Deceptive advertising, or false advertising, is any type of advertising that is false, misleading, or has the effect of deceiving consumers. An ad can be deceptive in many aspects, including:
- Price of a product
- Quantity of a product
- The quality or standard of the item
- Times, dates, and locations that the product is available
- Information regarding warranties
- False facts regarding deals or sales
- Confusion over interest rates or other factors
Under state and federal laws, advertising may be considered deceptive even if the creator of the ad didn’t intend for it to be so. That is, a deceptive advertising claim can be raised even if the ad contained a mistake.
Some penalties and consequences for deceptive advertising include:
- Legal damages for losses caused to a consumer
- Refund or exchange of a product
- Public recall of a product (especially in cases where there is a defect with the product)
- Injunction to have the ad removed or replaced
- Civil fines
In many cases, these types of claims are handled and investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Special laws exist depending on the type of product or service being rendered. For instance, there are very specific laws that govern advertising for professionals such as doctors and lawyers.
If you need to file a claim for false advertising or deceptive trade practices, you should keep all documents related to the claim. This may include receipts, purchase orders, and a copy of the ad in question if possible. You should also be sure to make a written account of how the advertisement affected your judgment, and include an estimation of the losses you received. These can help serve as evidence in an upcoming trial and may be useful if an attorney needs to review your case.
Deceptive advertising causes large amounts of economic losses each year. You may wish to hire a business lawyer if you need help investigating a deceptive advertising claim. Your attorney can provide you with assistance if you need to file a claim with the court. Also, your lawyer can review your case and determine what your rights and options are in your particular situation.