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False Advertising Legal Claims in California

In late June 2017, the Northern California Record published an article about a class action lawsuit filed against a car dealership on the basis of false advertising. According to the report, the complaint in the lawsuit alleges that Riverside Mazda and its marketing associates provided a guaranteed price of $21,839 for a 2016 Mazda 3i GT, but the plaintiff claims that he was stuck with $4,000 worth of fees that were not disclosed at the time the price guarantee was presented.

The aforementioned case, which was filed before the United States Central District of California, is an example of the numerous false advertising claims that are constantly brought to court across in the Golden State and across the nation. This particular case alleges that the car dealership induced the plaintiff into making a purchase by means of price misrepresentation, which is prohibited under the California False Advertising Act and Unfair Competition Law.

Although misleading advertising is illegal in virtually all legal jurisdictions in the U.S., this is a country with a rich consumer culture and extremely competitive business climate. As such, misrepresentation in marketing and advertising occurs very frequently. The Federal Trade Commission is the main enforcement agency of Truth In Advertising, a legal principle that is a tenet of consumer protection. Federal law states that advertising must be based on truth and honesty; likewise, California and all other jurisdictions have similar provisions in their statutes, which means that lawsuits can be filed before federal or state venues.

Even when regulatory agencies approve certain marketing materials, businesses are not allowed to engage in misleading advertising. One example in this regard is Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a liquor distilled in California. Since this is an alcoholic beverage, the label on its bottles had to be approved by regulators, but the distiller eventually faced a false advertising lawsuit because consumers figured out that the vodka was not actually handmade.

While the FTC is actively engaged in finding and prosecuting instances of misleading advertising, civil law firms that focus on consumer protection practice are often the first line of defense. As seen in the Riverside Mazda case, the car buyer was lured by the promise of a price guarantee that was advertised but was not fulfilled. The plaintiff may be entitled to a monetary award based on the fake price guarantee made by the dealership, and additional damages may also be awarded depending on the circumstances.

If you believe that you may have a claim for false advertising, contact CounselOne today at 310-789-2145.

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