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Children's TV watchdog files formal ad complaint

Action for Children's Television filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Tomy Corporation, charging deceptive and unfair advertising practices in certain commercials promoting one of its products. Two commercials show children playing with a completely furnished dollhouse and a doll family. The product, identified as the Smaller Home and Garden Deluxe Set, is exhibited with an array of furniture, while an announcer promises "all this plus other pieces."

An ACT survey of toy stores found no single product sold as the Smaller Home and Garden Deluxe Set. Available is an empty dollhouse (selling for $32.88 to $ 40), four separate sets of furniture, a set of plants, additional pieces of furniture and accessories (each sold separately), and a family of four dolls. For a child to have the toy as it is shown in the commercial, all the other items must be purchased separately for a total ranging from $110 to $150, ACT said.

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Tomy is the first manufacturer cited by ACT in a case-by-case campaign against deceptive children's ads.