Despite being a violation of state and federal law, false advertising is ubiquitous. It seems like every business, large and small, has engaged in this sort of deception at some point in its operation. Indeed, false advertising is one of the most common sorts of lawsuits seen in California and elsewhere in the United States. But before you, too, file a lawsuit, you should understand when you can sue a false advertiser and on what grounds. If you would like more information on this subject, please read on, then contact an experienced Los Angeles, California false advertising lawyer today.
Can a business be sued for false advertising?
False advertising is illegal. Federally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can bring a criminal suit against a company for false advertising. In California, the state attorney general may bring a civil suit against companies who violate California Business and Professions Code 17500, which prohibits false and misleading advertising.
In short, yes, you can sue for false advertising, so long as you follow the Golden State’s specific laws.
What constitutes false advertising in California?
False or misleading advertising may take one of many forms. The following are just some of the most common examples that a skilled California consumer lawyer will see in the course of his or her career:
- Failure to disclose certain information about a product
- Pressuring prospective customers into purchasing a product
- “Bait and switch” advertising tactics
- Hidden fees
- Artificially inflating prices, making prospective customers think they are getting a great deal when, in fact, they are not
- Contracts that include deceptive components in the “fine print”
A restaurant advertising its food as “The Best in Town” does not, in itself, constitute false advertising. It is simply a subjective opinion. However, if the restaurant claimed that the local newspaper named it “The Best Place in Town” when it received no such award, that may constitute false advertising, because it is an inaccurate representation of an objective fact.
How do you prove false advertising?
All false advertising claims are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The parties and the court will pay close attention to the precise representation made by the business or organization. In order to bring a successful false advertising lawsuit, you, the plaintiff, and your highly qualified lawyer will need to prove the following:
- The business, or defendant, knowingly or recklessly misrepresented an objective fact
- In reliance of the misrepresentation or omission, the plaintiff purchased a product or service
- The plaintiff suffered actual financial harm as a consequence of false advertising
If you have any further questions, please reach out to our legal team today.
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