Formerly Nancy Tomkins and Associates

The Informed Consumer [Buyer Beware]

The public is inundated with many different forms and methods of advertising, some of which can be misleading or cause confusion instead of assisting us as consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Have you ever looked at an advertisement and thought that the price, product or service seemed too good to be true? How do you know if there is a “catch”? There may be some clues in the advertisement with phrases such as: limited time offer, terms or conditions may apply, or advertising a low price.

In advertising there is a strategy called, “bait-and-switch”. According to Wikipedia: “first, customers are “baited” by merchants’ advertising products or services at a low price, but when customers visit the store, they discover that the advertised goods are not available, or the customers are pressured by sales people to consider similar, but higher priced items (“switching”).”

In November 2014, the consumer television program, Marketplace, aired an undercover investigation of low price advertising by a vision correction company for laser eye surgery.

Marketplace wanted to know how many people actually got the low advertised price.

A medical doctor with studies in public health and ethics characterized the investigative findings as “bait and switch strategy . . . meant to mislead”. A low price is advertised to bring people in with a particular price that is not realistic for them.

It is uncommon for dental/health care professionals to advertise fees because health care services vary and must be customized to meet each individual’s needs and circumstances. This is particularly true when it comes to personalized denture services.

However, to the contrary,you may have seen or received advertisements promoting complete or partial dentures for a particular low fee. Is this too good to be true?

Most dental professionals (denturists, dentists, and independent dental hygienists), insurance companies, and third party payers use the fee guides of the respective professions as a guide to establish and pay fair, reasonable fees for dental services. As professionals seldom advertise fees, it is difficult for the public to know if an advertised fee is reasonable, how it stacks up relative to the Provincial Associations fee guide. The best defence for the “bait-and switch” strategy is awareness and to have consultations with more than one professional.

If an advertised fee is considerably lower than the norm for the profession then one needs to question why, to understand exactly what they are getting and to determine if the product and service will fulfill their needs.

For instance, there are different types of dentures with different indications for their use. Examples would be acrylic versus metal framework partial dentures, complete lower dentures with hard acrylic base versus a soft liner. There are many factors to consider. Consequently, our clinic never advertises fees, and we do not quote fees over the phone. We do not know what a person expects and truly requires until after we have examined them. Our office offers a consultation for just $66.- so we can meet to understand each individual’s circumstances and needs in order to determine treatment options and to provide a written estimate.

We offer smile solutions with comprehensive warranties.

Call Teresa for a consultation.

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