No matter what product they are pitching, sneaky marketers often use certain tried-and-true phrases in an attempt to convince you to click the “buy” button. While it looks like they may be saying one thing, we’ll explain the REAL meaning below!

1. Buy One Get One FREE

What it sounds like: If you buy one product at the regular price, they will give you another one absolutely free.

What it REALLY means: Usually, there is a separate shipping and handling charge for the supposedly free 2nd item. Often, you have to buy both.

Example: Amish Secret cleaner says it’s just $10, but by the time you add all the fees, it turns out to be $25.98 for 2. (And many reviewers say it’s a piece of crap.)

2. Claim Your Trial Offer

What it sounds like: You’re going to get a free trial of the product for just a few dollars shipping, no strings attached.

What it REALLY means: You will have a very short trial period (often 14 days) which starts from the day you order it, not when it arrives in the mail. Before you know it, they’ve charged you the full price of the product.

Example: Silk Advanced Biotin Complex for hair charges $89.99 on the 15th day and enrolls people in a sneaky auto-ship program, which many reviewers complain is hard to cancel. 

3. Recommended by Dr. Oz

What it sounds like: Dr. Oz has personally reviewed this product and gives it his seal of approval.

What it REALLY means: This is an obvious sign of a scam – Dr. Oz specifically states that he doesn’t endorse any products. 

Example: On the official Dr. Oz website, it states: “Dr. Oz considers anyone that uses his name or picture to try to sell you a product or supplement reckless and dangerous.”

4. Risk of Sell-Out: HIGH

What it sounds like: Other people may grab this deal before you!

What it REALLY means: This is a pressure tactic designed to make you think they may run out of the product, but rest assured, they won’t!

Example: Erase/Repair HA anti-aging cream claims to have a limited supply and uses other pressure tactics like saying “13 people are viewing this page now.” The reality is, they will have the same amount even if you visit tomorrow.

5. All-Natural Ingredients

What you think it means: The product is completely safe, healthy, and effective.

What it REALLY means: NOTHING! The Food and Drug Administration does not define “all natural”, so as long as it doesn’t contain any artificial flavors or synthetic substances, almost anything goes.

Example: Alpha ZXT brain supplement boasts all-natural ingredients, yet it still receives just 1 star from our reviewers, who complain it doesn’t work. 

6. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

What you think it means: If you are not totally satisfied with the product or service, you can get all of your money back.

What it REALLY means: The fine print for the return policy usually states this does not include any shipping and handling fees (see #1). In addition, you usually have to pay the return shipping and tracking fees, which will cost you more money.

Example: Telebrands, the world’s biggest “As Seen On TV” retailer, lists a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee for every product they sell. However, the fine print reveals that this doesn’t include shipping charges and consumable items are not eligible for a refund if they are opened. 

7. Independently Tested, Quality Controlled

What you think it means: The product (usually a supplement) has gone through an inspection process and is sure to be pure.

What it REALLY means: This is an empty promise if they don’t reveal the name of the independent laboratory that tests it. Recent investigations have found the supplement industry rife with fraud, including supplements sold by Target and GNC. Therefore, we recommend only buying supplements that carry the US Pharmacopeia (USP) seal on their label.

Example: A history of USP, along with a listing of the companies that carry their seal, can be found in this handy article

8. Infused with Copper!

What you think it means: This garment has special properties because of the tiny copper threads that they say are woven into the fabric.

What it REALLY means: The copper threads are merely there for marketing purposes and offer NO special benefits to the wearer. 

Example: Copper Hands are a pair of compression gloves that promise to relieve arthritis symptoms. However, clinical studies have shown that the copper has no measurable effect on arthritis. You can read more about copper and compression in this article.

What You Can Do

Now that we’ve exposed some of the most blatant fibs (or downright falsehoods) they use to sell products, you are now more prepared to avoid scams. If you see any of these catchphrases, we suggest you avoid the product at all costs or at least be very skeptical of what they are offering.

In addition:

  • Always read the fine print
  • Always look at the return policy
  • It’s a good idea to check the customer service phone number
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Visit BrightReviews to check the latest consumer reviews and ratings, or leave your own!

We hope this helps – let us know what you think below, or if we missed a catchphrase, tell us!