Can You Sue for False Advertising?

In the United States, you will find that there are numerous state and federal false advertising laws that prohibit all types of deceptive advertising, misleading product labels, and similar practices. These laws are incredibly important to protect not only the rights of consumers, but also their health and well-being. It is important to understand basic false advertising laws and whether or not you can file a lawsuit if you have been the victim of false advertising.

Is Filing a Lawsuit Possible in False Advertising Situations?

Yes, a person is generally allowed to file a lawsuit if they have been the victim of false advertising. This usually results in a lawsuit against a business for misleading them into purchasing or paying for goods or services. In general, it is recommended that those who feel they have been victims of false advertising seek a remedy through their state consumer protection bureaus before taking the matter to the civil court system. However, for those who have suffered monetary loss or been injured as a result of false advertising, litigation may be necessary.

Defining False Advertising

There are various ways in which businesses and advertisers can mislead consumers. A few of the most common types of false advertising include the following:

  • Manipulation of terms. This could include things such as describing food as “light” or “organic” without justification for doing so.
  • Bait-and-switch. This could include advertising inexpensive products to entice consumers and then trying to sell them a much more expensive item.
  • Misleading illustrations. This often happens with food products, particularly when misrepresenting portion sizes.
  • Incomplete comparisons or inconsistent comparisons. This often occurs when companies compare their products to other companies’ products, when advertisers are misleading when they call their products “superior,” or when comparing only the “good” parts of their products while leaving out detrimental product characteristics.
  • Deceptive guarantee or warranty. This could occur when business offers a guarantee or warranty for services, but do not specify any remedy and then decline to provide any relief for consumers under the guarantee or warranty.

Do You Need an Attorney?

If you believe you have been the victim of false or misleading advertising, your first step should be to contact the consumer protection agency in your state. In this state, the California Department of Consumer Affairs is our first step towards obtaining justice in most false advertising situations. It is often necessary to first submit a claim with your state agency before pursuing litigation through the court system via a civil lawsuit.

If you or a loved one have suffered financial loss or injuries as a result of false advertising, your case is going to be more serious. It may be necessary for you to speak with a local Orange County business lawyer or personal injury attorney to review the facts of your case and determine the best path forward. You may be entitled to various types of compensation, including coverage of your medical expenses, lost wages, general household out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and possible punitive damages against a grossly negligent party.

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