I purchased a product that did not fulfill any of the claims gauranteed by the ad. Can I file a lawsuit for False Advertising?

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Question:

I bought a product based on the advertising, but the advertising wasn’t truthful about the product. I tried returning the product but the merchant will not take it back or give me a refund. What can I do?

Answer:

All states and the federal government have false advertising statutes. False advertising can also give rise to a lawsuit for fraud. However, most instances of false advertising are too small to make it past small claims court if you are trying to sue for fraud. The federal and most states false advertising statutes provide “private” remedies as well as “administrative” remedies. The administrative remedy simply involves the state or federal government taking some kind of action to stop the false advertising.

If a statute provides a private remedy, then you can sue under that statute to get your money back (and sometimes more than that). Under federal laws, the Federal Trade Commission Act provides an administrative remedy and the Lanham Act provides a private remedy. However, there is some legal debate about whether consumers or only competitors can recover under the Lanham Act. Many states do provide definitive recovery for consumers under their private remedy false advertising statutes.

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