Better Business Bureau of Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties has been receiving phone calls today about the Clear Cast HDTV Antenna made by Brilliant Built Technologies of Canton, Ohio. The company has placed full page advertisements in a local newspaper advertising an HDTV antenna that could replace a consumer’s cable or satellite service.
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.”
The Canton BBB has given Brilliant Built Technologies a BBB Grade of a F, due to a pattern of complaints indicating the product does not perform as advertised and consumer refunds were not being received in a timely manner. The Canton BBB has received 122 complaints in the past 12 month period, with a majority of complaints regarding Sales and Refund Issues.
Consumers should understand that Clear Cast is a digital indoor antenna. The company claims this product can increase VHF and UHF band transmission. According to the company the function of Clear Cast is to utilize digital broadcasting technology for digitally equipped televisions. In order for consumers to receive "over-the-air" broadcasting and for those who are not equipped the company offers a converter box at a separate cost. Consumers should not compare the Clear Cast antenna to cable or satellite because it is not a cable or satellite service.
The Canton BBB has contacted the company regarding their advertisement and has challenged several claims that appear in the newspaper advertisements. 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.
The company has added disclosures that outline and explain what the consumers are actually receiving, however, the overall impression of the ad has a different implication.
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 close to a TV station.
- You will not receive all the same channels and programming as your cable or satellite TV packages.
- Different types of antenna’s provide different results; you can view all your options through the FCC’s website at 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 bbb.org.