By Eric E. Boyd
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a study regarding “up to” claims, such as a marketing claim that a product will save people “up to 47%” in energy costs. Not surprisingly, the FTC study concluded that people interpret such claims to mean that the typical user would achieve the maximum benefit using the product. For the example above, for instance, most people would think they would achieve 47% in energy savings and disregard the “up to” language. The FTC press release about the study explains, “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.” In February, the FTC settled claims against five companies that sell replacement windows about claims concerning the energy efficiency of their windows and how much money consumers could save on their heating and cooling bills by having them installed. Since the rationale of the study applies to all “up to” claims, marketers of green products and services should take note.