Photo Heather Kennedy [CC BY 2.0] via Flikr
Photo by Heather Kennedy [CC BY 2.0] via Flikr
In the last minute shopping frenzy, it’s a good time for retailers and manufacturers to make sure  shoppers are told what they need to purchase separately to make a product go.  Recently CARU recommended that Conair add an audio disclosure to its Quick Twist braiding tool that batteries needed to be purchased separately.  The ad had a written text disclosure but in television advertising to kids, CARU’s guidelines puts a heavy emphasis on audio disclosures in language younger audiences can understand.  (Although frankly, the reminder to buy batteries is really for the adult purchaser!)  Although this “batteries not included” disclosure is an oldie but a goodie, CARU still brings a few cases a year when marketers forget, such as here and here.  These disclosures are not just kid stuff, in the electronic age, NAD has also looked at disclosures regarding separate purchases of memory cards.  This is even an area of periodic FTC enforcement, such as the consent order involving Palm where there was a failure to disclose one needed to purchase a modem (remember those?) separately to access the web).  While such disclosure is primarily the responsibility of a marketer, retailers at this time of year stand to profit by reminding consumers of such additional purchase requirements and so may provide back-up assistance.  While a small but important legal issue, the bigger problem is disappointed customers – gift givers and receivers alike that cannot enjoy the present because of a failure to purchase everything needed to make it work.  If you find yourself aware of a failure to disclosure such details, don’t wait for CARU or NAD to come knocking, consider proactively setting up customer service teams to handle complaints and be prepared to try to make disappointed buyers whole for their inconvenience.