Things A Consumer Should Know About False Advertising

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Advertising is one of the most influential forms of media. Advertisements are created to inform, entertain, and persuade consumers to purchase a product or avail of the services of a brand. Legislators recognize the role it plays in society, so laws are established to protect consumers from misleading advertisements.

Advertising has become more powerful than ever because of the advent of social media and digitization. With that power came people who abuse it by producing ads with false messages to gain more sales. What’s even worse is that many consumers still fall victim to them, which causes harm and loss of time and money.

False advertising has long been a thorn on the side of consumers and businesses. It must be dealt with accordingly by educating consumers. With that in mind, here are things a consumer should know about it.


False advertising represents any form of traditional media or digital propaganda that uses fraudulent or deceptive information to manipulate consumers. False ads are created to compel consumers to purchase based on incorrect and misleading information. Those who do this kind of practice are unethical and can be punished by law when proven guilty.

A consumer could stake a claim if they got substantial proof that they were made to believe an ad was true when it was otherwise. Different laws protect consumer rights against deceptive practices as such all over the world. Any consumer can sue for damages or financial loss due to false advertising. They can choose to take the matter to court solo or via a Class Action Lawsuit.

Forms of false advertising

As aforementioned, the best way to deal with false advertising is to inform consumers. Here are the things you can consider as misleading or deceptive in terms of advertising a product or service:

  • Product misrepresentation

This happens when advertisers mislead consumers by presenting a product differently than it is in real life. An ad should state the same thing as the product entails and not otherwise. Often, advertisers will misrepresent things like size, color, and look.

Besides those, some advertisers would state false attributes about the product on their ads. For instance, they’d have the ad say that the product is environmentally friendly when the fact is it isn’t. They’d also compare it to a competitor’s product inconsistently to sway public opinion.

  • Deceptive description

A deceptive description is a common form of false advertising which means falsely claiming that a product has certain benefits or features that it doesn’t. One example of this is falsely claiming that science supports their product or is endorsed by experts. This also includes the use of terms such as “organic,” “light,” or “natural.”

  • Deceptive pricing

Deceptive pricing involves hidden fees and surcharges added to a product’s price. Hidden charges are typically not indicated on price tags and are only added once the customer is about to check out an item. Any unadvertised extra fees and falsely inflated prices are a violation of the law.

  • Deceptive guarantee or warranty

Brands that offer guarantees then don’t deliver are also a form of false advertising. This includes warranties for defective products. Furthermore, brands that falsely use the word “free” in association with their offers can also be punished by law.

Example of false advertising

To dig a little bit deeper into what this malpractice entails, here’s an example of a famous brand that had to answer to their customers in court because of misleading ads: 

In 2004, a class-action lawsuit was filed against car manufacturers KIA and Hyundai for overstating their cars’ horsepower by 10%. The Korean Ministry of Construction and Transportation discovered the irregularity and brought it to the court’s attention in California. The two companies ended up having to pay $85 million in monetary damages and distributing $225 prepaid debit cards to over 800,000 consumers who purchased Hyundai Vehicles between 1996 and 2002.

Concluding thoughts

False advertising is a serious offense because legislators are aware of advertising’s importance in the scheme of things for consumer-oriented businesses. Neither consumers nor brands and should take it for granted because it can cause them big time. Educate yourself to be more aware of how products and services are advertised to distinguish those that are genuine from those that aren’t.

Author’s Bio:

Deinah Storm used to work in the corporate world as a marketing affiliate. She quit her job to pursue her passion for writing, but to this day, Deinah is committed to educating consumers about the different marketing scams and how to avoid them.