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Deceptive trade practices: dishonesty in business is a big deal

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Business & Complex Civil Litigation, Deceptive Trade Practices

We often see advertisements for products that encourage us to buy them in everyday life. Whether it’s the latest technology in phones, a toy for your child, or brand-new solar panels, everyone wants the best and the newest!

But what happens when advertisements lie?

Deceptive trade practices happen when businesses try to exploit other companies or consumers by promising something they cannot deliver. For example, by advertising a feature in a product that does not work how it says it will.

The practices often involve false advertising and misleading claims about the product or lying by omitting important information about the product that could change the client’s mind about purchasing the item.

Examples of deceptive trade practices

Some examples of these practices, many of which are illegal, include:

  • False advertising
  • Hidden fees and costs
  • Bait-and-switch tactics
  • False guarantees
  • Misleading labels

What can someone do about this, if anything?

Luckily, the law protects businesses and consumers against these practices by passing laws to make them illegal. As a consumer, it is critical to:

Do your research and read reviews

Do your research and make sure people are happy with the product. Make sure you do not see complaints about false advertising or deception of any kind. Those are definitely red flags you should avoid.

Always read the fine print

The terms and conditions and product labels tell us much about a product. So whether it is a part that you need to manufacture for a vehicle or a toy you want to purchase for your child, read the small print and the labels.

Often, people ignore labels that explicitly state that the company is not responsible if the item does not work in a certain way.

Trust yourself

If something makes you feel that something is off, it probably is. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut feeling, and do not be afraid of asking questions.

Report it

This is important because no one would know without companies, and people who report suspected deceptive practices. Suppose you identify a potential situation where any of the above is present.

In that case, you can report them to the authorities. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or your state attorney general’s office.

Awareness and keeping your eyes open when purchasing something, large or small, are critical to maintaining an honest marketplace.

Without an honest marketplace, companies lose money, and economies suffer. Please do your part by avoiding making promises you cannot keep and reporting things when they are off.