Romani, Simona (2006) Price misleading advertising: effects on trustworthiness toward the source of information and willingness to buy. Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 15 (2), p. 130-138. ISSN 1061-0421. Article.
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Purpose – The aim of the research reported is to investigate consumers'reactions to advertisements containing misleading information on price. The underlying thesis is that such advertising generates negative consumer reactions in terms of attitude and intention and that these are heightened in the presence of suspicion.
Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative study was employed to identify the most frequently used misleading price communication strategies in Italy, and subsequently, an experimental study examined consumer response to a selection of advertisements that rely on these.
Findings – The qualitative study allows for the development of a typology of eight different misleading price communication practices which includes those based on the provision of purely false information alongside those employing an unclear or incomplete application of complex price communication strategies. The experimental study reveals that, when price information is communicated using misleading practices, consumers develop lower levels of trustworthiness toward the source of information as well as willingness to buy. Furthermore, these effects are heightened in the presence of suspicion.
Research limitations/implications – These results provide evidence that consumers may react unfavourably to misleading price information. In addition, the research demonstrates that this negative response is greater for suspicious rather than non-suspicious consumers.
Originality/value – The paper contributes to the growing body of literature that demonstrates consumers' negative reactions to unclear and incomplete price information generated by the misleading usage of complex price communication strategies.
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