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In 2014 L'Oréal USA was involved in a scandal for claiming that their skincare boosts gene activity to rejuvenate the skin without any scientific evidence to back it up.

This can only labelled as marketing fraud - an illegal practice that makes false or misleading claims for financial gain. It includes talking big about the product’s attributes, concealing side effects or potential harm, and selling poor-quality items as up-to-par ones.

This company is just one example of how organizations are taking advantage of consumers. After all, people tend to believe that others are telling the truth more often than they actually are.

So when redditor Conradjenn started a discussion about American consumer scams, more than 6,000 people came forward with their own fraud stories. Scroll below to find the most mind-boggling ones that prove not all businesses are out to make a fair financial profit.

#1

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For "If we cut taxes for business and the wealthiest Americans the wealth will trickle down to the working class." Didn't work in the 1920s, didn't work in the 1980s, didn't work in the 2000s, and really didn't work in the 2020s. 

Cetophile , Pixabay / Pexels Report

#2

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Post secondary education.

The fact that you can’t declare bankruptcy on student loans is f****d up.

The fact that schools require you to buy the latest editions of textbooks for each year is a scam.

The fact that school is so expensive and time consuming that you are basically locked into a decision for the rest of your life is f****d up.

The fact that so many high schools pressure kids to go to college even when they have no idea what they want to do is f****d up.

The fact that so many schools pressure kids into useless degrees is f****d up.

The fact that information is free, yet most jobs requiring a college degree to even be considered is f****d up.

Education needs to be reformed so badly.

goblin_goblin , Christina Morillo / Pexels Report

#3

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For American Hospital billing. The minute you ask for an itemized receipt and breakdown, they start removing charges left and right and the bill gets reduced by ~30%.

Girl_Princess , Laura James / Pexels Report

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Adrian
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How about America joins the rest of the civilized world and doesn't regard healthcare as a profit center. It's THE worst thing about living in America. Or maybe it's the guns? Or the religious zealots? Or...

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Corporations have used fraudulent claims for a long time. In the US, the tremendous growth in advertising that took place after the Civil War was largely influenced by a long history of Western marketplaces. Back then, ethical issues regarding marketing were rarely brought to daylight as it was merely used to announce available products.

However, by the end of the 19th century, scams in marketing flourished, along with consumer suspicions about promoted food. Only in 1914 was the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act put in place to limit self-regulation and prohibit false claims of advertisers. Afterward, if it turned out that an agency was deceptive, it faced legal problems.

#4

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Two decades of "low fat" diet foods that were all packed to the brim with sugar.

loki8481 , segundo Report

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Limey
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Because sugar is backed by the corn syrup industry which is big business in the US. Fat doesn’t have a political lobby.

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#5

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Health Insurance. You pay for it. Then when you use it, nothing is covered or it covers only a portion plus deductibles/copayments.

pujarteago1 , Marek Studzinski / Unsplash Report

This continued as advertising progressed into television. However, the FTC hadn’t been given the appropriate legal instruments or staff to effectively monitor advertising. Therefore, in addition to their actions, a Lanham Act was introduced that allowed consumers or competitors to take legal action against false advertising. All they had to do was bring evidence.

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#7

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For That diamonds are rare and you must have one.

Electronic-Pool-7458 , Edgar Soto / Unsplash Report

#8

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Sam Walton getting to build Walmarts in every small town by making a commercial with himself standing in front of a huge American flag and swearing that all of his stores would only sell products made in the USA. Then almost all of the countries mom and pop stores went out of business, Sam died, and now the shelves are stocked with nothing but products made in China. Biggest sellout of America that’s ever been.

GodaTheGreat , TaurusEmerald / Wikipedia Report

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Rachel Parker
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The Waltons are the second richest family in the world with $250 billion. Over 14,000 Walmart employees are paid so poorly that they are on hard-to-qualify-for government assistance programs like food stamps.

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#9

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Turbotax.
The IRS already has all your tax information, your work and investments are required to send it to them. Other countries just have their IRS equivalent send you information that you can correct or contest if you like.
But in the US massive tax filing software companies spend millions of dollars lobbying congress to prevent an easier tax filing system which effects every single American citizen over 18 every single year.

Worried_Place_917 , Karolina Grabowska / Pexels Report

Ultimately, it’s difficult to monitor and analyze every advert that’s out there especially because they all include some kind of manipulation tactic that attracts people to buy the product. Whether that would be exaggerations, half-truths, or ambiguities, consumers need to be aware of them and take time to read about the product.

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Currently, marketed goodies tend to create a false sense of health or target our fears to trick people into purchasing them. Like healthy-sounding phrases such as “gluten-free” or “organic” that lure buyers with the impression of being nutritious.

In fact, in 2018, researchers found that most bottled water advertising campaigns trigger people’s subconscious fear of death. They also stated that it symbolizes something safe and pure that can be very compelling to people who want to avoid health risks.

#11

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Black Friday deals.

Take it from a former retail worker - it’s the same deals year-round, folks.

PrimeVector19 , Max Fischer / Pexels Report

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JenniB
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think every manufacturer and store has just raised their prices and then "drop" them to Black Friday Sales prices that would have been the original price...

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#12

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For High fructose corn syrup. We subsidize it, it's in everything, it's not good for us and we pay for the healthcare fall out later on.

