False advertising can result in significant economic harm. The constitutional guarantee to Freedom of Speech does not excuse false and misleading commercial advertising. If you’ve experienced false advertising you may have a legal claim.
While companies can use framing and creative license to describe their products and services, they are not allowed to be dishonest. Furthermore, they are not allowed to be dishonest in describing a competitor’s product, services, or brand.
If a company has made misleading statements about price, quality, or purpose, and these claims induced you to make a purchase you wouldn’t have otherwise made, this is false advertising and you may be entitled to damages. False advertising includes misrepresentation of facts, misleading claims, deceptive labels, bait-and-switch schemes, aggressive sales tactics, and failure to disclose important information.
Suing for False Advertising
It’s important for advertiser to be honest, especially about facts that a consumer cannot reasonably verify. The regular person cannot verify what ingredients are in a food, the grade of plastic or metal used, or how much power an engine produces. Customers have a reasonable right to trust advertising regarding product information, and shouldn’t be allowed to abuse this trust.
In addition to untrue statements, deceptive advertising is considered false advertising. A common example of deceptive advertising is the use and abuse of “fine print.” A contract may use fine print to capture standard and usual terms. However, sometimes a business will bury very important and unusual contractual terms in the fine print. While the offer may technically be “honest”, the reasonable person is not expected to examine fine print for unusual terms. Therefore, it is deceptive and may not be enforceable.
False advertising by a competitor can also harm your business. False statements about your products or services may be trade disparagement. If a competitor is using false advertising to gain a competitive advantage over your business, our false advertising lawyers can take immediate action to stop that advertising including filing a false advertising lawsuit.
Freedom of speech is a constitutional guarantee, and that certainly includes commercial speech. Freedom of speech includes speech that many would consider in poor taste, offensive, and factually dubious. However, the law is clear that freedom of speech does not include the right to lie and distort in regards to commercial enterprise.
The remedies available for false advertising are immense. If a business competitor is falsely advertising against your business, we can seek an immediate injunction requiring the competitor to cease advertising.
Businesses have the responsibility to advertise fairly and our NYC commercial litigation team can help ensure they live up to that responsibility.