What types of practices are prohibited by California’s false advertising law?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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California’s false advertising law prohibits any statement made in connection with the sale or dissemination of goods or services that the maker knew or should have known to be false or misleading. In other words, deceptive advertising of all kinds is prohibited.

The state of California has set laws and ordinances imposing penalties on businesses that try to deceive consumers or other companies through unfair practices such as false claims regarding products or services. False advertising laws are designed to protect the consumer, and to protect fair market competition. Among the prohibitions, the law

  • Prohibits any type of deceptive advertisement that causes a loss of revenue for any competitor
  • Forbids businesses to trap unwitting consumers by advertising a product, property, or service in a false or deceptive manner.  

Granted, most advertising is designed to make a product or a property seem to be greater than it may be in reality and it is common for competitors in the same industry to all claim to be able to provide “the best” services or products. However, statements like “best product” are generally considered to be a personal opinion- not a fact- so there are stipulations to the law that do allow for this type of competitive advertising.

Of course, when an advertisement is designed to deceive someone into purchasing a service or product that isn’t what is promised, this becomes a problem. In such instances, legal actions may be brought by an injured consumers and also, in some cases, by business competitors to recover lost revenue or payment. If you believe you have been the victim of any type of false advertising or deceptive marketing strategy, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you to take the proper steps to get justice from the manufacturer or seller who engaged in the illegal marketing strategy. 

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