Illegal Advertising

The Importance of Abiding by Advertising Laws

When advertising your small business you should avoid illegal advertising methods. It is important to abide to advertising laws and rules that protect customers from false and exaggerating advertising claims. By not complying with advertising lawsyou put your business and yourself at risk of getting sued. However many entrepreneurs are unaware that there are laws that prohibit misrepresenting a product or service. They may not realize that exaggerating or posting false testimonials are illegal advertising methods. Below you will see tips of what NOT to do when advertising your products or services.

Advertising Laws Prohibit

Misrepresentation- Misrepresenting a product includes changing photos to make the product look better, or misrepresenting the size or amount of products. Claiming that consumers can clean a toilet with one spray of your product when actually it takes ten is misrepresenting your product. Saying that the product is sold for more elsewhere when actually it is not is also considered as misrepresenting. It is unlawful to retouch before and after pictures. In 1966 two Seattle business owners were fined thousands of dollars after discovering that the Native American Styled artwork they were selling were not created by Native Americans as they claimed.

Unsubstantiated Claims- Your company can not give consumers a false representation of your business. This is considered an illegal advertising method. For example if you run a modeling agency and you claim that after models spend $300 taking professional photos, they will be guaranteed a job making at least $1,000 a week and it turns out to be not the case for most models in your agency you can be sued. The Federal Trade Commission has won many settlements where the business claims in their advertisements were not achieved by the majority of the consumers.

Fake testimonials- Everyone that gives testimonials in your advertising must be users of your product or service. If you pay for their testimonial you must make that known to your viewers.

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1 comment

  1. susan newby says:

    We want to advertise our business via flags or banners but don’t know what is legal. We have a large garden and want to put a banner at the bottom to say that we are a fish and chip shop which can be seen from the sea front.

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