What is False Advertising?
False advertising is intentionally deceiving the customer or client about a certain product in order to profit from the resulting deception. Businesses are expected to create advertisements and pitches that are truthful to the product or service’s nature. However, if the results of their ads are false and are potentially harmful for the client, this could lead to a lawsuit.
As a business, make sure that your advertisements and products or services are easy to understand, but are specific about the results customers can expect, in order to avoid confusion.
For example, let’s take a fictional fitness company called Ripped Edge and pretend they developed a new exercise device for their customers. They created a commercial to advertise the device, with real clients giving testimony on their transformations. Later, Ripped Edge is sued for false advertising by a customer who did not get the same results as seen with the testimonials. Ripped Edge ended up winning the lawsuit because it was revealed that the customer had not been using the device correctly or following the instructions, and so there were no changes to their physique.
Tricks to Look Out For
For potential customers or clients, there are certain scenarios you should watch out for when investing in a new product or service. For businesses, it may be favorable to see the examples below in order to avoid these mix-ups in claims.
Deceptive Pricing and False Sales
It’s perfectly fine for a business to advertise low prices for items. However, it’s important that you are actually offering a lower price than the established sale price. If you are selling a video game for $40, you need to check that the price is accurate as the established sale price. If the true price is only $30, then that business could be liable for false advertising.
Another form of deceptive pricing are false “sales.” Let’s say you plan on selling boots that are priced at $20. You initially advertise the boots as priced at $50, and then later hold a sale where the boots are 50% off. Now at $25 per pair of boots, you make an extra $5 profit per pair, but this is not a true sale since the discount is not applied to the established price. Be careful of this, as it can not only be grounds for false advertising, but your business could suffer as a result.
Another situation like the sales example is the act of luring customers in by advertising a sale or discount and then not honoring that statement. For example, if an electronics store advertises 50% off all of their video games, but then charges full price for the games, this is false advertising. Similarly, if the same store is advertising that computers are 50% off, but in-store it’s actually only the motherboard that’s half-price, this also falls under bait-and-switch.
Defaming the Competition
Purposely defaming your competitors is not only in bad taste if your claims are false, but can be unlawful depending on if the facts are true or not. This can fall under False Advertising and Unfair Trade Practices. If one cereal brand declares that they are healthier than another brand, they need to have the evidence to back up that statement.
Contact Us for Questions on False Advertising
If you are being accused of false advertising or feel you are a victim of false advertising, consult us at Hammond Law Firm in New Orleans, LA before confronting the source. Our professional and experienced lawyers can guide you down the correct legal path, answer your questions, or assist in determining if the false advertising claims hold weight.