Advertising to reach consumers is an important part of any business that wants to increase sales and attract new clientele. Some businesses design their advertising campaign to target a specific market, and try to tailor their goods and services to meet the needs of that specific market, even if it results in false or misleading advertising. When this happens, it can lead to lawsuits by consumers who feel tricked or deceived.
False advertising in Illinois is encompassed into the legal definition of deceptive or fraudulent trade practices. If the business is found to have intentionally engaged in fraudulent or deceptive advertising, the business can be liable for attorneys’ fees and other fees associated with the consumer suing.
There are various practices that can be deemed deceptive practices when it comes to advertising in Illinois—for example, making an advertisement that confuses consumers as to the origin of the goods or services. A business can do this when it is trying to capitalize off the success of another business, and thus makes an advertisement implying it has the same services or products offered by the other business, even when it does not.
Businesses that advertise goods, knowing that they will not be able to fill all the orders that consumers may be reasonably expected to buy, are also engaged in deceptive practices. If quantities are expected to be low, then a disclaimer should be added to the advertisement alerting consumers that quantities are limited.
Sometimes, businesses advertise goods at a low price just to get consumers in the store, knowing that the store cannot fill all reasonably expected orders. This is a ploy to get consumers to buy more expensive items and is known as bait and switch. Not only is this a deceptive business practice, it can cause consumers to lose faith in the business. Regularly engaging in this kind of advertising can cause a business to lose customers instead of gaining new ones.
Also, businesses may use disclaimers along with the advertisements to warn consumers about claims in the advertisement that may be interpreted in a different way, or if a claim made in the advertisement is not proven. Including this kind of disclaimer does not mean that a business can make blanket fraudulent statements because the disclaimer can be found to have been inadequate in the context of the advertisement.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
If you are considering launching an advertising campaign for your business, you should consult with an experienced business attorney to review all the possible issues that may arise. Even if you hire another company to do the advertising, you may be held legally responsible if your business is deemed to be engaged in deceptive practices. For a consultation with an experienced DuPage County business law attorney, contact Momkus McCluskey LLC.