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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador CCBerries's Avatar
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    September 5th, 2008
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    When Free is not Free
    Did you know that “Free” is a regulated term? The FTC actually has guidelines on when and how it can be used.

    Here are the FTC guidelines on the use of the term “Free”:

    FTC GUIDE CONCERNING USE OF THE WORD ``FREE'' AND SIMILAR REPRESENTATIONS

    Here is another FTC document on bait and switch/false advertising.

    Guides Against Bait Advertising

    Some merchants never offer “Free Shipping” but some affiliates use the term to entice visitors.

    Based on the number of fake “Free Shipping” offers (where the price of the product has been raised to cover shipping), and the never ending “free” offers from some sites it looks like it does not get enforced that much. But you never know when it will be the flavor of the day for enforcement.

    Do you think the affiliate sites that always have the merchants name followed by “Free shipping” are breaking the rules?

  2. #2
    Newbie Attorney Jaffe's Avatar
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    June 24th, 2010
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    Fairlawn, Ohio
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    27
    “Free” Offers – The FTC has long regulated “Free Offer” advertising and has promulgated the following rules:

    1. Free means free. Any limitations must be disclosed within the offer and in close conjunction to the word “free” (i.e. a shipping charge.)

    2. If it is a combination (i.e. buy one get one free) the original purchase price cannot be raised so that the seller recoups more than the original price of one item.

    3. “Free Introductory Offers” must mean you actually intend to sell the product, and the ad can run for no more than 6 months in any 12 month period for which you are selling the products.

    4. Synonyms for “Free” are also covered (i.e. gift, bonus, etc.)
    Andrew M. Jaffe | [EMAIL="attorneyjaffe@aol.com"]Email Me[/EMAIL]
    Attorney at Law
    330-666-5026 [url]www.netlaws.us[/url]

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    January 18th, 2005
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    "Based on the number of fake “Free Shipping” offers (where the price of the product has been raised to cover shipping), and the never ending “free” offers from some sites it looks like it does not get enforced that much. But you never know when it will be the flavor of the day for enforcement."

    That's just marketing and nothing illegal about that. There were some old threads where which one looks better:

    Product for $38 and $5 shipping
    Product for $43 and free shipping (this one won)

    And if it's free shipping with a certain amount, like free shipping with orders of $75 or more, that's fine.

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