May 16, 2012 – Roanoke, VA – The BBB Serving Western Virginia has received numerous calls from consumers 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 advertorial ads that appear in newspapers across the U.S. and mailing to residents nationwide offering to eliminate cable and satellite costs completely using the Clear-Cast HDTV Antennae.
The ads and mailings 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…there’s never a monthly bill, you get all the free channels with Clear-Cast and you won’t pay for hundreds of channels you never really watch.”
Recent consumer calls and complaints to the BBB express confusion with the company's advertisement. Consumers have informed the BBB that they are under the impression that they will receive 953 channels as opposed to 953 shows as the ad claims. Consumers should be aware they could receive up to 53 channels depending on the area they live, and that 953 is the possible number of shows available.
In November, 2011 the Canton, Ohio BBB contacted the company regarding their advertising and conducted a challenge of several claims that appear in the ad. The BBB Ad Review Committee conducted a secondary advertising challenge on Clear-Cast HDTV Digital Antenna and determined that all matters of compliance were not resolved. The BBB’s concerns included the use of the word "free", the company's claims of advanced technology and the company's comparison to cable or satellite. The BBB also voiced additional concerns that referenced the company's implied government affiliation and overall impression of the ad. The BBB feels these types of misleading advertising is purposeful and do not feel the company is in compliance with BBB Code of Advertising and are serious enough in nature for the company to receive an” F” rating with the BBB, the lowest rating possible.
The company met with the Canton, Ohio BBB in January and April to discuss additional changes and/or provide substantiation regarding the Clear-Cast Digital HDTV. The company provided the BBB with Clear-Cast Digital HDTV antennas to be tested by BBB staff. The Canton BBB found that the product does provide some channels without cable or satellite connections. However; after testing the product the BBB found it did not perform as it is claimed in the ad. Additionally, BBB inquiries indicate that because the headline claims that consumers can eliminate cable or satellite bills, consumers are under the impression they will receive the same type of channeling as with their current provider, which the BBB found is not the case. Consumers continue to contact BBB and state they are also confused as to what they are actually getting. The 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 antenna’s versus cable or satellite TV the BBB recommends the following:
· 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 antennae’s 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 the BBB to check out any business before purchasing a product or service at http://www.bbb.org. If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BBB_WesternVA.