Every company wants to get as much business as possible. If attempting to attract consumers crosses a line into deceptive trade practice, however, there could be serious legal consequences.
When most people think of deceptive trade practice, they think of false advertising. False advertising is indeed one of the most prevalent deceptive trade practices, but it is just one example out of many. There are several different types of deceptive trade practices—and you should know some examples of the most common.
1. We’ve all seen advertisements that paint a product in a seemingly miraculous light. It slices! It dices! It never gets rusty! Boasting about a product is legal, but representing it falsely in advertisements or marketing materials is not.
2. Some companies are in the business of selling used goods. Spiffing up secondhand products before selling them is perfectly acceptable. Representing goods as original or new when they are in fact used, though, is a deceptive trade practice.
3. Another example of a deceptive trade practice is selling counterfeit products or services. This may seem self-explanatory, but unscrupulous business owners have been known to try it. It is illegal to pretend that goods belong to a certain brand when they do not– for example, hawking designer purses or knockoff electronics.
4. Many consumers are motivated to buy a product because it has been endorsed by their favorite celebrity, sponsored by an expert in the field or received a prestigious certification. But it is a deceptive trade practice to falsely claim that your business, product or service has been endorsed by a certain party.
Fighting deceptive trade practices
The laws regarding deceptive trade practices can vary state by state, though the previous four examples are illegal throughout the country. Deceptive trade claims are difficult to prosecute without legal assistance. If you have reason to believe that you have been subject to a deceptive trade practice, an attorney may be able to help you recoup your costs.