What is False Advertising?
About False Advertising Law
False advertising is, in essence, exactly what the name implies: the passing off of goods or services (yours or a competitor’s) as something or someone’s they are not. It is the usurpation of good will and sales by unfair means. False advertising is prohibited and actionable under federal law and by various state statutes which prohibit deceptive trade practices and unfair competition. The Federal Trade Commission, competitors and– in most stations—the state attorney general have the power to bring suit to stop false advertising. In some states an aggrieved consumer can sue.
The Federal Trade Commission will initiate an action against an advertiser it believes is making false claims. These days, health and weight loss claims are high on the FTC’s agenda. Likewise, the states’ attorney generals are also capable of selecting ad claims for prosecution under state unfair competition or consumer protection statutes. A competitor can bring another’s claims to the attention of the FTC or the state attorney general, but there is no assurance any action will result.
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