Do Companies Lie to Retain Customers?


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You likely already know the answer to our title question. The short answer is “Yes, companies lie to retain customers.”  Companies, after all, are groups of individuals who are perfectly flawed just like the rest of us. Some companies may attract more liars than truth tellers and some companies may provide an environment more conducive to telling lies than truths. Other companies – many many of them – provide systems and standards to allow all employees to tell the truth at all times.  Or else.  Both lying companies and companies telling the truth want to retain the customer.

I am not going to write about how to know if a company is lying or not. Instead, I want to step back and look at what’s happened over the last several decades to help us decide if a company is lying or not.

Since the early 1900’s the Better Business Bureau has worked to root out those businesses who are treating customers unfairly while at the same time applauding companies which continually please their customers. For decades it was the only non-governmental watchdog we consumers had working for us. The Federal Trade Commission was established around the same time and it too had consumer protection as one of its missions. It has policymaking and law enforcement authority to keep any company on the straight and narrow. So they say. They are extremely busy, especially since the World Wide Web opened its portals to the world.

Consumer Reports was founded as an independent source for reviewing products that are mass-produced for a hungry public. Consumer Reports reviews are still proliferating today. The Consumer Product Safety Commission was commissioned by our own fair U.S. government to be a watchdog on safety issues that may be harmful to voters, er, citizens. Then there’s the Environmental Protection Agency that is charged to protect the voters, er, citizens from companies who may not be telling the truth about harms they are imposing on our environment.

Online there are so many websites focused solely on identifying companies that lie. In fact, are these websites telling the truth? Just to name a few:


Consumer Digest
Consumer Guide
Angie’s List
Safer Products

In many instances, all these websites include opinions from people who are not telling the truth about companies. How do we know who is lying and who is telling the truth? In Google, type in “companies that lie” and you’ll get pages and pages of opinions about companies that lie. Are these bloggers/writers telling the truth? Who is really doing the lying?

Back to our issue about whether or not companies lie to retain customers. Yes, some do. Because of the Internet, we have more resources to ferret out information on the conduct of most any company we want to do business with. Because of the Internet, we will find other people telling lies about companies that may be truthful after all.

I have no conclusion to this question, only that people are still working hard to provide quality services and products under a completely ethical framework while other companies are stooping to low levels to make a buck and retain customers. I suspect this type of behavior will continue on until….. Until what?

Darcie Davis
A career focused on finding the factors that inspire customer/client retention was shaped from, often naively, relentlessly asking questions. I am the founder of HUDDLE Sessions for Women which offer pop-up advisory boards.


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