is clearly not fine print, always in large font, directly below the $189,” Window World of Dallas said.
The business added that Window World franchises throughout the U.S. advertise the $189 price point, and said that only a few states require Low E windows. “We are known as ‘the 189 guys’,” he said.
The BBB learned that Texas requires Low E windows for replacement windows in air-conditioned rooms. The BBB was concerned that consumers might not understand from the ad that in Texas the $189 price would apply only to non-air conditioned rooms, and the $45 “upcharge” would be required for all air-conditioned rooms.
The BBB asked Window World of Dallas for the percentage of its Texas customers who purchased the $189 windows for non-air conditioned rooms such as storerooms, garages, or basements. The business has not provided the information and has not modified its advertising.
Window World of Dallas has a BBB rating of F, the lowest rating on a scale from A+ to F. The reason for the rating is failure to substantiate or modify the advertising claim for $189 windows. The business has not been the subject of customer complaint to the BBB.
The challenge was part of the BBB’s ongoing local advertising review program. The BBB identifies advertising claims that may be misleading and seeks cooperation from businesses to comply with the basic principles for truth in advertising in the BBB Code of Advertising. The BBB reviews advertising by both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses, and asks advertisers to either substantiate the claims, modify the claims, or discontinue the claims.
To read the BBB Business Review on Window World of Dallas, go to http://www.bbb.org/dallas/
To learn more about BBB Advertising Review and the BBB Code of Advertising, see http://dallas.bbb.org/
To report misleading advertising, visit http://www.dallas.bbb.org/