They say you should never trust anyone. This is also true with businesses… but we already knew that, right? Wrong. Because it seems that no matter how many times people and businesses have let us down, we’re still willing to shop online and spend on companies that have been caught lying to us again and again. If the following fake products don’t make a healthy skeptic out of you, then nothing will.
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, which is exactly what sold this room.
Who can resist staying in one that promises a near floor-to-ceiling view? A view of what, you ask? Why, of curtains… obviously. And one intelligently positioned air conditioning unit which blocked the wall beneath the window.
Tricky Milkshake Glass
Dieters rejoice! You can drink milkshake to your heart’s content because they don’t really contain as many calories as fitness buffs swear they do. In fact, as this picture shows, they don’t really contain much of anything at all!
Those glasses are the real trick here.
Hear me out on this one, because it’s shocking and proves can’t trust car companies either. Also called “Emissionsgate” or “Dieselgate,” the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal broke out in 2008. Because of VW’s reputation, however, and because their association with the former Nazi regime is well in the past, they got away with it till 2015.
VW had created a turbocharged direct injection -Or, TDI – diesel engine they claimed was environmentally friendly because it produced far less noxious gasses like nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide than their competitors.
Turns out that the TDI was fitted with a ‘defeat device’ which was programmed to detect when a car was being subjected to lab testing so that it could reduce the amount the car would pollute for the test. When not being tested, however, the cars actually belched out emissions up to 14 times higher than had been claimed, as identified by a report on “real world” tests commissioned by the UK Government published in April of 2016. This meant every vehicle in the test exceeded the legal limit of nitrogen oxide emissions.
It was the US Environmental Protection Agency who caught them over this fake product, however, after a trail of lies, of course.
Not only did VW have to fork over US$18.31 billion in lawsuits, but it also showed the world that all that hype about diesel being cleaner was a bunch of gas. Not only did they lie to customers – many of which bought the cars only because they were claimed to be more environmentally friendly – this has also led to a million tonnes of extra pollution which according to an MIT study, will shorten thousands of lives.
Ricolino is a Mexican candy company that attempted to make emoji icon ice creams in 2016 and put their own spin on it, apparently.
That, or they have a strange sense of humor, which includes disappointing children. And, if you thought that was bad, then how about this.
It looks more akin to a gherkin than a chocolate winter girl.
Now for a toy that sucks. Marvel sells Spiderman figures which you’re supposed to put in water to make them grow. Either something went wrong in production and quality control or this one got bitten by a radioactive spider.
Or they could have soaked it in steroids.
Here’s a classic fake product.
The Radioendocrinator was first sold in 1924 and produced by the American Endocrine Laboratories because they knew next to nothing about radium and thorium back then. In case you don’t either, they’re radioactive.
It was a small gold box that sold for $150 – $2,137.49 in today’s values. Gentlemen were supposed to put it on their balls to cure impotence. It even came with a strap to keep it in place – a very bad idea.
The company finally stopped producing these in 1929, but not because they finally understood what it did. They stopped because they could no longer produce them in mass quantities.
We have no testimonies of its effects, but its inventor, William J. A. Bailey died in 1949 of bladder cancer. In 1969, they exhumed his body and did an autopsy. The official report? He was “ravaged by radiation.” So, rather than curing impotence, the device actively killed off its customers…
In case you can’t read Russian, those letters in green mean “With Broccoli.” Here’s what’s inside.
To be fair, broccoli as a singular is the same as a plural in both English and Russian. So technically, they weren’t lying… much.
Not So Jam Packed
‘Fresh to Go’ supplies 7-Eleven stores, but they must have been affected by the Global Economic Crisis, as well. So how do they cope? By cutting corners and putting the filling in only half the sandwich – just enough to fall you into believing its jam-packed, only to feel completely disappointed upon eating it.
Vibram’s Five Fingers Shoes
Vibram marketed their Five Fingers shoes in 2005 as an alternative to being barefoot. The aim was to help people “move around in nature better.” They’d have been fine if they stopped there, but they didn’t.
Because Vibram also claimed that their Five Fingers could decrease the risk of ankle sprain and plantar fasciitis – a disorder that causes pain in the heel and bottom of the feet.
But they still didn’t stop there. They also insisted that it improves posture, stimulates neural function related to balance and agility, etc.
They lied, of course. After several people bought into this fake product but failed to see its healing effects, Vibram had to fork out over $3.75 million in lawsuits. Just goes to show what happens when you give some people enough rope.
Rogue Bocce Ball
In case you don’t know what a bocce ball is, they’re used in a game originally invented in Italy.
It’s like playing marbles – only with bigger balls called bocce. So what are they made of? In this particular case, a bunch of billiard balls and concrete, apparently.
At least they recycled I guess, but surely the different weights will make it roll abnormally. But that’s not the main issue here. We need to send the monster who did this to a pregnant bocce to jail!
Mermaid blankets became a rage in 2016. How better to live out childhood fantasies of being a one-legged freak that lives in the water while keeping your legs warm? When ordering them online, however, buyers should beware – unless you like being a one-legged freak with two toes.
