Can You Sue a Company for False Advertising?
As a consumer, you rely on companies to properly represent their products and services.
Unfortunately, not every company plays by the rules in their marketing and advertising practices. Some businesses choose to use false or misleading advertising to get more people interested in what they’re selling.
And when a company violates that trust, buyers suffer negative consequences. At best, buying a falsely advertised product can result in a loss of money — and at worst, it can cause serious injury or even death to consumers.
Government and state statutes stop companies from making false claims in their marketing and advertising. As a result, consumers have legal rights and protections.
If you paid for a product or service that was falsely or improperly advertised, you can hold the offending company accountable through a misleading advertising lawsuit. If you successfully prove your claims, you could receive financial compensation.
Because false and misleading advertising is targeted at large groups of consumers at once, affected customers often join forces in class action lawsuits against the responsible company. This gives customers plaintiffs strength in numbers and can make it easier to prove the true level of impact of a company’s irresponsible marketing practices.
If you purchased a product or service based on deceptive advertising practices, our award-winning class action lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm want to help. Call us at (800) 501-3011 for your FREE consultation or use our online form.
Is False Advertising Against the Law?
Yes, there are laws that forbid companies from misleading consumers with deceptive product labels or false advertisements. An attorney can help you determine the laws under which you can file a false advertising lawsuit in your state.
What Qualifies As False Advertising?
False advertising, deceptive branding, and misleading marketing come in many different forms:
- Manipulating key terms – using certain words as descriptors without justification
- Deceptive visual representation of the product – showing a product being used in a way that it cannot actually be used
- Bait and switch – pretending to sell one product or service, but actually giving the consumer an inferior product or service
- Incomplete or false comparisons – claiming a product or service is superior to another without justification, or deliberately concealing parts that are inferior in comparison
- Misleading product warranties or guarantees – guaranteeing a certain quality of product and not delivering on that quality, or offering warranties for repair or replacement but refusing to honor the warranty
Unfortunately, some companies go to extreme lengths to maximize sales, putting profits over people. Instead of investing in creating a better product or offering a superior service, they’d rather mislead people about its features or even trick people into buying it. This type of unethical advertising can result in millions of dollars stolen from consumers. Depending on the product or service, it can even put lives at risk.
Below are some specific examples, for context:
False Advertising Examples
- Selling a product that doesn’t actually do what it’s marketed to do
- Leaving out information that the average buyer would consider important to know
- Exaggerating the size of a product (or serving size of food) to make it look bigger
- Inaccurately labeling a product “organic” without actual basis
- Misrepresenting the ingredients that make up an item or their ratios
- Charging fees or surcharges that are hidden until the customer has been billed
- Falsely claiming support from the scientific community or industry leaders, or approval from government agencies
- Making marketing claims based on outdated, debunked, or flawed research studies
- Misreporting the geographic source of the product or its ingredients
- Advertising a product for one price and actually selling it for a higher price
- Claiming sales prices without actually marking down products
- Advertising a warranty for a product but refusing to honor it
- Marketing a product with a no-hassle money-back guarantee and then refusing to honor it
While exaggerated claims are common and even expected in advertising, unlawful false statements and dubious marketing can mislead even the savviest of consumers.
What Are the Consequences of False Advertising?
Victims of misleading and false advertising can file a false advertising lawsuit against the responsible company in civil court.
For mass-market products that are widely available across the U.S., the sheer number of victims can lead to a class action lawsuit, representing possibly thousands or millions of consumers. A class action of this size could have potentially billions of dollars at stake. The company responsible for the product may be ordered to pay consumers for their financial losses and cover the costs of any injuries caused by their deceptive marketing.
In addition, if consumers are able to prove their false advertising claims, courts may use a legal injunction to stop the company from continuing the false advertising campaign.
False advertising cases can get complicated, especially if the victims have significant financial losses or the product led to personal injury or even wrongful death. If you’ve experienced false advertising or deceptive marketing practices, you should first talk to a lawyer about your case.
What Should I Do If I Have a False Advertising Claim?
If you believe you have grounds for a false advertising claim, you should seek legal help right away. A class action attorney can help you join forces with other consumers and follow all the appropriate steps of a class action lawsuit to hold the at-fault company liable.
At Wilshire Law Firm, our class action lawyers who go up against some of the largest corporations in order to achieve just compensation for consumers. To find out if our team can assist you with your case, call us today at (800) 501-3011 for your FREE consultation or fill out our online form.