Understanding false advertising in California

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2021 | Business Litigation |

Advertising is the lifeblood for many businesses. It can help attract new customers, build and maintain a positive image and remain competitive within the marketplace. A company can live or die on the back of good or bad advertising.

Good advertising

A solid advertisement typically has a number of features. It gets the attention of the target audience, shows them something they want or need and convinces them that your product or service will fulfill that role for them.

When a good advertisement makes promises, they are promises which the company can back up in fact. This creates brand loyalty and even more potential customers via word-of-mouth advertising.

False advertising

An advertisement that makes false promises undercuts the fundamental advantages of a quality advertisement campaign. Any short-term gain will likely be offset later by a loss in confidence and customers. And it may be against the law.

California’s False Advertising Law (FAL) is wordy and hard to parse. But what it says, in essence, is that it is illegal for any person or business to make an advertising statement, about property or services, which is untrue or misleading. There is a required level of reasonable knowledge to the FAL, meaning a simple mistake will likely not be in violation.

If you or your business face allegations of false advertising, there are defenses which can be undertaken. It may be that the advertisement was, in fact, truthful. Or, what may be misleading to one person would not be considered misleading to a reasonable person. Additionally, the information could be false but the company was not aware that it was false.

Claims of false advertising can be heavily fact-driven, requiring an intensive examination of the advertisement, its claims and how it relates to California law. Seek the assistance of an experienced professional to navigate these issues.

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