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Deceptive marketing and the National Consumer Protection Week!
Free is not always free, ads are often disguised, and that price that was advertised is not always what the company then offers you. Is this fair? No. It is deceptive
Free isn’t always free, ads are often disguised, and that price that was advertised isn’t always what the company then offers you. Is this fair? No. It’s deceptive. Find out more about these tactics and how to arm yourself against these misleading advertising tactics. 

Bait & Switch Advertising

The bait & switch is a time-tested, disingenuous, and, sadly, effective technique used by advertisers to draw consumers into stores and showrooms with the allure of a highly-appealing bargain on a specific product...


Celebrity Corner

Is that lip gloss going to make your lips look like luscious, shiny flower petals after a spring rainfall? Or is it basically sparkly paste, attracting stray hairs and bits of fuzz all day? Pfft, who cares? Rihanna is singing about umbrellas!


Engagement Marketing

Marketers want to get to know us better - to get us involved in the development of their products.  Is it because they really want to be our friends?

Fine Print

Ah, the fine print -  the teeny words at the bottom of an ad that contain the details of an offer. Even radio ads use a similar tactic where a fast-talking announcer rambles off some lingo at the beginning or end of a commercial.

Free Doesn’t Usually Mean Free

Who doesn’t like something for free?  Seriously, what could be better than getting something you want without having to fork over a penny?  Well, savvy businesses have figured out how to tap into our love of all things free and still... 


It’s happened to us a millions times – we’re relaxing at home, channel-surfing and we stumble upon an ad for some bizarre product and the announcer screams, “Roger’s Rust Removal Revolution promises...



So the 30-second commercial just isn’t long enough anymore?  Can’t get the message across quite that quickly, advertisers?  You’re going to ask us to sit through 30-minute ads for your revolutionary new quack product?


Talking to Kids about Deceptive Advertising

Every year, millions of ads are targeted at kids.  The problem?  Oh, where to begin… 


Made in the U.S.A.

Made in the U.S.A.  Anyone in the U.S. has heard the slogan for decades. But what does it mean?  Is it a product that’s assembled in red-white-and-blue Peoria, Illinois with parts that were manufactured entirely in Mexico? 

Negative Option Offers  (the “Risk-Free Trial”)

Oh yeah, the risk-free trial.  Why not?  It's risk-FREE, right?  Admit it, your eyes just glaze over when we say "free"...

Product Placement

For those of you unfamiliar with the term "product placement" and its role as an advertising strategy, it can simply be thought of as paying to have your product shown, for example, in a movie, TV show, internet spot, or video game.



Ah, the rebate – the way companies can advertise that their product only costs $75 (with their 25% off mail-in rebate) and then charge us the full $100 when we get to the store and make it to the register.

Service Contracts and Extended Warranties

Here’s the scenario:  in preparation for your 4th of July party tomorrow, you pop over to the local sports store on your lunch hour to buy the all-in-one badminton package.

The Subliminal Ad

Subliminal ads are ads that contain messages that, supposedly, bypass our conscious minds and enter the brain through the unconscious back door. 

Sweepstakes & Prizes


How many times have all of us come this close to winning the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes?  As you evaluate sweepstakes and prize offers that you get in the mail or see online, keep in mind that many are complete scams.

Viral Videos


A video goes viral when it spreads extensively within a short period of time.  The number of views/hits a video gets on YouTube may rise exponentially as people share it with friends and family through the internet using e-mail or social media.


Cuomo Obscura: Shady Moments During New York’s ‘Most Transparent’ Administration
Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised to operate the "most transparent" administration in history. But it has often fallen short
When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office, he promised to operate "the most transparent" administration in history. The night of his victory, he said, "The people want a government of competence and performance and integrity."
But just last week, New York State instituted a new email deletion policy that automatically purges government emails after 90 days. It's the latest in a long line of decisions that seem to contradict Cuomo's promise.
August 15, 2011 - Cuomo responds to a request for flight records with black ink.
The administration's FOIL Lawyer meets a reporter's request for information on the use of the State's Police Aviation unit with documents so full of redactions that the Albany Times-Union wrote it is " impossible to understand why someone used planes or helicopters during the governor's first six months in office."
August 15, 2011 - Governor signs a toothless ethics reform Act.
The Public Integrity Reform Act, previously named the Clean Up Albany Act, requires greater disclosures of campaign and business finances as well as meetings between firms and any elected officials. But its new Governor and lawmaker-appointed enforcement panel created as part of the law called the Joint Commission on Public Ethics is criticized in a New York Times editorial as " so deeply flawed in its structure as to be wholly ineffective."
July 16, 2012 - Gov. Cuomo uses BlackBerry messaging system to avoid a paper trail.
The New York Daily News reports on the Governor's use of Blackberry's messaging system to communicate with his "inner circle" as to avoid a paper trail that comes with using email.
June 30, 2013 - Governor adopts a new email retention policy that erases correspondence after 90 days.
The Albany Times-Union reports the state's new email system would purge all messages after 90 days unless they are individually marked to be saved.
May 5, 2014 - Cuomo aides are using personal email accounts for government business.
ProPublica reports that aides to Gov. Cuomo are using private email accounts to conduct government business, including Howard Glaser, a top Cuomo adviser at the time. This may violate a state policy which prohibits state employees from using "a personal email account to conduct State business unless explicitly authorized." The administration later denies using private emails for government business.
July 23, 2014 - Cuomo hinders Moreland Commission's efforts to root out misconduct.
A New York Times investigation finds that the governor's office scuttled the ethics commission's pursuits of corruption when they involved entities with close ties to Cuomo. The Commission had been established in July 2013 to aggressively investigate cases of government misconduct that could reach litigation by the Attorney General.
August 11, 2014 - State issues 118-page policy on how to save emails. 
As ProPublica writes, the 118-page long email policy is so "bewilderingly complex" that it leads to " further concern that emails may not be saved at all."
October 14, 2014 - Cuomo administration refuses to share further details on fundraising.
The Cuomo administration delays its response to a public records request from Capital New York for documents detailing some of the governor's fundraising efforts. The administration denies the request six months after it was submitted arguing that any documents not posted online to the Governor's pre-edited public schedule "are simply drafts meant for internal use" and exempt from disclosure under Freedom of Information laws, according to a report by Capital New York.
February 25, 2015 - The administration begins purging emails under new policy.
The State fully implements its email deletion policy that automatically deletes all emails at several state agencies older than 90 days.
February 27, 2015 - Cuomo's Chief Information Officer grilled over email deletion policy.
Lawmakers at a budget hearing grill Maggie Miller, the State's Chief Information Officer, over its new policy. When asked pointed questions about the policy's impact on litigation and Freedom of Information laws, Miller answered, "I, uh, all I can say is I fully support the policy."
Courtesy: ProPublica.org


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