False Advertising Lawyers in Agoura Hills & Westlake Village
Protecting California Consumers from Deception & Misinformation
Under California false advertising laws, companies are prohibited from using deceptive advertising in connection with the sale or dissemination of goods. Companies are allowed to use “puffery” to make somewhat inflated claims about their products. However, they are prohibited from using language that is designed to confuse or mislead consumers.
A company that engages in false or misleading advertising to sell products is in violation of California law. Consumers duped by false advertising may be able to recover monetary damages via filing a false advertising class action lawsuit. They may also force the company to discontinue its deceptive practices.
If you need to hold a company accountable, reach out to our false advertising attorneys in Agoura Hills and Westlake Village. At Bradley/Grombacher, we can help you pursue fair and just compensation if you were illegally deceived.
Deceptive Advertising Definition & Examples
Deceptive advertising refers to a company’s use of false, misleading or confusing statements when promoting a product or service. These advertising practices false claims violate consumer protection laws, which prohibit companies from engaging in unfair business practices to outsell competitors.
Deceptive advertising can include fake sales, false environmental claims, quality deceptions, and bait and switch tactics. Fake sales are a form of deceptive pricing, where a business advertises a “sale” that does not actually provide a discount.
For example, a store may artificially inflate the original price listed on a price tag. This is done with the intention of giving consumers the impression they are receiving a discount. Other stores continuously list certain products at a discounted price, but never offer the item at the so-called “original” price. This means that the “sale” price is the true price of the item.
Some companies attempt to take advantage of consumers’ growing passion for environmental issues. To this end, they will make misleading claims about the eco-friendliness of their products. If a company uses terms like “biodegradable,” “compostable,” or “recycled”, they must be able to back up these claims with scientific evidence.
Advertisers are also prohibited from making unsubstantiated statements or claims about the quality or the origin of a product. Some companies seek to capitalize on consumers’ desire for American-made products. These companies will add a “Made in the USA” label when the products are actually made in a foreign country.
Bait & Switch
In a bait-and-switch scenario, an advertiser will offer an item at a low price in order to entice customers. However, the advertise does not intend to sell the item at the listed price, or at all. According to the Federal Trade Commission, this type of advertising is illegal if “the first contact or interview is secured by deception.”
Failure to Disclose
What a company does not say about their product can be just as deceptive as what they do say. Under the Lanham Act, a statement that is "untrue as a result of the failure to disclose a material fact" is considered false advertising. For example, drug company leaving out several key side effectives of a medication is considered a failure to disclose.
Consumer protection laws are designed to prevent companies from tricking consumers with false, deceptive, or misleading claims about their products. As a consumer, you have certain rights that protect you from companies seeking to take advantage of you.
California offers some of the strongest consumer protection laws in the United States. An experience false advertising lawyer can help you assert those rights. False advertising laws impose penalties on businesses that engage in deceptive advertising or other unfair business practices.
In California, businesses are prohibited from engaging in any deceptive advertising that causes competitors to suffer a financial loss. Companies are also prohibited from advertising products in a manner that is false, misleading, or deceptive.
A company that is found to have violated California false advertising laws may be subject to steep financial penalties. It will also be forced to change the allegedly deceptive labels. A judge may order the company to engage in a corrective advertising campaign.
Suing for False Advertising in California
Consumers who were duped by false advertising may be eligible to file a deceptive marketing class action lawsuit. They may then seek compensation on behalf of other consumers who purchased the product.
To bring a successful claim for false advertising, the plaintiff must prove:
- The business in question knowingly or recklessly misrepresented an objective fact
- Due to this misrepresentation, consumers were encourage to purchase products or services
- Consumers suffered financial harm as a direct result of the false advertising
If a court rules in favor of the plaintiff, or if the company decides to settle, consumers may receive a cash payment or other benefits. Plaintiffs can recieve awards for damages involving financial loss, and the company can be fined by the FTC.