Protecting Your New York Business Against False Advertising Claims

New York False Advertising Law

New York has strong laws that protect consumers from false and misleading advertising. Companies that are found liable for false advertising can face significant civil penalties. But not all advertising that is labeled “false and misleading” actually is. Consumers are often quick to make this allegation when they end up with a good or service with which they are dissatisfied.

If you’re a business owner, it’s important that you understand the law surrounding misleading and false advertising. The New York business lawyers of Rosenbaum & Taylor are here to assist you. Reach out to us today.

What Are the Rights of Consumers Concerning Advertisements?

Among all states, New York has fairly robust consumer protections. This is especially the case with respect to advertising. The law provides that consumers have a right to receive truthful information about goods and services.

New York law defines false advertising as any advertising that misleads a consumer in a significant way. “Advertising” includes statements and pictures about the product or service. False advertising may also include the failure to disclose to consumers important details about the good or service.

False advertising typically, but doesn’t always, relate to the price, quality, or purpose of the product or service. For instance, a seller may use what is known as the “bait and switch” tactic. In this form of false advertising, the seller advertises a certain product or service for a particular price. When the customer arrives to purchase it, the seller attempts to sell a different product or service for more money.

Exaggerations Aren’t the Same Thing as False Advertising

Some businesses may worry that using hyperbole or exaggerations in their advertising could be construed as false advertising. This is commonly referred to as “puffery” and is not the same thing as false advertising. For example, saying that your restaurant makes “the world’s best pasta” is puffing up your business, not falsely advertising it.

Making claims that are actually false is what the law prohibits. Using the restaurant example, if you claim your pasta is gluten-free when it isn’t, that’s false advertising.

Penalties Your Business Could Face for False Advertising

A customer who believes he or she has been the victim of false advertising can sue the offending business. The aggrieved customer can recover the greater of actual damages incurred or $500. The customer can also recover attorney’s fees.

If the seller willfully and knowingly violated the false advertising law, the court may triple actual damages up to $10,000. The New York Attorney General can also take legal action against a company engaged in false advertising.

How to Protect Your Business

These are a few ways in which you can protect your business and defend against false advertising claims.

  • Use clear and unambiguous language in your advertising.
  • Keep copies of your advertisements and related documents.
  • Be able to document and support the product or service claims made in your advertisements.
  • If you make comparative claims (e.g., that your product is better than others), be able to prove them.
  • Disclose information that could affect a customer’s decision to buy.
  • Allow the customer to make an informed choice.
  • Follow accepted industry guidelines when using endorsements or testimonials.

Here to Guide and Defend Your New York Business

Our experienced and dedicated New York business lawyers can help limit the likelihood that you face a false advertising lawsuit. That includes assistance with the above and other matters, and explaining more about the law.

In the event you face litigation over false advertising, we can defend you in court. It may be possible to have the lawsuit dismissed or to settle it on favorable grounds. Reach out to Rosenbaum & Taylor today to learn more.

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