Balloons that conform to cute shapes like hearts of a mouse? Sounds amazing! Or so, some unfortunate people thought on valentine’s day. Turns out all they ended up buying were a few mutant balloons that don’t do a great job at expressing love.
Skechers Toning Shoes
Vibram’s aren’t the only ones to have gone overboard with their marketing. Skechers claimed that their series of Toning Shoes could make you sexy, just by wearing them. Their “Shape Ups” style showed women putting them on and turning into gorgeous supermodels – just like Cinderella, but without the evil stepsisters, the time limit, and the fairy godmother!
Taking it a step further, they even insisted it tones muscles, helps with weight loss, and improves cardiovascular health. With ads like “Shape Up While You Walk” and “Get in Shape Without Setting Foot in a Gym,” who could possibly resist?
The Federal Trade Commission did, apparently. In 2012 they accused Skechers of “overhyped advertising claims” and ordered the company to cough up a $40 million settlement. Unfortunately, it also means you really do need to go to the gym.
Findus Horse Meat
Ever wondered what goes into mystery meat? Hint: it has four legs, whinnies, and is a vital stage prop for any Western flick. If you still can’t guess, prepare to be amazed.
Findus, a frozen food brand owned by Nomad Foods, decided to test how far people would go, apparently, because they began selling horse meat. Not that they admitted it, of course.
They instead sold beef and chicken pies, or so they said. At least till February 2013 when it was discovered that they were selling horsemeat, instead. But it didn’t stop there. For Muslims and Jews, they offered beef burgers, but DNA sampling found that 23 out of 27 samples in British supermarkets contained pork.
That cost Findus over $100 million to settle, but they’ve never recovered. In 2016, they announced plans to rebrand their company name.
Misleading Kellog’s Products
If you can’t trust Kellog’s who can you trust? In 2009, the world went into swine flu panic. Fortunately, Kellogg’s came to the rescue with its Rice Krispies and Cocoa Krispies cereal. The tagline on each box swore: “Now Helps Support Your Child’s IMMUNITY.”
Panic-profiteering much? But wait, there’s more. The Federal Trade Commission first filed a case against Kellogg’s in 2008 for exaggerating the health benefits of their candy-in-milk products. Kellogg’s apologized, paid $4 million then made a new ad claiming their Frosted Mini-Wheats improved children’s attentiveness and memory by up to 20%.
That annoyed the FTC so much that Kellogg’s was forced to refund customers. Then came the swine flu epidemic the following year, and they came up with the immunity fake product– costing Kellogg’s another $5 million.
Class of Expectations
Samuel Huntington first coined the phrase: “A clash of cultures.” How’s about a clash of expectations? Ordering online is always a risk, but that risk goes up when ordering from China.
Sure, it’ll always be cheaper, but there’s also a good reason for it.
Doll House Rug
“Buyer beware” is one thing, but how about buyers also check specifications and read the listing more carefully? Adam Hess ordered a “Rug Carpet Embroidered” for his room, but didn’t bother to read that part on the Amazon listing that said: “Dolls House Miniature Rug Carpet.”
Q Ray Bracelets
According to their website, these bracelets are a modern miracle. Using traditional Chinese medicine and modern technology, wearing one of these will improve your well-being, boost your strength, and improve your health! And they’ve been doing so since the 1970s! Just ask all the professional athletes and sporting clubs that swear by them!
U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook disagreed in January 2008, however, and slapped them with a $16 million lawsuit. That doesn’t include the $87 million refund they have to pay to gullible customers, by the way.
“But the bracelets are ionized!” claimed Que Te Park, the company’s owner. So CBC Marketplace took one to a lab for analysis. Surprisingly, they weren’t.
Despite filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the ruling, their website’s still up and running as of April 2019. Admittedly, they’re now careful to add that “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
Need to put even less but can’t afford to change your packaging? No problem. Use the Donut Maneuver.
Simply pad the sides of your transparent packaging to make it look full. The empty area in the middle of this fake product is a nice representation of the fat profit you’ll get by giving your customer a little less product.
Halloumi & Roasted Pepper
Waitrose is a British company with an “upmarket” reputation. They’re famous for their sandwiches, and given their reputation, they should be trustworthy, right? Suggestion: stay away from their Halloumi & Roasted Pepper if you want enough nutrition to last you an hour.
Kellog’s 2 Scoops of Raisins
And so we come back to Kellog’s – our favorite makers of candy-in-milk. Their Jumbo Two Scoops Raisin Bran promises that each box contains… well, two scoops of raisins. The box even shows 2 scoops, but it’s a shame that when you measure it all out, its only one spoonful.
In case you can’t read Chinese characters, the two yellow ones on the left mean “Head included.” That’s great if you want to make a Malaysian shrimp head stew called Otak-Otak. Thank goodness their packaging makes that clear, and those shrimps look so long and juicy – what a deal. Oh, wait…
Depressing, huh? Which fake product upset you the most? Let me know in the comments section down below. Thanks for reading!