While the law requires clear, non-deceptive advertising, it doesn’t mean that every statement the advertiser makes must be true. You can avoid false advertising by making sure every claim is substantiated by the facts.
One of the most common false advertising claims that most marketers fall victim to is the claim that a product or service is better than it actually is. You can avoid false advertising from being uncovered by using the following strategies:
Testimonials and customer opinions are powerful tools for building product and service credibility. You can find customers to vouch for your products and services by looking for testimonials on Google, social media, forums, and other online sources.
2. Product reviews.
Most product reviews are neutral; however, some are positive, some are negative, and some are neutral. Avoid sounding like a robot by giving honest reviews when possible, but avoid sounding like a pushy salesperson by giving neutral reviews when possible.
3. Direct comparisons with competitors.
To avoid being caught as a false advertiser, make sure that your competitors are not the ones selling your product or service.
4. Product comparisons.
If you make product comparisons, you may be accused of false advertising because you are trying to sell your product even if it doesn’t meet your own standards.
5. Exclusivity claims.
Exclusive claims can be used to avoid false advertising if you are trying to build a competitive advantage for your product or service.
6. Claims that competitors make.
If you have competitors, you can avoid false advertising by making sure that you don’t make false advertising claims about them.
7. Claims that can’t be proven.
You can avoid false advertising claims by avoiding statements that can’t be proven, such as claims that you can make a profit by selling your product or service.
8. Claims that have a high probability of being false.
While the probability of a false advertising claim can be low, the chance of it being a false claim is still high. The best way to avoid false advertising claims is to be on the lookout for them in the first place.
False Advertising Laws
There are laws that make it illegal to make false advertising claims. While the definition of false advertising is quite broad, there are laws that govern this practice.
The Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA)
The UDTPA is a federal law that prohibits false and misleading advertising. The law provides that any person who makes misleading, deceptive, or untrue statements of material fact about goods or services is guilty of a federal offense and subject to a maximum jail sentence of one year.
The Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA)
The FTCA is a law that prohibits deceptive advertising practices on the part of companies and individuals. This law provides for penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, and a maximum fine of up to $1,000,000 per violation. Both the UDTPA and the FTCA give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) authority to investigate and enforce violations.
The Federal Trade Commission Consumer Protection Act (FTC-CPA)
The FTC-CPA is a law that regulates deceptive advertising practices. The FTC-CPA provides for fines of up to $10,000 per violation. The FTC can issue a cease-and-desist order to stop the sale of a product or service.
The Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPCPA)
The CPCPA contains a section that makes it illegal to disclose personal information for commercial purposes without permission. If a company does not obtain the consumer’s permission before disclosing personal information, it is considered a deceptive advertising practice.
The Federal Trade Commission Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act (FTC-CFAA)
The FTC-CFAA is a law that prohibits deceptive advertising practices. If you violate the terms of this law, you can be fined up to $10,000 per violation.
The Anti-Fraud and Abuse Act (AFAA)
The AFAA is a law that provides that a practice can be considered deceptive if the practice is likely to mislead the public into believing the truth. The law provides for criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The Unlawful Internet Practices Act (UIPA)
The UIPA is a law that prohibits companies from engaging in deceptive or unfair practices in the online marketing environment. A deceptive practice is defined by the UIPA as a deceptive act or practice in the conduct of trade or commerce.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The CCPA is a law that regulates companies that collect consumer information and provide it to third parties, and prohibits the wrongful use or disclosure of personal information.
The California False Advertising and Unfair Competition Law (CFACL)
The CFACL is a law that prohibits fraudulent advertising. To be considered a fraudulent practice, the practice must likely mislead the public.
The California Unfair Competition Law (CUL)
The CUL is a law that prohibits unfair competition, and makes it illegal for any person to engage in unfair competition in any manner.
The California False Advertising Law (CFAL)
The CFAL is a law that prohibits false advertising. This law makes it illegal to use any deceptive advertising practices in the course of promoting a product or service.
The Federal False Advertising Act
The Federal False Advertising Act (FADA) is a law that prohibits false or misleading advertising. This law provides for fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
The Federal Trade Commission Act
The FTC Act is a law that regulates the business practices of companies, including the practice of making false or misleading statements. Violations of this law can result in a fine of up to $40,000 per violation.
The California False Advertising Law
The CFAL is a California law that defines deceptive advertising practices. Violations of this law can result in a maximum fine of $500.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC is a federal agency that protects consumers against unfair and deceptive business practices and false and misleading advertising. The FTC can issue an order against a company that violates the FTCA.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Inspector General (OIG)
The OIG is an agency within the FTC that investigates and reports on violations of the FTC Act as well as other federal legislation.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection Division
The Consumer Protection Division is the division within the FTC that regulates the practices of the business community. It monitors industry practices and investigates complaints about unfair and deceptive practices.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Services Bureau
The Consumer Services Bureau is an agency within the FTC that is responsible for consumer policy. It promotes consumer protection by encouraging the use of the FTC Act to enforce its rules.
Federal Trade Commission’s General Information
To find out more about the FTC, go to www.ftc.gov and click on the “How It Works” link.
What is a deceptive advertising practice?
A deceptive advertising practice is a type of unfair or deceptive business act that can potentially harm the consumer.
Examples of deceptive advertising practices include:
- Misrepresenting: Any act that results in the creation of a false or misleading impression regarding the nature, characteristics, qualities, or uses of a product or service.
- Deceptive: Any act that is likely to mislead, confuse or deceive consumers.
What is a deceptive practice?
A deceptive practice is a type of unfair or deceptive business act that can potentially harm the consumer.
Examples of deceptive practices include:
- False advertising: Any act that creates a false or misleading impression regarding the nature, characteristics, qualities, or uses of a product or service.
- Deceptive advertising: Any act that is likely to mislead, confuse or deceive consumers.
How can I stop a deceptive advertising practice?
To stop your company or yourself from engaging in a deceptive advertising practice, call the FTC Consumer Complaint Center at 8883824357 or visit www.ftc.gov/occ.
FTC Consumer Complaint Center
The FTC Consumer Complaint Center (CCC) is a 24hour toll-free number that provides consumer service for the FTC. The contact information listed for the FTC is the same contact information as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC Consumer Complaint Center is responsible for investigating and resolving consumer complaints against companies that violate the FTCA.
If you have a complaint about a business, you can submit a complaint by filling out the FTC online complaint form.
The FTC will investigate your complaint. If the FTC determines there is a violation of the FTC Act, it will issue a cease-and-desist order.
In order to obtain a cease-and-desist order, you must provide proof that the company has committed the violation. You can submit the complaint to the FTC by following these steps:
- Call the FTC Consumer Complaint Center at 8883824357 or visit www.ftc.gov/custcont.
- Fill out the FTC complaint form.
- Submit the completed FTC complaint form to the FTC.
The bottom line
Consumers are constantly being exposed to advertisements. So much so that many people become desensitized to the advertisements. That is why you should always watch out for advertising practices when you begin your search for a new car or home.
If you do not review the advertisements, you may unknowingly become a victim of one of the more common deceptive advertising practices. If you become a victim of a deceptive advertising practice, the FTC will help you deal with the company that is responsible.
Remember, if the FTC determines there are violations of the FTCA, the company will be ordered to stop acting in a deceptive manner. The FTC will also go after any company that engages in false advertising practices.
If you do not want to become a victim of a deceptive advertising practice, you should always be wary of what you are being exposed to all of the time.
If you have questions about what is and is not considered a deceptive advertising practice, you should always have a good understanding of what the FTC is trying to protect the consumer. When you understand the FTC, it is easier to identify any potential problems before they occur.
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