So I got this weird thing in the mail the other day. The envelope was hand addressed to me, and there was no return address. Inside was a sticky note with something like, "Mackenzie, check this out! -J" on it. The note was attached to a single page of newsprint that was folded up to fit inside the envelope.
It's the newsprint that I have a problem with. The first page was dated October 12, displayed a page number of D-5, and the headline reads "Cheyenne Dealer Refuses to Suspend Upcoming Event." The rest of the page is in larger print than standard newsprint, and is basically about the sale at this local car dealership. Here's a photo:
It is clearly not an article from any newspaper. There's no name of a paper on it and, in the bottom right, there's a copyright dated 2008 by "The Premier Group." (This seems like it's probably the same company.) Plus, to avoid consumer confusion, reputable publications will put a notice on full-page ads that might be confused with editorial content that clearly state "Advertisement." I'm sure you've seen that.
But in this case, they clearly went out of their way to make it look like it was taken from a newspaper. Check out the reverse side:
That's right, stock quotes. That's very crafty--it's a very newspaperish thing to have in there, and papers sometimes don't have any ads on their stock quote pages. Plus, it's free content, so there are no copyright concerns and they don't have to spoof their own content.
I'm not sure if it qualifies as a deceptive business practice, but it sure walks like one and quacks like one. What do you think?