What is False Advertising in California?

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Do you believe you have been the victim of false advertising? California law protects innocent consumers from unlawful business practices. In fact, California Business and Professions Code section 17500 clearly addresses false advertising and states that it unlawful for any person, or corporation to induce the public, through a newspaper or other publication or any other manner, to purchase something or do something based on statements that are untrue or misleading.  This language is part of California’s sweeping Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), which is involved in almost every consumer protection and several business litigation lawsuits.  The law forbids “unfair, unlawful, and fraudulent” practices or acts, in addition to practices that involve “false advertising.”  If you want to bring a lawsuit that includes a violation of this law, your consumer fraud attorney will help you understand what false advertising means in California and how it affects you.

To allege that a defendant (such as a business) has engaged in false advertising, the plaintiff (or victim of the false advertising) must show that (1) the statements in the advertising are untrue or misleading; and (2) the defendants knew, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have known, that the statements were untrue or misleading.  Whether the defendant actually knew statements were false or misleading does not matter. The plaintiff only needs to show that members of the public were likely to be deceived (into buying the goods or services) by the defendant’s advertisements.

As the victim of false advertising, a plaintiff can seek: 1) injunctive relief or 2) restitution from the defendant. Restitution means that the plaintiff will be “made whole” by the defendant. Essentially, the defendant would be required to reimburse the plaintiff for whatever the plaintiff spent (purchasing the defective product, for example). Injunctive relief means that the court would issue an order enjoining (or stopping) the defendant from doing an action, such as selling the defective product using the false or misleading advertising.  To receive this kind of relief, a plaintiff would need to show, among other things, that the harmful conduct is likely to continue to occur. Your Los Angeles consumer fraud attorney will be able to help you with this process.

For more information on false advertising laws in California, including how to bring a lawsuit against a company for false advertising claims, reach out to the aggressive trial lawyers at BIKLAW today.

 

 

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