Deceptive Sales and Marketing Fraud

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The contents of an advertisement must comply with three basic principles:

An Ad Must be Truthful and Not Misleading

If an ad is likely to mislead an average consumer and that misperception influences a customer's decision to buy or use the product, it is considered deceptive.

Advertisers Must be Able to Substantiate Their Claims

If you're going to run an ad, you must have support for the claims the ad conveys. For example, if your ad claims that tests show xyz.com is a better search engine than cde.com, you should have some test results to back that up. If there is more than one reasonable interpretation a consumer can make, the ad has to substantiate each interpretation.

An Ad Cannot be Unfair

It's unfair if, according to the FTC, it causes (or is likely to cause) serious consumer injury that couldn't have been reasonably avoided and isn't justified by the potential benefit to consumers or competition. For example, you must disclose all hidden fees. It's also considered unfair if you don't admit that you paid individuals for endorsements. Make It Clear and Conspicuous

Much of the FTC's Dot Com Disclosures guide is devoted to a discussion of what constitutes a "clear and conspicuous" disclosure . The requirements depend on the nature of the advertisement. To determine if your ad complies, the FTC recommends adopting the perspective of a reasonable consumer and then asking yourself if the disclosure is presented in a way that you would both notice and understand.

There are a number of factors to consider, including:

Whether a single disclosure is sufficient or whether the disclosure needs to be posted at various points throughout the site. Whether anything on the site distracts attention from the disclosure. The location of the disclosure, including where it is in relation to the advertisement (generally, you should avoid requiring customers to click on a link to read the disclaimer). The prominence of the disclosure.

Dont Be A Victim Of Deceptive Sales Practices! By law, stores are not allowed to advertise with the intent of pressuring or improperly luring customers into buying a different or more expensive product.

Artmart Publications Settles FTC Charges Company. The FTC has settled an action against a California-based company charged with deceptive sales of advertisements appearing in “minority business publications.

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