U.S. moves to correct its own ads

October 29, 1992|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- When Marilyn Fettles, of Del Velle, Texas, saw an advertisement for $44 jeeps seized by the government, she naturally was curious.

But when she called the phone number listed in the ad, a recorded message told her it would cost almost as much as the jeep to find out where to buy it. So she wrote the federal Consumer Information Center to check out the deal.

Ms. Fettles was told by the information center that the $44 bargain was really a 2,000-pound piece of mangled scrap metal deemed unsafe for use.

Many others have not been so lucky. Consumer agency experts say consumers lose some $40 billion a year to such fraudulent promotions.

In a move to curb such scams, the U.S. General Services Administration has launched a campaign to warn the public about misleading government sales ads.

GSA Administrator Richard G. Austin said yesterday that his agency will provide consumers with free federal sales guides that give honest information about surplus materials.

For your copy of the guide write to Federal Sales Guide, Pueblo, Colo., 81009.

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