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4 Examples of False Advertising

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Are you the victim of false advertising practices? False advertising is when a company makes claims about a product that is untrue. You probably need a consumer rights attorney. Here are a few different kinds of false advertising.

Misleading Claims

Advertisements that give misleading claims about a product are one example of false advertising. This includes exaggerated claims that are not true, such as claims about the effectiveness of a weight loss supplement. Sometimes, advertisers will make exaggerated claims and then hide disclaimers in the small print at the bottom or in the terms and conditions that nobody reads.

Failure to Disclose

This is similar to misleading claims. If there are certain aspects of a product that might cause a consumer not to buy it, the advertiser should disclose them. The same goes for any limitations the product has.

Bait and Switch

Bait and switch scams are when an advertisement promises one thing, but another thing is actually offered. For example, a car dealership might promise discount rates, but when you get there, you're told that no discount cars are available and you are pressured to buy an expensive car. The same goes for airlines that promise low fees and then hit you with extra expenses.

Trial Scams

A trial scam offers you a free trial of a product or service for a certain period of time, only to charge your credit card with undisclosed fees. A similar scam would be an offer to try something out for just $1, only to charge your credit card for additional add-on products. These extra fees may be charged right away, or they may be in the form of a renewing subscription fee after 30 days.

If you've been the victim of false advertising, contact us today for legal help!



Class Action Case Against Coconut Water Company

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Because of a recent class action case, Harmless Harvest Inc. will be paying almost $1 million and changing the labels on their coconut water. This includes $575,000 in attorney fees and $350,000 in claims, administration, and notice costs. The company will also have to undergo an independent reviewing of their product labels for accuracy for a two-year period.

The main issue with the coconut water's label comes from the use of the terms “100 percent Organic” as well as “Raw.” Both statements are said to be false and misleading. According to the plaintiffs, at least a portion of the coconut water was not organic despite the company labeling it as such.

Converting a conventional coconut plantation into an organic plantation takes time. To be organically certified, the crops cannot receive any synthetic chemicals, including fertilizers or pesticides for at least three years. The plaintiffs in the case claim the company made consumers think they had complied with these regulations.

Instead, the plaintiffs say that the company obtained at least some of their coconuts from non-organic sources. This includes getting them from coconut plantations that do not have organic certification, purchasing them directly from street vendors whose supply source is unknown, and getting them from individuals who claimed the coconuts were organic even when they were not. They also claim that the company obtained false organic certification of some of their products.

The plaintiffs claim Harmless Harvest knew consumers wanted healthier products and that consumers would pay more for products with “organic” and “raw” labels. According to the plaintiffs, the company cheated consumers out of money by falsely labeling their products as "100 percent Organic" and "Raw."

Class action cases take the efforts of many people to be effective. If you would like to know more about being involved in a class action case, contact us.



Consumer Rights: Allstate settles a false advertising lawsuit in California

Friday, January 06, 2017

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported that district attorneys in three counties in California had reached a $600 million settlement in a false advertising lawsuit against the insurance giant Allstate. At issue was Allstate’s advertising claims that it offers accident forgiveness for its line of automobile insurance policies. The problem is that Allstate neglected to mention sufficiently that this feature is not available in the state of California, where it has been prohibited, thanks to the passage of Proposition 103 in 1988.

The ads started in 2012 and reached 90 percent of California households, including Spanish-speaking ones in the state. Even though the ads offered a small disclaimer at the bottom of the TV screen, the district attorneys decided that it was insufficient and in violation of consumer rights and therefore filed suit. California law states that material facts in an ad have to be clear and conspicuous, which the disclaimer was not.

The settlement, typical of such things, allowed Allstate not to admit to liability while paying $75,000 in investigative costs and $525,000 in civil liability. The company decided that paying the money up front would be better for its bottom line than going to trial and risking having to pay an even larger settlement.

The suit and its result should serve as a warning for companies that think using fine print will protect them from false advertising litigation. States such as California have started to judge this practice as false advertising even though, technically, correct information is given in the ad.

For more information contact us.



Los Angeles Man Sues Krispy Kreme for False Advertising on the Fruit Content of Donuts

Friday, December 30, 2016

According to a recent story in Fortune, a Los Angeles man named Jason Saidian has filed suit against the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Company in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Saidian is claiming that the firm is engaged in false advertising false advertising concerning some of the ingredients in its doughnuts and is asking for class-action status for his suit and $5 million.

