VIRGINIA FALSE ADVERTISING ATTORNEYS
FALSE ADVERTISING / DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES
As a consumer, you should be able to purchase services and products with peace of mind and assurance that the company’s advertising claims and descriptions are trustworthy. Regrettably, many consumers purchase products and services in reliance on the marketing and advertising practices of a corporation or business, only to find out that they were false. When consumers are duped into believing advertising that simply is not true, the business must be held accountable.
Companies may use false advertising, deceptive marketing, or predatory business practices in order to attract customers and increase sales. They may make lofty promises or exciting guarantees that are deceptive or even fabricated. When this happens, the consumers’ reasonable trust and reliance is betrayed, and they are entitled to recover compensation for the business’ violation.
Consumer protection laws are vitally important to the success and maintenance of the marketplace. Every day, consumers enter into thousands of transactions with large and small companies. Unfair business practices in the marketplace are inappropriate and must be challenged.
Consumers are greatly protected by a number of federal and state laws which prevent companies from intentionally misleading consumers through dishonest business practices and false or deceptive advertising practices. These false advertising statutes go beyond the normal breach of warranty claims and provide the wronged consumer additional remedies.
Common examples of prohibited false advertising and deceptive trade practices include:
- False promises;
- Failure to disclose important information;
- Bait and switch schemes;
- Inflated price comparisons;
- Unadvertised surcharges;
- Hidden limits and fees;
- Footnote disclaimers;
- Deceptive labeling;
These prohibited practices have a simple common aspect: businesses are prohibited from using an ad that tends to mislead or deceive consumers. Even if the consumer is not actually fooled, the ad is unlawful if its overall impression is deceptive.
Have You Been Taken Advantage Of?
Today, consumers have an excessive amount of choices they can make before they buy a service or product. However, sorting through these choices can be a challenge, especially when the marketplace is not always upfront and honest. Sadly, many companies take advantage of vulnerable consumers who are confused and overwhelmed with their choices. As a result, some businesses will offer misleading promises which lead the consumer to make the wrong choices. Under state and federal laws, businesses cannot be dishonest in their practices. If a consumer should fall prey to them and suffer some kind of loss – physical or financial -, they may have the right to file a claim or lawsuit. If this has happened to you, call the Virginia false advertising attorneys from MartinWren, P.C., now.
Common Types of False Advertising Practices
If you’re like most consumers, you have probably come across a product that promised “fast results”. Or, an ad that emphasizes the “no risk, money back guarantee”. You might have bought a supplement that said it would “regrow your hair” or “make you lose weight fast”. As Virginia false advertising attorneys, we know that a product or service must be true in relation to it’s quality, intended usage, claims, and prices. When this does not happen, the company may be legally liable. The most common types of false advertising practices our Virginia false advertising attorneys know of include:
“Bait & Switch” Advertising – This is a well known sales tactic that baits or lures in a consumer by offering a product at a low price. The seller then convinces or switches the product to one that is more expensive knowing that the first product was not available.
Deceptive Contract – It is not uncommon for sales contracts to be laden with concealed terminology, impractical penalties, hidden charges, unfair rules, and other practices that could result in the consumer having to pay more than what is reasonable or should have been intended.
Mislabeling or Misleading – A product might appear in one way in the ad, but may actually be much smaller, or otherwise different, than what has been shown. This could equate to deceptive advertising and be grounds for liability.
Price Inflation – Another common tactic used by businesses is when the price of a product is greatly increased, or inflated, and then discounted. An unknowing consumer may think they are getting a deal when they are actually paying too much for a product.
In addition to these practices, false advertising attorneys in Virginia handle claims that involve:
- Failure to disclose information
- Using images that are misleading
- Manipulating terms
Examples of False Advertising
Some examples of false advertising include:
- Marketing a product as being high quality when they are substandard quality
- Marketing a product as being organic when it is not
- Selling unnecessary services or repairs
- Knowingly distributing or selling defective products
- Harassing consumers with phone calls
- Tampering with data that suggests a product is unsafe
- Hiding statistics related to defective products
Billing and Bank Fraud
Although most false advertising practices are related to a product, it is possible for deceptive practices to involve billing or bank fraud. Examples of this include:
- Charging a consumer hidden fees
- Unauthorized charges
- APR misrepresentation
- Illegally charging late fees
- Charging “add-on” services without authorization
There is a wide spectrum of advertising practices that can be deemed false or deceptive. For this reason, consumers who believe they have been wronged by a company’s false advertising should consult an experienced Virginia false advertising attorney. At MartinWren, P.C., our false advertising attorneys are well versed in the specific laws protecting consumers. We will listen to your concerns and review your case to represent you effectively and aggressively against any unscrupulous business.
Often, however, the individual consumer suffers nominal monetary damages and may deem it pointless to take the steps necessary to file a legal action. But it is in many of these instances when an investigation uncovers a large number of consumers who have also suffered from the same false advertising. The collective harm being committed by the company must be addressed. In these situations, a false advertising class action is appropriate and is often the most effective way to end such deceptive practices. Such class action lawsuits are powerful tools as they allow the consumers to band together against wealthy corporations who engage in fraudulent advertising or deceptive trade practices and to allow consumers to form a collective group to challenge dishonest and deceptive practices.
Have You Been the Victim of False Advertising?
If you have questions regarding false advertising, deceptive trade practices, or other consumer protection issues, please call Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at MartinWren, P.C. at (434) 817-3100. The Virginia false advertising attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. will put their experience and professionalism to work for you.