False ads suck in students

HOUSTON – College students are often the butt of false advertisement scams and should seek to be more informed before making decisions.

I guess you could say a part of me already knew that there was more to the flyer than the sheet of paper cared to mention. Perhaps it was the brightly-colored paper or the promise of “the deal of a lifetime” that gave me the false sense of hope. Whatever it was, it lured me in for the kill, and I fell for it.

I fell for it! There I was in need of a car, and there was the car of my dreams right in front of my eyes. Well, not in the physical sense, but the small 5-by-7 photo of the 2002 charcoal gray Ford Mustang GT was just as I had always pictured it. Words like “Zero down” and “No one turned down” were to me what an oasis is to a desert nomad.

The sense of joy that I felt was quickly extinguished after a brief conversation with the salesperson. There were many unmentioned conditionals that the flyer conveniently omitted.

Is this ethical? It’s not just this particular incident, but more like a culmination of events that have led people, college students in particular, to develop a sense of distrust with anything that makes big promises and gives few details.

As the semester begins, cash-strapped college students cringe at the idea of waiting in long lines with empty wallets to buy overpriced textbooks. “Fast, cheap, easy” are themes that run through all the posters and advertisements. “We know you’re broke. We make you less broke.”

Credit-card companies are the worst when it comes to misleading college students. They set up tables all over campus and prey on us with their false promises of low interest rates and attractive lines of credit just so they can meet their quota of idiots they swayed for the day. But we do it anyway because we’re cash-strapped college students addicted to plastic and hey, it’s almost like free money.

When it comes to cell phones, carriers spend millions of dollars on advertising lies that promise free this and an extra that, I begin to question where they draw the line on morality. These companies advertise unbeatable rates at a fixed amount per month, only to send us bills that far exceed the amount we’re expected to pay. I mean come on, what is a Federal Wireless Number Pooling and Portability Fee?

With so much at risk because of false advertisements, I believe we as students have the right to be informed of the hazardous effects that result from not being fully informed. But if we don’t object, if we don’t care enough to ask questions, then we will continue to be deceived.

We need to inform ourselves to keep these monsters from gripping their claws around innocent college students.