Well, Hugh said it very succinctly (see post below), but over at Fast Company, Karen Post takes a closer look at “Lying, Cheating Brands”:
Deception in promotional programs, communications, advertising, and customer service pollutes the entire market. Consistent integrity, not shady tactics, is the glue that bonds a brand to a consumer.
If you are employing any of these deceptive practices, you may have an integrity problem that is certain to eat away at your previously-earned brand equity. And if you don’t believe this is a real problem today, just search for consumer complaints Web sites or blogs and see what you find.
Credit card companies and financial institutions seem to be some of the biggest contributors to this epidemic. My bank, a big, national company, sends me an offer for a free companion plane ticket if I charge $250.00 on my credit card. Cool. So I charge away and try to redeem my reward. Turns out, after numerous conversations with the redemption company, that to get the free ticket you must buy a full-fare, unrestricted ticket, which costs three times the price of what most would spend on that ticket. Is that how you would treat a loyal friend?