At issue is the advertising Krispy Kreme conducts for some of its doughnuts, specifically the “Glazed Raspberry Filled,” “Maple Bar,” and “Glazed Blueberry Cake” varieties. Saidian asserts that these doughnuts do not actually contain raspberry, maple, or blueberry but rather artificial ingredients that mimic the taste of these natural substances. Hence, the false advertising charge. He further asserts that KrispyKreme has used real fruit in its glazed lemon-filled and glazed strawberry-filled doughnuts, compounding the confusion.

Saidian also suggests that he and other customers have been cheated of the health benefits that real raspberries and blueberries impart, especially against heart disease and cancer. The idea that doughnuts in any form could be healthy is a bold one to make, considering the starch and sugar the confection contains.

The plaintiff claims that had he or any other customer known that these varieties of doughnuts did not contain real fruit, they would have been less likely to buy them or, at the very least, they would have sold at a lower price. Krispy Kremein accordance with its policy concerning ongoing litigation, is refusing to comment at this time.

For more information contact us.




Consumer Rights: Can a movie trailer be false advertising?

Friday, September 30, 2016

One of the strangest consumer rights false advertising lawsuits ever filed is taking place in Great Britain, according to the UK Independent. An irate movie fan from Scotland is suing Warner Brothers and DC Comics for false advertising because certain scenes depicted in the trailer for “Suicide Squad” didn’t make it to the final movie, according to the UK Independent. Because of the way False Advertising is defined on both sides of the Atlantic, the plaintiff is not likely to prevail.

For something to be False Advertising, a number of questions have to be answered. Was the advertising deliberately false and misleading? Were a majority of customers deceived by the advertising? Was actual harm created by the false advertising? In the latter case, the Scottish plaintiff claimed that he drove all the way from his home to London to see “Suicide Squad” only to not see the scenes of Jared Leto as the Joker that were in the trailer. When he demanded his ticket money back, the cinema staff told him to get lost.

The problem is that trailers are often made long before the final cut of the movie is created. An expectation exists that footage in the trailer may or may not make it to the film. The purpose of a movie trailer is to give a potential customer a good idea what the movie is about and entice him or her to see the film, not necessarily show what exactly is going to be in the upcoming feature.

In any case, a successful lawsuit over a movie trailer would be to open Pandora’s Box to all sorts of mischief. Most movie trailers advertise their features as the greatest drama since “Citizen Kane,” the most spectacular science fiction since “Star Wars,” or the most uproarious comedy since anything that the late Gene Wilder was in. If the actual product falls short of such claims, the trailer does not belong to the category of false advertising. When going to the movies, the principle of caveat emptor or “buyer beware” prevails.

For more information contact us.



Nutella to Settle False Claims Lawsuit for $3 Million

Monday, April 30, 2012

The manufacturer of Nutella has agreed to pay $3 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging deceptive advertising.  The lawsuit was filed by a San Diego mother who claimed in her lawsuit that the company had falsely advertised its chocolate spread as being healthy and nutritious.

The product in question is the popular Nutella Hazelnut Spread, which has been heavily promoted by Nutella manufacturer Ferrero as being healthy for children.  According to the woman who filed the lawsuit, a lot of busy mothers like herself were fooled by the company into believing that the spread was a healthy breakfast for children.

She filed her lawsuit when she found that the spread contained high levels of saturated fats.  According to the lawsuit, many consumers like her would not have purchased the product if they had known that the health claims that the company was making were actually false.  The lawsuit also made note of the fact that consumption of high levels of saturated fats has been linked to heart disease.  The suit also claimed that the product contains high quantities of sugar. 

The label on the Nutella bottle informs consumers that there are about 2000 calories in each 2 tablespoon serving of Nutella hazelnut spread, and that half of them come from fats.  However, California class-action lawyers often find that manufacturers hide behind these nutritional labels, well aware that many consumers may not read the information that is stuck near the bottom of the jar, or may not interpret the information correctly. 

Under the terms of the class action settlement, the company will pay $3 million to all consumers who had purchased the Nutella spread in California between August 1, 2009 and January 23, 2012.  Each person will receive $4 per jar of Nutella that was purchased during this period, with a maximum limit of $20 per person.





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