To find someone guilty of false advertising, a lawyer must prove that the individual intentionally misleads the consumer. It is not necessary to prove that consumers, or a sole consumer, were hurt by the advertisement. All that is needed is to prove that the advertisement is false. This makes it quite easy to find someone guilty of false advertising in court. It is considered an unfair trade practice to use false advertising to advertise a product. This is outlawed both by federal and state law. No matter which state the business is located in.
The Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, is the body of government responsible for policing false advertising. They do so mainly by reports from consumers and competitors. They do not seek out false advertisement claims by themselves. A complaint must be filed.
They have several ways of enforcing false advertising laws. Before anything is taken to court, the FTC will usually try to reason with the company. They will do their best to have the company willingly take down the advertisement. Sometimes this is not enough. If the company refuses to comply, the FTC may take legal action.
This legal action usually consists of a cease and desist order. This is an order from the court that demands cooperation in stopping an illegal activity. A civil suit may also be filed on behalf of those who were hurt by the company’s false advertisement claims. An injunction may be filed, which is very similar to a cease and desist order. If this injunction is violated, the party responsible for the ad may face criminal or civil penalties. The FTC may also require the company to run corrective advertising in situations where you can sue for false advertising.
At the State Level
Most states have laws that protect the consumer, and the company’s competitors, from false advertising. State officials can seek injunctions against a company who engages in the false advertising. State consumer protection laws normally allow companies and individuals to take a false-advertising company to court in a civil case. They can almost always directly sue for monetary damages. Some states even provide criminal penalties for those caught guilty of false advertisement.
The Lanham Act Protects Consumers
Those looking for a private remedy to false advertisement claims may want to look at the Lanham act. This act allows for individuals and cooperation to sue for damages and force the company to take the advertisement down. To use the Lanham act, one must prove that the business intentionally misleads the consumer by making false claims. It is necessary for there to be consumers that are confused or mislead by the claim.
When it’s Time to Seek Out a Lawyer
It may be time to seek out a lawyer if you feel you’ve been hurt by a false advertisement claim. You may also seek out justice by alerting the FTC. You should file the complaint as soon as possible. As time between the injury and the suit will weaken your case.