False Advertising

Hattis Law investigates and prosecutes consumer complaints involving fraud and false advertising. False advertising can be defined as untrue or misleading information made by a seller to consumers for the purpose of selling them something.

Common examples of false advertising include:

False Discounts – Advertising a false discount from a regular price, where the “discount” is based on a fictional and inflated regular price.

Retailers often use false comparison pricing to induce consumers to buy their products. They label products with reference prices, such as a “regular or original price” with a corresponding “sale price.” Marketing research has consistently shown that reference or comparison pricing induces consumers to purchase products because they value the perceived deal. However, the reference prices that retailers use often are not based on any sales occurring at the regular price. In fact, the “sale price” is often the price that the product is regularly sold at in the marketplace. California law states that any original or regular price stated by the retailer must be the prevailing market price during the preceding 90 days.

Some examples of reference or comparison pricing which are often utilized in false price advertising are:

  • a higher price that has been crossed out next to a lower price
  • “regular price” next to a “sale price”
  • “original” price next to “was” (supposedly representing a price it was offered for sale in the past)
  • a crossed out higher price with a “save $__” or “save __%” next to a lower price

Bait and Switch – Advertising a product or service at a low price, but with no intention of honoring that price.

Misrepresentations as to quality – Advertising that a product can perform in a particular way when it cannot.

Misrepresentations as to quantity – Advertising a product at a discounted price while stocking few, if any, of the advertised goods. The law requires sellers to stock enough of an advertised item to meet reasonable customer demand.

We represent only consumers in these types of litigation. If you have purchased goods or services and believe you have gotten less than you bargained for, we would like to learn of your experience.

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