OkInitiative7327 Report

#13

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Body hair on women is gross. Literally just a campaign created to sell razors because the company (can't remember which one) wasn't selling well enough to men.

itspronouncdcalliope , bruce mars / Unsplash Report

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Karen by name
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Gillette introduced the first razor marketed specifically to women, called the Milady Decollette, in 1915 https://www.si.edu/spotlight/health-hygiene-and-beauty/hair-removal

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#14

A two party political system.

djauralsects Report

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Olivia Lisbon
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I feel for America, I still can’t believe Biden and Trump are the best they could come up with.

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#15

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Basically everything you see when you enter the workplace as an American. Our employers can fire us for any and all reasons unless they are dumb enough to call us a racial slur while doing it. We have the most advanced healthcare in the world that is only accessible if you are well off enough to pay for it. Everything costs about 4x as much as it should because after all we have shareholders to pay and executives need their bonuses.

The worst part about it all is that we do it to ourselves because there are enough of us that are dumb enough to be taken in by the "American Dream" of starting up and hitting the big time lottery. The lottery is only for the very good looking and the sociopaths adept enough to grift everyone else. There is no big time lottery for the normal person and we need people to start realizing that.

Dapper_Platform_1222 , Christina Morillo / Pexels Report

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clairebear
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I am British but even I can see America is one big farm. Humans are the crop. Everything has been maximised for profit. Your food is bad so you get fat and ill. Your healthcare is so expensive it could bankrupt you. Your education is for the wealthy only unless you can throw a ball or run fast. Your religious leaders are con men who pay no tax and live in mansions. Your politicians are wealthy liars and snake oil salesmen who are shills of Corporations. Every single thing is run to the bare bones, to serve the rich. UK is following in your footsteps and it is terrifying.

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#16

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day"

Created by cereal companies, it has no basis in fact and was used as a combination of marketing and religiousness - the founders were Seventh Day Adventists promoting cereals in sanitariums

Malvania , Binyamin Mellish / Pexels Report

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Fellfromthemoon
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In my country, a proverb says "Have breakfast like a king, have a lunch/diner like a burgeois and have a supper like a beggar". This saying predates morning cereals.

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#17

Medicines. Here in Europe for example is forbidden to advertise any type of medicine. I think you can guess the reason why.

evalunaofficial Report

#18

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Trickle down economics and billionaire worshipping.

OJC1975 , Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels Report

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Humansarethevirus
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I noticed that rednecks hypocrites Christians love sucking rich di@k. Whyyyyyyyyy they are so goddam stupid!!!!!!!!

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#19

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For The old food pyramid. Eat 6-11 servings of bread/rice/pasta per day. So that recommends eating some combination of
* wheat bread @ 420-770 calories
* white rice @ 960-1760 calories
* spaghetti @ 1200-2200 calories per day

LastChristian , Joe Ross Report

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marcelo D.
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You have to eat a kilo of pasta or a kilo of rice to reach those calories amounts

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#20

Any and all products and services related to weight loss and dieting. The whole diet industry and culture. No one with a shred of moral fiber could advertise something with a proven 95% failure rate.

deeBfree Report

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David Paterson
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Last I heard it was a 99% failure rate. My source is Todd Sampson. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Sampson

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#21

Payday loan companies.

laynerj Report

#22

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Food shortage is a lie. So much goes to waste.

darthTharsys , Ron Lach / Pexels Report

#23

Subscriptions. Instead of just a flat fee they pull more an more money out of you, but at least you can cancel when you want.

Yellow_Jacket_97 Report

#24

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For "YOUR COMPUTER HAS A VIRUS!"

Click here to install another one.

thenewmadmax , Oladimeji Ajegbile / Pexels Report

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Cyber Returns
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love the ones that say 'Dear username (never your real name)Your antivirus is about to run out. Follow the link to buy another years subscription. From an antivirus you don't own or have never owned'

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#25

Planned obsolescence.

Gitxsan Report

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Becky Samuel
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Planned obsolescence" is very misunderstood. If you want every item you buy to have every single component designed to last you a lifetime, then you're going to have to pay accordingly. Who many people are prepared to pay $2,500 for a clothes dryer? And then you're stuck running an inefficient dryer using decades-old technology for the rest of your life.

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#26

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Timeshares are up there. Even worse are the guys who claim they can get you OUT of them. Those guys are often bigger rip off artists. John Oliver did a whole segment on it. Funny, but f****d up at the same time.

MetalTrek1 , Ben Mack / Pexels Report

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lawrence Andrew
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I went to a presentation, got a could night free stay at the resort. After the presentation when the salesmen came in I did the math for the real cost per per day for the time share. I was escorted out immediately to not influence they other people.

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#27

Credit scores, health insurance/medical care, and houses being owned/sold/bought by billion dollar conglomerates.

Boogiebadaboom Report

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Freya the Wanderer
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Houses for sale get snapped up by greedy outfits, putting affordable housing out of the reach of many people. Little wonder so many are "perma-rents" or homeless.

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#28

30 American Marketing Scams That People Can't Believe Others Fall For Social media will bring us together.

PapaDeE04 , Tracy Le Blanc / Pexels Report

#29

Kenneth Copeland Ministries.

MostlyHostly Report

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Jean-Louis Bolomey
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Kenneth Copeland...we should demand a letter of apology from the condom factory !!!

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#30

Churches.

DuceBanner Report

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GraphicHealer
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one depends. There are legitimately awful churches out there, but there are also good ones, With real people, who are really trying to change their lives. Some people may not believe what they preach, but the people who do believe it and truly want to change their lives, can. The ones that really bug me are the people who try and use that belief to extort people. Again, that is not all churches. But there are still some of them.

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