“We wouldn’t have so many customers, if we would continuously mislead them”

Was the response of the CEO of Booking.com to the question whether having paid results mislead customers of his site. The statement was made in the Tagesanzeiger, a Swiss news paper. By postulating what we are trying to prove, namely that  we’re not misleading, we have an example of:

Technique: “Postulate what has to be proved”, the circular argument, number 6.

“If we mislead customers, they don’t come back to our site to make a booking. We have 1.2 million bookings a day, so we aren’t misleading our customers.” Clearly, some customers must be coming back, whatever the reason. Maybe this is the only site, maybe the largest site, maybe they’re the cheapest, who knows.

The word “continuously” admits the question of the interviewer, it does mislead to pay for a better place in the results. Here, a subtle distinction is made, number 17. The argument of the CEO goes as follows:  “We only do it in some cases, not in all cases, and the customers do come back, so it is all-right.”

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