Consumers Complain Performance Spotty – Fewer Channels than Advertised
Wallingford, CT - May 18, 2012 – Better Business Bureau has received hundreds of calls from consumers nationwide inquiring about the Clear-Cast HDTV Antenna.
The product is manufactured by Brilliant Built Technologies, a subsidiary of Universal Media Syndicate, Inc., located in Canton, Ohio.
The company is running large ads that appear in newspapers across the U.S., and sending mailings to residents nationwide offering to eliminate cable and satellite costs completely using the Clear-Cast HDTV Antenna.
The ads and mail campaigns claim the Clear-Cast HDTV antenna “pulls in free over-the-air broadcast signals that the cable and satellite companies get and then re-transmit to you for a hefty charge every month.” According to the company’s advertising, there’s never a monthly bill and buyers receive all the free channels with the Clear-Cast antenna “without having to pay for hundreds of channels you never really watch.”
Recent consumer calls and complaints to BBB express confusion with the company's advertising. Consumers have informed BBB that they are under the impression that they will receive 953 channels as opposed to 953 shows as the ads claim. Consumers should be aware they may receive up to 53 channels depending on where they live, and that 953 is only the potential number of shows available.
In November, 2011 BBB contacted the company about its advertising and challenged several claims that appear in the ads. A BBB Ad Review Committee conducted a secondary advertising challenge on the Clear-Cast HDTV Digital Antenna and determined that compliance issues had not been resolved. BBB’s concerns included the use of the word "free", the company's claims of advanced technology and comparison of its product to cable or satellite TV services. BBB also voiced additional concerns that referenced the company's implied government affiliation and overall impression of the ad.
BBB’s position is that the misleading advertising is deliberate, that the company is in not in compliance with Better Business Bureau’s Code of Advertising and that these issues are serious enough in nature for the company to receive an” F” rating in its BBB Business Review, the lowest rating possible.
The company met with BBB in January and April to discuss additional changes and/or provide substantiation regarding the Clear-Cast Digital HDTV’s claims. The company provided BBB with Clear-Cast Digital HDTVs antennas for testing by BBB staff. BBB found that the product does provide some channels without cable or satellite connections. However, after testing, BBB found it did not perform as claimed in the marketing material. In addition, BBB consumer inquiries indicate that because the advertising headline claims that buyers can eliminate cable or satellite bills, consumers are under the impression they will receive the same type of channel selection as with their current provider. BBB found is the Clear-Cast system falls short of that claim.
Consumers continue to contact BBB stating they are also confused as to what they are actually getting for their money. BBB’s research found that 90% of callers, surveyed are under the impression that they will receive 953 "channels", when in fact the statement says "953 Free shows each year"
When considering using TV antennas versus cable or satellite TV, BBB recommends reminds consumers that:
- Location is everything. If you live in a valley or rural area, you will have fewer channels available to you than others who live within a 40 mile radius of a TV station.
- You will not receive all the same channels and programming as your cable or satellite TV packages.
- Different types of antennas provide different results. You can view all your options through the FCC’s website at http://www.fcc.gov/guides/antennas-and-digital-television.
- Make sure you are aware of return and exchange policies before making a purchase.
- Do not fall victim to sense of urgency claims - Make sure you research any product before buying.
Contact BBB to check out any business before purchasing a product or service at http://www.bbb.org