FTC Report: Many Consumers Believe "Up To" Claims Promise Maximum Results

For Your Information

The Federal Trade Commission today released an FTC-commissioned study indicating that when marketers use the phrase "up to" in claims about their products, many consumers are likely to believe that they will achieve the maximum "up to" results. The study describes what a test group of consumers thought about ads for replacement home windows that purportedly would provide "up to 47%" savings in energy costs.

The FTC believes the report will help guide advertisers to avoid the use of misleading "up to" claims. It reinforces the FTC's view that advertisers using these claims should be able to substantiate that consumers are likely to achieve the maximum results promised under normal circumstances.

The report summarizes the results of a test conducted in conjunction with investigations of five companies that, in February, settled FTC charges that they made unsupported claims about their windows' energy efficiency and how much they would reduce consumers' heating and cooling bills. The cases are part of the agency's efforts to ensure that environmental marketing is truthful and based on scientific evidence.

The Commission vote approving release of the report was 5-0. It is available on the FTC's website and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. 1023171; the staff contact is Serena Viswanathan, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3244)

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

(Up To Claims)

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